Book Review

Gift from the Sea—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

three shells on sand

Cover flap text: This small book of great and simple wisdom has spoken to hundred of thousands of readers. With an inimitable combination of unselfconscious grace and transparent clarity, Anne Morrow Lindbergh has given moving and memorable form to the problems that beset the human heart.

The setting of her book is the seashore; the time, a brief vacation that lifts her from the distractions of everyday existence into the sphere of mediation. As the sea tosses up its gifts—shells rare and perfect—so the mind, left to its ponderings, brings up its own treasures. Each shell stands as a symbol for various states and stages of life: a perfect, self-contained whorled beauty reminds her not only of man’s and woman’s essential loneliness but also of solitude, that well of replenishment. The delicately rose-tinted double-sunrise shell calls up the dawn of human relationships, with its intensity and exclusiveness of devotion. The rough and sturdy oyster shell stands for the middle years, their duties and difficult achievements. And Argonauta, delicate and free, hints at the solutions which she and other questing human beings may find in later years in their work of self-realization.

Now, twenty years later, Gift from the Sea continues to influence women’s lives. In her new afterword, Anne Morrow Lindbergh reflects on a world totally changed in two decades—but a world unchanged in the profound need in women for self-realization; the need for each woman, as the author reiterates, to learn and relearn the painful lesson that “woman must come of age by herself—she must find her true center alone.”

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Women I Should Have Been Taught about in History Class

Queen Nzinga Mbande [1583–1661/63]

Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeod-cyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.

Wait, sorry.

That’s the opening lines of Beowulf. But in keeping with starting things with hwæt:

So, listen. There’s some shit going down right now, and my social media feed is full of how awful everything is (and everything is awful). I was listening to something or reading something and I realized that history is both full of awful things and full of amazing women (some of whom did some not-so-great things) who I should have been taught about in history class.

I present to you the first Woman I Should Have Been Taught about in History Class: Queen Nzinga.

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Book Review

Even in Paradise—Elizabeth Nunez

green snake curled on off white background

Cover flap text: Peter Ducksworth, a Trinidadian widower of English ancestry, retires to Barbados, believing he will find an earthly paradise there. He decides to divide his land among his three daughters while he is alive, his intention not unlike that of King Lear, who hoped “That future strife / May be prevented now.” But Lear made the fatal mistake of confusing flattery with love, and so does Ducksworth. Feeling snubbed by his youngest daughter, Ducksworth decides that only after he dies will she receive her portion of the land. In the meantime, he gives his two older daughters their portions, ironically setting in motion the very strife he hoped to prevent.

Beautifully written in elegant prose, this is a novel about greed, resentment, jealousy, betrayal, and romantic love in the postcolonial world of the Caribbean, giving us a diverse cast of characters of African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian/Lebanese, and English ancestry.

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Book Review

Emperor Mage—Tamora Pierce

emperor mageGoodreads text: Daine sails to Cathak as part of a peace treaty delegation from Tortall. There she is amazed by strange and wondrous sights, including rooms filled with dinosaur bones and the Emperor Mage’s zoo. But she also senses a darkness beneath all the gold and glitter, a darkness that lies in wait. At the same time, Daine is discovering that her own wild magic is growing again, this time giving her powers both great and terrifying. 

Emperor Mage is the third book in “The Immortals” series, which chronicles a time when the world is invaded by immortal creatures and a girl is born with a magical gift that could restore the very balance of nature.

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Book Review

Tempests and Slaughter—Tamora Pierce

tempests and slaughter

Cover flap text: Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness—and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “left-over prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms.

As Arram’s education continues, he discovers a disturbing dark side of the Carthaki Empire—one that not even his powerful masters at the university can protect him from. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

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Book Review

Warrior of Light—William Heinzen

warrior of lightBack cover text: Tim Matthias has only ever known the peace of the South, but that peace is shattered when a group of mysterious creatures destroys his home. In search of answers, Tim discovers the poisoned wastelands of the North, where the Dark Lord Zadinn Kanas rules over all. It is here that Tim joins forces with a band of freedom fighters on a quest to find the Army of Kah’lash, a mythical force destined to serve those in need. At the same time, Tim must learn to use the magic of the Lifesource, for he is the Warrior of Light. As Tim struggles to accept his destiny, those around him must battle their way across the North, seeking a means to wage one last, desperate stand against Zadinn and his armies.

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Book Review

Ready Player One—Ernest Cline

ready player one

Back cover text: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take his ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

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