Engaging with Literature

 “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  Joseph Addison There are multiple ways to engage with literature – with our mind, our emotions, and our senses – and there are multiple tools that facilitate a deeper understanding of what we read. Employing literary theories and critical reading will initiate that process.  ConsiderContinue reading “Engaging with Literature”

Stephen Crane:  The Advance Guard of Modernist, Expressionist and Absurdist Movements

According to M.H. Abrams in A Glossary of Literary Terms, “the term modernism is widely used to identify new and distinctive features in the subjects, forms, concepts, and styles of literature and the other arts in the early decades of the twentieth century, but especially after World War I (1914-18)”. This description can certainly beContinue reading “Stephen Crane:  The Advance Guard of Modernist, Expressionist and Absurdist Movements”

The Magic of Joanne Harris

“Magical realism relies upon the presentation of real, imagined or magical elements as if they were real…  [it has] inherent transgressive and subversive qualities [which] has led many postcolonial, feminist and cross-cultural writers to embrace it as a means of expressing their ideas.” Maggie Ann Bowers Many writers today fall under the umbrella of magicalContinue reading “The Magic of Joanne Harris”

Understanding Story, Plot and Narrative

“Rip Van Winkle” is the quintessential American short story.  It is compact, has an impact, and a beginning, middle and end that you can read in one setting.  More importantly it has humor.  The story is full of meaningful descriptions and imagery.  “Rip Van Winkle” is simply enjoyable and fun to read.  Like other short stories, it is influenced byContinue reading “Understanding Story, Plot and Narrative”

Seize the Moment – Grab a Short Story

[T]he story demands that you become a fuller participant in said experience. There won’t be any long authorial seduction of the reader; you need to be primed when you show up. And no chapters full of backstory, set-pieces, window-dressing, etc. Of course, all readers should be alert and dedicated all the time, but a novelContinue reading “Seize the Moment – Grab a Short Story”

Experiencing Drama

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until tonight becomes tomorrow.“ Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2 Drama imitates. Poetry animates. Short stories fixate. While these three forms of literature share common elements, they often use them differently, or for a different end. Short stories focus onContinue reading “Experiencing Drama”

Engaging in Reading

Reading is an active, engaged exercise.  It involves considering the material and connecting it to your life in some way.  Asking yourself the following questions while you read will help you connect more deeply to literature.  What you learn from these explorations will make you a more effective communicator as you’ll be able to shareContinue reading “Engaging in Reading”

Dystopian Fiction

Dystopian fiction is very popular with teens this days.  It’s less popular for some adults who think it’s too grim.  However, many writers, teachers and even doctors agree that young people can benefit from reading dystopian fiction.  Some parents are reading and recommending such novels to their teens.  Despite the recent debate, these types ofContinue reading “Dystopian Fiction”