Beyond Dystopia

A woman revisits the detention center where she and other Muslim/Arab-Americans were interned to retrieve her dead brother's property in Omar El Akkad's "Riverbed." A contemporary bruja carves out a new society with her lover in Mexico, one where brainwashed American soldiers may find respite from the atrocities they've committed, in Lizz Huerta's "The Wall." … Continue reading Beyond Dystopia

The Wheelhouse Project: Significant Jumps in Time—Brit Bennett’s ‘The Vanishing Half’

*Light spoilers for The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett* When done well, I love a novel that jumps forward significantly in time with each chapter, often giving us a different characters' perspective as it goes along. This technique functions as a way to look at the novel's facets from different angles, turning the characters and … Continue reading The Wheelhouse Project: Significant Jumps in Time—Brit Bennett’s ‘The Vanishing Half’

How to Read More Short Stories (or Essays or Poems or Other Short Form Pieces)

James Joyce's "The Dead" changed how I think about people and human relationships. One of my favorite Tales of Teaching comes from when I taught Ursula LeGuin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" to 40 undergraduates. Just the other night, after having finished the Shirley Jackson biopic Shirley, I read the entirety of "The … Continue reading How to Read More Short Stories (or Essays or Poems or Other Short Form Pieces)

Shape Change: For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery

"I don't think things are getting worse, I think they are getting uncovered." —adrienne maree brown, Pleasure Activism "None of us knows enough, but we can't let that stop us." —Ruth King, Mindful of Race I pick up a book called The Crying Book because reviewers praised it and I tend to appreciate prose written … Continue reading Shape Change: For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery

The Night is Dark and Full of Wonders: The Winternight Trilogy

Every once in a while a book or —even better—a series of books comes along to take you out of yourself. Such a series is the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. At first glance, the structure of these books, particularly the first one, The Bear and the Nightingale, feels familiar. Vasilisa "Vasya" Petrovna runs wild … Continue reading The Night is Dark and Full of Wonders: The Winternight Trilogy