Exploring Other Worlds in Literature

Other Worlds

The Great American Read‘s most wide-ranging episode is undoubtedly its October 16th “Other Worlds” episode. The selections include historical fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, and science fiction.

In the process, it asks viewers what is their favorite type of “other world” to escape into through literature. Do you prefer to dive into the past with historical fiction or travel to foreign countries or venture into outer space or even transport yourself to other worlds entirely?

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Other Worlds voting bracket

Other Worlds

Voting for the Great Berryville Read continues this week with a new category! It is the last one. Next week will be the final round!

Welcome to Bracket #5 – Great Berryville Read Other Worlds Edition. Next week on Tuesday, October 15th, the Great American Read episode is all about the “other places” literature can take you.

This episode focuses on books that transport you far into the past, way into the distant future, and even into actual other worlds. We’ve assembled a bracket that requires you, gentle reader, to pick your favorites and decide which of these 16 books should advance to the next round of the Great Berryville Read voting.

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TV Review: The Terror (2018)

The Terror

I’m usually behind on the most current television. Because I don’t have cable, I have to wait for the DVDs or until something hits a streaming service, and that’s not something that ordinarily troubles me. But every now and then, a show premieres, and I am bitterly disappointed that I am behind everyone else. That was definitely the case with AMC’s recent miniseries The Terror. I’ve been so excited for this show ever since casting was first announced a couple of years ago. Just ask Julie. I’ve been preemptively pestering her about buying it ever since. 🙂

And now it’s here! And it’s just as excellent as I had hoped it would be! (Thank you, Julie, for not only buying it but also good-naturedly humoring my repeated purchase requests.)

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Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

At the Berryville Library this summer, we’re all busy reading the books on the Great American Read list and pondering which ones we’ll vote for in the Great Berryville Read. When I mentioned the Great American Read to my friend and one of my former English professors Elise Bishop, she mentioned really enjoying A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Well, that was one I hadn’t read, so I was determined to make it one of my selections. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it! (Thanks again for the great suggestion, Mrs. B!)

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TV Review: And Then There Were None (2016)

And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie’s best-known novel And Then There Was None is one of the 100 books that made the Great American Read list. And that seems like the perfect excuse to review the most recent adaptation of the book, this one an all-star production made for British television a couple of years ago.

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Old Favorites: Ambrose Bierce

I was going to substitute this feature with something else about the Great American Read, but then I realized that Ambrose Bierce’s birthday was this coming Sunday and, well, I just had to pen an ode to one of my favorite writers, AKA Bitter Bierce, The Diabolical Bierce, The Wickedest Man in San Francisco, The Rascal with the Sorrel Hair, The Laughing Devil, and (last but not least) The Devil’s Lexicographer. (I think I hit all the high points and included all the nicknames.)

Now, these nicknames make Bierce seem like evil incarnate, but he wasn’t. Honest!

He was just really, really, really, really grouchy, even by 19th century standards. And according to biographers, he was a crotchety, eccentric kid, so maybe when he entered this world on June 24, 1842, in rural Ohio, he was already destined to be one of the world’s best known literary misanthropes. (Though certain life events certainly did help him along that path.)

If you know of Bierce, it is likely because his two most famous works: his delightfully mean Devil’s Dictionary and his haunting, surreal Civil War short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” These are both great, but there’s a lot more to Bierce than meets the eye. . . .

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Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove

lonesome-dove

We’ve been chatting a lot about our “first favorites” for the Great American Read and Great Berryville Read. Those are the first books on the list of 100 books that jump out at you as automatic favorites.

I had 3 instant picks, and the one I have been leaning toward the most is Larry McMurtry’s modern classic Western Lonesome Dove. I’ve discussed my love of Westerns before, but I really don’t think you can get much better than this one. (As far as Westerns go, the only thing that I think ties with it is possibly Ron Hansen’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, another personal favorite. But it didn’t make the list!)

Trying to summarize the plot doesn’t do this novel, which is rich in characters and themes, justice. But at its heart, it’s the story of two former Texas Rangers, bored and burnt out with retired life, setting off on a cattle drive from South Texas to Montana. Along the way, they encounter psychopathic killers, stampedes, storms, snakes, sorrow, and more.

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