Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

25533896.jpg (317×475)

Every Heart a Doorway takes place in a boarding school for children who have traveled through portals to other worlds and desperately want to go back because they don’t quite fit in to this world anymore. Their parents, while well-meaning, just don’t understand them. They think their children are fantasy-prone and didn’t really go to another world. However, Eleanor, the headmistress of the school, knows other worlds do exist because she has visited one herself.

Continue reading

Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett

918IOcCd3SL.jpg (1500×2400)

“To be in this world, you must always be a little less than yourself. With every day that passes, you must give up a little more.”

After the events described in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a fifteen-year-old Miranda arrives in Milan, but people treat her like a monster. They force her to stay in her room and make her wear a veil whenever she leaves. She wonders if she looks like a monster, although she doesn’t think she does.

Continue reading

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

41z4Ndz6qQL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (324×499)

Ugh. This book. Where to begin? First off, its run-on sentences, paragraphs that are pages long, and chapters in which nothing much happens make it a chore to read. There are over a hundred pages of endnotes, so you have to keep flipping to the end of the book while you’re reading. Annoyingly, many of the endnotes didn’t need to be endnotes. The shorter ones could have been parenthetical statements, and the long ones should have just been chapters in their own right. If this wasn’t bad enough, several of the endnotes have footnotes of their own.

Continue reading

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

41pBNnhLx6L.jpg (333×500)

This was originally published anonymously, so the author goes by the name of Linda. Her father was a carpenter. His master hired him out and allowed him to keep some of the money he earned. He saved up and wanted to buy his children’s freedom, but he wasn’t allowed to. Her maternal grandmother was freed at her master’s death, but she got captured and sold to another, so even if a slave master freed his slaves at death, that was no guarantee they’d stay free. Her grandmother, who made money selling crackers, also wanted to purchase the freedom of her children, but her mistress borrowed the money from her and never paid her back.

Continue reading

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century. Written in 1852, it energized the anti-slavery movement and contributed to the start of the Civil War. It was translated into all major languages and made a worldwide impact. Today, it’s better known for its stereotypical depictions of black people. (There’s also an off-hand anti-Semitic remark and Haitians are called effeminate.) So while it was undoubtedly progressive for its day, it doesn’t entirely hold up now.

Continue reading

Come Join Us by the Fire Season 2

Z (225×225)

Come Join Us by the Fire has released Season 2 just in time for Halloween. It’s available for free on the Google Play Books app. There’s a bit less stories than the first season, but with 27 horror stories, there’s still hours of spooky entertainment. Since the first season contained a lot of flash fiction, and season 2 only has a couple five minutes pieces, they’re probably about the same length.

Continue reading

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

25597060.jpg (265×400)

When you first crack open The Three-Body Problem, there’s a list of characters at the front of the book, implying that it will be a difficult read and you’re going to need to refer back to the list in order to keep track of everybody. However, once I dived in, I discovered that the list of characters wasn’t necessary. We mainly shift between two point-of-view characters, so it isn’t difficult to keep track of who’s who. Also, some of the characters listed barely appear in the book at all, so I don’t know why the list is there at all. Continue reading

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

35109300._SY475_.jpg (316×475)

“I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin.” Continue reading