Book Review: Sense and Sensibility

I really love Jane Austen’s books – or at least most of them. I did not mean to read two Austen books back-to-back, but I became really disenchanted with the nonfiction bore I kept attempting to finish reading (and I was feeling the “do more of what you love” empowerment) so I threw my reading…

Book review: Into the Wild

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (1996), was a bummer of a book. Describing the ultimately fatal journey of a disillusioned, middle-class young man into the Alaskan wilderness, the book seeks to explain how and why Chris McCandless died. Through interviews with the family members he abandoned on the East Coast and the friends he…

Nashville + Franklin

After what seems like years of not leaving my home state of Illinois (except for family gatherings in Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin), I finally took a road trip to a completely new location: Nashville/Franklin, Tennessee!  The university that my best friend and I work for gave us the entire week of the fourth of…

Book Review: Frankenstein

In response to a challenge by the poet Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Started in 1816 and published anonymously in 1818, the story chronicles the exploits of Victor Frankenstein. Well bred for a life of academic success, the young scholar submerses himself in the challenge of creating new life…

Book Review: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Written in 1889, the novel follows Hank Morgan, an modern day (19th century) engineer from Connecticut, who gets hit in the head and wakes up in the 6th century. Early in the story, Hank is captured by one of the knights of the Round Table and brought to the court of King Arthur and Lady…

Book Review: Hamlet

Hamlet (1599-1601), one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragic plays, is a rhetorical narrative on the inherently destructive nature of struggles for power. The story picks up right after the King of Denmark dies. Presuming the death to be a homicide, his son and rightful heir, Hamlet, spends the entirety of the plot seeking revenge…

San Francisco

Less than three weeks after I returned from my year in Paris, I was on the road again. Over the course a month I traveled west for work, paused in the Midwest for vacation, headed east to visit family, and then flew down to the Caribbean for a volunteer trip. For the first stop on…

The Great British Bake Off

Compelling competition with delightful dignity There is an unfortunate lack of integrity on TV these days. Although HBO is finally removing its adult content (praise hands), shows like Jack Ryan and even The Crown demonstrate that producers still expect viewers to desire some level of lewdness in their entertainment. For years competition shows have been…

India

India was wonderful. Before arriving, I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t handle the heat, smells, culture shock, crowds, or food very well (mostly based on a terrible Indian airline experience in 5th grade). Although we still had to contend with airline food, I wisely chose the vegetarian option (always the safest bet in my…

England

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that my first priority when we got off the ferry from the Netherlands and drove into London was finding coffee. I am slightly more embarrassed to admit that I was over the moon when we were directed to a Starbucks. We hit the ground running in England enjoying an…