Book Review: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton


Author: Kate Beaton Title: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection Publication Info: [Montreal, Quebec] : Drawn & Quarterly, 2015. Summary/Review: The brilliant webcomic Hark! A Vagrant is collected in glorious print.  Beaton’s comics tend to focus on historical and literary references with various levels of absurdity, so as a History/English major with fondness for absurd…


Originally posted on Qwiklit:
People may tell you that literature is dying, but plenty of authors are hard at work redefining the book world with groundbreaking and mind-bending works sure to be read and reread for quite some time. With so many books vying to be the next “Great American Novel”, this is merely a…

Book Review: Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer


Author: Jonah Lehrer Title: Proust Was a Neuroscientist Publication Info: Brilliance Audio on CD (2008) ISBN: 9781423374206 Previously read by same author: How We Decide Summary/Review: This book explores the work of eight artists and how their art revealed truths about the human brain that would later be discovered through science.  A quick search of…

Book Review: The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper


Author: James Fenimore Cooper Title: The Deerslayer Publication Info: [Ashland] : Blackstone Audiobooks, [2004] ISBN: 0786132353 Summary/Review: This is the first chronological story of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales although the last of the five books published by Cooper.  I’ve long intended to read this book and I was somewhat disappointed.  It was hard to get past…

Banned Books Week 2010


It’s Banned Books Week again where we celebrate intellectual freedom by reading and highlighting books that have been banned, challenged, or otherwise suppressed.  Usually I pick out a banned book or two to read but I’m behind the curve on this one and haven’t even finished reading a book I started a couple of weeks…

Book Review: Ulysses by James Joyce


What can I possibly say about Ulysses (1920) by James Joyce in way of review? Here are 18 thoughts, one for each episode. I can’t believe I finally finished reading Ulysses. I can’t believe I read Ulysses for fun. I can’t believe I didn’t read Ulysses in my college English courses.  What cowardice forced my…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VII – Film Edition


One would think that Ulysses, a novel which is remarkable for it’s experiments with language and writing styles as well as the interior dimensions of its characters far more than plot, would be unfilmable.  Yet I found two different movies that attempt to take Ulysses on, and having read the book I decided to watch…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VI


Thoughts on the final three sections of Ulysses. “Eumaeus” Much of this section takes place in a cabman’s shelter which seems to be like a late-night pub.  There are shadowy figures and impostors there including the sailor “Murphy.”  Bloom has paternal feelings about Stephen, wanting to strengthen their relationship but also thinks of ways to…

Book Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi


Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) is a memoir about life and Iran and reading English language books by  Azar Nafisi.  My alumni chapter book club selected this book appropriately about a book club Nafisi started to read Western literature with young women she had taught at the university in Tehran.  The book is divided into…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part V


“Circe” Egads!  Just when you think James Joyce can’t confuse you anymore he creates an episode in the form of a play script with stage directions, sets it in a brothel, fills it with hallucinations, and makes it the longest episode in the book.  Joyce almost taunts you to give up reading the book, but…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part IV


“The Cyclops” Perhaps the most complex and bizarre episode yet.  An unnamed first person narrator, clips of seemingly random text written in different styles.  What is this ridiculous list of names in the style of a saga other than a good laugh?  Ah, but is the true hero here a pint of Guinness?: Terence O’Ryan…

Movie Round-Up


Delicatessen (1991) One of my favorite films which I saw on the big screen at Brattle Theatre a few years back.  This was the first time Susan saw it and I was surprised that I’d forgotten how dark and gory this post-apocalyptic cannibalistic black comedy was.  Still, it is funny and amazing creative with possibly…

Boston By Foot Special Tour: Literary Landmarks, Continued


An entire week has passed, and I’ve yet to write about Boston By Foot’s special tour of 20th Century writers who lived and worked on Beacon Hill held on March 8th entitled Literary Landmarks, Continued.   This is a sequel of sorts to the regular Literary Landmarks tour which focuses on the 19th Century writers in…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part III


“Scylla and Charybdis” This episode is thematically near and dear to my heart.  Set in the National Library of Ireland (which I’ve also failed to visit) it features literary debate on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, plus stuff about fathers and navigating between two extremes.  And it’s often satirical and funny. –Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, Part II


I’ve read three more episodes and with lots of help The Bloomsday Book: A Guide through Ulysses by Harry Blamires, Paigerella’s podcast, and (shamefully) SparkNotes, I’m coming to appreciate the ways in which Joyce combines the mundanity of ordinary activity with scatterred memories and words (both spoke and thought) that take on many meanings. “Hades”…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, Part I


As mention in my February 2nd post, I’ve started reading James Joyce’s Ulysses in installments via DailyLit.  The installments come through and rss feed to my Bloglines account and I’ve been working on the best way of reading them.  I requested the long installment but to DailyLit that just means I get four installments a…