All posts filed under: book club

Cultivating: Harvest

On the Autumnal Equinox, I put out a cutting board laden with apples and honey. I sliced an apple at its equator and left it open on the table, revealing the star of seeds. Apples and honey are a symbol of Rosh Hashanah, the first holiday of the Jewish High Holy Days and the marker of the Jewish New Year, but that core of seeds made me think of Persephone.  Seeds, the rhythms of the day and the year, the poetry and work of abundance and austerity — those are some of the things that this season means to me. Persephone, the daughter of Demeter (Goddess of the land and earth), was just a girl, playing in the fields, when she was taken by her uncle Hades and brought to the underworld. While she shivered in the darkness, her mother roamed the earth, her grief shriveling crops and blackening seeds. Hades offered Persephone a pomegranate, a gesture of the summer that she had left behind aboveground. When Demeter found them, she negotiated for her daughter’s release. Hades …

Neighborhood Explorers

For the past month or two I’ve been working on curating a shelf for the Uni Project‘s launch in Boston.  The Uni is a mobile reading   room – think of it as a learning institution for public space – that was started by Leslie and Sam Davol in New York in 2012.  The way Leslie explained it to me when they first began was that she hoped to bring the Uni to places where there was a story already unfolding; that bringing books and learning to public spaces would help communities to see their neighborhoods — and themselves — in a new way.  So the Uni popped up in Corona Plaza with the Queens Museum of Art, which has community engagement at the heart of its mission.  The Uni went to Play Streets all over the city, where community groups had invited them to bring books and learning to street level.  In Brooklyn, the Uni partnered with the public library to bring lending books outside the library walls, so that kids and families could make …

Cultivating: Midsummer

I’ve been thinking this summer about nostalgia.  This is the season for remembering first kisses (mine: 17 years old, on a balcony in San Sebastian, Spain, sometime in mid July, during a rainstorm), family camping trips, and the long days of daydreaming of past summers (that’s me in the hat, as a young teen, at left.  This picture gives me that odd feeling of not knowing where we are in this picture, and not remembering the moment at all).  If you have kids, it’s the time when they make memories like this for themselves.  I wonder what it’s like to watch them do that, to see echoes of your former self in them and experience the simultaneity of memory and experience.  This is the tinge of sadness that summer brings – knowing that it comes to an end, knowing that we’re getting older, that the year will soon get colder again.  The hopefulness of spring and the resilience of fall and winter lie on either side of us, and at the height of summer we …

Long review: Annette Kolodny, “In Search of First Contact”

On November 13, 1972, the Maine Sunday Telegram ran an article with the headline, “Those Famed Rune Stones, Real – Or Carved By Hippy?” Next to the headline is a photograph of a young white man in starched dress shirt and tie, a watch peeking out from his left sleeve, and a pointer in his hand. He is pointing towards a photo of a rock in the foreground, and the caption informs the reader that this Dr. Bruce Borque, the research associate for archaeology at the Maine Museum. He’s showing readers the famed Spirit Pond rune stones of Maine, which had been “discovered” a year earlier, only to have recently been ruled a fake by one of the world’s foremost rune stone experts. This was after the Maine State Museum had paid $4,500 for the stones to enter their permanent collection.The stones had certainly caused a great “hullaballoo,” with “amateur and not-so-amateur archaeologists” showing great enthusiasm for the discovery when it as made, and some believers still remaining after runic scholars determined they were fake. …

reading in the new year.

It’s a new year and I have a new project to share with you all.  I’m taking a step away from my coursework at school and focusing on the kind of reading that I always want to do and never have time for — reading history, reading nature writing, reading poetry and literary nonfiction.  I want you to join me on this journey. First, I’ve uploaded my to-read list to Goodreads.  You can follow me there, and pick up a book from my list when it strikes you.  When I finish a book, I’ll publish a review on this blog and on Goodreads so if I’ve gotten to something before you do, you can get an idea of what it made me think about.  I am also thinking about setting up a tumblr just for the reviews, so that you could subscribe to the RSS feed.  If that would be of particular interest to you, let me know.  My first quick review was of On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz, which Maria Popova also reviewed, with her …