Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Category: Post-Academia

Moonglow, Moonlight, and the phases of the moon

Last week I finished the book “Moonglow” and saw the movie “Moonlight.”

My double moon experience was a coincidence, but it left me contemplating these vastly different life stories with references to the same moon.

Moonglow: A Novel

Moonglow was on my Fall-Winter reading list and it has since been named as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards. It is based on the death-bed confessions of the author’s grandpa, including many stories he heard for the first time in the last week or so of his grandfather’s life.

The title here references the grandfather’s passion for space travel. I will never look at the official photo of the Challenger space crew the same due to one of the stories told in this book! Also, the first time he saw his wife was by “moonglow.”

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The joy of (and efficiency) of multi-booking – or reading multiple books simultaneously

I used to read one book at a time. I thought I owed it to each book to give it my undivided attention, and I wasn’t sure I could concentrate on multiple books at a time.

I’ve since discovered that reading multiple books simultaneously (what I am going to  call “multi-booking”) makes me a more efficient and even a more thoughtful reader.

How can this be?

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Something completely different: Multiple Choice

The Multiple Choice cover characterizes the book as well as possible: It reads as fiction, non-fiction, possibly poetry, and all of these genres together yet unlike any of them.

It’s not very often I can write that a book is completely different than anything I’ve ever read, but today I can.

Reading Multiple Choice is an experience I recommend to anyone who enjoys the study of literature, whether your study is formal or not. I expect this book will pop up on many modern literature syllabi.

As the title implies, the book reads in the format of a standardized test.

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When literature and TV collide

Literary cameos in HBO’s “The Night Of”

“Survival in here is all about your alliances….Those husky dogs knew that.” – Freddy from HBO’s popular new series  “The Night Of” in reference to Jack London’s Call of the Wild

I get really excited when I see references to literature (or intertextuality) usefully inserted into an already great story line – it makes me pause, rewind, quote, and blog. So here goes:

If you are not watching HBO’s new drama “The Night Of” I STRONGLY recommend it  (no serious spoilers here). 

I want to reflect on a scene from episode 4 that offers some fascinating literary cameos when Naz, a soft-spoken university student who is in prison awaiting a trial for murder, meets with Freddy, a smooth, smart, and powerful longtime inmate who is essentially running the prison.

First, Freddie “educates” Naz on the “two most popular books in the prison library.”

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Intertextuality: why it won’t leave me alone

Books in a bookcase stand at attention, physically touching, yet unable to share their content with each other.

Or so it appears…

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Ulysses geeks only: Tips for drinking on Bloomsday

Happy Bloomsday! If you are not a Ulysses geek, click here for my previous post on why you should be.

As Leopold Bloom notes early on,

“Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub,” (Joyce Ulysses, 48),

so please note these tips and tricks for drinking in Ulysses, or 1904 Dublin:

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The Bloomsday Post: Why you should read Ulysses

Do you celebrate Bloomsday on June 16?

June 16, 1904, is the day on which Leopold Bloom – hence Bloomsday – walks around Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

(If you have already read Ulysses and already celebrate, you may enjoy my tips and tricks for drinking in Ulysses.)

The history of this post, which will attempt to convince you to read Ulysses,  goes back more than a decade:

I ended up, by accident, at a Bloomsday festival at Mike & Molly’s beergarden in Champaign where people who apparently had read Ulysses and appeared to like it were taking turns reading it from a stage. The book’s language was tedious, and I honestly remember joking to my friend (a detail I left out of the intro to my thesis defense), “Well…I never need to read that book.”
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My bookcases and my 40 years

When we were house hunting, it came down to two houses. One had a three-car garage, was on a lake, and had built-in bookcases. The other, which we now live in, didn’t have these particular things, but was great in other ways.   

My husband gave up his dreams of fishing out of his back yard and keeping all his trailers and boats on-site.

And I thought I was giving up my bookcases.

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Emma and my love of the Norton Critical Edition

Once upon a time I did not read literary criticism. My internal contemplation, profound or not, was enough.

Returning to this mindset during a recent reading of Jane Austen’s Emma, I indulged myself in some (not so) deep thoughts:   

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Rebecca and its perennials

I don’t want to spill the secrets of Rebecca, billed as “the classic tale of romantic suspense” to anyone who has not yet read it, so I won’t focus on the plot here. Instead, I’ll just note the story reminds us that situations, and people, aren’t always what they seem, and, as the narrator learns, we shouldn’t waste our time “building up false pictures in our mind” to sit before and obsess over.

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