It's been nearly 50 years since the first essays in Slouching towards Bethlehem were written, yet her unblinking portrait of America in general and California in particular remains as vibrant and relevant as ever. Armstrong's career began when she wrote and presented a documentary on the life of St. A former nun and one of the foremost authors writing on comparative religion, Armstrong has published over 20 titles. A History of God discusses the origins of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and explains how our concept of God has changed throughout the course of history.
It is fascinating to learn how politics, philosophy, and various schools of thought have changed the way we think about monotheism. Most of us don't spend much time considering where our ideas about God came from.
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In A History of God , Armstrong gives the reader a wealth of information in order to better understand the big picture. It's a meaty book, full of big ideas and well worth the read. Her agent found the book thoroughly distasteful and suggested an extensive rewrite. Shriver eventually found a new agent and published the book to great success. Twelve years later, We Need to Talk about Kevin continues to be a timely and necessary examination of evil in our society and what happens when that evil is under your own roof.
It's a compelling and grim read that has a train-wreck quality to it; you can't seem to look away from the characters. Are they despicable, or well-meaning people floundering in a situation beyond their control? While it's likely you've read her more recent titles, to get the keenest sense of Erdrich and her heritage, it's well worth it to return to the first novel of her Native American series, Love Medicine.
The story exposes the heart and soul of the Kashpaw and Lamartine families living on a North Dakota reservation, across generations. Erdrich's writing is colorful and melodic throughout, with breathtaking passages like her depiction of Grandpa Kashpaw: "Elusive, pregnant with history, his thoughts finned off and vanished.
The same color as water. It can be hard to pinpoint what makes Lydia Davis's writing so magnetic.
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Her precise, no-nonsense language combined with her liberal definition of the short story? Her attention to the overlooked, the mundane, the clutter in our lives that holds so much meaning? Her understated sense of humor, so deeply ingrained in her observations about the absurdities of life? Whatever it is, you'll find it in spades in her Collected Stories , which compiles all of Davis's short fiction from her seminal Break It Down through Varieties of Disturbance Few writers' work lends itself so well to a compilation.
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Whether you pick stories at random or start at the beginning and work your way through the collection highly recommended , this is a book that feels like the best gift: fun, poignant, and endlessly rewarding. Atwood is a master at conveying the inner landscape of her characters, and her novels are frequently peppered with sharp and incisive social commentary. Adored by both readers and critics, she has published over 40 works, including many books of poetry, and has won countless accolades, including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C.
Clarke Award. Cat's Eye , written in , is the story of Elaine, a famous painter who returns to the city where she grew up for a retrospective exhibit of her work. Long flashbacks take the reader back to Elaine's childhood where she endured much emotional torment from her group of friends. Cat's Eye is an uncanny portrayal of how cruel children can be to their peers, the toll it can take on the victims, and how that cruelty echoes on in the mind for years. Atwood brings Elaine's world alive for the reader in vivid and incandescent detail. In her short 53 years, Mary Shelley wrote novels, plays, short stories, essays, biographies, and travel books, but it's not surprising that she is best known for her novel Frankenstein.
It's hard to separate the idea of Frankenstein's monster from the popular icon he's become, but everyone should read the original novel. Shelley's gothic masterpiece, first published when she was only 20 years old, is far richer than the legacy it brought to life, a work of elegance and depth, more tragedy than monster story, exploring the dangers of hubris, the nature of so-called evil, the sorrows that lead us to our crimes, and the possibility that rejection and remorse are far greater horrors than any monster.
Highsmith is a master of stark, poetic prose, acclaimed for her relentless themes of murder and psychological torment.
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She is best known for her series of five Tom Ripley novels, popularly referred to as the Ripliad. Like the Ripley stories, Highsmith's debut book, Strangers on a Train , is most remembered for its adaptation to the screen. Its hypnotic plot revolves around a moment between two strangers and one very out-of-the-ordinary proposition: "…what an idea! We murder for each other, see? I kill your wife and you kill my father! More than just a gripping thriller, this fascinating character study asks the question: What is the dividing line between sanity and madness, between the hunted and the hunter?
Solnit is one of the most eloquent, urgent, and intelligent voices writing nonfiction today; from Men Explain Things to Me to Storming the Gates of Paradise , anything she's written is well worth reading. The park also features gifts that were given to the city from foreign nationals, including a light beacon and fog bell from Norway and a red bridge and cherry trees from Japan. Concerts, plays, and holiday events are also held here. A seasonal outdoor ice skating rink is set up next to the park during the winter months. The Big Spring Park is located adjacent to the Huntsville Museum of Art, so makes a great place to take a stroll before or after a visit to the museum.
This is a massive former cotton mill that has been redeveloped into what is now the largest privately owned arts facility in the USA. There are over working artists studios in the building across its , square foot space, as well as restaurants, performance venues, and several fine art galleries. This is a fantastic place to come and meet local artists, who cover pretty much every medium and type of art you might think of from paintings to printwork to pottery to bronze sculptures.
We particularly enjoyed meeting artist David Nuttall of Artimaps , who creates entirely realistic but also entirely fictional maps of locations he imagines in his head. We liked his work so much that we purchased one of his maps to take back home! You can also sign up for a number of classes and workshops, which range from make-up tutorials to painting to digital art to baking gingerbread cookies.
There are also a number of food business and restaurants, including a tea shop and distillery.
They sell prepared tea hot or cold as well as bags of their black and green teas. We really enjoyed their black tea blends.
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Especially if you are a lumberjack! Urban ax throwing is a rapidly growing activity, where participants throw small axes at wooden targets. Sort of like darts with axes, or a gun range with axes. Huntsville is home to a number of venues that will let you hurl an axe at a wooden target. It turned out to be more difficult than you might imagine and our group missed the target more than they hit it. To be honest, this is not my cup of tea, but Laurence had a lot of fun and was very proud of the couple of times he hit the target!
Axe throwing can be popular, especially on Friday nights and weekends, so we recommend booking in advance. Works the same way as reserving a bowling lane and sessions are using 30 minutes or 60 minutes in length. Cosmic Christ is a large mosaic that adorns the facade of the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church located on Governors Drive. The mosaic is a local landmark and is hard to miss being 47 feet high and long and constructed of over 1.
It does indeed resemble an eggbeater or whisk. The Cosmic Christ mosaic took 7 years to complete , but sadly was not properly designed or installed and many of the glass tiles have come off the wall. Over 6 million Italian hand-blown pieces of glass will be used to replace the existing mosaic over the next 5 years. The final mosaic will have more color and definition when completed!
Its history of worship dates back to and the first meeting house was established in It is still an active church with regular worship services, and you can find out more here. These windows look beautiful in morning sunlight.
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