Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 5:22pm

No bones about it, you’re gonna die! You and everyone you love will wither away into nothingness; plan on it! Of course, this fact isn’t news to anyone, but it’s still a reality most people — particularly those in the Western world — don’t like thinking about too much. 

And this is a grave mistake. We should be eager to talk about death. Now, I’m not saying that death needs to raise our spirits or anything, but why should we be afraid to talk about what happens once we shuffle off our mortal coils?

Sunday, November 15, 2020 - 5:26pm
"The Mirror and the Light," longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, is the third installment in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. The series has won author Hilary Mantel two previous Booker Awards.

Her head makes a dull thud as it hits the platform, rolling a couple feet away as her body teeters and lurches forward, swimming “in a pool of crimson, the blood seeping between the planks.” Queen Anne Boleyn, the second of King Henry VIII’s six wives, has just been executed on charges of high treason, incest and adultery. This is the note from which Hilary Mantel’s novel, “The Mirror & the Light,” kicks off.

Sunday, November 1, 2020 - 3:22pm

Usually, when I discuss the movie “Coraline” with other people, vague memories of childhood trauma and unease creep into the conversation, as countless children were given nightmares by this delightfully creepy children’s flick. And for good reason: The premise of a spider-lady threatening to sew buttons into your eyes while pretending to be your mother is deeply unsettling.

Monday, September 28, 2020 - 5:12pm

I stayed up late the night of Nov. 8, 2016, eager to see the culmination of countless scandals, debates and upsets. I already knew the outcome: Donald Trump’s debate performances were catastrophic, his poll numbers were abysmal and his own party wasn’t fond of him. We could only wonder what a Trump presidency would look like; maybe Donald could have pleasantly surprised us. Regardless, it didn’t matter, because in the morning, America would say hello to President Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 7:35pm

Surrounded by walls on all sides, with only a yellow light to illuminate the chamber, a lone vat sits. As figures in hazmat suits mill about in adjacent rooms, the sound of shattering glass pierces through the deafening silence. Panic ensues as a spidery mass of crimson tendrils emerges from the broken vat and escapes through a ventilation shaft.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 5:47pm

Many unexpected developments have happened over the course of the past several months, but for me, the most unexpected has been my new-found love for a family of furry hippo-like trolls. It started at the beginning of the fall semester, when I noticed a stuffed hippo-creature my Finnish friend had. I asked what it was, and she informed me that it was a “Moomin,” a cartoon troll that’s immensely popular in Finland.

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 4:38pm

“OK, Boomer,” I mutter, as I follow Laurence Cook, a senile Iowan farmer who foolishly attempts to divide his agricultural empire among his three daughters, with disastrous consequences.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 9:42pm

They populate hallways of high schools across the country, sauntering to class in their flannels and flared jeans. They cry “like this if you’re a ’90s kid,” while bopping out to hip hop music on a vintage Walkman. These lost souls were “born in the wrong generation” and yearn for days gone by. Fixating on any time period from the 1960s to the 1990s, these angsty teenagers often proclaim that the times in question were “better days” and that these past eras produced the last truly “good” music.

Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 5:31pm

As enticing as a story about a manipulative mother who systematically poisons her daughter for years sounds, Stephanie Wrobel’s debut “Darling Rose Gold” manages to add an even more interesting wrinkle to this premise. It’s likely you’ve heard of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP): A child’s caretaker fabricates illnesses to make the child seem sick.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 11:29am

I love sinning as much as the next guy, but when it comes to literature and writing, there is one cardinal sin that truly irks me. The eighth deadly sin, more insidious than its seven predecessors, is the non sequitur (a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement), the tangent, the digression. It’s funny and bizarre at first, but when it drags on for too long, it becomes grating. There is media, literary or otherwise, that is able to pull off going on tangents well, and then there is media that is not able to.