Whether your religion is one of the monotheistic “Big Three” or some flavor of Paganism, honoring your ancestors is usually a pretty important part of one’s belief system. However, even in some Pagan religions, people’s lives become hectic and they’re so absorbed in the mundane events of their daily lives that they often forget to light a candle for grandma in front of their ancestor altar.
Christian Day’s The Witches Book of the Dead smashes that complacency to smithereens, and he makes a point to tell readers flat-out that “if you honor your ancestors, they will honor you!” In other words, that means if you’re consistent with saying a prayer for your grandma or lighting a candle for your great-grandpa in front of your ancestor altar, when the time comes and you really need something like a new job or a new apartment and you ask them for help, they will be more inclined to nudge things around so that you do succeed in getting that promotion or finding your dream home.
Day also portrays the idea of necromancy in a new light. While some people may think of dastardly black magic, he uses both myths and historical research to point out that before the word was demonized, it simply meant the art of talking to your departed grandma or other go-to ancestor.
From learning to be more aware of the spirits around you to setting up an ancestor altar in your house, The Witches Book of the Dead will fascinate readers no matter what their religious views are. While this book isn’t for everyone, if occult topics are your guilty pleasure, then Day’s guide will be right up your alley!
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, November 12th, 2013||No Comments »|
Fifteen Dogs is a hard book to sell. In words, its premise sounds silly: a bunch of dogs are given human intelligence via a wager between two Greek Gods. The wager? If dogs have the same intellect as humans, would they live happier lives? Typically “what if dogs were as smart as humans” is a hypothetical scenario more fit for Disney than literary adult fiction. But Canadian author André Alexis takes a more philosophical approach, exploring morality, depression, and our perceived “places” in society. Oh yeah, and there’s lots of doggy deaths, too.
Although there are fifteen dogs in the book, the novel focuses on just a core handful: Prince, the poet; Majnoun, the fair leader; Atticus, the religious enemy; and Benji, the conniving Beagle. The fifteen initially start off as a pack, even inventing their own language that only they can understand. But when a rift splits the pack in two sides, the dogs quickly realize that this new consciousness might be more a curse than a blessing.
For dogs lovers expecting some kind of fictional look at behavioral theory, this book is not for you. However, for those who like experimental fiction, particularly ones that gut punch you in your dog-loving heartstrings, Fifteen Dogs is a novel quite unlike any other.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, July 27th, 2016||No Comments »|
The blurb for Lara Vapnyar’s upcoming novel Still Here says the book is about an app that will keep digital profiles alive after the owner has died. The app will do this by searching for patterns the original poster used and applying those patterns to the account after death. Actually, that’s about as far as I got in the blurb before I knew I had to read this novel.
And yes, this story is about digital personas, how we craft our online identities, how we make our lives seem happier and fuller online, and how much our technology knows about us. And, yes, it’s about what happens to those personas when we die. But it’s also an unsentimental look at the relationships between exes and romantic near-misses.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Friday, July 15th, 2016||1 Comment »|
Anxiety is one of those subjects that innately resonates with creative people. I’m not sure why the two go hand-in-hand, but if Gemma Correll’s The Worrier’s Guide to Life taught me anything, it was that this problem affects a lot more people than anyone realizes. Maybe it’s society’s relentless nature to make us work more and rest less that makes us seek solace inside our minds. Whatever the case, it’s a subject that’s hard to put your finger on in words, which is why Catherine Lepage‘s Thin Slices of Anxiety takes a different approach.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, June 10th, 2016||No Comments »|
Many historical fiction novels that take place on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic try to re-create James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster hit of the same name. There’s usually a love story between two young adults that often ends in tragedy, and lots of clichéd romance. After a while, these tired old conventions become boring for fans of historical fiction.
However, David Dyer’s novel The Midnight Watch abandons those conventions, and weaves a heartbreaking story about how more of the doomed passengers could have been saved.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, June 8th, 2016||No Comments »|
Of all the demos at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt, Scoutible’s mobile game for replacing the job interview grabbed my attention. Some of the surrounding demos seemed like awesome tech solutions in search of a problem to solve, but, come on, what doesn’t suck about job interviews? Who wouldn’t rather play a game?
Job interviews are already a bit of game, but it’s a terrible game where the interviewee pretends like their biggest weakness is that they just work SO HARD, or pretends that they see themselves in five years in a role that shows you’re ambitious but not so ambitious that you’re going to go after the interviewer’s job. Meanwhile, the interviewer is trying to figure out if this person is actually results-driven and detail oriented, or just read that post about including those words on a CV. Also, is this person in interview clothes playing the interview game going to get on well with the team, or will they drive all the current employees crazy?
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Wednesday, May 25th, 2016||1 Comment »|
The premise of the CW’s Arrow revolves around the former rich playboy Oliver Queen returning home after spending five years on a deserted island and becoming a crime-fighting vigilante known as the Green Arrow.
Over the past three seasons, Oliver assembled a team of friends and fellow vigilantes to help him keep their home Star City safe from nefarious villains.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, May 11th, 2016||No Comments »|
Jurassic World takes place 20 years after Steven Spielberg’s hit film Jurassic Park and revolves around the bioengineering company InGen creating a hybrid dinosaur called the Indominous Rex.
Due to genetic tampering, the Indominous is very aggressive and managed to get out of her cage. She then wreaks havoc and even manages to convince the velociraptors that were being trained by Own Grady to turn on the humans.
At first glance, the Indominous Rex appears to be the villain of the piece. After all, she killed other dinosaurs for sport and had no problems chowing down on humans. However, upon closer examination, the Indominous Rex is actually the tragic figure of the film and InGen is revealed to be the true villains.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, April 11th, 2016||No Comments »|