I’m sure most of us have sat through a high school English class on poetry, watching as our teachers droned on and on about meter, metaphor and metonymy, and wondered: Why? Why do we need to know about this?
Over the last six months, I have (understandably) turned to reading books that comfort me. I reread the first “Harry Potter” book out loud to my six-year-old neighbor; I revisited the meditative poetry of Walt Whitman and the remarkable prose of Tom Robbins.
Seven days without electricity last August delivered me shaking and stimulus-starved on the steps of Viet Thanh Nguyen's “The Sympathizer.” Hurricane Isaias had taken out most of Connecticut’s electrical infrastructure, along with all contact with the outside world.
Sally Cole-Misch dedicates her debut novel, “The Best Part Of Us,” to “every living thing.” An environmental communicator by profession, Cole-Misch refers to more than just humans or other animals. Her dedication encapsulates the entire natural world.
Peter Kispert’s debut collection of short stories is linked together by characters who, in one way or another, lie to their loved ones. These lies are sometimes huge and elaborately maintained for months.
Stuck inside, days blending together, time practically slipping through our fingers, it is technology that we cling to during this unprecedented period. Our reality is grounded with technology. It allows us to remain connected to the outside world.
Both of these novels, written nearly fifty years apart, concern women who go against the grain of society in ways that are, in the grand scheme of things, rather inconsequential. In doing so, these stories reveal the stakes of the everyday.