Reading Archive

Mary Chudleigh and Roy Moore

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One of the more perplexing stories arising from the accusations against Roy Moore is that some members of Christian fundamentalist communities have argued that it’s entirely appropriate for older men like Moore to date and marry 14-16 year old girls.

Solving the Mystery of Close Quarters: Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

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In Murder on the Orient Express we are told that in the dead of winter nobody travels from Istanbul to Calais on the Orient Express. So, what better time to plot the elaborate murder of a supremely evil American businessman known to be traveling on that train.

The Black Aesthetic: Love and War in Miguel’s “Told You So” and “Shockandawe”

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Miguel's latest album War and Leisure is passionate and political. Although known for his sexy love ballads, War and Leisure is a subtle commentary on war and political violence in Trump’s America.

A World in Brief

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World-building is an oft discussed topic for fictional works of the fantasy and science fiction types. Was enough world-building done? Did the setting come alive? Did we believe in the stakes of the world and the way that characters inhabited it?

The Privilege of Interpretation

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The history of US intervention in Central America is long and shameful, and the government has attempted to conceal the death and suffering it has caused in the region. Deborah Eisenberg and Albert Goldbarth use stories of Americans in Central America to explore how stories are manipulated.

Our Lady of Intercession

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It’s one thing to effect permeable borders, quite another to insist on violable bodies to constitute the border’s apertures.

Mindfulness and Rainer Maria Rilke

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Often cited as self-help before the genre existed, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet contain much wisdom in few pages.

Kissing Walt Whitman

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I saw all the things we consider “Whitmanesque”: the energy, the exuberance, the empathy. And one thing that my mother’s serene portrait had not prepared me for—the eroticism.

Alias Grace and the Revision of Female Experience

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In writer and producer Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood's meticulous narrative becomes a brutal, hushed study in the effects of subjugation. How does a woman protect her personal truth from those so determined to rewrite it?

Fiction Responding to Fiction: D.H. Lawrence and Raymond Carver

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Raymond Carver insisted that his iconic masterpiece “Cathedral” was not based on a lesser-known D.H. Lawrence story entitled “The Blind Man,” and that he had not read the story prior to writing “Cathedral."