Review: Heiresses of Russ 2013

Heiresses of Russ 2013 edited by Tenea D. Johnson and Steve Berman

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Among the many hideous tactics Joanna Russ outlines in How to Suppress Women’s Writing, isolation is perhaps one of the most insidious, severing creators from their own community. For instance, Jane Austen is often people’s go-to classic female author, but when was the last time you heard about Jane Austen being influenced and inspired by the works of Fanny Burney? Once you start looking at Austen in the context of her contemporaries and influences, you suddenly realize that she’s not an Excepto-girl—she’s an heiress.

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Review: After the King

After the King edited by Martin H. Greenberg

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No figure looms larger in fantasy than J. R. R. Tolkien. One hundred and twenty-one (or eleventy-eleven) years after his birth and fifty-nine years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings still functions as the baseline for the entire genre of high fantasy. (There’s a very valid argument to be made that we need to move forward from that baseline, but that’s another post for another time.) But a lot of Tolkien-inspired fantasy only mimics the most obvious trappings of the good Professor’s legendarium. That’s not necessarily a judgment on the quality of those works—Blizzard Entertainment used those trappings as a stepping stone to create their own interesting, engaging world for the Warcraft franchise, and Eragon… well, Eragon exists. It can go either way. Continue reading

Review: The Tent

The Tent by Margaret Atwood

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In college, just a little bit before the registrar started reminding me that I couldn’t just take English literature and economics classes at a liberal arts college, I took an introduction to creative writing course. The essay and the short story units went swimmingly, but I was stumped when it came to poetry. I have difficulty differentiating the impulse to write poetry from the impulse to write prose, so I decided to write a poem expressing a highly symbolic image that had been floating around my head for a decade or so to see if that was the poetic impulse. A blue, masked beast tells a tall girl that he will eat her one day; she replies that he eats everyone eventually. The beast represents time, perhaps eternity, and the girl represents humanity in general. It’s about accepting mortality on a personal and a cosmic scale.

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Review: The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

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Angela Carter, we meet at last. I’ve been getting recommended Carter’s books for years now—during my trip to Ireland with my college, I actually bought a copy of The Night Circus because it was gorgeous and on sale. But I haven’t gotten around to it, because of my habit of holding onto books I own as a sort of stockpile against finding myself without access to a library at any point in my life. But given that my keen interest in the art of adaptation was fired up by my recent viewing of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, it was time to finally pick up The Bloody Chamber. Luckily, it was a library book, or I never would have gotten around to it.

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Review: His Last Bow

His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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There’s only book left now. I’ve been taking my sweet, sweet time with polishing off the Sherlock Holmes canon—I started two years ago!—simply because my bookish diet requires a great deal of variety or I end up just stagnating and boring myself. A bit like Holmes himself, really, without the attendant misogyny, genius, or lackadaisical house manners. But just as I eventually finished Star Trek: The Original Series after four years (and with the rest of the franchise to go), so too must I set down a Sherlock Holmes collection only to realize that the next one I pick up will be my last. I’m mentioning it now because finishing a series gives me such an enormous sense of satisfaction that all the ennui hits me at the penultimate installment.

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Review: Lyra’s Oxford

Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman

I really enjoyed revisiting His Dark Materials, even if I didn’t quite enjoy the second two as much as the first. Lyra is just such a fantastic heroine—clever, good-hearted, and sneaky. For the most part, the current run of Journey Into Mystery has been keeping me well-stocked with a similar hero (kid Loki would definitely give Lyra a run for her money; and, given the laws of the Internet, I have just summoned that fic into being), but sometimes, you just have to go back to the original. Plus, I’ve been meaning to revisit Pullman’s works, and I rather like the idea of getting through the new His Dark Materials stuff before revisiting the Sally Lockhart trilogy. (Via audio, of course.)

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Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

Despite my adolescent allegiance to Harry Potter, I faded out from the fandom after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so The Tales of Beedle the Bard feels much more recent than it actually is. While I’ve been eying it at my college library ever since I got here, I’ve been thinking of it as very new, so imagine my surprise when I realized it’s already four years old. In any case, I’m always in need of something sweet and light between heavier works of literature, so I picked it up and ended up reading it on the way back from Louisiana.

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The Sunday Salon: The 41st Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival

Every March, my frankly awesome institution hosts a Writers’ Festival, boasting three writers (one of whom is usually an alumna), three readings, three workshops (for finalists who made it into the magazine), and one question and answer session. The invited writers this year were writer Benjamin Percy, poet Joy Harjo, and playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger, who graduated from Agnes Scott in 2000. This year, I was a bit more involved than wandering into events; I was a volunteer, which especially meant carrying luggage and trying to find our guests to get them from Point A to Point B. It was nice, but it does complicate this year’s post, as I went to so many events that I didn’t know which one to cover for the blog! But I think Thursday’s question and answer session will give you a good overview of the Festival as a whole.

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