Born in Chile on July 12, 1904, we recognize Pablo Neruda 112 years later as a political activist and eclectic poet. As a Communist holding several Chilean governmental posts, Neruda faced danger when Radical Party presidential candidate Gabriel González Videla turned against the Communist Party. Continue Reading ›
“There is a cost in disrupting the status quo, but what is the cost if we do nothing?”
This question was asked by Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and When Women Were Birds, during a reading and book-signing in Seattle, WA in June 2016. Continue Reading ›
Let’s face it: sometimes you need to cry it out. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a lighthearted beach-read, and that’s all well and good, but there are other times when you’re looking for a deep story that can really get you going and start the tears flowing. Then again, even if you’re not the kind of person who cries a lot (there are some who express their emotions in other ways, to be sure), then at the very least, we can all but guarantee you’ll find yourself moved by the following titles. Continue Reading ›
On Monday the 16th a couple of us went to see Louise Erdrich give a reading from her new novel, LaRose, out now in hardcover from HarperCollins. This novel is set in Ojibwe territory in North Dakota and draws inspiration from a story Erdrich’s mother told her about a family who shared their son with the parents of a child they’d accidentally killed. LaRose, the young boy who is given to the wronged family in Erdrich’s novel, is the fifth of his name, the favorite child of his father, Landreaux. He’s a spiritual boy who communes with his ancestors and has a strong relationship with the young girl Maggie, who thinks he’s a saint. When we saw her, Erdrich read two passages about Maggie, one a harrowing passage of violence narrowly escaped, the other a tense yet hilarious account of a volleyball game Maggie’s team wins. After the reading, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions about where Erdrich draws inspiration for her novels (from her rich heritage and her ancestors), how she feels about the education system on reservations (we need to celebrate Native American teachers and build more immersion schools where children can learn traditional Native American languages), and what books she would recommend (works by Tracy K. Smith, Marlon James, and Ocean Vuong, among others).
Win a Signed Copy of Love Medicine!
We were lucky enough to meet Erdrich briefly and get a signed copy of one of her most popular books, Love Medicine. Since this book is often taught in high school, we thought we would give a student a chance to win this autographed copy of Love Medicine, which includes a personalized message from Erdrich herself: “Read to love.” It’s good advice for readers of any age.
If you’re a graphic novel newbie, chances are that when you hear the term “graphic novel,” you immediately think, “Oh, a comic book!” or something else to that effect. And who could blame you? With the ever-growing popularity of the Marvel Universe and the continuous makes and remakes of the Batman franchise, it seems that comic books are everywhere—and they certainly are graphic novels. But as it turns out, there’s more to this variety of storytelling than colorfully-dressed, muscly people with inhuman powers! In fact, while superhero comics have their place (and it’s a big place, mind you), there are a whole host of graphic novels about real-world issues that delve into intriguing, funny, mysterious, and even downright scary stories. Continue Reading ›
When people talk about influential pieces of American literature, there are a few titles you can just about guarantee will be thrown into the discussion, i.e. To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Huckleberry Finn, and oh yeah, Of Mice and Men (kudos to Steinbeck for making my off-the-cuff list twice). Chances are that even if you haven’t read any of these titles (though that is unlikely, knowing how popularly they are assigned as staples of high school reading lists), you have at the very least heard of them. Continue Reading ›
It may just be impossible to consider classic American literature without delving into the story of To Kill a Mockingbird. Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most well-known and impactful works of literature within the last century, and arguably on a more historical level as well. The novel tackles the realities of racial inequalities, gender roles, and class-based hierarchies as they existed in the 1930s, particularly in the American Deep South. Harper Lee was raised in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama and grew up experiencing life as it appears in her novel. Her father was even a lawyer who may have provided a great deal of inspiration for the character Atticus; in his day, Lee’s father worked to defend two black men accused of the murder of a white store clerk. Continue Reading ›