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Category: Reading

The Joy of Rediscovering Shirley Jackson

The Joy of Rediscovering Shirley Jackson

In preparing for a class on gothic elements in fiction, I pulled an old book from my shelves. I’d gone searching for Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, but I found myself drawn to We Have Always Lived in the Castle instead. Have you read this book? I don’t think I’ve read it in more than thirty years, but once I flipped it open I couldn’t put it down. Lordy, it’s amazing. It’s a slim book. My paperback copy comes in…

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A Rabid Dog Will Bite

A Rabid Dog Will Bite

The media is atwitter with news about a forthcoming book that contains damning information about the president and the president’s inner circle. Much of that information comes from a man who was, until very recently, part of that inner circle. Steve Bannon spilled his rotten guts to Michael Wolff, the author of the soon-to-be-released tell-all book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Trump is furious and doing the only thing he seems to know how to do—sending out barely…

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We Read, Joyce Carol Oates. We Read.

We Read, Joyce Carol Oates. We Read.

Give anyone enough time and they will break your heart. I am a southerner. I live in Denver now, but I spent the first 21 years of my life in Mississippi. I first read Joyce Carol Oates’s short story, “How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again” as part of an English class in the Jackson, Mississippi public school system. I knew I wanted to read more and over the years,…

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Does anyone have an IQ test at the ready? I ask, because apparently challenging someone to an IQ duel is now a thing that is happening in the highest levels of our government. Lord, help us. I have no desire to watch elected officials on either side of the aisle brag about their intelligence. No matter how smart you think you are, it’s hard to look like anything but an ass when you are basically screaming: I’m smarter than you…

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Banned Books I Have Loved

Banned Books I Have Loved

It’s Banned Books Week and organizations from the American Booksellers Association to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (who knew?) are commemorating our right to read without censorship. When we think of banned books, we often think of books forbidden by the government ala the plot of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,  but that isn’t really how books are banned in America today. Our books tend to be banned one school district or library at a time. And it’s often aimed at…

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How to Make a Nightmare

How to Make a Nightmare

Take one late summer cold virus. Stir in a generous helping of all the following symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, coughing, congestion, headache, backache, fever, exhaustion. Add copious amounts of unpronounceable over-the-counter medications: pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine, guaifenesin, phenylephrine bitartrate, aspirin. For added fun, examine labels and research drug interactions while peering through dirty reading glasses. You are too exhausted to clean the glasses or find a different pair. Doze on the sofa while your husband watches a movie from the Netflix horror…

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Mama Knows Best? Not Always

Mama Knows Best? Not Always

This weekend my home state held its annual Mississippi Book Festival. I didn’t go. It’s a long way from Denver to Jackson, but my mother gave me a full report. She told me Ellen Gilchrist was super funny and charming at the morning session. No surprise. She told me about young adult author Angie Thomas and the road to publication for her debut The Hate U Give. I can’t wait to read it. And she told me about the powerful…

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For Freedom, Just Add Water

For Freedom, Just Add Water

My husband is a whiz at fast-forwarding through television commercials. I am not so quick to the button. When he travels, as he’s doing now, I see a lot of random advertisements while I’m watching Jeopardy! or the news. There is an ad running now that is both relentlessly terrifying and ridiculous. It’s an ad for something called Wise Food Storage. It opens with an extreme closeup of a man staring into the camera and declaring: You may not be…

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Break the Rules

Break the Rules

Last week I sat in the Memphis airport and waited to board a United Airlines flight. My dog was on my lap. My dog is a 10-pound, 10-year-old, double dapple miniature dachshund named Maui. Most people love Maui. She is small and cute and charming. When Maui travels with me she spends the plane ride in a soft carrier underneath the seat, but I usually keep her on my lap until we board. My flight took place just about a week after…

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It’s Raining. No, That’s the Sun.

It’s Raining. No, That’s the Sun.

Like so many people across the country and around the world, I marched this weekend. My husband and I joined the crowd of about 200,000 men, women, and children in Denver. We walked and chanted and laughed and waved as we ran into people we knew from various places. We failed to meet up with others, because the crowd was too large and cell service was spotty. It didn’t matter. We were all there together, whether we found each other or…

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