You have very strong opinions about Paradise Lost. You are a total snob about the meter in children’s books. You are used to the question, “What do you plan on doing with your major? Teach?” (You really don’t know what you’re going to do with your major. You will probably teach.) You are unable to […]Read More You Might Be a Literature Major If…
Last week, I introduced the idea that often, “good guys” can come across as boring. I’m not sure if this tendency is a deficiency in the way they are written (i.e., the author’s understanding of what constitutes “goodness” is shallow) or a deficiency in the way we perceive them (as in: being in mental turmoil/moral […]Read More Making Good Look Good: Top 5 Non-Boring Good Guys
Stephen Koch writes the following about Lucie Manette, the ideal woman in Tale of Two Cities: “She is a flawless paragon of sweetness and love, and the way we know it is true sweetness, true love, is that both are defined by the absolute absence of any conflicting impulse whatsoever. In two plain words, she […]Read More Are “Good Guys” Boring?
I recently read Ursula K. Le Guin’s magisterial The Tombs of Atuan. This slow, relatively simple story details the life of a young priestess, Arha, and how a wizard thief comes into her domain, changes her outlook, and helps her escape. There’s not much of a plot to be spoiled—everything I just said is straight […]Read More Resurrecting Tenar: Easter in Earthsea
My Brit Lit class and I had a GREAT discussion on Pride and Prejudice today, and I mean great. Among the questions we discussed was one that I posed to satisfy my curiosity: what makes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet so compelling, so attractive, so likable? After the one guy in class clarified that we […]Read More Pride, Prejudice, and the Hard Truth
When I posted my Top 10 Children’s Books before last Christmas, one of my friends asked if I had a Top 10 Books of 2018 list in the works. Of COURSE I did! Well, not at that very moment—but I thought it would be fun to develop one after the new year. Then I got […]Read More Top 10 Books of 2018
Happy Tolkien Week to one and all! One of the aspects of Tolkien’s work that fascinates me is its depiction of Evil. Not only can this mild-mannered, somewhat niggling professor write some truly terrifying scenes, but I also appreciate the thematic truths that inform his portrayal of Evil. I love a good subtle villain as […]Read More Tolkien’s Three Satans and Why They Matter
In a blog with a Tolkien reference in the subtitle, and with a list of at least ten Tolkien-related blog posts in my head, I find it shameful that I have yet to write specifically about Tolkien. My undergraduate thesis was on Tolkien, and I teach a class on him and Lewis every other year, […]Read More The Purposeful Parallelism of The Hobbit
“If You Want to Write Fantasy, Stop Reading It.” That was the title of a post I wrote a couple years ago for Faith & Fantasy Alliance. (You can read it here now.) Despite the clickbait title, I don’t believe fantasy authors should discontinue reading fantasy: for one, it’s important to keep up with developments […]Read More What Fantasy Authors Can Learn from Beowulf
If you haven’t read this book and you don’t want it spoiled, turn back now! Ahead there be spoilers, unabashed and free-flowing. The second part of Life of Pi is a 16-year-old boy (Piscine, nicknamed Pi) telling the story of how he survived 227 days at sea in a lifeboat, accompanied by an adult Bengal […]Read More So I Read Life of Pi.