Category Archives: Recommendations

Literature of the Climate Crisis

Environmental Banner

We have eleven years to cut global emissions in half. Scientists warn that anything less could raise the global temperature over 1.5 °C and create massive droughts, floods, extreme heat, poverty, and environmental emigration.

2019 saw a huge shift in the public’s awareness of the climate crisis. We’ve curated a reading list for those who want to learn even more.

 

Nonfiction

Environmental Books Nonfiction

This is Not a Drill (2019): A collection of essays written and collected by Extinction Rebellion members that will bring the urgency of the climate crisis into reality.

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019): A collection of award-winning environmental journalist Naomi Klein’s most poignant and inspiring articles on the climate crisis in the last decade.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019): In the midst of her exploration of the intersection of technology, memory, and humanity, Jenny Odell connects our tech-induced memory lapses to our lack of attention to our environment.

No One is Too Small to Make a Different (2019) : Greta Thunberg lit the world on fire with her passionate, scalding speeches on the urgency of the climate crisis. This collection documents some of her most inspiring words.

Daughter of Copper Woman: From creation myths to the bloody legacy of colonization, Anne Cameron documents the stories of indigenous women and the link between culture, feminism, and land.

 

Poetry

Environmental Books Poetry

“The Peace of Wild Things” (2018): First published in Wendell Berry’s collection of the same name, you can read the entire poem here.

“Lullaby in Fracktown” (2016): First published in Poetry‘s January 2016 issue, you can read the entire poem here.  This poem was written by Lilace Mellin Guignard.

“Once the World Was Perfect” (2015): First published in Joy Harjo’s collection Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, you can read the entire poem here.

“Of Age” (2017): First published in the New Yorker, you can read the entire poem here. This poem was written by Amit Majmudar

“2 Degrees” (2015): First preformed at an United Nations Climate Change event, you can read the entire poem here. This poem was written by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner.

 

Fiction

Environmental Books Fiction

Oryx & Crake (2003): The first in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam trilogy, Oryx & Crake tells the story of a new species of people created specifically to survive the climate apocalypse.

The Lorax (1971): Dr. Seuss’s iconic and essential children’s story about the consequences of capitalism on the environment.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1996): Humans are barely surviving from the legacy of environmental destruction in this world crawling with giant insects, toxic air, and human greed.

The Road (2006): A father and child try to survive life on the road after a devastating apocalypse transforms the land around them.

Bone Clocks (2014): Author David Mitchell uses the landscape of a fantasy world to explore human nature and our relationship to the environment around us.

 

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Feeling Uninspired? Here are Some Books That Can Help

Inspiration can come in a variety of different forms regardless of what genre you write in. With Nature Photography Day being on June 15th, I wanted to create a short list of some of the most beautiful books featuring nature photography. Viewing these splendid images could spark something inside you and help give you a new view on the world as well as create an engaging talking point in your everyday life.

9781604694925_p0_v1_s550x406Seeing Seeds by Teri Dunn Chace & Robert Llewellyn

Sometimes taking a closer look at things can help to change your option of them. In this dazzling book, there is more than just close up pictures of seeds, because every seed comes with a fascinating story. As the saying goes, “Great oaks from little acorns grow”, but this book shows there is much more to a seed then the plant it will someday become. With Llewellyn’s unique method of focus stacking, a technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances, every part of the picture is in sharp focus creating a depth of detail that rivals the best botanical illustrators. Within these stunning pages, you’ll gain an understanding of how seeds are formed and dispersed, why they look the way they do, and how they fit into the environment. Seeing Seedsis sure to take you to strange and wonderful places and when you return, it’s safe to say you will never look at a seed the same way again.

81bbF+rQklLOverview by Benjamin Grant

Going from extreme close up to extreme overview can give you a greater understanding of the world as a whole. Have you ever looked out of your airplane window and marveled at the site of the land below you, viewing the grid of housing developments, roads, farms, and shipyards? With this stunning and unique collection of satellite images of Earth, this book offers an unexpected look at humanity. It showcases a marvelous view of the world by stitching together numerous high-resolution satellite photographs. The effect is a sensation that echoes the experiences that astronauts have when given the opportunity to look down on Earth. These breathtaking, high definition satellite photographs offer a new way to look at the landscape that we have shaped, with a mixture of more than 200 images of industry, agriculture, and nature. These photographs highlight the incredible natural patterns that the land creates as well as revealing a deeper story about the human impact on the world. This extraordinary photographic journey around our planet captures the sense of wonder gained from a new, aerial vantage point and creates a perspective of Earth as it has never been seen before.

UnknownBeaches by Stefano Passaquindici

As it is still summer you might not be able to head to the beach yourself, but that does not mean that you need to deprive yourself of the beautiful images and inspiration that beaches can bring you. With this beautifully illustrated volume, you have access to 100 of the most breathtaking beaches in the world all from your home. These beaches can be found on coastlines from around the world, from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the quaintness of Love Beach in the Bahamas. This book offers an exclusive tour of 100 of the most beautiful beaches in the world chosen by some of the world’s most qualified and sophisticated travel journalist and photographers and offers a unique perspective for travelers everywhere. This book could also be used as a wonderful piece of research should your work require useful maps and website references

rarely seen.jpgRarely Seen by National Geographic

Humans have always been fascinated by the awe-inspiring and in this book you can feast your eyes on the visual wonders that few will have the chance to see in person. This book features striking images of places, events, natural phenomena, and manmade heirlooms all shot by some of the world’s finest photographers. Everything is here in this masterpiece, a 30,000-year-old cave art sealed from the public; animals that are among the last of their species; volcanic lightning; giant crystals that have grown to more than 50 tons; the engraving inside Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch. “In the presence of so many breathtaking images, you’re sure to find something inspiring to write about.” So sit down in a comfortable chair and let your mind wander to all to the possibilities.

dawn to duskDawn to Dark by National Geographic

Everyone knows that light makes photography possible and that by simply changing the lighting of an environment it can change the feelings that a photograph brings. In this remarkable book, the world’s best landscape photography and photojournalism depicts the stunningly beautiful passage of a single day, from dawn’s first light to the closing moments of sunset. Full of one-of-a-kind photographs, this collection gives readers a front-row seat to the wonders of the world as seen through the passing of a day.

We hope this little list helps you find that spark of inspiration you look for when the creative well feels empty. The photographs in these books can help give you a new perspective on the world through their expert use of lighting, angles, and distances. With this change of perspective, we hope that you find the ability to engage with the creative inspiration that is all around you and know that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places.

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Sink Your Eyes Into These Books!

As we enjoy the summer I wanted to take a moment to create a short list of summer reading material. For those that don’t usually read this could be a terrific goal to have this list completed by the end of July. For those that do read this could be seen as a list to broaden your horizons into a genre you don’t usually read. How many can you read? Which is your favorite?

 

Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Celebrated for its inspiring tale and emotional prose Where the Crawdads Sing will bring tears to your eyes and a smile on your face.

Historic Fiction

Lost Roses

By Martha Hall Kelly

It is 1914, and the world has been on the brink of war so often, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the tsar’s Winter Palace, the famous ballet.

But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend.

A story of friendship and hardship this tale will have you questioning the limits your own relationships have and if you are willing to break them.

Romantic Fiction

Normal People

By Sally Rooney

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

The classic tale of girl meets boy but with a societal class twist. A love story that is not quite a romance from two different perspectives. Will they be together? Will they drift apart? 

LGBTQ Fiction

Real Queer America:LGBT Stories From Red States

By Samantha Allen

Ten years ago, Samantha Allen was a suit-and-tie-wearing Mormon missionary. Now she’s a senior Daily Beast reporter happily married to another woman. A lot in her life has changed, but what hasn’t changed is her deep love of Red State America, and of queer people who stay in so-called “flyover country” rather than moving to the liberal coasts.

In Real Queer America, Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: “Something gay every day.” Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to scores of extraordinary LGBT people working for change, from the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history to the manager of the only queer night club in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more.

Conservative communities and queer spaces? Samantha Allen challenges the vision that readers have for the Mid United States and their inner communities and completely changes the narrative and has readers begging for more. 

Science Fiction

Radicalized

By Cory Doctorw

Told through one of the most on-pulse genre voices of our generation, Radicalized is a timely collection consisting of four SF novellas connected by social, technological, and economic visions of today and what America could be in the near, near future.

Unauthorized Bread is a tale of immigration, the toxicity of economic and technological stratification, and the young and downtrodden fighting against all odds to survive and prosper.

In Model Minority, a Superman-like figure attempts to rectifiy the corruption of the police forces he long erroneously thought protected the defenseless…only to find his efforts adversely affecting their victims.

Radicalized is a story of a dark-web-enforced violent uprising against insurance companies told from the perspective of a man desperate to secure funding for an experimental drug that could cure his wife’s terminal cancer.

The fourth story, Masque of the Red Death, harkens back to Doctorow’s Walkaway, taking on issues of survival-ism versus community.

An anthology that likens to Black Mirror, these authors push the societal norms and forces us to question our morality and political views.

Fantasy

Black Leopard Red Wolf

By Marlon James

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Armed with literary devices and African mythology Marlon James takes us on an adventure through new worlds and prose. A sharp contrast from the Greek Myths we have become used to Black Leopard Red Wolf is a refreshing tale you won’t want to put down.

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5 Flash Fiction Pieces to Celebrate Women’s History Month

By Anne Jonas

In honor of Women’s History Month, I have chosen 5 flash fiction pieces written by, or about, women. These pieces take no more than 5 minutes to read, and are perfect for any spare moments you have throughout your day.

1. Break, by Rabih Alameddine

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Image Source: Chloe Scheffe, The New Yorker

This piece chronicles the relationship between a sister and a brother who correspond over the course of seven years with just photographs. What is the reason for such a peculiar form of communication, you may ask? The narrator is a trans-woman whose family disowned her upon her transitioning, and threatened her brother not to speak or write to her without consequences. This story is a haunting portrait of the breaking and reparation of family, love, and loneliness.

“He broke first. I received a four-by-six portrait of his son with a slightly bleeding nose, taken hastily, badly lit, likely by a bathroom bulb. On the ten-year-old face, a thread of blood trickled from nose to upper lip, curving an ogee around the corner of the mouth and down the chin. The boy was in no pain; he looked inquisitively at the camera, probably wondering why his father had had the urge to bring it out.

I held my breath for a beat or two or three when I saw the image. On the back of the photograph Mazen had written, ‘I keep seeing you.’”

2. Girl, by Jamaica Kincaid

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Image Source: Jefferson Wheeler

In this laundry list of dos and don’ts, demands, and warnings, Jamaica Kincaid exposes the unembellished realities of growing up as a girl in a patriarchal world. Written in 1978, in the height of the Second Wave feminist movement, Kincaid’s story feels just as personal as it does political. It is not flashy about its brilliance, and yet in its modesty it proves to be a nuanced masterpiece.

“this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely; this is how you set a table for tea; this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don’t squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know”

3. The Huntress, by Sofia Samatar

huntress

Image Source: Del Samatar

In this sci-fi fast fiction piece, an impossibly large female monster called The Huntress terrorizes the inhabitants of a city below. The narrator is a foreigner to this place and is fatally unprepared for the wrath of The Huntress. This piece weaves together intense sensory imagery with disorienting ambiguity; we, as readers, feel just as on-edge as the narrator.

“The Huntress left dark patches wherever she passed. She left a streak. In the morning, the hotel staff would find me unconscious, gummed to the floor. The proprietor weeping, for nothing like this had ever happened in his establishment, nothing. Had I not read the instructions on the desk?”

4. Housewife, by Amy Hempel

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Image Source: VICE

In this one-sentence story, Amy Hempel humorously captures the pure delight of a cunning, two-timing housewife rejoicing in her latest affair. Hempel relays the sexual freedom and polyamorous nature of a modern-day woman who seeks her own pleasure first, and protocols second.

“She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her of that day, she would exploit by incanting, ‘French film, French film.’”

5.  John Redding Goes to Sea, by Zora Neale Hurston

 

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Image Source: Fotosearch / Getty Images

Zora Neale Hurston is one of my all-time favorite female novelists as well as an iconic figure in feminist history. Although she is primarily known and celebrated for her novels, her fast-fiction and short stories are equally deserving of praise. In this piece, Hurston masterfully uses dialect to illustrate the story of John Redding, a ten-year-old daydreamer who imagines his backyard stream is a great sea.

“The little brown boy loved to wander down to the water’s edge, and, casting in dry twigs, watch them sail away downstream to Jacksonville, the sea, the wide world and John Redding wanted to follow them.

Sometimes in his dreams he was a prince, riding away in a gorgeous carriage. Often he was a knight bestride a fiery charger prancing down the white shell road that led to distant lands. At other times he was a steamboat captain piloting his craft down the St. John River to where the sky seemed to touch the water. No matter what he dreamed or who he fancied himself to be, he always ended by riding away to the horizon; for in his childish ignorance he thought this to be farthest land.”

For those who feel like they don’t have the time to read a full-fledged novel, or who desire a fast-paced narrative, fast fiction is the way to go. However, do not assume that just because these pieces are short, they are any less than a novel or a lengthier piece. Fast fiction is an important subgenre of literature because it stretches the expectations of what we perceive fiction to be. It teaches us to be creative and really think about the words we are writing. Fast fiction is a lean and efficient form; nothing is arbitrary. It is important that we read works like these so that we, too, may become better readers and writers.

For more fast fiction pieces, check out:

https://flashfictionmagazine.com/

http://www.100wordstory.org/

http://thecollagist.com/

https://everydayfiction.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Authors to Read Year Round

  1. AUDRE LORDE- One of the pillars of queer literature, Audre Lorde is famous for her many works in poetry, her invention of the biomythography, and her essays. A self-described, “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Lorde dedicated both her life and her talent to addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classicism, and homophobia. Each of her works remain relevant and tackle social issues that are still found today.

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“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde

2. JAMES BALDWIN-An American novelist, playwright, and activist. One of his novels If Beale Street Could Talk, recently won an Academy Award. His works delve into the effects of racism for both the oppressed and the oppressor. Unlike other authors, Baldwin’s slow approach to revealing racism is at first subtle, but as you travel deeper into both his essays and novels, you are transported into a realistic interpretation of racism–– that racism is not just a black or white area, but a complicated and messy grey web of multifaceted and harmful philosophies that need to be carefully analyzed to understand.

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“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James Baldwin

3. ELIZABETH ACEVEDO-   Elizabeth Acevedo is an award-winning slam poet and bestseller of her novel The Poet X. The book has gone on to receive: the 2018 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award, the Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature, the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and the Michael L. Printz Award for 2019. It was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. Her works not only blur the lines between prose and language, but they also question today’s philosophy of racism, physical presence, sexuality, and religious faith.

Elizabeth acevedo

“Burn it! Burn it. This is where the poems are,” I say, thumping a fist against my chest. “Will you burn me? Will you burn me, too?” – Elizabeth Acevedo

4. ALICE DUNBAR NELSON-Poet, essayist, diarist, and activist. Her works exploring racism were largely rejected by publishers during her lifetime. As a highly successful journalist, she fought against the male-dominated field and was often denied recognition or payment for her articles. Her first collection, “Violets and Other Tales” (published in 1895), is referred to as the first-ever short story collection ever published by an African-American woman. Best known for her prose, Alice Nelson is one of the few authors of her time to portray the complicated reality of African American women during the Harlem Renaissance. Her portrayal includes women as intellectuals, addressing topics such as racism, oppression, family, work, and sexuality.

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It is dark, like the passionate women of Egypt; placid, like their broad brows; deep, silent like their souls. Within its bosom are hidden romances and stories, such as were sung by minstrels of old. From the source to the mouth is not far distant, visibly speaking, but in the life of the bayou a hundred heart-miles could scarce measure it.

– Alice Dunbar Nelson

5. OCTAVIA E. BUTLER-

A multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, she became in 1995 the first Science-Fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work changed the very grounds of Science Fiction. She shifted the idea of white male heroes saving other people’s, to allowing the reader to see people of different class, ethnicity, education, and gender and to contemplate them in new contexts. Her work often reflected contemporary issues, such as California Prop 187 which attempted to deny immigrants their rights before it was deemed unconstitutional.

octavia butler

The thing about science fiction is that it’s totally wide open. But it’s wide open in a conditional way.” – Octavia E. Butler

Please comment and tell us your favorite authors below!

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5 Exercises to Escape Writer’s Block

Hey everyone! I’m Victoria Valley, one of the two new interns at Cambridge Editors, and a Graduate Student from Emerson College’s Editing and Publishing Program. If you are like me and enjoy both reading and writing, then you may have suffered from the dreaded affliction, Writer’s Block. If you have yet to experience it, allow me to explain: writer’s block is, the inability to write or to think of what to write. Also, some who glare at their manuscripts whilst sitting in the corner of their offices have been known to call it “Hitting the Wall” or “The Pit.” If this is true for you, here are five – yes five ­– ways to cure yourself of writer’s block.

  1. Walk

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Henry David Thoreau, is said to have walked up to four hours a day to help his writing. A leader in the Transcendental Movement, he created an essay known as “Walking” or “The Wild,” which proclaimed that modern people are too distracted by civilization and that allowing our natural side to the forefront of our minds would help create a much needed balance in our lives. So let those juices flow! Get up! Allow yourself to forget the paragraph you desperately need to write and enjoy nature. You don’t need to walk up to four hours a day! A simple 30 minutes might make all the difference. This exercise was a life saver for me as an undergraduate! I found it difficult to start my day and was also extremely shy. Forcing myself to walk outside for at least 30 minutes a day not only helped me with my writer’s block but also helped me to explore my neighborhood. By incorporating walking into your life you not only can escape writer’s block but you can also explore your neighborhood as well!

  1. Outline Your Ideas.

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Now let’s change the format. Instead of re-writing the same five sentences, draw a picture. Start by drawing a circle and writing your idea on the inside. Create five outer circles with arrows pointing to each of them. Now set a timer for one minute. In the span of one minute, write every random word that comes to mind in each of the outer circles. Repeat this process three more times. The first few bubbles tend to hold little meaning for me, but the more concepts you create, the easier it is to form new strings of ideas.

  1. Experience Art.

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Go out and find a local art gallery. As you walk around the exhibit, write down a few lines of your first impressions on each piece. If you are unable to walk through a gallery, find an art website and write down your first impressions. Writing will always inspire art and vice versa. By focusing on visual thoughts, your mind will hopefully explore new inspirations and ideas.

  1. Use Writing Prompts.

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Writing challenges can inspire new ideas and allow your brain to work outside the box. These challenges come in large variety and are available for every genre. Writing prompts are easy to find over the Internet and are generally free as well.

Here is one to get you started: Pretend you are the owner of a large company. You are forced to fire one of your top executives. For ten minutes, write in letter format why you are removing this person from your company.

  1. Play Story-Telling Card Games.

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If your Writer’s Block is contagious and your friends need inspiration as well, then I suggest story-telling card games. These games typically consist of a box of cards that have been illustrated with pictures or words. When laid out on a table, they allow for a narrative to be created. The person who produces the best narrative from the cards wins the game. Some story-telling card games are: The Hollow Woods, Once Upon a Time, Above and Below, and The Machine of Death. This last suggestion is my personal favorite way to shake writer’s block because you also get to relax with friends!

Writer’s block happens to all of us, and with some time and patience anyone can escape it. Hopefully, one of these options cures your Writer’s Block and you can continue your project. Is there a routine I have not mentioned? Please, comment below sharing what you do to escape writer’s block!

 

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5 Books to Keep You Company on Valentine’s Day

Hello Readers! My name is Anne Jonas and I am a new intern at CambridgeEditors. I am an English major at Boston University, with a double minor in French and Women’s Studies. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy exploring Boston, smashing the patriarchy, and binge-watching French TV shows on Netflix.

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If you are a single lady like me, then you know that Valentine’s Day can make you feel a little isolated or left out. But I’ve got just the fix! I have chosen five books that transform romantic clichés into awe-inspiring narratives. These books are not your typical Nicholas Sparks heartthrobs or your Fifty Shades of Grey heart-racers. Rather, they are books that look at love through different and unconventional perspectives, which made me think about the genre of romance and why we read it in the first place. So, I challenge everyone out there to find company in a book today. Get into some comfy clothes, make yourself a big cup of tea, find a cozy nook, and grab one of the five books below!

  1. Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home

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Fun Home is a graphic memoir written and illustrated by Bechdel, following her relationship to her father from childhood to adulthood. Self-described as a “tragicomic,” the graphic novel addresses the innerworkings of a dysfunctional family with the witty humor of an angsty teenager. The book explores themes of father-daughter love, self-love, and first love. If you like visual aids while reading and a quirky, nuanced sense of humor, I would highly recommend this book.

  1. Ian McEwan’s Atonement

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Ian McEwan’s Atonement follows a tragic love story of mistaken identity in WWII-era England. The book centers around Briony, who, as a young teenager, falsely accuses her sisters love interest of rape, thereby separating the two for life. The novel explores themes of guilt and shame, as well as the “happily-(n)ever-after” trope of postwar fiction. The book has been adapted into a movie featuring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy (*swoon*). For those who love a moving, Titanic-esque tragic love story, this is the perfect book for you.

  1. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

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The Color Purple is an epistolary novel, containing letters exchanged between Celie, a rape survivor and social pariah, and God. This novel takes a soulful look into the struggles of navigating trauma as a queer woman of color in the early 20th century. It looks at love between female outcasts, and delves into themes of sisterhood, colorism, and feminism. This book is perfect for those looking for a spiritual, yet contemporary reflection on love, gender, and race.

  1. Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Sethe’s love for her daughter, Beloved, is so great that she kills her in order to save her from the wrath of slavery. The novel follows the chaotic relationship between Sethe and Paul D, who are both haunted by the ghost of Beloved and then visited by her doppelgänger. For those who enjoy a good spook, I highly recommend this novel. This book has also been adapted into a film which features Oprah Winfrey as Sethe. Grab this book if you want a challenging, haunting read on the complexity of maternal love.

  1. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman that follows Jane Eyre through her abusive childhood, her education at an all-girls orphanage, and her eventual position as governess to the mysterious Mr. Rochester. The novel explores the social taboo surrounding large age-gaps in relationships, mistresses, and what love is like with a physical disability. If you are a fan of period pieces, this book is a great way to escape into the elusive lives of the 19th century English elite.

If you are writing a novel of your own, or if you’d like to connect with our team of expert writers, check out the CambridgeEditors website. However you spend this holiday, enjoy the best wishes from the team over at CambridgeEditors!

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A Time for Memory

As another birthday passed me by last week, I sifted through the memories surfaced by my friends and family. My mom calls me every year on my birthday and repeats the same story: “Twenty-one years ago today, I was sitting at the pool wondering if I’d be going to the hospital…”

The cycle of another year makes me reflect back on my past: my sixteenth birthday spent sweating in a humid North Carolinian summer camp, my tenth birthday spent jumping into the icy water of Lake Roaming Wood in Pennsylvania, and my twentieth birthday spent looking out at the Manhattan skyline from a Hoboken skyscraper. I love examining memory, the way we recall individual and collective events. Therefore, I thought I would share some books that deal with memory in unique and interesting ways:

  1. The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Falling

In The Sound of Things Falling, Vasquez captures the lives of Bogotans and gringos during the Pablo Escobar years in the 1960s and 1970s, and the Colombia’s transition into a modern age after his assassination in the 1990s. Vasquez explores memory and nostalgia in its complete form and in a pre-form, “the nostalgia for things that weren’t yet lost” as he describes it. Piecing together a narrative that won’t conform to linear structure, Vasquez keeps readers fascinated on every page.

  1. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Jump

The Reason I Jump is a brilliantly touching book written by a then-thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with autism. In it, he answers important questions about people with autism that are never broached, like: why don’t you make eye contact, do you not like being touched, and what are your flashback memories like? In Higashida’s answer to the last question, he writes, “the trouble with scattered memories is that sometimes they replay themselves in my head as if they had only just taken place – and when this happens, the emotions I felt originally all come rushing back to me, like a sudden storm.” A book filled with beautiful illustrations and an intention to connect us all, I highly recommend you read The Reason I Jump.

  1. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Carried

O’Brien’s famous book about the Vietnam War is often debated over whether it can be considered nonfiction or fiction. Much of the book examines the ideas of truth and memory, and what makes something real. O’Brien discusses the difference between “story-truth” and “happening-truth,” as he calls it, and asserts that fictional stories can tell the emotions of memories better than the actual memory itself. Without a doubt, The Things They Carried deserves a couple reads.

Birthdays, especially milestone birthdays like a twenty-first, are times for reflection and nostalgia. Where did I come from? How much have I grown? I love to look back at books like The Sound of Things Falling, The Reason I Jump, and The Things They Carried during this time because they remind me that memory fascinates us all. Each person approaches it in a different way. Whether it’s nearing your big day or still several months out, I recommend reading these phenomenal books.

-Colleen Risavy, Intern

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Top Three Mexican Authors

Cinco de Mayo, which took place on May 5th, is usually mistaken for the Mexican Independence Day, however, that holiday is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is for remembering the victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This year, in addition to celebrating the Mexican-American relationship, people could read famous Mexican authors.

 

Cristina Rivera Garza

 

One prominent author is Cristina Rivera Garza. She lives in Matamoros, Mexico and has always been interested in writing. The only thing she says about herself is “I am me and my keyboard.” She teaches, writes creative writing, and has a PhD in History. She’s won multiple awards, such as Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature, the Anna Seghers International Prize, the Juan Vicente Melo National Short Story Award, and more. She’s written poetry, short stories, non fiction, novels, and one opera.

Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel wrote Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate). It was transformed into a movie and was an international bestseller. That novel was published in 1989, but she has written many more. Her style is to use magical realism and include supernatural elements to add to her elements of love and self-acceptance. She lives in Mexico City. One of her famous quotes is “Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.”

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli has taken the world by storm with her collection of essays and fiction works. Her writing has been translated into various languages and she has appeared in many United States major magazines, such as the New York Times. One of her works, The Story of My Teeth, was published in 2015 and won multiple awards. Her style incorporates an autobiography-feel, even if the work is fiction. In an interview for Atlas Review she stated, “I’m very conscious of my being in space, and that comes into my writing. In that sense, yes of course, all my writing somehow comes and springs from my everydayness, but it’s not autobiographical.”

Everyone should celebrate the (correct) reasoning for Cinco de Mayo, but in the following days it’s a good plan to try and pick up some cultural media to expand every literary horizon.

-Laura Rodgers, Intern

 

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Poetry Takes Over April

The month of April is the internationally beloved National Poetry Month, created in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. It has its own website and millions of readers. They call for librarians, teachers, and readers to celebrate in any way possible. What are some of the best poems released recently? In celebration of poetry month, here is a list of some of the best compilations:

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur’s poetry has taken the world by storm with her 2014 compilation of poems Milk and Honey. It is split into four chapters and focuses on her journey of sexual assault, healing, finding love, and loving yourself. It has been on the New York Times Best Sellers List for seventy-seven weeks and has sold over 2.5 million copies. Her following work, The Sun and Her Flowers, was published last year.

Danez Smith

Another prominent collection of poems is Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith. It was published in 2017 and touched on a variety of hard-hitting themes such as police shootings, racial tensions in America, and a medical diagnosis that changes lives. Every poetry reader should add this book to their 2018 reading list.

Ocean Vuong. Photographer: Tom Hines

Poetry is certainly gaining traction in the literary world. The poetry collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong as been received with glowing reviews. He is a fairly new poet and this collection was published in 2016. His poems center around the Vietnam War, romance, sadness, and family relationships.

Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker wrote the poetry book There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce. Her work revolves around Black American womanhood and the tragedies, love, and vulnerability that comes with that title. Multiple articles have been written about her in The Nation, The Washington Post, and NPR. Her writing is unapologetic and guides the reader to become more self-aware.

Poetry has a bad reputation in the modern world. People believe that haiku’s are simple and anyone can create a poem. Unlike novels, poems are a quick conversation, a simple smile-and-wave exchange of words. People might be turned off by their short length; however, some things are best said in one exploding sentence than several drawn out chapters.

-Laura Rodgers, Intern

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