Thursday, August 25, 2011


Something has come up in my personal life, and because of that, this blog will be on an indefinite hiatus. Hopefully things will be better soon and I can pick it back up, but for now I won't be able to make any new updates.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace by John Knowles takes place during the second World War at Devon School, a boys' preparatory academy in New England. Here on the homefront, the war doesn't seem very real. Sure, there are rations, and the seniors are being scheduled for physical training regimens to prepare them for enlistment after graduation - but in the lazy, carefree Summer session, the idea of war seems very distant to the other students. Especially to Phineas.

Finny is athletic and charming - he can talk his way out of any potential trouble, even when he doesn't really make any sense. His friend and roommate (and our narrator), Gene, is booksmart and reserved - he tries to be a good student and to follow the rules, but Finny always seems to get his way. There is something about him that is impossible to resist. That's what started it - just a tiny spark of jealousy, of resentment - and an accident in a tree on the school grounds changes everything.

Or was it an accident?

Either way, things will never be the same again - for any of them.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wombs and Alien Spirits

Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men, and the Zār Cult in Northern Sudan by anthropologist Janice Boddy is a book with a mostly self-explanatory title (I say "mostly" because it is not, in fact, about aliens). I chose this book as my other alternate reading selection for a course in Anthropological Theory, but don't let that frighten you away! I promise you the book is not dry, as the name of that class would suggest.

This ethnography, based on about two years of fieldwork, takes us to a village Boddy calls "Hofriyat" (names of individuals and the name of the village have been changed) in northern Sudan. Although the people in this part of the country speak Arabic and are largely Muslim, the people in this (and other) villages also maintain a strong belief and indulgence in a very specific form of spirit possession - these spirits are known as zār.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Exile is the second book in R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy. Drizzt has proven himself to be unlike the rest of the drow - too unlike them. He leaves the city and ventures out to face the dangers of survival in the Underdark - a challenge at times even for a fighter as skilled as he is.

As the days go by, though, Drizzt realizes that while he can survive outside the city, he is still not able to truly live in the solitude he must endure. Friends eventually come from some unlikely places, but Drizzt soon finds that he cannot outrun his heritage. After all, another characteristic of the drow is that they do not easily forget when they have been slighted - nor do they forgive.