Braving It by James Campbell, Blogging For Books

We just signed up for Blogging For Books at the Wanderer, and you can too!

Blogging for Books is run by The Crown Publishing Group. The program sends free books to bloggers in exchange for an honest review. The company sees it as a win-win situation: Bloggers get free books, and The Crown Publishing Group gets bloggers talking about and sharing books.

Blogging for Books helps to get honest reviews and commentary on up-and-coming publications, as well as provides readers with recently published works.

There is no cost or fee associated with Blogging for Books. They even pay shipping costs! All you need to do is provide a valid shipping address and email, choose a book to receive, and write a short review once you read it! It’s that simple! Find out more and sign up at http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/.

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Beautiful Public California Libraries

California, the gorgeous Golden State, is not only home to The Wanderers, but to more than a thousand (1,146) public libraries alone!

Flag of California

Public libraries provide free access to information and educational opportunities all, regardless of their socio-economic status. Offered by libraries across the county, ALA’s Let’s Talk about It programs[36] are wonderful examples of scholar-facilitated learning opportunities in libraries. In addition, many libraries present classes and discussion programs, and some even provide online continuing education courses such as the Universal Class database. Libraries typically offer free tutoring, homework help programs, and summer reading programs for kids and teens help bridge the economic divide that impacts students’ academic performance. Not only kids and teens benefit from public libraries: libraries have become a sanctuary for Immigrants and the LGBTQ community, providing a permanent safe-space that welcomes any and all. 

The California Library Association  provides leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library services, librarianship and the library community.  The CLA is governed by a Board of Directors and ran by Committees, who ultimately oversee the public libraries across the state (laws vary state-to-state; always check the rules and regulations for your area). Find a directory listing the address and phone of all the public libraries in California here.

We wanted to take a moment to highlight just a few of the most beautiful libraries in our home state:

SD Dirk  
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Paulo Coelho, The Spy: A Novel Of Mata Hari

Image result for the spy coelhoPaulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist and The Witch of Portobello, again bewitches readers with The Spy, a novel based on the life of Mata Hari.

Based on real events

Based around the historical facts surrounding her life and 1917 arrest, Coelho weaves together a first-hand account of what really happened during her life – how she felt, and justifies some of the reasons for her actions.

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The Prologue describes Mata’s gruesome execution by firing squad. Imagining her final moments as she gets dressed for a final time and fearlessly faces her own death with open eyes – refusing to be blindfolded.

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Ottessa Moshfegh, Homesick For Another World

Image result for ottessa moshfegh the weirdosHomesick For Another World, Ottessa Moshfegh’s collection of short stories, comprises a selection of her previously published pieces, culminating in a grand anthology that exemplifies Moshfegh’s work precisely. The published book helpfully gathers most of her published short stories together in one accessible volume (excluding only three: “Medicine”, Vice, December 1, 2007; “Disgust”, The Paris Review, No. 202, Fall 2012; and “Brom”, Granta, Issue 139, 2017). A Better Place is the only chapter that was written for the book itself. It stands alone as an ending to the book, but also as a new piece within itself.

The author of the best-seller Eileen has a distinctly identifiable style:

You know, I like weird characters. I don’t know any normal people [laughs]. I do like cliches in my satire: the hipster in the story dancing in the moonlight is a distillation of all the hipsters I knew when younger. I tend to be mean, huh? I’m really hard on men, especially older men.

Moshfegh deliberately chooses to write about the dirtiest and grimiest of our human activities, describing things we all do, the dark things, and finds beauty in the fact that we all indeed have that same darkness within. These stories illuminate the dark truth of human nature, told raw and real, with a morbid sarcasm and dry wit. Continue reading

Orange Is The New Black, Season 5 Episode 7: Poussey’s Library

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Orange Is The New Black routinely pays homage to its form, by referencing books throughout the entire Netflix original series. After the first season, the show heavily diverges from the truth of the memoir it was based on, though the show still makes an effort to honor books by including them in the characters lives. Not only do inmates rely on story to get through their incarceration, but their incarceration becomes a story (ie. Orange Is The New Black: A Memoir by Piper Kerman).

OITNB may weave a tall tale, but a tale that is rooted in truth. Although the lives of Chapman and the other inmates depicted on the show are fictitious, they are based on real people in true situations. The show brings to light real issues that exist within the prison system, and educates us while entertaining us.

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Books Referenced in OITNB

If you love Orange Is The New Black, you are no doubt familiar with the bookish-ness of the show. Not only is the show based on the published memoir of Piper Kerman, but the characters consistently reference and are shown reading modern books from the real world. Often the books hold significance, either to the plot line or to the development of the characters – either way, the books are significant.

With the release of the 5th season of OITNB (June 9th), we revisited the first four seasons and compiled a list of the books mentioned throughout the show.

Find our commentary comparing the memoir Orange Is The New Black to the Netflix Original series here.  Visit the Books of Orange is the New Black tumblr account, or BookRiot, for more on the books read and referenced in the show. Continue reading

Interview with Rebecca Dunham

Rebecca Dunham is a poet an2016-author-photo-1-300x225d Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she teaches creative writing. Her work has been described as post-confessional and concerns itself with feminist and ecological issues. Her most recent publication, Cold Pastoral, is a collection of poems based on modern ecological disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She has published four other collections of poetry, including Fascicle, Glass Armonica, The Miniature Room, and The Flight Cage.

Q: What does Cold Pastoral mean, for you? What do you hope readers gain after reading the poems?

Personally, the book marks a point in my life when I had to take stock of my place in the world around me, as well as the function of poetry within that world. For readers, I hope that the poet-speaker’s journey will resonate with those of us who may mean well, but who have also blinded ourselves to the mounting human and environmental crises around us. I would hope that the book will encourage readers to consider their responsibility to others, as well as potential for language and literature to enact change. Continue reading

Cold Pastoral, Rebecca Dunham

Dunham’s poetry comes to us at a desperate time. We currently face the ecological threats of global warming, as exacerbated by our human interactions with the world we inhabit. Pollution, over-population, and deforestation are serious hazards to our environment, and Dunham understands our human contribution to the problem. With her poems, she hopes to educate and inform readers of the very real consequences of forgetting to care for the Earth.

This collection examines the man-made and/or human-influenced natural disasters of our time: the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Hurricane Katrina and its devastating aftermath, and the Flint water crisis.  Dunham tactfully weaves desolate poems with evidenciary support, creating a powerful report on what really happened with the Oil Spill.  Continue reading

A Crown Of Wishes

Image result for a crown of wishesThe sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen remains equally adventurous as the first, transporting the reader to the far-away otherworldly lands of Bharata & Ujijain, Alaka and beyond, this time following Mayavati’s younger sister Gauri on her own journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Filled with adventure, politics, friendships, sisterhood, romance, illusion, transformation, sacrifices, trials and tribulations, A Crown of Wishes weaves an otherworldly story, carried on the wings of birds with feathers of glittering gold.

In A Crown of Wishes we find Gauri, the legendary warrior princess of Bharata, exiled and imprisoned in Ujijain at her brother Skanda’s command. Scorned by her people for the lies Skanda has spread, Gauri faces execution in Ujijain. But Vikram, the cunning ‘Fox Prince’ of Ujijain, sees her potential and offers Gauri a chance at redemption. Together, they enter the Tournament of Wishes with hopes of winning a wish from The Lord of Treasures that would secure them their greatest desires. Continue reading