Reminder: Wanderers by Edward Belfar Giveaway

wanderers edward belfarHello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I’m just popping in to remind you that there’s still time to enter my giveaway of Wanderers by Edward Belfar! It’s an excellent collection of short stories about being geographically and emotionally far from home (review here). The giveaway is open until 12 a.m. EST Wednesday, and you can earn points by commenting on my review, following my blog, tweeting about the giveaway, etc. Click here to enter!

Quotable Friday: from O Pioneers!

“She seemed to feel the weight of all the snow that lay down there. The branches had become so hard that they wounded your hand if you but tried to break a twig. And yet, down under the frozen crusts, at the roots of the trees, the secret of life was still safe, warm as the blood in one’s heart; and the spring would come again! Oh, it would come again!”

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Book Review & Giveaway: Wanderers by Edward Belfar

Wanderers Edward Belfar
WANDERERS
by Edward Belfar

Short Stories
SFA Press, Oct. 2012
Paperback, 218 pages

Residing inside the pages of Edward Belfar’s short story collection are a series of wanderers who find themselves far from home both geographically and emotionally. Some of them travel halfway across the world while others are literally trapped within themselves, but all of them are searching for a way back into the feeling of home.

The stories in this collection take place in a variety of locations ranging from Kenya to a psychiatric ward to Italy to Yankee Stadium, and they examine issues of identity, responsibility to family, sexual insecurity, and global economics. Continue reading

Book Review: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead

Book Review: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead
A TRAIN IN WINTER
by Caroline Moorehead

Non-Fiction: WWII History
Harper Perennial, Oct. 2012
Paperback, 374 pages
Source: Gift

In January 1943, a train carried 230 women members of the French Resistance from a prison in occupied France to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. Of this number, 49 survived to return to France more than two years later. Although this seems like a woefully small number, it is miraculous that so many of them survived the starvation, brutality, and illness of the camp. What saved so many of these women was the close friendship, intimacy, and camaraderie between them.

A Train in Winter tells the story of this group of women, from their roles in the French Resistance, to their experiences in the concentration camps, to the lives of the 49 survivors after their return to France following the liberation of the camps. Continue reading

Book Review: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Book Review: O Pioneers! by Willa CatherO PIONEERS!
by Willa Cather

Fiction: Classics
Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003
(first published 1913)
Paperback, 161 pages
Source: Purchased

The first book in Willa Cather’s Prairie trilogy, O Pioneers! is a story of survival on the Nebraska prairies. At a time when the American West was wild and uncultivated, many immigrants were drawn to the frontier by the extremely low price of land. However, many of these families were from cities and had little or no experience or knowledge of farming; although they were eager to pursue a new life on the prairie, they were ill-suited to the demands of eking out a living from the land. Continue reading

Book Review: Zazen by Vanessa Veselka

Book Review: Zazen by Vanessa Veselka
ZAZEN
by Vanessa Veselka

Fiction
Red Lemonade, May 2011
Paperback, 257 pages
Source: Purchased

America is on the verge of collapse, and 27-year-old Della is serving up tofu scramble in a hippie restaurant called Rise Up Singing and growing increasingly frustrated by the violence and apathy surrounding her. Many people she knows are leaving the country for Asia and South America — anywhere they can escape the impending war and economic doom — and Della is torn: should she flee to a tropical paradise or stay and fight?

Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Slaughterhouse-Five

“The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:

Oh boy — they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch that time!

That thought had a brother: “There are right people to lynch.” Who? People not well connected. So it goes.”

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

Book review: Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking susan cain
QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN’T STOP TALKING
by Susan Cain

Non-Fiction
Crown Publishers, January 2012
Hardcover, 333 pages
Source: Library

Confession time: I’m an introvert. I like spending time alone, reading and listening to music. I enjoy going out and seeing my friends, but I’m often relieved to come home to a quiet house where I can unwind on my own. I love thinking critically, but I’m rarely the first person to leap into the discussion. And in a culture that seems to value extroversion over nearly every other trait, I’ve always been made to feel slightly insecure about these things. Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking helped me change my outlook. Continue reading