National Poetry Month: Breakage

Poem selected by Mary Pigliacelli.


I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls on to the gray rocks and all the
moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

~Mary Oliver


National Poetry Month: Wild Geese

Poem selected by Mary Pigliacelli.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver


Books to Add to Your “To be Read” List

Looking for a new book to read? In honor of Women’s history month, here is a list of books by famous female authors to peak your interest.

Who is your favorite female writer? Which of her books is your favorite?

  1. Donna Tart: The Goldfinch
  2. Madeleine L’Engle: A Wrinkle in Time
  3. Katheryn Stockett: The Help
  4. Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train
  5. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mocking Bird
  6. Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights
  7. Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey
  8. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland and Seleted Stories
  9. Emily Giffin: Something Borrowed
  10. Alice Walker: The Color Purple

If you would like to buy any of these books, click on the title to be redirected to Barnes and Noble’s website!

Happy reading!

Guess the Author

Take a look at the list of writers below. Do you recognize any of the names? Continue reading

Favorite Classical Novel vs. Favorite Post-1950s Novel

Although published a little more than 100 years apart from each other, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer have a lot in common. Continue reading

Favorite Spooky Story

Anyone who knows me knows that I love scary stories. I love talking about them, I love reading them, I love listening to them, and I love searching for them online. I love real stories that other people have shared, and I love fictional ones created by authors to scare and entertain their readers. Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by the idea of the supernatural. When my brother and I were little, we had Alvin Schwartz’s well-known trilogy of “kid-appropriate” spooky short stories, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I’m not sure if I owe my obsession with scary stories to these books, or if they just added to it, enhancing my love for all things spooky. My brother and I brought them everywhere with us, from school, to our grandma’s house, and even all the way to Canada. We would take turns reading them out loud, trying to scare each other every chance we got. One of our favorite spots to read these stories was around the campfire with our parents, roasting marshmallows for s’mores and frequently looking over our shoulders towards to woods surrounding the cabin.

Part of what made Schwartz’s collection of scary stories so terrifying would be the illustrations by Stephen Gammell that come along with them. In recent years, the collection has actually been re-released with new illustrations, trying to make it less scary for today’s generation of kids. Each story that appears in the collection is nothing more than a few pages. Sometimes, the shorter the story, the scarier it was. Schwartz gathered inspiration for these stories from folklore and urban legends around the world. He includes information in the back of the books that explains the origins of each story. While I don’t remember all the stories, I do still remember a few of the details from the stories that I enjoyed the most.

“The Hook” and “High Beams” are two widespread urban legends, and variations of them have even been used in scary movies (Urban Legends) and television shows (Supernatural). Both of these stories appear in the first book in Schwartz’s collection. My first exposure to these widely known urban legends comes from reading this book with my brother. If you’re not familiar with these stories, you must be pretty sheltered—or maybe just not be as obsessed with scary stories as I am. For those who never heard of them before, Schwartz’s simple version of “The Hook” is about a teenage boy and girl who are on a date when they hear about a murderer with a hook for a hand, who escaped from an asylum. The girl wants to go home, but the boy wants to stay in his parked car and make out. Finally, the boy agrees to drive the girl home. When he gets out of his car and walks to her side to open the door for her, he stops and stares. Confused as to why, the girl rolls down the window to ask him what he’s doing. That’s when she looks down and sees a bloody hook on the door handle. To this day, this is still one of my favorite urban legends.

“High Beams” is about a girl who’s driving home when a truck driver behind her begins flashing his bights at her and following her. The girl is terrified and races home, the truck driver keeping up behind her and following her the entire way there. He gets out of his car and points a gun towards her, only to explain that there was someone in her backseat with a knife, and he flashed his brights every time that person raised the knife as a way to warn the female driver. I still check my backseat every time I’m getting into my car at night because of this story. Although I no longer know what happened to my brother’s and my collection of these books, fortunately they are all available to read online here.

Written by Sam Miller

LIU Post Fall Write-In

The Long Night Against Procrastination

Continue reading

Hillwood Today!

Join us in Hillwood today (Wednesday, November 30th) from 12:30-1:45. We’re giving away free books that will help you get through the snowy, winter break!

We can’t wait to see you!

Books for Break: Discovering Empathy through Reading

Looking for a good book to read once finals are done? Join us in Hillwood Wednesday, November 30th from 12:30-1:45 to find a new favorite book to get you through a snowy winter. Reading is a wonderful way to delve into the minds and circumstances of characters, allowing for you as the reader to empathize with characters’ struggles and triumphs.

Our latest book giveaway deals with the theme of empathy. The ability to understand and have emotional reactions to what you read is a fantastic way to truly acknowledge what it means to be empathetic, not only for fictional characters, but also people you encounter on a daily basis.

Therefore, many of the books you will see there deal with the hardships people have faced in both the past and the present. We have a variety of books, short stories, and poems, so you are likely to find something you will enjoy!

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

“Reading can almost be viewed as empathy training. Movies have better action scenes, sure. But books are uniquely suited to showing you the inside of another person’s head. That is the root of empathy. That’s the first step to understanding you’re not alone in the world.”

~ Patrick Rothfuss


Favorite Literary Quotes

1) “I’m Sookie Stackhouse. I belong here.” Continue reading