Book Review: Coney Island Siren
Author, Theresa Varela
By Julie Carpenter
In one of the first few pages of the book you will read the sentence, “This book is dedicated to the women who have lost themselves in the search for love,” and the story within the pages lives up to the theme. Varela’s book explores domestic abuse and the ripple effect it can have, passed on from one family and relationship to another, causing damage throughout time, generation after generation. More than that, the book is an exploration of one woman’s relationship with herself, a study of how her choices were made, of choices that can never be undone.
Happily Ever After
by Jarad Johnson
The Disney versions of the classic fairy tales are the ones that my generation, and a few before me, grew up with. They’re the ones that we are familiar with, and unless we actually take the time to read the original (a term used loosely here) then we are never aware that older fairy tales can be quite dark. Often there is no “happily ever after” as Disney would have us believe. If you read the Grimm’s versions of fairy tales (and these were collections of earlier and often even darker tales), they are usually quite…grim. It’s kind of in the name. These folk stories were not always about happy endings, or even about love.
Book Review: The Flight of the Wren
Author, Orla McAlinden
by Julie Carpenter
I read this book when it came out in 2018 and it’s one of the few books I’ve read over the last couple of years that still haunts me. I am just sitting down to do a review for various reasons, including two moves, renovation chaos, and a small family medical crisis. No one ever accused me of being organized. Still, I think this may be a very good time to read this book, with the heavy footsteps of a pandemic and other signs of the apocalypse trudging on in the background. (I’m only partly kidding.)
Gardening in the Heat
by Julie Carpenter
It’s June and while northern gardeners are just reaching the dizzying peak of summer blooms, here in the south we’re rapidly creeping towards sunstroke territory. My hydrangeas are already acting like drama queens. I firmly believe they droop their leaves a little lower if they see me looking at them. We’ve had a fairly wet early summer with afternoon thunderstorms that leave the garden feeling more like a steam bath than a garden, fogging up windows and the gardener’s glasses. As bad as it is, I have to remind myself that it will get worse. By July around here an afternoon thunderstorm will feel like the sauna on the devil’s back porch.
Luther Black and The Cold, Hard Facts
Luther Black and the Cold, Hard Facts
by Roy Peak
All debut albums are interesting in that they are usually the culmination of everything the artist has learned up to that point. They've had plenty of time to work out the details and nuances of the songs, they've lived with them, so to speak, and when they finally are able to release them onto the world, it's a catharsis of sorts. It's like they are saying "Here's my art, all that I am. I give it to you," and they stand back and hope the world is kind, that it understands just how much work and heartache went into this particular piece.
Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author, Silvie Moreno-
by Jarad Johnson
A blend of mythology, fairy tale and history, Gods of Jade and Shadow is captivating and original. There are many characters, events and places packed into three hundred pages, but essentially, a Mayan death god and a mortal girl embark on an adventure across Mexico, with the help of their demon friend. Yes, demon friend. We all have one of those. It’s epic in scope, and chock full of interesting mythological references. How could I resist? How could you resist?
OF ICE, OF FIRE
by Alisa Velaj
We can't be clearer than this snowy sky, my dear.
It has the guts to see everything stark naked,
unabashedly so, down to the bone of nakedness--
similarly to Eden in its genesis days...
You and I vest one armor piece upon another,
lusty with bonfires stacked up deep inside us,
while they never satiated us enough,
nor ever burnt
or cremated us to ashes...
We are heroes of glorious sunny days--
our clarity held hostage by a long winter night,
ever since you swore on rock and wood
to flee four seasons away from snows,
there, where the sun would shine your eyes...
And here we are now—in season five,
wordless and eyes downcast, under the same sky,
which we shall never be able to outspace,
unless we first master the spectrum of light!
Translated from Albanian by Arben P. Latifi
Readings on Racism
by Sacred Chickens Staff
This is not really a political site in one way, but as you know if you’ve read through our pages for long, we believe that all stories are political in that they give us a lens that helps us navigate real life, our expectations, and how we think we and others should be treated. Sometimes, we like to share opinions and stories that relate to current events. Here are some links we are working through this week.
In addition to the articles Jarad and I have found enlightening, a neighbor of mine shared some links with the neighborhood. Her recommended readings can be accessed under the label Anti-Racism Resources. (She shared the YouTube video that made this list as well.)
We all need to stop and ask ourselves sometimes if we’re listening. Are we hearing other’s stories and perspectives? All of these links are food for thought. Read them. Listen to them. If they’re different from the perspective you usually hear, all the better.
Author Amy Stewart
By Jarad Johnson
Nature is something that the gardener must revere. In many ways, it is our greatest teacher. Nature can be beautiful, wondrous, fascinating and otherworldly. It can also be violent, dangerous, and mischievous. All of that encompasses the general term of nature, and it’s much more complex than many people make it out to be. When people go for a walk or a hike, they are generally seeking a peaceful retreat. Nature can be peaceful, but as Amy Stewart points out, you might not want to relax too much. On a walk through the woods (a favorite activity of mine to do) there are many mischievous plants, some that can harm you, some that can intoxicate you, and some that might even kill you given the chance.
The Scent of Death
by Ann Neo Celeste
The Scent of Death
Gregorian chant, I hear
A farmer harvesting crops
Sheathed in black bags
Past rigor mortis, feast for maggots, mobbed by flies
fate of struggle
after life found
another time, another place