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

Totems

Emerald green leaves with darker stripes like paint splotches, called calithea lancifolia, in a specked, sky-blue pot; a rippled peperomia, the other houseplant I've managed not to kill, purpley green leaves and magenta stems; a beeswax candle that smells of pine; a framed thistle I carried home with me, pressed into a book, from Scotland. … Continue reading Totems

Going Off Book: Quarantine Celebrity-ing, + Notions, Late April Edition

Celebrity-ing While Quarantining During the COVID-19 pandemic, while most of us #shelterinplace, celebrities have been putting out elaborately orchestrated videos to entertain the troops, as it were, and keep up morale. And generally speaking, call me "curmudgeon" if you must, I loathe what feels to me like being pandered to by rich and famous people. … Continue reading Going Off Book: Quarantine Celebrity-ing, + Notions, Late April Edition

The Force is Strong With This One: Decentering the Powerful in Mantel’s ‘The Mirror and the Light’

The concert musical Six recasts the women who married Henry VIII as pop divas, each queen getting at least one number telling her side of the story. It deliberately aims to decenter Henry, asserting that each of these women meant more than her marital status to a king. Reformulating the story matters because it pushes … Continue reading The Force is Strong With This One: Decentering the Powerful in Mantel’s ‘The Mirror and the Light’

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Four Writers on Climate Change and Understanding the Overarching Crisis of Our Time

Exactly one month ago, the sustainability teams at UO hosted WOHESC, a regional sustainability in higher education conference. Attendees included a mix of professionals and students, spending two days talking about everything from putting social justice into practice to the feasibility of widespread nuclear power in the US. That conference moment happened right before everything … Continue reading Where the Sidewalk Ends: Four Writers on Climate Change and Understanding the Overarching Crisis of Our Time

Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” Trilogy, + Mini-Notions Because We Need the Little Things Now

I am somewhat loathe to recommend Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" trilogy since I know that, fundamentally, it will not be everyone's cup of mead. To start, these are big books. Wolf Hall clocks in at 559 pages, Bring up the Bodies 434, and the just-released conclusion, The Mirror and the Light, an easy, breezy 764 … Continue reading Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” Trilogy, + Mini-Notions Because We Need the Little Things Now