It was with some trepidation, that I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins’ prequel to The Hunger Games.
The risk of reading historical novels is that sometimes, instead of meeting people from the past we run into modern characters dressed in funny clothes play-acting medieval (or Renaissance, or Roman, or whenever.) That’s the problem I recently had with Crossed, the tale of the Fourth Crusade written by Nicole Galland. While I enjoyed the … Continue reading Crossing the Medieval and Modern
In 2006, I participated in an off-beat storytelling project. A group of Pittsburgh storytellers gathered to go through The Decameron, a collection of short stories written by Giovanni Boccaccio. Our director, the Canadian storyteller Dan Yashinky, guided us through the book, suggesting tales for each of us to look at based upon the types of … Continue reading Stories in the Time of Pandemic
Perhaps because I am a performer, I notice how clothing shapes my movements. When I get my Elizabethan doublet fully buttoned up, the tight fit and stiff cloth force me into a straighter, more erect posture. When I tell ghost stories on a cold October night, a jacket allows me much more freedom of … Continue reading It’s the Little Things: The Clothes Make the Motion
We live in the world of the everyday. Sure, the big sweep of history and politics and ideologies matter. They shape our world. But mostly we live in the world of little things: the foods we put on our plates, the music we listen to, the trinkets on our desk, the clothes we wear. These … Continue reading It’s the Little Things: The Problem with Pockets
I don’t mean to turn StoryStuff into a blog just about stories of the Apocalypse, but my last couple of posts did get me thinking about the various post-apocalyptic stories I have enjoyed in print, film and TV over the years. Thinking over them, pulling them down from the book shelves and out of the … Continue reading The Apocalypse Ain’t What It Used To Be
Shortly after finishing my previous post on the post-apocalyptic comic book Dark Age, I read When the English Fall by David Williams (from Algonquin Books.) The focus here is firmly on telling a realistic story of a community surviving an apocalypse. Williams starts out with an entirely plausible (and likely) event: a solar … Continue reading A Peaceful Apocalypse?
In my previous post (Reader in a Strange Land), I discussed Robert Heinlein’s classic SF novel Stranger in a Strange Land and how I struggled with the novel’s view of the future until I realized that it is really a view of the past. But even as I worked through that difficulty, I wrestled with … Continue reading Strange God in a Strange Land: Struggling with Heinlein’s Classic, part 2
I sat in front of the cart of books, looking for one to claim as my Summer Reading Club prize at my local library. A big, blue spine caught my eye: Stranger in a Strange Land. Although I’ve been a fan of Science Fiction most of my life, I have never read Heinlein’s classic. Maybe … Continue reading Reader in a Strange Land: Struggling with Heinlein’s classic. Part 1
When I read for pleasure, I gravitate to fantasy, historical fiction, and some science fiction. I like these genres for many reasons, including the fact they allow me to experience other worlds, whether a newly created imaginary world, as in fantasy and SF, or a world that once existed, but has passed away in the … Continue reading It’s the Little Things: Days and Dates