Posts in literature
May 15th - X marks the spot

Who doesn’t want to be a pirate? There’s action, adventure and the open sea! Not to mention the rum!

Casye and I are massive fans of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It had everything we loved. Personally, this was my introduction to a very attractive and often wet Orlando Bloom. The doodling in the edges of my notebooks throughout middle school was cemented in that moment.

We are on the edge of summer, and treasure hunting season has begun. So, let’s so sailing for adventure on the big blue wet thing!

We are reading ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. When young Jim Hawkins comes into the possession of a treasure map, he goes off on an adventure to find it. He’s thrown into the world of secrets, pirates, and one crazy castaway. I just have one question for you.

Why is the rum gone?

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May 31st – Big T Trauma

Have you ever experienced something that changed you life forever? I’m not asking about something good, like a marriage or a child. I mean something you don’t even want to think about, and when you do it just hurts.

To quote Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye, girl, that’s Big T Trauma. My first experience with something like that was the passing of my grandfather. I was only in fourth grade and in all honesty, I’ve never been the same. 

Then, when I became a teenager, I got really sick. I’ve mentioned this before, but that’s because I would not be the woman I am today without that terrible experience. However, little things associated with it still set me off. The smell of alcohol wipes makes me want to puke. I instantly throw up jell-o if I try to eat it. I will never eat a Popsicle again. I had to change all the soaps and shampoos because I started to associate the smell with washing off hospital stink. Even getting my blood drawn nearly sets off a panic attack.

Big T Trauma.

Sequels are rarely as good as the originals. Look at Highlander 2. Actually, don’t. save yourself the heartache.

We are reading ‘The Madness Underneath’ by Maureen Johnson. This is the sequel to ‘The Name of the Star’. (I’m fairly certain Casye got us into this book series because she wanted someone to suffer with.) Rory has survived a murderous ghost who copied the Jack the Ripper murders across London. Her parents spirit her away to Bristol to protect her, but what happens when she gets pulled back into the London Shades? Things get even more interesting when more people start dying by someone they cannot see? Oh, not to mention she has to deal with going back to school, a boyfriend and she’s the only known case of a human Terminis.

Being a teenager is tough.

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March 31st - One Tenth

America is a melting pot of cultures. For instance, Casye clearly has Irish blood running through her veins. I suspect she’s either a vampire or a secret long-lost Wesley. I only have minor amounts of Scottish and Irish heritage, but the stories of those cultures are strong. My grandad always used to say we make our own luck. He had a lucky silver dollar made into a money clip that he carried with him every day of his life. Never was fond of black cats either. My grandmama gave me a witch’s ball for my birthday last year. It’s a simple blue glass globe settled in front of a mirror. As long as the globe remains dust free, then witches cannot get into your house. I don’t bother with it much so Casye can actually come inside to record the podcast. (Also, it could be some sort of conspiracy to trick me into cleaning.) Through all the stories and all the superstition, Case and I have learned one thing.

Never mess with Fae.

Just don’t do it. They are quick, clever and mischievous. They will steal you, your baby, your magic, whatever they want without a second thought. The worst part is you’ll never see it coming. If you are forced to deal with them, there are rules.

1.      They can’t lie, but they can obfuscate better than OJ Simpson’s lawyers. Don’t trust them.

2.      Don’t eat Faerie food. You’ll be trapped forever.

3.      No gifts. If something seems complementary, it’s not. Everything has a price.

4.      This is the most important. NEVER GIVE THEM YOUR NAME. If they have control of your name, they have control of you.

Keep these rules in mind when reading Tithe by Holly Black. Kaye is just a teenage girl who is being drug around the country by her failing-rocker of a mother. Till one night, she’s on her way home from a disastrous night out with her friends. She happens upon a wounded Faerie Prince. But is he what he seems? And what does Kaye have to do with the upcoming tithe?

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March 15th - Worth A Thousand Words

Pictures are imperfect things. They are only representations of the real. Like many kids, I went to Disney world when I was a child. There are photos of mousey little Elizabeth with massive glasses and buckteeth. I hadn’t quite grown into my ears yet either. It was a great look. Those photos don’t tell you that I got a Pooh Bear dressed as an Easter bunny from my grandparents on that trip that I fell in love with instantly. Or how much pizza I ate at the pizza planet arcade. Or how my brother and I didn’t fight much on that whole trip (much to my mother’s relief).

Those photos don’t depict who I am now. I grew into my ears, learned how to do make-up, fixed my eyes and grew another two and a half feet. Even current pictures aren’t me. My current Facebook Profile picture makes me look like an old world, old money, diva. I am not any of those things.  

This idea is perfectly described by a wonderful piece of artwork by René Magritte called the “Treatchery of Images”. It’s very fancy. If you haven’t seen it, the image is a wonderful painting of a pipe. Below this simple wood pipe is written the phrase ‘Ceci n'est pas une pipe’. For those of you who do not speak French, it translates to ‘This is not a pipe’. It is only an image of a pipe and not an actual pipe.

‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde is a critique of society, art and human nature. It might be the only image in history that is not treacherous. Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man. After having is portrait painted, he makes a wish that he would remain youthful while is portrait will age and decay. Little did he know his wish would come true.

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literatureElizabeth Bird
February 28th - I See Dead People

Leaving home for the first time can be scary. We typically have had our parents as a back up every day of our lives. It’s frightening and exhilarating to have that safety net suddenly removed. For most of us, moving away to college is this moment.

I didn’t feel frightened till I studied abroad. It was one of the best experiences I ever had in my life. I got to learn about architecture, wine, and I was completely on my own for the very first time. Still, the thought of all my close friends and family being an entire ocean and half a continent away was terrifying. What was I going to miss? What if I got sick? What if something happened to someone I loved and I couldn’t be there? What if I needed to cry to my mom about something entirely stupid? It was a lot to take on, but I’m glad I did it. If we never do anything that makes us uncomfortable, we never grow.

in ‘The Name of the Star’ by Maureen Johnson, Rory is leaving home for the first time. She’s a young teenage girl who is going to study abroad in London. The big city is vastly different from her little hometown in Louisiana. After an unfortunate accident, Rory realizes she can see ghosts! And to top things off, she soon finds herself tied up in a series of murders. Not just any murders, but murders that closely match that of Jack the Ripper.

This is the first book in the ‘Shades of London’ series. And you can bet we are going to read the rest of them!

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February 15th - Love Me! Why?

The dreaded holiday has come and gone…single's awareness day….I mean Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for love, over-priced chocolate and cards, and judging how much you are loved based off how much money your significant other spent on you.

Honestly, that’s a really bleak outlook on Valentine’s day. I’ve personally never put much stock into the idea. The best Valentine’s Day I ever had was watching a ‘Love Sucks’ Vampire movie marathon with my friends in high school and eating all the half-off chocolate we could afford. Then something miraculous happened.

I fell in love.

We still don’t put a lot of pressure on for Valentine’s Day. We usually go get ‘Buy one, get one free’ lovers burritos and watch Star Wars Family Guy (As is tradition for Liz and Paul). We still see it as a day of love, but everyday is like that for us. We don’t need a special day on the calendar to remind us that we love each other.

So, in honor of our mixed feelings about a holiday dedicated to love, we are reading ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ By William Shakespeare. Benedick has sworn to never marry or fall in love. Beatrice has sworn the same. So, of course, they would make the perfect couple. Their friends, Claudio and Hero, do their best to set them up. But what happens when a sneaky Don decides to mess with the happiness of Hero and Claudio? Heart break, faking your own death and hilarity!

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November 30th - Jinkies!

We don’t know a kid who didn’t grow up watching Scooby-Doo. There was the leader, the smart one, the pretty one, and the one that ate everything…and the dog. Elizabeth constantly found herself associating with the smart one. Knee-high orange socks were never her thing though. This gang became part of our childhood.

That’s probably why we picked up Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero.

The gang faced dangers in their childhood all the time. But what does that do to a person when the mystery is over and all the villains are unmasked? The Scooby Gang will eternally be teenagers/young adults their entire existence. What would happen if they grew up? Or worse, grew apart? Meddling Kids takes a shot at answering these questions.

The style of the book can throw people for a loop. Stick with it. We promise the story is well worth it.

The Blyton Summer Detective Club closed their last case 13 years ago; the Sleepy Lake Monster. Now all adults, the previous detectives are leading broken lives. Andy, the tom boy, has been a wanderer and recently broke out of prison. Kerri, the smart one, has dropped out of school and become an alcoholic to keep her night terrors at bay. Even her weimaraner, Tim, can’t ease her fear. Nate, the youngest, is constantly checking himself into mental institutions. He’s the only one who still talks to Peter, the leader. Nevermind that Peter’s already dead.

Something about their last case never added up. Where did all those scratching noises come from? What was really hiding in that old mansion in the middle of the lake? Andy decides to reunite the team to solve this case for good.

What happens when the villain isn’t just a monster in a mask? What happens when the mask won’t come off?

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