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In the Spotlight

Audiobooks You Should Be Listening to on Hoopla

Sure, that title has a clickbait quality to it, but I’m pretty serious and vocal about my love for all things Hoopla. I’ve sung its praises in the past (mostly because the graphic novel selection is pretty darn great), but only recently have I really delved into the audiobook section.

Mostly because, until recently, I wasn’t exactly a fan of listening to books. Lugging around CDs is always a pain, and I’m still not sure what those MP3 thingies are all about, but listening to a book on your phone while multi-tasking or taking a walk? You mean I can read all the time if I want to?! Read More..

Crypt Lit

Where does one store a souvenir Abraham Lincoln beard?  I bought mine years ago on a road trip with my father to see Lincoln historic sites in Springfield, Illinois, but I’ve never known what to do with it. After I was told to stop wearing it to work every day, I tried hanging it up with my ball caps for a while, but it got in the way. Then I tried my underwear drawer, but that was way too weird.

It finally found a home among my much neglected neckties, which makes sense because I inherited most of those from my dad, and I only keep the beard around as a memento of him. On the last day of our trip we visited Lincoln’s tomb, an impressive bastion of granite, marble, and bronze, beneath which the president lies with Mary Todd and three of their four sons: Tad, Edward, and Willie. This place was heaven for us, since my dad also left me his gene for walking battlefields, reading gravestones, and pondering the life of Honest Abe. Read More..

Five Books that Have Stayed with Me

When I saw the Book Squad’s first Squad Goal (Re-read a book you haven’t read in more than 5 years), I was excited for an excuse to pick up one of the books that have been sitting untouched on my shelf for longer than I care to admit. It also gave me an excuse to reflect on the many books I’ve read over the years. Here are five that have stayed with me:

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A Book by Its Cover

We’ve all heard the old adage to never judge a book by its cover. The only time I don’t think you should follow that advice is when it comes to actual books.

On a purely literal level, when we’re talking about judging actual books by their actual covers, let’s face it: it’s impossible not to. If I’m being honest, being drawn to an interesting cover is probably the number-one way that I find new books to try; I spend way too much time walking the shelves of the Fiction Loop not to be drawn in by intriguing covers.

So recently, I decided to test myself: I grabbed three books that simply looked interesting and settled down to read them without knowing anything whatsoever about the plot. And to make it extra interesting, I jotted down a guess at the plot pre-read – a guess based purely on the cover design. Read More..

An Ordinary Life

I first met Amy Krouse Rosenthal while scrolling through social media. I tucked away her article “You May Want to Marry My Husband” for later, not yet realizing there wasn’t a later to be had. In fact, many people first met Amy through that New York Times article which was published on March 3rd of 2017.

That was ten days before Amy died of ovarian cancer. She had written it as a love letter to her husband. When I met her again, through her obituary, I rushed back to find that article and read it with an aching wish to stop time, to bend it over on itself, to cancel it out and rewrite it. Read More..

Don’t Drive Your Jet Ski in the Dark: The Wisdom of DJ Khaled

If you listen to much Top 40 radio, you’re already familiar with DJ Khaled; even if you can’t quite connect his name to a particular song or face, there’s likely some liminal awareness. Just close your eyes and think of the times a moment of transition static has been torn through with the bombastic roar of “DEE JAY KHA-LED” just as a beat starts playing. Read More..

Rompy Reads

Spring has sprung, and when I get joyously happy about the weather, I generally want to grab a fun read that’s perfect for sun-lounging. Here are three books – in three different genres – that are ideal for a sunlit afternoon filled with rompy adventure and funtimes.

Now when I describe these books as rompy, I mean it. These are NOT going to fulfill your need for the next literary classic or the best executed plots of a lifetime. Some belief will have to be suspended. Some eyes will be rolled. Some “smh” will be unleashed, but it’s okay! Because these are fun and free wheeling. You’ll like them, I promise. Read More..

Embracing Your Inner Unicorn, No Matter What Age

After my most recent birthday, I discovered something new about my body: occasionally when I squat down, my knees will give a little pop. That didn’t happen before. What’s also new are the little lines and crinkles underneath my eyes that definitely weren’t there before. I’ve always been a fan of sleeping, but now if I don’t get plenty of rest, my eyes become so bloodshot, I start to look a little like those white rabbits with the red eyes. I sound like I’m complaining, but I find this to be super exciting! I’m not being sarcastic. No, really. Read More..

RuPaul’s Drag Race & a Bit of Jargon

It’s finally happening, squirrel friends! Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Friday, March 24th at 8/7c on VH1.

The herstory of Drag is one of struggle, damnation, and, most importantly, fabulous ferocity. Drag is something that has been widely misunderstood, and even more widely unaccepted. RuPaul Charles—more appropriately, Mama Ru—has been working for decades to expose Drag to the masses as a normal and respected practice and art form.

In that time, he has gained notoriety as not only a fashion icon, but as a feminine icon. Drag has shaken the foundations of commonly accepted gender roles and expanded what American society accepts and embraces as beauty. People are beginning to accept that Drag is not taboo. Thanks in large part to the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its contestants, the world is learning to not only accept Drag, but to respect it. Read More..

Liquor and Drugs: My Venture Into the Writings of Irvine Welsh

Cue Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life while the camera zooms in on a pair of Adidas as they hit the ground running. In a few moments, the camera pans up and we see a stick-thin Ewan McGregor running from the cops for an unknown crime with his famous monologue that begins,

“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f—— big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage…” and ends with, “But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”

This is one of my favorite movie openings of all time. Read More..