An English Major in England

Written by Kendall Talbot

My mother likes to say I was born in the wrong country. I prefer tea over coffee (with milk and sugar, please), and I talk about the royal family as if they were my own (my invitation to Harry and Meghan’s wedding must have gotten lost in the mail). I cherish my well-worn copies of Jane Austen’s novels, as well as the multitude of BBC products they inspired (the Mr. Darcy Lake Scene™ changed my life). I adore gloomy weather (especially when it’s raining), and I have been in love with Hugh Grant since the age of twelve (even though I now know he’s old enough to be my father). Above all, however, I have always dreamed of studying literature at Oxford. I used to think that was my way into England—going to school there.

Continue reading “An English Major in England”

Reading Motivation and Where to Find It

Written by Madalyn Campbell

In general, humans respond well to validation. Do something and get a reward, any reward. Is the simple reward of a job well done enough? For some people that is plenty, but for others there has to be something more to doing a task. How do we make ourselves read in this world where a million other things are happening? You could use your ride on the bus to read a few pages or you could get on social media and get a few “likes” on your status. There are no thumbs up for reading, no one to tell you “good job.” The reward of reading those few pages is the few pages themselves. But, if that isn’t enough for you, what do you do? Does reading just fall by the wayside forever in favor of other things?

Continue reading “Reading Motivation and Where to Find It”

6 Poems to Read Post-Graduation

Written by Angie Carrera

As this graduation season quickly approaches, we must begin to contemplate life after, and the terror that is adulthood. Our experiences begin to diverge, and we begin to encounter things that we must face alone. Though we confront what’s next by ourselves, this does not mean that we are the first to experience these things. Here are six poems that speak to these varying experiences and might offer some insight on how to navigate them.

Continue reading “6 Poems to Read Post-Graduation”

Could Vandalizng Books Make You a More Authentic Reader?

Written by Caitlin Smith

Earlier this month, Georgia Grainger, an employee of Dundee, Scotland’s Charleston Library, found herself in the middle of a literary mystery. A patron came to her with an odd question: why did all of the seventh pages in the books she had been checking out have the seven underlined? Turns out the answer is pretty simple: elderly library patrons keep track of the books they’ve read with small markings, so they don’t wind up with the same book a second time.

Continue reading “Could Vandalizng Books Make You a More Authentic Reader?”

Jane Austen Heroines Ranked in Order by How Much I Want to Be Them

Written by Madalyn Campbell

  1. Fanny Price (Mansfield Park)

How can I want to be Fanny Price when I am already Fanny Price? She worries a lot, has horrible self-esteem, is too hard on herself, but is also terribly judgmental. She wallows in her own misery, is applauded as a sweet girl, but is often judging others harshly. Fanny really stands apart from Austen’s other heroines, and I love her for it, but you can’t strive to be like someone you already are.

  1. Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)

Again, how can I want to be Catherine when I already am so similar to her, though maybe not as close as I’d want. Catherine is in love with a world that is far more interesting than the one she’s living in. She skips through pages of the Gothic, becoming the heroine of her own Gothic horror. She is naïve and easily trusting. Like her, I wish I could be the heroine of some great tale, I wish I could be her!

  1. Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)

You can debate whether Elinor is the sole heroine of Sense and Sensibility or if her sister Marianne shares that spot. I’m already similar enough to Marianne, obsessed with emotions and tending to wallow in my own grief. Elinor, on the other hand, has a great control of her emotions. I’d love to be able to be calm and collected in challenging situations. Elinor can put aside her emotions and carry on for those she loves. She also is just extremely cool in general.

  1. Emma Woodhouse (Emma)

Ah, Emma. She carries herself with such confidence and poise for someone who makes a lot of mistakes. But, she doesn’t see her mistakes as mistakes! I wish I could have the fashion and taste Emma has. I also wish I could grow as a person through trials and tribulations involving match-making and secret affairs that aren’t actually there. Emma manages to grow tremendously; I can only hope someday I follow in her footsteps.

  1. Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

Anne loved and lost, then loved again. She wants to be usefulë—that is her main goal in life, to be useful and wanted. Anne held onto a lover for over eight years, and in the end was reunited with him. Through her patience and hope, she found her happy ending. I wish I could be as patient and caring as she is.

  1. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

If you clicked on this list with the thought, “Elizabeth is going to be number one,” then congratulations, you were absolutely correct. Who doesn’t want to be Elizabeth Bennet? She’s cool, funny, smart and witty. She has a lighthearted sense of humor while being fiercely loyal to the ones she loves. She also accepts and grows from her mistakes. Elizabeth really is the perfect heroine. I wish I was as charming as her. Also, she marries Mr. Darcy, which is a good bonus honestly.

Lola by Junot Diaz: Reshaping the Children’s Book Industry

Written by Kiran Gokal

Junot Diaz, the Dominican-American author of renowned books This Is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, recently released a children’s book called Islandborn which focuses on six-year-old Lola, an Afro-Caribbean girl who came over to the United States so young that she has no memories of the island where she was born. At the Texas Library Association this past Thursday, Diaz spoke about his children’s book and not only his own connection to it, but the importance of it within the children’s book industry. The narrative of the novel follows Lola and her fellow classmates, all children who are from somewhere else, as they’re asked to draw a picture of their “first country.” Lola, not recalling any memories of her own, must reconstruct hers by drawing on those of her relatives to remind herself of and to illustrate her home country.

Continue reading “Lola by Junot Diaz: Reshaping the Children’s Book Industry”

The Old “New Digital Age”

Written by Sydney Stewart

The world is constantly changing. Innovations occur, technology improves, societal customs shift with the times, and the responsibility is placed on the average individual to accept these changes. Yet with innovation comes a slew of new issues and more developments that must be made. While the digital era brings new challenges, it also welcomes the possibility for further innovation and positive change.  

Continue reading “The Old “New Digital Age””

Book Snobs, Let’s Not Kid Ourselves

Written by Kevin LaTorre

Perhaps there has never been a clique so easily bruised—and eager to bruise—as writers. A recent article from Literary Hub’s Book Marks, “When Celebrities Write Novels,” inspired today’s musing indictment. The piece lists some novels from A-list celebrities, and includes works from Bob Dylan, Carrie Fisher, Steve Martin, and James Franco. Withholding their own opinions, Literary Hub instead attaches review excerpts to each book, so the unfamiliar receive a quick critical taste. The article was triggered by Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, the novel from actor/journalist/human cigarette/activist Sean Penn, and so I dive down this rabbit hole in his honor. Thanks a ton, Mr. Penn. Truly, I haven’t been so intrigued, confused, and unsettled since your escapade with El Chapo.

Continue reading “Book Snobs, Let’s Not Kid Ourselves”