Reading Archive

What Remains of the Body in A Mortician’s Tale

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A Mortician's Tale asks us to examine what it means to handle the dead. Not only how a mortician handles their bodies but what the funerals we make for them mean to us and the narratives we construct with the memories we have left.

Getting Lost with Rebecca Solnit

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Prior to reading Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost, I had assumed it was about getting lost in the physical sense, for the sake of exploring and enjoying the natural world. It is not that.

From the Ghosts’ Point of View: A Brief History of Seven Killings

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In a book that promises by its very title and opening lines that many characters will be expected to die, the author has to do some coaxing to convince readers that they can invest emotionally in the story.

The Best Short Story I Read This Month: “The Kindest” by Sonya Larson

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Returning from the brink of death with a new lease on life: it’s a common trope in fiction and nonfiction alike. These stories are easy for the reader to believe, as one hopes that coming so close to the dark unknown would carry with it some sort of positive

Confronting Our Environmental Apocalypse: Voltaire, General Awfulness and the Uses of Comedy

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With the uptick in stronger storms, hotter forest fires, rising sea levels and more, I can’t help but think the tune we’ve been hearing for some time—that we can engineer a better world and outwit mother nature—might be a little overplayed. 

Imagining the Anthropocene: Anne Carson’s “The Anthropology of Water”

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Along the course of a rugged pilgrimage, Carson’s defined formal structure enables the logical leaps that keep the speaker in a constant state of new encounter. As her mind’s constellated meanderings undercut the journey’s unceasing forward motion, “The Anthropology of Water” erodes assumptions of linear progress.

Grapes and Crowbars: Undocumented Labor in Helena Maria Viramontes’s Under the Feet of Jesus

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The plot of Under the Feet of Jesus examines the oppression that a family of mixed status face working in an industry that at once depends on their labor and treats individual laborers as expendable.

The Age Gap in 19th Century Literature

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Mona Chalabi's op-ed for the NYTimes states that as women age, they examine the dating profiles of their contemporaries, while men, no matter their ages, peruse photos of women in their early 20’s.

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot

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October 17, 1975. Salem’s Lot, King’s second novel is published. The story chronicles what happens in the titular, fictional hamlet in Maine when a centuries-old incubus named Kurt Barlow moves into a long-vacant mansion that the locals consider haunted.

“The Zero Meter Diving Team” and the Risks of Obedience

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I’ve long been a well-behaved person, and as an adult I have come to suspect that this isn’t one of my more admirable traits. This suspicion, I think, is part of what draws me so intensely to Jim Shepard’s wonderful heartbreak of a story “The Zero-Meter Diving Team."