Tag: poetry

5 Book Recommendations from Sarah Paulson

It’s no secret that the internet loves Sarah Paulson. Though she’s been known for playing the creepiest roles and some intense horror work, in real life, Paulson is nothing short of adorable and loving.  And her hard character work has paid off, just this week earning her a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Netflix’s “Ratched,” the show based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She’s also been a loud advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, and often her horror work overlaps into characters with a homosexual identity. 

Sarah Paulson is also active on Twitter. Though she doesn’t post regularly, we can thank Twitter user @sarahpaulsbean who just recently compiled all of Paulson’s years of book recommendations! Ever wonder what your favorite LGBTQ actress was reading? Here’s a list of five of the books she’s tweeted about in the past few years.


A Little Life cover

1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Often talked about for being one of the saddest and yet most beautiful books of recent years, A Little Life seemed to have gained a similar reaction from Paulson. She’s even quoted saying that it made her “sob uncontrollably in my bed at night before I turned off the light.”

Yanagihara’s second novel documents the life of four friends as the grow apart and their paths inevitably still intertwine. Specifically, it follows Jude, a disabled man who’s past grows more elusive and frightening with each page turn. 

This book has trigger warnings for self harm, suicidal tendencies, sexual assault, and most other trigger warnings in the book. While it’s prose is beautiful, it is haunting. Do no pick up this book if any of these topics will be triggering for you!



2. Lit by Mary Karr

Mary Karr was a recurring recommendation among the other reads Paulson mentioned, as she continually brought up the author’s name. When talking about her memoir Lit, she tweeted “that book should cost $1,000,000,000,000,000. It’s that good.”

Karr’s memoir details her time battling alcoholism among other demons from her past, and heavily considers how we carry our traumas and move into living stronger and having a better future.

Like the previous book, there are trigger warnings for suicide, alcoholism, etc. While the story is uplifting and beautifully honest, it still covers heavy topics.



3. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Beyond the fact that this book is recommended by Sarah Paulson, she also narrates its audiobook! She tweeted that before she read the audiobook, she loved reading the novel herself. 

Left Neglected focuses on a woman who suffers a traumatic brain injury leaving half of her body practically unusable. Through learning how to live with the injury, she learns how to better live her life and love those around her.



4. Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties by Rainer Maria Rilke

Paulson says that one of her best friends and a fellow actor, Felicity Huffman, recommended her this book. She added the book to her list for Oprah, saying “I want to remember in moments when I’m caught up in the details of not knowing what and when and why and how to do something that I need to go back to the notion of living in the unknown—and that, in fact, is what will lead to the answer.”

This mixture of prose and poetry is all about experiences, opening yourself up to life and trusting that you will get where you need to be. It’s all about a sense of spirituality in the every day life, especially those that are not yet upon us. Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties will be eye opening to those familiar to Rilke and those who are just discovering the author for the first time.



5. Atonement by Ian McEwan

Similar to other recommendations from Paulson, this classic novel focuses much on love, innocence, forgiveness, and how important people in your life can bring about the biggest and most impactful of life’s changes. 

Atonement is set just before the years of World War II. It focuses on the innocence of its protagonist and the forthcoming breaking of this barrier and descent into crime and lies. 

Which books from Paulson’s recommendations are you adding to your list? Let us know!



Feature image VIA Los Angeles Magazine

5 Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’

Once upon a midnight dreary, Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Raven, a poem about a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover slowly descending into madness. Today is the poem’s 176th anniversary, and to celebrate its publication, here are 5 facts about one of the greatest poetic works in American literature.



Image via Poe Museum

5. poe’s wife was deathly ill as he was writing it

As Edgar Allan Poe was writing The Raven, his wife Virginia Clemm was suffering from tuberculosis. As I mention in my article on fun facts about the aforementioned poet to celebrate his birthday (found here), Virginia was his first cousin, who he married while she was only thirteen-years-old. Regardless whether or not anything insidious took place between the two, there’s no doubt that Poe loved her dearly, and having lost his biological mother, his foster mother and his brother to tuberculosis in the past, he was understandably quite worried. The Raven, is a poem about a man who had lost a loved one and is unable to move on in his life, and this historical context allows us to see the inspiration.



Image via Petbarn

4. the raven was almost a parrot

Poe wanted the central symbol of the story to be a “non-reasoning” creature capable of speech, and because of this he almost decided on a parrot. He changed it to a raven, a creature he considered “equally capable of speech”, because it more matched the tone of the poem. He was also inspired by Grip, the raven in Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty, specifically the scene where Grip makes a noise and somebody asks “What was that – him tapping at the door?” Poe had written a review of Barnaby Rudge, in which he claims that Grip should have served more of a symbolic function. The similarities would be very difficult to go unnoticed.


Image via Goodreads

3. poe capitalized on the success of ‘the raven’

After the success of The Raven, Poe published an essay titled The Philosophy of Composition, in which he detailed the poem’s creation. In it, he explains how every creative decision in the process of writing The Raven was based on logic: from the raven entering the narrator’s chamber to avoid the storm to it perching itself on a marble bust to create stark visual contrast. Even the term “nevermore”, he claimed, was a deliberate decision because of the emotional effect created by long vowel sounds. While the historical consensus is that much of the essay’s writing is exaggerated, it still provides us with a valuable insight into Poe’s creative process.



Image via SchoolTube

2. ‘The Raven’ immediately made poe a household name

While the poem, unfortunately, made Poe little money, it catapulted him into national renown, so much so that people started nicknaming him “The Raven”. Not only that, but parodies based on the poem began circulating throughout Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, including The Craven, The Gazelle, The Whippoorwill, The Turkey, even The Pole-Cat, which reached Abraham Lincoln, who, while finding the parody quite funny, hadn’t yet read the original.


Image via Patch

1. ‘the Raven’ is the only poem with a sport’s team

The football team the Baltimore Ravens is actually named after the titular character in Poe’s poem, as Baltimore is the city where he died. The name was chosen in a fan contest, where 33,288 voters wished to honor the lost past poet, yet they also liked, according to The Baltimore Sun, “the tie-in with the other birds in town, the Orioles, and found it easy to visualize a tough, menacing black bird.”.