Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 30

In memoriam: Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013

Digging   Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.   Under my window, a clean rasping sound When the spade sinks into gravelly ground: My father, digging. I look down   Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds Bends low, comes up twenty years away Stooping in rhythm […]

Book-y Things

Like two other of my fellow Lettered Ladies, my research and teaching interests involve many aspects of Book Studies and Book Arts – publication history and medium, issues of authorship and readership, even variant book covers and title pages.  My students know me as the professor interested in “book-y things” (my own sophisticated, academic term). […]

August 27

On Homesickness and Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic

Most of the time, there is a veritable ocean of territory between where I am now and my childhood home. I am often struck by homesickness, a tilt in my gut. I strain to see snow and evergreen but come up against moss and magnolia instead. Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic was the last book I picked […]

August 22

What Laura is Reading Now

Years ago, I was listening to an episode of This American Life when I heard a segment — and a voice — that I will never forget.  It was my first encounter with David Rakoff.  Part of an episode on “Frenemies,” the segment — a fictional wedding toast-in-verse given by the bride’s ex-boyfriend — was […]

Summer Reading

As a college professor, I enjoy my “time off” in the summer – or, rather, my time to actually get some work done that doesn’t involve grading papers and going to meetings.  I enjoy the slower pace, warmer weather, and Farmers Market veggies as I revise articles and read for upcoming classes.  I also love […]

August 16


Herewith, three picture books that have made me, an emotional new-ish mother, secretly choke up a little while reading them aloud to my son. Not because they make me sad, but because they make me happy. Yep, it’s like that around here. And in the case of the first of them, I get misty every […]

August 14

Best Books of All Time?

Last week, I came upon this article:  “40 Books to Read Before Turning 40”.  I jokingly sent it to my boyfriend – currently enjoying his last few months in his 30s – and noted that he “has a lot of reading to do.”  The books on the list are certainly some I’d recommend to anyone […]

August 05

Eleanor and Park

I originally hail from outside of Omaha, Nebraska, so when I recently read about a YA novel by one-time columnist at The Omaha World-Herald, Rainbow Rowell, my curiosity was piqued.  And when I learned that it was also set in Omaha, my intentions to read it were sealed.  Omaha does not often play the backdrop […]

August 02

I Capture the Castle

Despite considering myself an Anglophile, I was somehow unaware of Dodie Smith’s 1949 novel I Capture the Castle until recently, when Jen W., a member of my book group, told the rest of us in the most strenuous terms that we must read it immediately. I quickly learned why it is capable of generating such […]