Showing posts from October, 2019

Halloween Poetry: Bats

Celebrate Halloween properly with this amazing poem, courtesy of . Bats unveil themselves in dark. They hang, each a jagged, silken sleeve, from moonlit rafters bright as polished knives. They swim the muddled air and keen like supersonic babies, the sound we imagine empty wombs might make in women who can’t fill them up. A clasp, a scratch, a sigh. They drink fruit dry. And wheel, against feverish light flung hard upon their faces, in circles that nauseate. Imagine one at breast or neck, Patterning a name in driblets of iodine that spatter your skin stars. They flutter, shake like mystics. They materialize. Revelatory as a stranger’s underthings found tossed upon the marital bed, you tremble even at the thought. Asleep, you tear your fingers and search the sheets all night. by Paisley Rekdal, from The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, 2007

Review: Sheets

Brenna Thummler 's world in  Sheets  is familiar to anyone who's been a child, or who has tried to slog through loss. Loss means change — and what's more bewildering to a child than the "real" world that changes from moment to moment?  In Sheets , everyone encounters rules, and situations, that make no sense, like the Laws of Ghosts and clean sheets, relationships and adolescence. Everything is new. Add to that a devastating loss. Add to that an unreliable guide, whether involves someone who is intentionally unreliable for their own benefit, is unsuitable for the situation, or just broken. Add to that responsibilities beyond your capabilities, and no apparent options. What you have is a poignant, touching, and revealing graphic novel that captures the confusion and angst of growing up without those who you most trust to guide you through this ever-shifting landscape of youth. Marjorie is the teenage adult of the family. Her father, still reeling from

Summer Reading in Review: Quantity and Quality

This summer, I read a whole lot of books. Many of them were short and sweet, quite a few were graphic novels, and most were worth the time and energy. Not all, definitely, but I found quite a few diamonds in the rough on the library and bookstore shelves. I have great memories of reading many of the books on this list.  I finished most of the Nickel Boys as I paced along the river's shore in a Virginia state park. No   Visible Bruises took most of the summer, but I took my time due to the subject matter. I listened to The Lost Gutenberg  as I walked to and from the library under darkening skies. I wanted to savor The Testaments , but instead spent much of a blistering summer weekend in Gilead, curled up in my favorite chair. I paused How to Be a Good Creature when Tess starting showing signs of old age. I read more titles this summer than in years past, but the total pages is probably close to my average — this summer I consumed a generous amount of juvenile fiction, p

Review: The Psychology of Time Travel

Time travel?  Women scientists?  Animals not harmed in the making of the book?  The description of "the perfect book for Chris" should have been a fabulous read. Instead, Kate Mascarenhas ' The Psychology of Time Travel was surprisingly dull, with undeveloped characters and confusing storylines. First of all, there was no sense of time or place. Four women discover time travel in 1967. They could have discovered it at a farmhouse in Idaho or the French countryside for all the attention the setting received. In 1967, women had no standing in the world of science — and yet these women are not only embraced by the scientific community, but also have the power to privatize time travel to their financial benefit. This book introduced new time-travel rules; after Avengers: Endgame , I am almost numb to the tangled ideas and brutal liberties people take with this fictional practice. It's like sparkly vampires: if you write the fiction, you invent a world in wh

Surrendering The Iliad

In recent years, new translations of classic works by women translators have been hitting the shelves. That inspired me earlier this year to listen to the latest translation of  The Odyssey  translated by Emily Wilson (and narrated by Claire Danes). As I listened, I realized I was looking for a feminist telling of the tale. The book's forward provided the story's historical perspective and examined the role of women in this ancient society. Aaaaaand, that was it. The rest was Odysseus sexing Greek goddesses and killing lots of people — oh, and whining about how tough his life was. As I listened, I wondered: What makes this story a classic for today? Does it stand the test of time? What about it is relevant and culturally significant today? I met some Greek gods, very interesting. I learned the background of some cultural touchstones and concepts, interesting. When I didn't quite understand the story, I turned to the graphic novel by Greg Hines. I shared that book