The Lasting Genius of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America

The Lasting Genius of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America

Not long ago, I finished my fourth read of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. It is one of those rare texts that doesn’t just invite itself for a revisit, but is almost a necessary lifelong companion. Speaking as it does on homosexuality in America, and on the AIDS crisis (and the political mess that surrounded/continues… Read more »

November 2022 Leisure Learning

November 2022 Leisure Learning

Happy holidays and solstice celebrations to all! As the year comes to an end, I hope that you take the time to look over those moments which made 2022 special for you in terms of literature. Whether they are of the reading, writing, or researching variety – anything that inspires linguistic love counts as a… Read more »

First Chapter Analysis: Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

First Chapter Analysis: Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

If you want to write a novel that captures your readers’ attention—and your future literary agent’s interest—then you need to write a first chapter that purposefully sets up expectations for the story’s big picture and contains an interesting story event on the scene level.  Of course, a strong first chapter is only one step in… Read more »

Not Just Dudes in Tights: Mean Girls Club

Not Just Dudes in Tights: Mean Girls Club

Do I have a recommendation for you today, folks! If you’ve been looking for a violent, vulgar, and oh-so-satisfying story of a group of badass broads and revenge against the men who wronged them, do I have the book for you! Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn, written by Ryan Heshka and released in 2018, was… Read more »

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Jane Austen Mysteries, Part 2

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Jane Austen Mysteries, Part 2

Part 2 of my journey through Jane Austen mysteries includes a possible explanation of Austen’s death, Charlotte Collins and Mary Bennet as detectives, a Mansfield Park mystery, a chick-lit cozy mystery, and a series where Darcy and Elizabeth investigate together. I discovered that I prefer the pastiche involving Austen’s characters or Austen herself rather than… Read more »

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Jane Austen Mysteries

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Jane Austen Mysteries

Today I begin a series about a subgenre (possibly a sub-sub-genre) of mystery I find delightful. I’m talking about mysteries concerning the life, cultural impact, and characters of Jane Austen, one of the most respected and best-loved writers ever.  On this list, you will find sequels, alternate universe retellings, modern retellings, crossovers containing all the… Read more »

September 2022 Leisure Learning

September 2022 Leisure Learning

Happy Autumn, word nerds! Fall has officially arrived and in just a few days, we will be entering perhaps the most magical month of the year: October. Can you feel the sparkle in the air? My cat and I certainly can (see bio). While not everyone celebrates Halloween, October is a particularly special month for… Read more »

LGBTQ+ Literature in Translation: Notes of a Desolate Man

LGBTQ+ Literature in Translation: Notes of a Desolate Man

Notes of a Desolate Man by Chu T’ien-wen was translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-Chun Lin. In my search for gay Asian literature, specifically, I discovered several compelling texts, translated to English from writers of Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other nationalities. Notes of a Desolate Man is Taiwanese, which I thought an appropriate place… Read more »

The Book Nook: Create Your Own Syllabus

The Book Nook: Create Your Own Syllabus

Something about the back-to-school season gets me thinking about big projects for myself. And, like many word nerds, the way I prep for a big project is to read about it. I’ve found it useful to create a syllabus, a list of required reading, for my writing project to keep me on track and to… Read more »

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Celebrity Sleuths

Cozy to Cold-Blooded: Celebrity Sleuths

Well, it took me a couple of years, but I found more author sleuths for you! This time, however, I mixed in some sleuths who, while famous, aren’t authors or at least aren’t famous because of any books they wrote. It turns out I used up most of the author sleuths in my first installment,… Read more »