All posts filed under: Words and Literature

Book Club: Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan

by Erin Rose When I first laid eyes on Brain on Fire I was wandering around an airport, I cannot recall which one now, as it seems the last year of my life has been nothing but in and out of airports. Anyway, I was perusing the bookstore, as I always do, and fantasizing about two things: 1. Seeing my own book on the shelf one day and 2. Having enough time in my life to read all the books that I wanted to. Then I saw Brain on Fire and my own self-indulgent daydream came to a ferocious stop. I have to admit that as a product of my generation I am insanely biased by good marketing and packaging. This book stood out because of its colouring, half black- grey and half yellow and its fresh typeface. But most of all I was taken by the woman on the cover staring back at me with somewhat vacant yet frenzied eyes. I knew without opening a page that I had to find out what was happening beyond …

Book Club: The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

by Erin Rose Joan Didion is a master of words. Her work, her career, her ease with language is something that both inspires and frightens me. She has written in nearly every genre under the sun but I am particularly in love with her nonfiction work. I devoured the essay collection, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and then began reading nearly everything she’d ever crafted. During this past summer I encountered a particular amount of loss. My mother says people always die in threes. It’s the laws of the universe. I found myself without the proper language to discuss the grief. I am hardly ever without the proper language for anything. It is the one way I know I can communicate with the world and myself. My words are my life. One afternoon I found on the bookshelf in my sisters’ home a copy of, The Year of Magical Thinking. It was as if someone had planted it there for me. I found what I didn’t even know I was looking for.

This is what a feminist looks like

By Hannah- Rose Yee It was a man who first taught me what feminism was. I was in second year at university and I thought I knew everything. I was taking my first ever gender studies course, which cross-listed with my English major (somehow), and which I thought, based on the text list, would be a semester spent discussing Virginia Woolf novels and Sylvia Plath poetry, but ended up being 13 weeks talking about all the ways that women have been well and truly screwed over by the literary, cinematic, historical, governmental, social – you name it – establishment since the dawn of time. I ended up learning a lot, because I went in cocky and self-assured (I’d read Mrs Dalloway before, well, when I say ‘read’, I mean, I had read The Hours), feeling pretty certain that this was an ‘easy’ subject I’d be able to coast my way through. It ended up being the worst mark I ever received at university. And all because I had no idea what feminism was when I …

To Sit Still and Read

by Ruby Bisson I spent a lot of my childhood long past my bedtime curled up in a soft bed, hidden under warm dolphin-print covers, a small torch in my mouth to help me see my book. Most likely it was Roald Dahl’s Matilda (which I read at least 14 times) or the adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and little Timmy in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. Dad would come creeping down the hall and I would be so engrossed in my book that I wouldn’t hear him approaching. He’d peak into my room and linger there for a while waiting for me to feel his presence at the end of my bed. I’d fold my page and click off my torch, sometimes he’d take the book from me so I couldn’t sneak a second read. It was a struggle for my parents to tear me away from the characters I had fallen in love with. But this was before the age of wifi and mobile phones.

Book Club: Of Mice and Men, It’s Dinnertime

by Gráinne Regan I’m a reader. Always have been, always will be. I have my preferences in terms of reading material, however I try not to pigeon hole myself. Broadly speaking, my bookshelf is made up of two types of books: the easy readers and the classics, with the occasional tome falling into both self appointed categories (I’m looking at you, The Kite Runner). I look at the easy readers as the light and tasty snacks in between meals. They are generally modern books, written in a readily digestible manner which I gorge upon greedily but which ultimately leave few memories. Then you have the classics, the hearty meals that leave a marked impression- three course dinner style. These are generally the books that make it onto the lifetime reads lists, the stories which have been read and shared by multiple generations. They are often overflowing with beautiful language, language I like to take my time over, to truly appreciate. These stories are filled with honest and thought provoking sentiments which remain long after the last page has been turned. …

Interview with a Writer| Kalyn RoseAnne | Part One

Interview by Ruby Bisson. “Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened every day and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again …