The Star-Touched Queen

star-touched-queenRoshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen is an adventure, taking the reader through far-away otherworldly lands on a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Driven to enchanted bazaars and palaces of another time, racing on horseback across barren fields and wild jungles, the story engulfs the reader, allowing readers to become one with the character Mayavati as she bites into fairy fruits of sapphires and pearls and wears a crown of stars in her hair.

Told in horoscopes and embedded in myth, this story captivates and entrances the reader, lulling them with dreamlike images of golden honeycomb archives and gem-laden palace hallways, inviting readers into a world of fantasy, fairytale, lore and beauty. Spoken in riddles, the novel itself encourages deep thinking. Reminding us that “everything is a matter of interpretation” (112) the book promotes thoughtful decision making. Urging readers to practice “a different way of seeing” (143). But reader beware: The Star-Touched Queen bears virtue and valor, but also loses herself to impulsivity and falls victim to rumor. Like any other mortal, Maya must overcome her past in order to triumph in her future. Following her trials the reader learns from her mistakes, understanding as she does the importance of logic, reasoning, and fairness. Her lover Amar helps her in (re)discovering herself, gently encouraging her strengths and challenging her weaknesses, while simultaneously doing his best to protect her from her those who might try and ruin her.

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An Alternative to Shelf Life

22-07-13-BOOKCROSSING-FOTOI recently discovered a website and community called Book Crossing. It’s an organization that celebrates and promotes the distribution of book as opposed to keeping your books on a shelf at home. The website encourages users to print out a label for the book, register the book online, and release it into the wild! Continue reading

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.” – Mim Malone

 

Mosquitoland is a novel about a girl named Mim aka Mary Iris Malone. Mim has had her life uprooted when her parents divorce and she moves from Cleveland to Mississippi with her Father and stepmother against her wishes. When she overhears that her mother, who she hasn’t heard from in three weeks, is sick she immediately decides to go see her herself. She jumps onto a Greyhound bus to do just that but not everything goes as smoothly she planned. Continue reading

WILD: A Journey of Self Realization and Self Discovery

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At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mothers death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. Continue reading

Seeing ‘Wild’

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Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, Wild is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. Driven to the edge by the loss of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), the dissolution of her marriage and a headlong dive into self-destructive behavior, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) makes a decision to halt her downward spiral and put her life back together again. With no outdoors experience, a heavy backpack and little else to go on but her own will, Cheryl sets out alone to hike the Pacific Crest Trail — one of the country’s longest and toughest through-trails.

Powerfully moving and emotionally resonant, the film opens with the climactic loss of a boot as it slips from Cheryl Strayed’s mountain top perch, which is immediately followed by a barrage of flashback memories and thoughts — bursting images of a fox, of a horse, of dictionary definitions, of her mother’s face. This opening serves as a framework to outline the story, attempting to afford the viewer with a general overview into the journey that is about to unfold. Continue reading