Idyll Generations: Sifting Through My Grandmother’s Bookshelves

I spent my winter break surrounded by stories both spoken and concrete. Over the past few months, my grandmother has been sifting through and donating objects around her ranch to make more space. After decluttering cabinets with my mother and unearthing old records with my uncle, she invited me to help her with the bookshelves. We spent a few days sorting through the bookshelves in her storeroom, then her hallway, then her bedroom, then her living room. To my excitement, Tennyson greeted us on three separate shelves like three chance encounters with a childhood friend.

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“I Write Plays”: Walking Through The Terrence McNally Exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center

I sign my name in the guestbook of the Harry Ransom Center when I visit the Terrence McNally exhibit for the second time. Alongside the academics and the Northerners and the enthusiasts, “UT Student” is a nondescript designation. If a stack of brochures had been available, I might’ve picked one up, slipped it into my notebook, and kept it in the same way I keep playbills. This little waiting room—his little waiting room, he might correct with mock seriousness—has a theatre’s pre-show silence, as well as the headshot of the balding playwright who has written the show. He is eighty years old, the display tells me. I give the old man an impressed nod, and I turn the corner into the larger exhibit. There are no curtains hanging here, but somehow I expect to hear their heavy fabric drawing back. Maybe there are pulleys squeaking as they reveal the unlit stage.

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Why Diversifying Your Bookshelf for Black History Month Isn’t Enough

Written by Selome Hailu It’s become standard practice to celebrate Black History Month by sharing favorites written by black authors. Libraries host storytimes with black children on the pages; bookstores create display tables of Hurston, Baldwin, and Hughes. New works by prolific black writers are often slated for February, such as Toni Morrison’s newest essay collection…

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The Novelty of the Non-Novel: A Reflection on House of Leaves and Its Nontraditional Contradictions

There are some books that are better read standing up—others that are best digested lying in bed. There are few books, however, that are best enjoyed in front of a mirror at 3 o’clock in the morning. For anyone who has read Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, this image might seem familiar—it may even reflect their own experience reading it for the first time.

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