Category: Fiction

These Four Poets Had the Oddest Jobs and You’ll Never Guess What They Were

Famous poets. We only know them for their enchanting verse. Many late great poets didn’t start out writing in verse, or if they did, they had to do something else to support that habit, as they didn’t come from money or fame. Enter some really odd jobs you wouldn’t otherwise expect of young bards.

 

4-Maya Angelou

 

image via amazon

 

Before Maya Angelou wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she found a job as a San Francisco streetcar conductor. In fact, she sat every day for two weeks in the office enduring racial slurs from the secretaries until the hiring manager finally yielded and gave her the position. She became the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. What’s more, she was only sixteen-years-old!

 

3-Robert Frost

 

image via amazon

 

Robert Frost, who wrote the infamous poem, The Road Not Taken, had a very dangerous job in his twenties called light trimming where he stood over active machinery on a wobbly ladder undoing arc lamps from the ceiling in order to repair them. Fortunately, he kept writing and his poetry gained so much notoriety he didn’t have to go back to light trimming ever again.

 

2- Langston Hughes

image via amazon

 

Langston Hughes was a very musical poet closely associated with jazz and the Harlem Renaissance. One of his most well-known books is Montage of a Dream Deferred. But before any of his work gained attention he was a student at Columbia University and held jobs such as busboy, cook, launderer, and even a seaman. Being a seaman inspired one of his poems, “Death of an Old Seaman Cecil Cohen.” It proves not all manual labor is meaningless if it leads to great art.

 

1- T.S. Eliot

 

image via amazon

 

Last but not least, T.S. Eliot, famous for his incredibly depressing 20th-century oeuvre, “The Waste Land.” He rocked a bowler hat for his odd job, which was not so odd but actually a nine to five clerk position at a bank called Lloyd’s in London. He even got two-weeks-a-year vacation time just like every other working stiff employed there. Not much to say about this sad man except, cool hat.

 

 

Poets get a reputation for being odd considering a lot of them, well, are. Some of them make their own jam, some are recluses, some are too obscure in their writing, meaning they are purposefully trying to be misunderstood. This group of poets, however, were pretty candid in their work as they wanted to be understood. They received high praise, too. Robert Frost was the 1958 Poet Laureate and won more than several Pulitzer Prizes, Langston Hughes won a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, Maya Angelou earned more than 30 honorary degrees, and T.S. Eliot won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Consider checking their work out and remember, they’re speaking from experience. Even if it was odd.

 

 

Featured Image Via HollyWood Reporter

 

 


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5 Reasons You Should Read the ‘Witcher’ Books Before the Show Drops

This highly anticipated Netflix series has been a hot topic in recent months. Whether that anticipation comes from the series being lauded as “The next Game of Thrones by critics, or because it is being met with frustration due to the apparent differences between the television series and the video games, both the Netflix adaptation and the games are the result of Andrzej Sapkowski’s highly acclaimed eight-book series.

The series follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a man who was subjected to various mutations as a child and, because of this, he can fight creatures that normal humans wouldn’t stand a chance against. Through the Law of Surprise, Geralt adopts his ward Ciri, a young princess with prolific powers. While Geralt is content to remain neutral in the face of great political upheaval, he must become a part of that conflict to see that order is restored to the world.

In the past, the books were adapted into a 90s Polish film and television series that were not met with favorable reviews, so this most recent series not only has the video game fans to contend with, but it also has the previous series’ shortcomings added on for increased pressure.

So why not sit down to watch this series with an idea of what to expect?

 

 

1. The netflix series is an adaptation of the book series

What some game fans don’t realize is that the games take place after the book series. While some of the events, like the Battle of Sodden, are mentioned in the games, you don’t really get a feel for what happened if you haven’t read the books. Triss’s account of what took place at that one battle in Blood of Elves is positively gut-wrenching. The books also help you have a deeper understanding of the turmoil that exists between and in countries like Temeria, Novigrad, and Cintra.

Though there will likely be homages sprinkled throughout the series for the video game fans (I personally hope so), the Netflix series is, at its core, an adaptation of the books. If you’re anything like me, you probably like to read the stories before sitting down to watch the movie or show. Not to say that I’m that one friend who sits there and says “Well, they changed that from the books,” but I most definitely am.

The fact that the Netflix series is a book adaptation does seem to be throwing a few fans for a loop, as Yennefer’s appearance is never remarked upon in the game series, so it has become the cause of some confusion. The books, on the other hand, does explain why Yennefer looks this way.

 

Image via Glamour Fame

 

Regardless, if a person watches the series having already read the books, they’ll probably have a better idea of why certain decisions were made by the team that created this series.

 

2. This series does resemble ‘a game of thrones’ in style and tone

 

Going off of what critics have said, yes, the Witcher does possess certain qualities that were prized in George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. There are multiple points of view to follow, so when you need a breather from following Geralt around in the narrative, you can read Ciri’s point of view. The same grittiness and violence that you observed in Martin’s work is also present in Sapkowski’s books. The looming threat of war is also present in the Witcher books as well, and you get to witness how it all begins and how it all falls apart (I would suggest starting with Blood of Elves if the movers and shakers facilitating a war behind the scenes interests you).

 

 

3. the political situation in the world is a lot easier to follow

image via pinterest

 

Although the television series hasn’t dropped, one of the faults in the game series was that the political stage of the Witcher universe was very hard to follow and often unclear. Which makes sense, because the political situation was dense and complicated and, if not given the space and breadth to be explained, it definitely felt like walking into an exam unprepared. However, a game has the ability to explore a world in a much more in-depth way than a television series can, so this is a concern that does hold water.

An example of this would be the Scoia’tael, a group of predominantly elvish rebels who regularly commit acts of violence against humans. While the game briefly touches upon their motives and what they ultimately wish to accomplish, it only provides a glimpse at the problem. The books, however, go into great detail about the political and social climate that the non-human races endure, and so the motives of these characters become a lot more transparent.

As mentioned previously, the turmoil between and in countries like Novigrad, Temeria, and Cintra is also expanded upon in the books. If anything, the books go to great lengths to ensure that the readers understands exactly why the royalty and the sorcerer’s lodge commit the acts that they do. So if there is any possibility that the television series will struggle along the same vein as the video games, the books will do an excellent job filling in the blanks.

 

4. We still don’t know how faithful the adaptation will be

For all we know, the Netflix series may remain extremely faithful to Sapkowski’s literary vision, but the fact remains that this is still an adaptation. One of the big reasons that I go into most movie premiers having already read the book is because I want to judge the adaptation by the creative decisions that were made. I want to know what the book was like, and then I want to see what changes were made. Were those changes justified? Why? Do I (gasp) like the movie more than I like the story it was based off of? Or do I feel like adding in something else from the book might have helped? Ultimately, did the adaptation bring something new and interesting to the table?

I intend to watch this series with my hopes high, because I think that Sapkowski’s original books already presented a creative vision with an impressive breadth and magnitude to it, and I think that this adaptation has the potential to do the same. Hopefully this adaptation will provide enough steam for more fantasy books to be made into movies and television series.

 

 

5. The books are really interesting

At the end of the day, you should read a book because it intrigues you—and the Witcher books do exactly that. The references to Slavic folklore, the sword fights, and Geralt and Yennefer acting as parents to Ciri are elements that pulled me into the story and kept me reading. These books have multiple layers of political intrigue, interpersonal relationships, mythology, and did I mention sword fighting? The books, like a lot of fantasy literature, are also able to provide a social commentary through the interactions displayed between the inhabitants of the world.

If you would like to dip your toes into the Witcher universe and give it a shot, I would suggest starting with The Last Wisha short story collection that reveals how Geralt got the nickname ‘The Butcher of Blaviken,’ and how he and Yennefer first met.

 

Featured image via Cnn

 

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Throw The Book at Her: Ex-Baltimore Mayor Indicted!

Well this is one for the books: The former mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on wire fraud and tax evasion over her self-published books.

 

Image result for catherine Pugh book
Image Via Vox

 

The 11-count federal indictments were made public Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland. The indictment describes a years-long scheme dating to 2011, when she was a state senator.

 

 

Pugh is accused of using her company, Healthy Holly, to publish her books and sell them “directly to nonprofit organizations and foundations, many of whom did business or attempted to do business with Maryland state government and Baltimore City.” Essentially, she’s accused of operating a sham business where she accepted payments for thousands of books she never intended to deliver. Many of the businesses were nonprofit.

The funds she received were used, according to court papers, to fund straw donations to her mayoral election campaign. This means she would purposely evade financial contribution limits by disguising the origin of a donation. She also used the funds to purchase and renovate a house in Baltimore.

This fraud allowed Pugh to make thousands of dollars from the book sales.

 

IMage Via CNN

 

BBC News notes that she is also accused of evading taxes, claiming a taxable income in 2016 of $31,020 (£24,000) when prosecutors say it was actually $322,365.

Pugh was the second Baltimore mayor to leave office in the past decade while facing corruption allegations.  Her resignation came after FBI and IRS agents raided her offices, homes and other locations in late April and seized several items, including money transfer receipts, a laptop, compact discs and a $100,000 check from the University of Maryland Medical System to Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” company.

 

Image result for catherine Pugh book
Image Via Baltimore Sun

 

She resigned as mayor in May, apologizing for the harm she had caused to “the credibility of the office.” Now she’s expected to appear in court on Thursday.

You can buy her book here.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Boing Boing

 


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Charlotte Bronte’s Rare Book Is Coming Home to Bronte Society

Charlotte Bronte wrote a book at the age of fourteen and now it’s coming home. It was recently bought by the Bronte Society in Paris. The last time the book was up for auction was in 2011, and that time around the Bronte society lost out. This time around the Society was able to purchase it for 600,000 euros.

 

 

Image via Mentalfloss

 

The book was written about Bronte’s toy soldiers that she and her younger siblings used to play with. She created an imaginary world for them and wrote six little stories for them. The Bronte Parsonage Museum already owns four of the these rare books, and now five. According to executive director, Kitty Wright, they were determined to bring home the little books to the museum, which was where the books were written 189-years-ago. Principal Curator, Ann Disdale, even said obtaining this little book is the highlight of her thirty year career at the museum.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Charlotte Bronte is best known for her novel, Jane Eyre, which was written in 1847. Her little books written beforehand showed her ambition to become an author, which of course led to Jane Eyre, and a few others.

 

 

Featured Image via BBC

 

 


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5 Books To Bring Every Sagittarius Adventure

With the change of the seasons comes a change in the Horoscopes. From November 23 and December 21 it’s time for the Sagittarius of the world to shine.

The born adventurers of the Zodiac, Sagittarius are free-spirited, independent, and honest people. With a blend of deep thought, optimism, and intense curiosity, this is the sign that will embark on the greatest of adventures, packing humor and heart in their backpack. Here are some books that will take you on a journey, either in the world, in your mind, or in your spirit; and if you are not born into the sign, but still have an interest in these books, then there may be a little bit of a Sagittarius in you.

 

 

 

 

5-The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

 

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Explore the legend and magic of Vlad the Impaler, more widely known as Dracula. Theodora always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a treasure hunter, but never had her father’s permission. Now that his life is in danger during the most recent expedition, it is now up to Theodora to leap into action with the help of her father’s protégé, to save her father, uncover the mystery, and live to tell the tale.

 

 

4-The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

 

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Meet the Good Luck Girls! Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings, they fight to survive and find freedom for themselves in a country that does not want them to. With everything against them, and their situation growing worse and worse every passing moment, these women will stop at nothing to blaze a path to freedom. This action-packed thriller will take you in a whirlwind ride that inspires us all to fight for ourselves and those that we love.

 

 

3-The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones

 

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Not all adventures can be so upbeat, but we do what we must when a friend is in danger. This is the pledge that Nate has taken up, to venture into the unknown of the snowy woods to find his long-lost friend Dodge, but dangers and secrets lurk around every corner, and Nate’s innocent trek to finding closure for his trauma and loss may result in his demise.

 

 

 

 

2-Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

 

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For the deep thinkers out there, this comical, non-fiction book takes a real look at some morbidly intriguing questions. Author Caitlin Doughty, who is a funeral director by trade, was inspired to write this book thanks to the flood of death-related questions that were tossed her way. Let’s face it, death is everywhere. Up in space, down in the ocean, potentially in your next meal. Death is all around us, and yet, it is such a mystery. So embark on an adventure through the deep and philosophical shower-thought questions that plague us throughout the night!

 

 

1-I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

 

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Young Chloe Pierce dreams of being a ballet dancer, and an opportunity to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams opens up at last. To her dismay, Chloe’s mom forbids her to apply to the nearest audition two hundred miles away. Starry-eyed and eager to follow her dreams, Chloe devises a secret plan to drive herself to the audition. This upbeat, road-trip adventure is a testament to all the dreamers out there. Go where you want to go, be who you want to be!

 

 

Images via Goodreads

 

Featured Image via Labrynthos