9 Recipes for a Bookish Thanksgiving

tea1. Orwellian Tea

In case you weren’t aware, George Orwell kept diaries for most of his life. Included in these writings are socio-political rantings as well as newspaper clippings and gardening tips. However, most importantly there is an entry dating to January 12th, 1946, describing 11 steps to “a Nice Cup of Tea.” In order to enlighten the rest of the world about this topic, I painstakingly set out to summarize his opinions on tea, and am now here to share them with all of you. That being said, please enjoy your Orwellian tea.

  1. For starters: one ought to use Indian or Ceylonese tea. Chinese tea may be economical, but it provides no stimulation whatsoever.
  2. Tea should be made in a teapot made of china or earthenware. A pewter teapot isn’t terrible, but really anything else just completely ruins the tea.
  3. Warm the teapot beforehand. Everything will be better if you do that.
  4. Tea has to be strong. In fact, make it a little stronger with every year that passes – this is the sign of a true tea lover.
  5. The tea must be put straight into the pot – none of that strainer or muslin bag nonsense for George Orwell.
  6. Always take the teapot to the kettle and definitely not the other way around. The water must be boiling during the moment of impact, so pour only while it is on the flame.
  7. After making the tea, promptly stir it, or even better: give the pot a good shake. Them allow the leaves to settle.
  8. Drink out of a good breakfast cup (the cylindrical type). The breakfast cup holds more and the temperature is more evenly distributed somehow. Or at least George Orwell says so.
  9. Pour the cream off the milk before using it in the tea, otherwise everything you’ve just done will be in vain because your tea will be simply too sickly.
  10. Always pour the tea in before the milk. Always.
  11. Lastly – unless you’re drinking the milk Russian-style – you should drink your tea without sugar because it completely distorts the taste of this heavenly beverage. If you’re going to drink it with sugar, you might as well just drink Chinese tea and all of this will have been in vain.

~Julia Schoos, Poetry Board 

2. 很想很想你 (Really, Really Miss You

I’m a fan of nontraditional holidays, particularly when it comes to meals. Don’t get me wrong — I will eat dressing, cranberry sauce, and rolls until the cows come home, but I also love to mix things up. The year we convinced my grandmother to let us make chili instead of the traditional turkey dinner? Everyone was just as happy, and there was a lot less stress in the kitchen. Besides, it’s fun to be a rebel!

If you’re looking for ways to mix it up this year, you might consider trying some of Mo Qingcheng’s recipes from Really, Really Miss You by Mo Bao Fei Bao. If you haven’t read it, Mo Qingcheng is the perfect man for voice-lover and foodie Gu Sheng: he possesses a golden voice, and he’s an excellent cook. (And he’s sweet, kind, and all those other good things, but really, you had me at food.) He’s also more than happy to share recipes while chatting, which often leaves his friends with a bad case of the munchies in the middle of the night.

His recipe for sautéed black pepper short ribs looks particularly enticing and simple to make. Meals like this are easy to modify based on available ingredients, and they’re also easy to stretch if you’re cooking for a crowd or if you want leftovers.

To make this dish, debone some short ribs and pour rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and black pepper sauce over them. Add cracked black pepper, chicken bouillon, and cornstarch. Mix together, then add water and mix again by hand. Let the ribs marinate for about 15 minutes, then sauté on high until the meat browns. Add green onions, winter bamboo shoots, and bell pepper slices (yum). Continue to sauté until the ribs are thoroughly cooked. Serve and enjoy!

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

~Rebecca Skrabanek, Nonfiction Board

honey-cake3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’s Honey Cakes

You can never have a literary themed dinner without dessert. So, what better than to find a food that can do both, be an appetizer and dessert. Here are some Honey Cakes that you can get away with eating at any time.

Things you will need:

  • 2 cups of self-rising flour
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp of allspice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

First, preheat the oven to 350⁰ F. Then, mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Finally, pour the mixture in a greased bread pan and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!

~Tracy Yager, Nonfiction Board

4. Green (Deviled) Eggs and Ham

Ingredients:

  1. Eggs (6 large)
  2. Mayonnaise (2 tbsp.)
  3. Mustard (2 tsps.)
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Green food coloring
  7. Bacon

Instructions:

  1. Hard-boil eggs
  2. Shell eggs. Then, slice in half and separate the yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mash the yolks until crumbled, then mix in mustard, mayonnaise, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
  4. NEXT: 2 ways to add food coloring
  1. Add one drop at a time to the yolk concoction and mix well after each drop until you achieve the green color of your choice.

OR

  1. Put on some gloves, pour green food coloring in a bowl, and (gently) roll the egg white halves in the dye. Place them, hollow side down, on a plate to drip-dry. Before piping the filling into the egg greens (hehe), pat with paper towels to remove excess food coloring.  
  1. Spoon yolk filling into a plastic bag, cut a small piece of the corner off, and pipe the filling into the hollow eggs.
  2. Cook bacon, chop up into tiny pieces, and garnish the Green Deviled Eggs.
  3. Gaze lovingly at your creation

Alternate Dr. Seuss Recipe: Show up with an unopened box of goldfish, pour into bowl, and tell everyone you were inspired by One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

~Madison Brock, Fiction Board

turkish-delight5. Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This sweet treat may have tempted Edmund Pevensie to betray his entire family, but if you make this at home, you’ll be safe from starting a war in an entirely different dimension. With enough practice, you may be able to make this dessert better than the White Witch’s magic ever could. One thing is certain, however: the name “delight” suits this dessert flawlessly.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  • 3 drops pink food coloring, or as desired

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, white sugar, and gelatin in a large microwave-safe bowl; heat in microwave on high for 7 minutes. Stir sugar mixture and cook in microwave for 7 minutes more.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, corn flour, and cream of tartar together in a bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Heat mixture in microwave on high for 6 minutes more. Stir rose water and food coloring into mixture.
  3. Lightly grease a 7×11-inch baking dish. Pour mixture into the greased dish; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Cut Turkish delight into small squares using a wet knife.
  5. Place 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. Roll Turkish delight in the confectioner’s sugar until evenly coated. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from allrecipes.com

~Alex Arias, Marketing Board 


6. Pumpkin Pasties

A magical take on a holiday classic, this dish is sure to bring both wizards and muggles back to the table for seconds. Instead of passing the pie, you will be passing the Harry Potter pasties this Thanksgiving!

You will need:

Pastry Crust-

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup water

Pumpkin Filling-

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup (canned or homemade) pureed pumpkin

Directions-

For the crust, mix together the flour, caster sugar, salt, butter, and water. Once mixed well, knead it into a ball and wrap it in cling wrap. Then place it in the fridge for an hour.

For the filling, stir together the granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and pureed pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Then, roll out the dough for the crust you prepared earlier, and use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to punch little pumpkins out of it. Cut two or three slits into half of the pumpkins for ventilation. Next, scoop about one tbsp of the pumpkin filling mix onto one pumpkin cutout, stretch the edges slightly, and place one of the “ventilation” pumpkin cutouts on top. Crimp the edges of the two pumpkin cutouts together. Repeat until you have filled all of your pumpkins.

Now, place these on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. You will know they are ready to come out when they look golden brown.       

Serve them hot or cold, as an appetizer or dessert, and enjoy!

~Kendall Talbot, Marketing Board 

Sunday 24th July 2005, 3.25pm.7. Peach Pie

Celebrate one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved stories James and the Giant Peach  with this sweet treat, perfect for finishing off your Thanksgiving meal the literary way!

INGREDIENTS:

For the pie crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1/2 cup buttermilk, cold

1-2 tablespoons water, cold

1 large egg, beaten, for the egg wash

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of pie

For the peach filling:

8 cups sliced peaches, skin removed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3-4 tablespoons cornstarch, depending on how juicy your peaches are

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat. Dump the mixture out onto a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll the butter into thin sheets, combining it with the flour. Use a bench scraper to scrape the rolling pin and to bring the mixture back into a pile as necessary. Continue until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour. Mixture will be very flaky. Return mixture to the bowl and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the butter.
  2. Remove from freezer and add the buttermilk. Use a spoon and then your hands to stir the mixture until it comes together into a ball. If mixture is too dry, add the water a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough in two and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
  3. While the dough is chilling, make the peach pie filling. In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Gently stir until mixed well.
  4. When ready to roll out, let the dough rest at room temperature for five minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rough 13 inch circle. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pie dish. Fill pie with peach filling. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Cut dough and make a lattice over the filling. You can also leave the circle intact and cover the filling completely, cutting a few vents with a sharp knife, but I went with a lattice top for my peach pie.
  5. Fold the edges of the top and bottom crusts together and use your index fingers and thumb to pinch into a pattern. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  6. Bake in a 400 degrees F oven for 45 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting.

~Ashten Luna, Poetry Board

8. Tacos de Calabaza

Thanksgiving is a holiday where a self-induced food coma is socially acceptable, even encouraged by sadistic friends and family members wanting you to be as physically uncomfortable as they are. Now, some Americans falsely believe that the secret to eating all of Thanksgiving day starts at dawn with a futile attempt at running in their local turkey trot. These questionably unpatriotic Americans claim that they are kick-starting their metabolism, creating a caloric deficit they can fill with cheesy broccoli casserole. They are wrong. Running for your food is as perverse and abhorrent as it sounds.
Thanksgiving is not a day for exercising and cardboard Cliff Bars. Thanksgiving is a day for eating rich, buttery side dishes as your body slowly becomes inseparable from the couch. Does anyone even like running? No. No one likes running—It’s why we walk. But I do love eating.

So we need to make it through Thanksgiving day without succumbing to the lethargic effects of turkey. Luckily, setting aside an hour in the morning for breakfast, specifically this one below, will gear your body with the nutrients needed to start—and finish—the marathon of eating that is Thanksgiving.

Full of slow-digesting carbohydrates and healthy fats, this seasonally-sourced breakfast taco energizes you without ever slowing you down, is convenient enough to eat while simultaneously prepping for the day’s real meal, satiates hunger pangs and, most importantly, expands the volume of your stomach for more of the good, guilty stuff.

Preparation
Preheat oven to 415°. Dice pumpkin into ¾-inch cubes (about a ½ pound, cleaned). Separate seeds and stringy flesh, discard. Toss cubes with 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, ½ cup brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet. Roast for about 20-25 minutes until fork fork tender.

Do ahead: Pepitas can and should be made in advance. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 1 cup of raw, shelled pepitas with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Distribute seeds evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove pan from oven and transfer seeds into a large bowl. Immediately coat with salt, pepper and dash of cayenne. Store at room temperature.

Meanwhile, cut poblano and onion lengthwise into strips. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in medium pan over medium-high heat. Sauté vegetables until translucent then remove from heat. Transfer pumpkin to paper towels; let cool slightly.

Assemble. Scramble 3 eggs over medium-low heat, season. On a separate burner, start tortillas over low heat until warm and soft. Layer pumpkin, eggs, peppers and onions inside tortilla. Top with crunchy pepitas, crumbles of queso fresco and slices of creamy avocado.  

~Jeff Svajda, Fiction Board 

fudge9. Butterbeer Fudge

You don’t need to go to Orlando, Florida to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Charm the pants off your friends by adding a whole new twist to your favorite magical beverage with this recipe for butterbeer fudge.

  1. Step one is to lay the foundation for your treat with a butterscotch layer. Throw 2 tbsp. of butter, 14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk, and 3 cups of butterscotch chips in your cauldron over medium-low heat. If you don’t have a cauldron, I suppose a medium saucepan would do.
  2. Once all the goodies have melted, pour into an 8” x 8” pan lined with aluminum foil and cooking spray.
  3. Next comes the delicious chocolate swirl. Stir together ⅓ cup of condensed milk, ½ tsp. of vanilla, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  4. Remove from heat when the white chocolate chips are completely melted, and drizzle your concoction over the butterscotch fudge.
  5. Using your wand, gently blend the butterscotch fudge and white chocolate swirl.
  6. If the Chocolate Frogs you’ve been munching on haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth, feel free to add 1 cup of mini marshmallows over your dish.
  7. Abra Kadabra! You’ve got yourself a wicked treat for the holidays.

~Brandi Carnes, Poetry Board

10 Best Places to Read in Austin

Austin, Texas is a book-reader’s paradise. Around every corner some funky coffee-shop, patio, or breezy nook is waiting to be discovered and vivified with hours of page-turning. When it comes to reading in Austin, the options are endless. – Abbi Gamm

Read all about the Hothouse staff’s favorite reading spots in ATX!

 

Coffee Shops and Cafes

Epoch Coffee

If you like reading in a cozy corner with a delicious, warm coffee in your hand—which of course you do—then Epoch Coffee is the place for you. It has the kind of charm only a local coffee shop in Austin could have. Tucked away on the corner of North Loop Blvd. and Leralynn St., it’s a bit of a drive from campus but well worth the trouble. The outdoor patio is decked out with warm lighting and adorable plants to make for the perfect late-night escape into a book. And if you get too chilly, you can always find a home in one of the many armchairs or bar stools inside. Epoch Coffee, open 24 hours, is perfect for any reader craving the perfect balance of whimsical charm and mid-century modern aesthetics.

~Brandi Carnes, Poetry Board

mozarts
(C) Eater Austin

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

Fall and spring in the city call for leisure outdoor activity. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters on Lake Austin is such a refreshing combination of open-air and air conditioning. Out on the deck, the trees shade you and the wind sweeps over the water. It’s such a calming and restful place when trying to dig into that novel or power through the last 100 pages of your textbook. Inside the building, hardwood floors and ceiling-high windows translate to an open yet comforting, homey feel. Reading is both an intangible yet physical experience, and when I can read in natural outdoor light in a scenic place, I know that I’m going to enjoy myself and feel refreshed. So, grab yourself a cup of coffee and find a picnic table.

~Abbi Gamm, Poetry Board

Quack’s Bakery

quacks
(C) Candice Gallion

One of my favorite places to read in Austin is Quack’s Bakery on 43rd St. There are plenty of tables (and electric outlets – good for studying!) inside as well as outside. I like to order a cup of coffee or a slice of their amazing carrot cake to keep me company while I read. Whether it be for school-assigned texts or just pleasure reading, Quack’s offers a quiet, cozy environment to curl up in and focus. When my eyes begin to tire, or I need a quick mental break, I examine the quirky, locally produced art that adorns the walls, most of which is available for purchase. Another plus: it smells wonderfully like fresh baked cookies inside!

~Ashten Luna, Poetry Board

Strange Brew

Nestled into a misleadingly unappealing strip mall along Manchaca is Strange Brew. While it’s not the closest to campus, the little coffee shop makes up for the distance with its eclectic charm and casual ambience. While the lounge area with live music is a draw for some, I prefer the rooms adjacent to the coffee shop. Whether you sit in one of the black leather arm chairs and look out onto the street pondering the human condition, or at a table in a corner with some friends in an espresso-induced haze while trying to crank out some poetry – Strange Brew’s got you. If you need inspiration? Look no further than the local artwork displayed on the walls. However, should you actually need to get work done, there is a silent study room that is perfect for reading those seven books of The Odyssey you were supposed to have read three weeks ago. Regardless of your needs or your beverage preferences (coffee versus tea is quite the divisive debate), Strange Brew has it all. Personally, I am biased towards the $2.50 large coffee with a free refill (what more could you want?), but to each their own. (Their iced tea is pretty good as well.) Bottom line is: Strange Brew is the perfect place to read, write or unwind.

~Julia Schoos, Poetry Board

 

Indoors

At Home

The blinds are now closed and electric light bathes the mismatched couches and the bright purple walls. The tan couch, my favorite, is worn from many encounters spent on it and always looks so inviting, its indents clearly defined and ready to mold against my preferred reading position. I grab a glass of red wine, adjust the pillows, and sink into those indents. Night is a special time, where the hustle and bustle of the city quiets and the dark envelops you in a protective layer. The wine relaxes you, lets you forget the stress of daily life, forget your own world and focus on a new one embellished on pages.

~Lauren Ponce, Fiction Board

“Next to My Puppy on My Bed”puppy-in-bed

I’m sure many avid readers can relate to this, but I’m super picky when it comes to good places to read. I need to find a spot that is both quiet and comfortable – not just any chair will do. For me, my perfect spot just happens to be the right side of my bed with my puppy situated on my lap. Although the need is definitely there to get out and explore new reading nooks around Austin, it never hurts to stick with what you’re comfortable with (in this case, you get a bed and guilt-free comfy clothes). Never be ashamed to stay in with your newest read! I’m sure your bed will thank you for the additional quality time.

~Sara Leonard, Nonfiction Board

 

Outdoors

South Mall

When the weather seems to be hugging you – lifting the burden of all those stressful 3 a.m. papers, all those endless deadlines piling on your desk – imprint your body on the grass on the South Mall Lawn. Lay down, get comfortable – make sure to get well acquainted with the soft earth, the small insects that don’t seem bothered by your existence. Look around a bit, notice the trees around you, the rustle of their hair as the winds blows. Bless the small green acorns that miss your head by inches. Bless the students filing out of the buildings, running off to their next engagement, the next item on their to-do list. Then, when your mind has quieted down and your body has become accustomed to the feel of grass, get out a good book from that withered bag of yours. Open it, read…and breathe.

~Bianca Perez, Marketing Board

Mueller Park

mueller-lake-park
(C) Mueller Austin

Mueller Park is a great outdoor spot for reading. It’s next to a lake with some small wooded islands a little way off. At the bottom of the hill leading to the lake is a low ledge, suitable for sitting and reading while enjoying a great view of the lake. Right underneath the ledge is a walking trail bordering the lake. Nearby is a lighted amphitheater next to a picnic area – another place where you can read and eat.

~Jeremy Huang, Poetry Board

Pace Bend State Park

Get out of town. More specifically—go to Pace Bend State Park, located just 20 miles outside of Austin’s city limits, where all the perks of those inner-city watering holes exist without any of the people. Less than an hour drive from Austin proper, Pace Bend State Park is a destination which affords seclusion and relaxation for its visitors. The park’s bowing oaks overlooking Lake Travis make for the most tranquil set-up for your hammock, especially if you can find a spot on the western side of the park where you can catch the sunset. And don’t make the rookie mistake of not bringing enough reading material, because here time has a way of getting away from you.

~Jeffrey Svajda, Fiction Board

Outside the Long Center

g-russ-images
(C) G. Russ Images

The Long Center for the Performing Arts caps the top of a small hill just across the river from downtown. You can sit in the shade under its monolithic legs and hear the muffled rush of traffic below. The grass on the hill is conveniently green and well-maintained, but you don’t notice this at all as you lie back on the lawn and begin re-reading your Saturday book, Lolita, or maybe the poems of Anne Sexton, if today it strikes you so. The faint drone of cars and the breeze reaches you better up here. Across the river and above the downtown towers a long, pink cloud rises and hovers like a fish, and you think how lovely it is to be up this high where you see such things before everyone else sees them, before the people down below on the streets.

~John Calvin Pierce, Poetry Board

9 Novels Set on College Campuses

College can be difficult-especially when you’re a vampire, a wizard, a de facto politician in academia, or simply a young adult trying to find their way. Check out these nine amazing novels that are all set on college campuses.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

In this unseen-academicalspreposterous tale, the not-so-athletic faculty wizards of the fictional Unseen University must form a student football (soccer) team or face starvation, per a new school contract. The story follows four outlandish characters who each have their own challenges to overcome but who eventually team up to help coach the Unseen Academicals of the university. Will these studious wizards be able to take on the fierce street footballers? Unseen Academicals allows readers to take a break from the stress of coursework and enter an adventurous and magical world.

~Michah Fontenot, Marketing Board

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayersgaudy-night

Dorothy L. Sayers’s Gaudy Night is a clever novel well-steeped in the tradition of classic British detective fiction. The writing is artistic while refraining from superfluity, and the plot compellingly illustrates university life from the perspective of nostalgic alumni. Sayers begins with an apology to Oxford University for supplying the illustrious campus with the fictional Shrewsbury College “of 150 women students, in excess of the limit ordained by statute.” This is somewhat ironic considering the unapologetic vigor with which the characters defend the legitimacy of their institution. One, Harriet Vane, is a detective novelist who trepidatiously attends her class reunion purely out of a sense of obligation. Once there, she is liberated from the petty gossip of estranged peers by investigating a series of misconducts. Are these the substance of suppressed student spite or something more sinister?

~Madeleine McQuilling, Nonfiction Board

The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

grovesWhen literature professor Henry Mulcahy, a Joycean scholar and self-proclaimed “prophet of modern literature,” learns that he’s being fired from Jocelyn College (a fictional, progressive liberal arts college in New York), he’s infuriated by what he sees to be a trite act of academic politics. Mulcahy concocts a plan to avenge his unjust termination, rallying colleagues and students in his crusade against what he perceives to be the intrusion of anti-intellectual bureaucracy in academia. However, as the novel progresses, we begin to see a much uglier, manipulative side of Professor Mulcahy unravel as he uses his erudition and acuity for not-so-noble causes. What I love about Mary McCarthy’s novel is her wonderfully sardonic and detailed character descriptions. She expertly utilizes pedantry and verbosity (and I use these words in the most complimentary sense!) in her hilarious representations of pompous academics, haughty administrators and everyone in between. 

~Luis De La Cruz, Poetry Board

The Masters by C. P. Snowmasters

The Masters, set at the University of Cambridge during World War II, delves into the politics of the election of a new Master of the University. The novel is essentially a microcosm in the face of the Nazi invasions of 1937, describing the strife of civilians as they deal with issues outside of military conflict. The importance of scholastic politics is also brought to the forefront as the two candidates seeking the position have radically different opinions on whether the university should be submissive to Hitler or take a stand for the sake of their country. This novel really demonstrates the role of the university in our culture and the political importance of the post-secondary education system, as universities tend to be political centers in some of the most crucial moments in history–whether that be protesting foreign wars or promoting civil rights.

~Xavier Richardson, Poetry Board

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

this-side-of-paradiseAs far as Fitzgerald goes, this is a must-read for college students and book lovers. The story depicts the interesting tale of Amory Blaine as he begins a glamorous life at the prestigious Princeton University. Amory participates in various liberal arts events and activities, often discussing which form of literature is most enriching. In his various excursions, Amory falls in love, is rejected, serves in the war, and returns a changed man. Not only is this story full of the beautiful, resonating language Fitzgerald was beloved for, it is a great tale of how us liberal arts students can go a little crazy sometimes.

~Jackie Galindo, Marketing Board

Straight Man by Richard Russostraight-man

Richard Russo, best known for his 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, delights with his 1997 satirical novel Straight Man. Set at a fictional New England university, Straight Man follows William “Hank” Henry Devereaux, Jr., interim chairman of the English department, as he navigates inner-office politics and familial relationships in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Although the book spans only four days, Hank’s escapades are numerous, from threatening a duck on live television to hiding in the rafters to eavesdrop on a departmental meeting. Russo avoids devolving into outrageous absurdity through his witty and wry dialogue, moments of emotionally raw character study, and an underlying sense of sincerity. Straight Man is simultaneously farcical and genuine and proves to be both an immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

~Mandy Whited

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

(Book One of the Morganville Vampires series)glass-houses

Most college students struggle with balancing school, sleep and their social lives, but Claire Danver’s to-do list also includes dealing with vampires. After embarrassing the mayor’s daughter, the 16-year-old genius ends up smack dab in the middle of an all-out vampire territory war. The series contains 15 novels, and each one boasts unforeseen twists. Buckle up because this is not your average college experience. Oh, and look out for the vampire with the fanged bunny slippers-he’s my favorite.

~Madison Brock, Fiction Board

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

anneAnne Shirley has always been a kindred spirit to me–she’s imaginative, hot-tempered, fiercely independent, and she likes to hang out in graveyards (that’s not weird… right?). Over the years, re-readings and experience have only made me appreciate the Anne of Green Gables books more. In Anne of the Island, Anne attends the fictional Redmond College where she faces issues that still affect modern students, from the common frustration of learning to live with roommates to more profound growing pains. As she struggles to balance the fancies of childhood with the realities of adulthood, Anne learns to accept that dreams have their place but also learns that sometimes reality is even sweeter. The older I get, the more this sentiment rings true, and like Anne, I’d rather have my plain “string of pearl beads” than all the diamonds in the world.

~Rebecca Skrabanek, Nonfiction Board

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowellfangirl

A young adult novel set at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Fangirl tells the coming-of-age story of a college freshman, Cath, who learns how to pave her path in a world not built for introverts. Cath writes fanfiction for the Simon Snow series (a Harry Potter-esque franchise), and upon leaving for school has gained a large following in the online fandom. Her twin sister, Wren, takes to the social waters of college much easier and faster than Cath, causing some friction. But with a little help from some people she meets along the way, Cath finds acceptance, balance and even romance. As a self-proclaimed fangirl, I could not put this book down when I first read it. Rowell’s writing and unique story elevate the category of young adult fiction to a new and exciting level.

~Alex Arias, Marketing Board

Cather “Cath” Avery, our protagonist, is starting off her college career at UNL as a freshman when this modern coming-of-age novel begins, and we get to see her find her way around the campus and through college life, all while trying to complete a popular fanfiction she’s been writing for her thousands of online followers. Nothing comes easy to Cath, however, because of her social anxiety disorder; she fears going out to parties, making new friends, and even eating in the public dining hall. If you are a college student like Cath, you can probably relate to these fears of starting this daunting chapter in life–I know I can! But the great thing about college is that you can always find your place there. After a lot of ups and downs, Cath finds hers with a cool group of colorful characters and through the love she has for creative writing.

~Kendall Talbot, Marketing Board

All images courtesy of Amazon.

10 Literary Icons Worthy of Halloween Costume Replication

Need a last minute Halloween costume? Check out Hothouse’s literary suggestions!

image1. Hunter S. Thompson

If you’re looking for a literary style icon to imitate this Halloween whose fashion is undeniably American and revels in giving two middle fingers up to the powers that be, look no further than Hunter S. Thompson. Seen to the left, Thompson’s flight jacket and aviator sunglasses point to his brief service in the United States Air Force, while the golf ball in hand, cigarette hanging from his mouth, and straw-woven visor betray his infamous reputation as a man of leisure.

~Asa Johnson, Poetry Board 

arthur2. Arthur Dent

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is one of the most well-known book series around. Even the average person might recognize the names of iconic characters such as Marvin the Paranoid Android or Ford Prefect. The name Arthur Dent is probably the most likely to ring a bell, however, and that’s why he’s on this year’s costume replication list. Not to mention the pure comfortability of his outfit; Arthur spends a large portion of the series dressed in his pajamas and a bathrobe.

If you’re looking for something easy but recognizable to wear for this Halloween (or if you’re just in the mood), throw on a pair of sweatpants and the warmest bathrobe you own. Now you’re perfect! And if you’re planning on leaving the house in your new Arthur Dent outfit, you might want to bring a towel while you’re at it. It is, after all, “the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”

~Morgan Southworth, Nonfiction Board

inigo-montoya3. Inigo Montoya

We all love the Spanish fencer, Inigo Montoya, whose sole purpose in life is to avenge his father in William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Inigo makes a wonderful Halloween costume, as you can parade around in a pirate outfit thrusting a sword, hopefully plastic, at people. To complete the outfit, you must shout at people in a fun accent “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” But, if you are too lazy to find a costume and sword, don’t worry. There is a lazy man’s version of the costume. You can buy a “Hello, my name is…” name tag and write Inigo Montoya on it. Of course, you must finish the phrase to get the full effect. But there’s nothing more exciting than strolling through the street pretending to be an invincible Spanish fencer, nor is there a better Halloween costume.

~Tracy Yager, Nonfiction Board

rainbow-fish4. Rainbow Fish

Halloween is the purr-fect time to repli-cat your favorite literary figures while si-meow-taneously showing who you are as a purr-son. If you haven’t guessed yet, my recommendation is the literary icon Rainbow Fish from Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish! Relive your childhood and wow your friends with an easily DIY-able literary character. And because politics are in, tell all your friends about the book’s underlying message of spreading Socialism and see how they react! Spill that tea!

The Rainbow Fish has gone the way of Sarah Jessica Parker: we recognized their influence but don’t talk about them anymore. So take out your colorful scales, pop on your S/S 2016 Moschino lipstick, and start a conversation about this vintage icon.

~Dan Kolinko, Fiction Board 

5. Isidlucasore-Lucien Ducasse as Comte de Lautréamont

Dressing up as a coherent character is so drab. Why not dress up as an author’s self-crafted persona and don their pseudonym for a night of Halloween debauchery? Oh, the delicious layers of identity. Will your pseudonym successfully assimilate into French society, or will he struggle to shed his Uruguayan past? We’re talking about the man that influenced surrealists, so feel free to get a little wacky and incomprehensible with this costume, but remember, it’s mainly about personality here.

For this costume, find yourself a white dress shirt, a vest, a buttoned overcoat, and a nice plaid bowtie. None too polished though; you’ve got a little scruff in ya, but that cleanly shaved baby face is hard to ignore. One of the most important elements of this costume is your expression, so get ready to maintain a brooding but glazed look in your eyes for most of the night. You’re still writing Les Chants de Maldoror and your mind is a kaleidoscope of abstractness and fragmentation—act the part. And remember, you’re a poète maudit, you’re an outcast, you’ve got depths no one can even fathom. Now let’s see that brooding young artist face.

Additional touches: you love Edgar Allan Poe and the second generation Romantics, so quote them often. Make sure your use of adjectives is highly self-indulgent, and don’t be afraid to express any macabre thoughts on death to that guy you see walking to the fridge to get another beer.

Now you’re good to go. Saunter forth on Halloween with the knowledge that your character—characters?—created a piece of literature meant to embody evil in its purest phenomenological form. You’re basically going to own Halloween.

~Delia Davis, Fiction Board

havisham6. Miss Havisham

Picture this, you’re walking around campus after getting dropped off by a friend or whatever ride-share is left in Austin after an intense Halloween night of debauchery and fun. By now, your makeup has smeared a bit, your costume isn’t how it was when you first tried it on, the night is wearing you well. As you’re approaching the door to your dorm, or apartment, and the key’s been turned and your hand is about ready to twist the knob, the light to your left is disturbed and from the corner of your eye, you see the figure of a woman in a slightly tattered and faded white wedding gown. Initial thought: this is just another La Llorona or zombie bride. But there is something slightly different, something older, perhaps Victorian to the trained eye. She’s standing just outside the glow of light on the ground, enhancing that yellow/moldy tinge of her gown, her face veiled by a thin white sheet, but porous enough to see her makeup stale and dry in uneven blotches to hide her noticeably cracked skin.  Another thing that’s a bit off: her missing heel. If you’re a fan of Dickens, you may recognize the iconic figure, Miss Havisham, the cold and disturbed old woman from Great Expectations. To the untrained eye, it’s a crazy woman in a wedding gown set to ruin someone’s night. She slowly walks forward, carefully avoiding complete illumination. This causes you to rush inside and lock your door behind you. If you can, you look outside the window one last time, curious why the footsteps stopped. Just outside your window, the thin veil sits on the floor.

~Joe Lozano, Fiction Board

blob7. Victor Frankenstein  

Dressing up as a mad scientist for Halloween is always a blast, and very easy to do! All you need is a white lab coat, maybe some latex gloves, some crazy hair, and bloodshot eyes (optional). Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of our quintessential mad scientists and certainly deserves to inspire more Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, his creation has reached greater levels of fame than he has. Frankenstein’s monster has been a classic grotesque, scary costume choice for years, and many people mistakenly refer to the monster as Frankenstein himself. Celebrate Shelley’s spooky horror novel by dressing up as its protagonist, the man who is arguably the true villain of the story – the real Frankenstein.
~Hillary Sames, Fiction Board

 

dd651ce39f547429e8c87830e45bf36b-18. Effie Trinket

Here’s the situation: It’s 8 PM on October 31st and your friends are going to be over in an hour to drag you to a costume party where a costume is mandatory for entry, and you have nothing to wear, and no idea what to do with your makeup. What do you do? At this point I think it’s time to follow in the footsteps of Effie Trinket, the ineffable escort of Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games trilogy. Known for her out-there outfits, Effie is the model of eccentricity and originality that everyone strives for in developing a costume of any kind. The best part? You don’t even have to coordinate anything carefully; the entire aesthetic is built upon zany and spontaneous fashion choices. Plus, if you’re a little too heavy-handed with the eye shadow, just pass it off as intentional and call it couture. Effie Trinket is unafraid and you should be too. So grab the wildest piece of clothing from your closet and wear it with pride, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

~Jennifer Velazquez, Nonfiction Board 

edgar9. Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is perfect for costume replication because of his haunting poems and short stories! Since his work is often read in classrooms and referenced in popular TV shows like Witches of East End and The Following, even your non-literary friends will recognize your costume. You can complete this look with a lot of items you already have in your closet. To start off, you need black pants. Next, you need a white button up long sleeve shirt that is collarless or has a banded collar. Because Poe’s clothes were in the formal Victorian style that gentleman usually wore in the 1840s, you will also need a black vest. This is probably the most important piece of the costume. To complete the look you can get a black stuffed raven or raven puppet  to make it obvious that you are replicating the author and not just any Victorian male. Some accessories you can get to complement the look: a black regency ascot cravat, a book of Poe’s work, and a gold pocket watch. Don’t forget to draw on the facial hair! I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” –Edgar Allan Poe

~Jillian Dyess, Nonfiction Board 

RD 1.png10. Mr. and Mrs. Twit from Roald Dahl’s The Twits

I have chosen a character pair- you can choose one of the two or grab someone else and make a couples costume.  The Twits is one of Roald Dahl’s less well known stories but one I always loved as a kid, along with Fantastic Mr Fox, The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  As costumes, the Twits have masses of potential; with Roald Dahl’s description and Quentin Blake’s illustrations you have plenty of inspiration and space to make yourself bird pie or upside down monkey props- which I can guarantee no one else will have.

RD 2.pngThe Twits is a story about a married couple who is nasty to everyone including each other. They spend their time thinking of cruel tricks to play on one another such as Mrs. Twit putting worms in Mr. Twit’s food, or Mr. Twit attaching his wife to balloons and letting her float away (hopefully forever). They hate children and animals, putting superglue on trees in order to catch birds for bird pie, and keeping a family of monkeys captive and forcing them to stand on their heads. The birds and monkeys eventually get a very satisfying revenge (spoilers).

Mr. Twit is covered with bristly hair full of food that he never washes; Mrs. Twit has one glass eye, a mean sneer and walking stick (which Mr. Twit made longer to make her think she was shrinking). Props and accessories can include: a family of upside down monkeys, a roly-poly bird, bird pie, balloons, worm spaghetti, an eyeball in a cup, frogs, a pot of glue, and an upside down house.

The Twits is a great story with great characters and has one of the best descriptions of what makes someone ‘ugly.’ You can be sure your costume is both awesome and hideous. 

Get your Roald Dahl on and have a happy Halloween!

RD 3.pngP.S Here is a picture of my sister and me (ages 7 and 6ish) on a school Book Day. My sister is dressed as the princess from The Princess and the Golden Ball, and I am a cat in a hat from, you guessed it, The Cat in the Hat– enjoy!

~Eliza Day, Fiction Board 

Five Essential Editorial Skills You Learn in College

So you think you might want to work as an editor in publishing? Hothouse is a great first step towards building up your resume and gaining some pretty awesome experience. But did you know that some of the basic skills you learn in your other classes at UT can be just as valuable to the editing world? Here are five classroom skills that you can take with you in your career as a professional editor.

Research

 

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Although you might not be asked to cite 10 sources and hand in an annotated bibliography, being able to research is an essential skill for any editor. Your boss is always on the lookout for what the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games phenomenon will be, and they will be expecting you to find it by searching every corner of the internet for the next big hit.

Reading

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What do editors do? They read! But while you might think you’ll be spending most of your time reading amazing new books that you’ll be publishing, you’re more likely to end up reading comp titles and manuscripts from the slush pile. Some days all you might do is read, but you’re expected to get through books fast and efficiently. You thought getting through Vanity Fair was hard? Try reading someones re-worked Twilight fanfiction.

Write Reports

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Book reports aren’t just for school. As an editor you’re likely going to be required to write reports on all those lovely fanfictions from the slush pile that you managed to get through. Don’t be discouraged! For every 50 crappy drafts there is always one treasure to be found. It is your job to convince your co-workers to take on those gems and get them on shelves!

PowerPoint Presentations

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Thought you’d be done with PowerPoint after college? Think again! Now that you have found your gem of a novel, it’s time to prove it to everyone else in the company. PowerPoint presentations are key for showing all the potential your beloved manuscript has and why that book needs to be picked up by your publishing house. You are a book’s biggest cheerleader, so think of the PowerPoint as your winning routine!

Group Projects

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The dreaded group project. The editorial world is just one giant group project. For each book there is a team of people behind its design. You’ll have managing editors, designers, artists, copy editors, and other editors working on the same title. As an editor, you’re often acting as team leader, and it is often your responsibility to tell your designers and artists how you want the book to look from the front cover to the very last page. So stop groaning when you hear your teacher say you’ll be doing a group project! Those teamwork skills might just come in handy.

~Holly Rice, Managing Editor

(All images courtesy of Giphy)

Hothouse’s Mix for Summoning the Muse

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Many of us lead hectic lives—and inevitably must brave the ups and downs of our professional and/or personal lives while toiling away on a short story, book or chapbook, et cetera. For the most part, I’m incapable of weaving beautiful words the moment I plop down on my hard desk-chair. First and foremost I need to prune my scattering thoughts and focus on my story, my characters and their conflicts—and in order to do so, sometimes I take pensive walks (but only when the Texas heat is bearable) or better yet, listen to music.

It’s difficult not to be a tad persnickety about music—not to mention music that’s meant for whirling the creative wheels in your brain. Whereas some writers are keen on listening to smoother varieties of music, like Chopin’s Nocturnes or Henry Mancini’s jazz soundtracks, for example—others may prefer the jarring sort, like rock or metal. (Stephen King comes to mind.)

Needless to say, these are only the most obvious examples—there’s a myriad of musical genres out there, many of which I probably haven’t even heard of—that other writers may appreciate when inspiration-hungry.

As of now, I’m working on a short story with a bleak, wintry backdrop, so I’ve had to persuade myself against listening to smooth jazz (while writing), which played a tremendous role for my summer ’16 novel—but doesn’t mesh well with the minimalist prose style I’m currently dabbling in. So for the time being, I’m substituting Bill Evans with the atmospheric, haunting soundtracks of Her (2013) and The Revenant (2015)—give them a listen!

Lastly, I thought I’d ask the Hothouse staff about their own preferences. Each of us seems to harbor unique tastes, so the playlist I put together has a fascinating, quilt-like aesthetic that we hope you’ll appreciate.
 

Elizabeth Dubois

Most of my writing/musical choices depend on what I’m working on. Lately, “Lovely You” by Monster Rally has been putting me in the right headspace. Most of Monster Rally’s stuff is an uncanny blend of whimsy and melancholy. 

Meredith Furgerson

I often find that writing in a darker setting sparks my creativity. I’ve been getting back into ’80s goth, new wave music now that it’s October with bands like Bauhaus and Joy Division. If I had to pick one song it would be “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” by The Smiths.

Olivia Arredondo

Bloom by Beach House is an amazing album to listen to while writing. All the songs flow together perfectly, and their sound is so whimsical–it’s like being in one long, dream sequence that, for me, really facilitates the creative process. It just gets me in the right head space, just super relaxed and ready to let my mind wander freely. I could listen to them forever.

Holly Rice

My music choices tend to change depending on what I am writing. However, my go-to song tends to be “The Call” by Regina Spektor. I love the way the song builds as the artist describes a single person’s idea growing into a group of people’s actions. It’s a soothing song, and the lyrics remind me of the writing process.

Olivia Zisman

Because I write a lot of fantasy fiction, which (for me) requires world-building and fast-paced, action-packed but character-driven plots, I have two playlists I listen to exhaustively on Pandora: one, a Heart of courage station, and two, a Lord of the Rings station. The first gives me the feeling that I am about to walk into battle, and the second makes me think I am stepping into some eco-friendly hobbit hole, meeting the faun Mr. Tumnus outside of a wardrobe, entering through the Room of Requirement, or falling down a rabbit hole with a very Luna Lovegood-esque Alice. Definitely recommend!

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~Mika Jang, Fiction Editor 

A Weekend at the Texas Teen Book Festival

On Friday, I got the opportunity to volunteer for the Texas Teen Book Festival at St. Edward’s University. My friend and fellow “book person” Madison and I helped BookPeople unload boxes of Young Adult novels, set up the store and panels, and organize the novels by author.

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On Saturday, we attended a panel with authors Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) and Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn). When asked about their thoughts on “Beauty and the Beast” and the upcoming live-action remake of the animated classic (new stills were released the other day, y’all, and I was happy-dancing like Snoopy around my room), both authors critiqued Belle giving up her dreams of having adventure outside of her quiet village to, instead, be with her captor.

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While I appreciated their critique, I may as well have had cotton in my ears because that is my all-time favorite Disney movie! (The book, however, is a different story for another day, ha!)

We also listened to the closing keynote given by Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy, who talked about the ways in which we can defeat the stereotype that comes with reading Young Adult fiction.

 

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I would definitely recommend people of all ages to go to next year’s TX Teen Book Fest, but keep in mind how jam-packed the event will be! Expect to have your books signed by two authors, not five. Know that, although the book stacks in the store look like they could be stairways to Heaven, the books go quickly. And the t-shirts? Don’t get me started. Those will be completely sold out within the first few hours of this ALL-DAY event (clearly, still a little bitter about it).

As for next year, I think I’m not going to bring any books at all (*collective gasp* sacrilegious, I know) and instead just enjoy hearing the authors talk. That means no rushing to the signings, no balancing half my height in books within my arms—NO stress! Simply sitting at the panels and absorbing their advice like a sponge (-bob, pre Mrs. Puff’s Boating School).

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With that said, some of the signings were totally worth the wait—like, for instance, when I got to see the look on Laini Taylor’s face after I told her my absolute favorite page in her whole series was pg. 134 of Dreams of Gods and Monsters. The main character Karou and her friend Zuzuna are playing a game of Three Wishes, and Karou responds with: “World peace,” to which Zuzana rolls her eyes and says, “If it doesn’t include food, it’s a lie.” True girl, true.

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(*raises proverbial glass*) To food! Er, I mean, to ending the YA stigma!

~Olivia Zisman, Poetry Editor

Hothouse’s Hottest Fall Semester Reads

 

Have you ever judged someone solely by their taste in music, clothes, or even (gasp) literature?

You’re probably thinking “of course not, that would be judgmental and insensitive!”

Well, you sit on a throne of lies.

Because we all do it! This month I asked each member of the editorial team for their most recent “ohmygosh-this-book-is-so-good-I-couldn’t-put-it-down” moment, and they happily obliged. Unbeknownst to this group of wonderful ladies, what their answers give us is not just a list of fantastic literature, but also a short glimpse into their personalities and values. This special edition of Hothouse’s Hottest Reads outlines this month’s fictional favorites and what these books say about their readers.

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1. Duplex by Kathryn Davis

Recommended by: Elizabeth Dubois, Editor-in-Chief

A bewildering and fun read, Duplex is a fantastical story, crossing multiple genres such as: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Davis’s suburban setting is far from boring; filled with robots, sorcerers, and multiple worlds, this work of beautiful prose will encapsulate you. Sometimes you may not know what is happening, who is speaking, or if they even exist, but this disorienting narrative will make you think. In the words of Elizabeth: “Duplex is impossible to describe; is the whole novel a metaphor or not? You decide.” Wow. This suggestion tells us that Elizabeth is complex, deep, and quite frankly, a little strange. (in a good way!)

41zk-s6lel-_sx317_bo1204203200_2. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Recommended by: Mika Jang, Fiction Editor

An instant New York Times Bestseller, Colorless was published in 2013 in Japan and sold one million copies in a month. This heart-wrenching bildungsroman follows the past and present life of Tsukuru Tazaki, an alienated and disenchanted soul. Tazaki is forced to face the people who have rejected him in his past, one by one, as he journeys in search of fulfillment, identity, and truth. With his unique style (merging realism with mysticism) Murakami presents another must-read. Mika shares her connection with the story by saying: “Colorless is equal parts mystery and melancholy; Tsukuru’s dreams became mine- as did his nightmares and loves and losses and revelations- in his last-ditch pursuit of happiness.” What an awesome recommendation; this tells us that Mika is an inspired, creative, and empathetic soul!

images3. Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry

Recommended by: Olivia Arredondo, Marketing Chair

In this fun and humorous exploration of Florida’s most bizarre attractions, Dave Berry reveals the secret gems of his home state. Through hilarious commentary, this best-selling author defends some of Florida’s odd and eccentric characteristics from clothing- optional bars to skunk-ape sightings. A new favorite of Olivia’s, she says: “I have told every single person I know about this book that explores Florida’s wackiest, silliest, and most wonderful roadside attractions; I will talk to anyone at length about the Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters.” Not sure what that is? I guess you’ll have to read to find out! This recommendation tells us that Olivia is quirky, fun, and has an appreciation for the odder things in life.

images-14. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Recommended by: Holly Rice, Managing Editor

This heartbreaking and inspiring young adult novel follows the journey of Suzy Swanson, whose former best friend has recently drowned; everyone says that ‘things just happen,’ but Suzy knows that it must have been a rare jellyfish sting. On a path to self-discovery and closure, Suzy travels the globe in order to prove her theory, and the reader learns fascinating facts about the sea along the way. Our managing editor, Holly Rice, says: “Whether or not you are a fan of middle grade, this National Book Award Finalist is a wonderful story about what it is like to deal with grief; the writing is lyrical and poignant, and it is sure to remind you to treasure every moment you have with those you love.” Holly, Now we know that you are an introspective and loving individual who enjoys learning. Great suggestion!

images5. The Rose Society (a Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

Recommended by Olivia Zisman, Poetry Editor

The Young Elites series is a perfect pick for this Halloween season; set in a Renaissance-like world, the protagonist, Adelina, is rejected by her family and turns into a fierce leader who sparks a war between three societies that must fight for power. But in the most recent book of the series, The Rose Society, Adelina’s powers become solely fueled by revenge and hatred, and she could become more of a hazard than a heroine. Our poetry editor, Olivia Zisman, exclaims: “Think X-Men’s Magneto meets Lord of the Flies’ Jack meets Star Wars Darth Vader. Because she is so dark and twisted, the main character is more of a villain-protagonist than an antihero. Read it before the series finale comes out on the 11th of this month!” Thanks for your suggestion Olivia; now we know that you are an imaginative and animated soul, but also possibly a little dark and misunderstood. I might watch out for this one.

That concludes this month’s hottest reads! (And my subsequent, pseudo-intellectual judgements about their readers). From Murakami to YA, we truly had an eclectic list of fantastic literature this time around, and we hope you feel inspired to go out and read one, or more, of our suggestions. Thanks for reading!

~Meredith Furgerson, Nonfiction Board Editor

Welcome our 2016-2017 Editorial Staff

Get to know the 2016-2017 Hothouse Editorial Staff below and look out tomorrow (the 18th) for details on how to apply to be on General Staff.

photo-on-5-3-16-at-4-45-pmElizabeth Dubois, Editor-in-Chief

Elizabeth is responsible for management, production, and final editorial decisions. When she’s not running Hothouse, she writes creatively, and her short fiction piece, “I Guess That This Must Be the Place” was awarded a Glimmer Train Honorable Mention in 2016. Her literary and aesthetic interests include Renata Adler’s Speedboat, Kathryn Davis, Carole King, and Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon. 

img_4162Holly Rice, Managing Editor 

Holly is responsible for assisting the Editor-in-Chief with management, production, and overall administration. She spent her summer working as the Editorial Intern for Disney Publishing Worldwide, and is currently researching representation in Young Adult Fiction for the English Honors Program. Her favorite stories and poems are the ones that scare her, and authors like Margaret Atwood, Edgar Allen Poe, and Markus Zusak influence her own creative writing.

Olivia Arredondo, Marketing Chair 11038115_963374690339897_7785021662511871927_n
Olivia  leads all marketing and design projects and initiatives. In addition to her duties at Hothouse, she is a marketing associate at Austin-based non-profit Unizin, Ltd. and a freelance writer. Her favorite books are Euphoria by Lily King and Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam, and her favorite author is Karen Russell.

Mika Jang, Fiction Editor 

Mika oversees editorial decisions for the Fiction board. Having been ‘born with a reading list she will never finish,’ she reads eagerly and omnivorously; an index of her current muses wouldn’t dare exclude works by Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro, Donna Tartt and Janet Fitch. Presently she is editing her National Novel Writing Month manuscript, but in her spare time she dabbles in translating Korean short stories, practices her calligraphy, or embarks on hiking adventures with her 3-year-old dog, Poong.

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Meredith Furgerson, Nonfiction Editor 

Meredith is responsible for Nonfiction editorial decisions. You will probably find her in the library studying English and French, or in the Writing Center where she works as a consultant. In her free time she is most likely crafting, working on her honors thesis, or playing with cat, Viola. Her literary interests include speculative fiction and contemporary women’s literature. Her favorite authors include Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, and Anne Sexton.

OliviaHeadshot.jpgOlivia Zisman, Poetry Editor

Olivia is returning for her second year at Hothouse, where she previously contributed as fiction board member and will now be contributing as poetry editor. Currently in her third year at UT, she has served as a TA for k-12 students at Rice’s Creative Writing Camp and continues to serve as a freelance content writer for an e-commerce fashion startup. Passionate for pit bull rights, her Hufflepuff heart wishes she could break Fluffy out of Hogwarts. In her spare time, she is protecting (or fighting off) other fantastical creatures—in a book, that is.