Posts Tagged ‘Reva Sherrard’

  • Myth & Mind: Stop … hammer time

    May 4, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Thor was wearing a dress, and he didn’t like it. Loki, in female guise and a skirt, looked a hell of a lot more comfortable as he played the role of handmaiden to a bride, pealing with girlish laughter while his eyes flashed wickedly. But Thor hadn’t come to the realm of giants for anyone’s amusement: He was here to get his hammer back. Thor was the child of Odin and the Earth — in other words, of pure spiritual and natural power, and as such immensely strong and as terrible in striking as the lightning. With his weapon, the magic hammer Mjölnir, in his hand he was nearly invincible. No matter how far he flung Mjölnir it always returned, boomerang-style, and its force was capable of crushing mountains. Thor needed only the hammer and two other pieces of magical equipment, a strength-enhancing belt and a pair of iron gloves, to defeat his foes the giants again and again. This time the giants had resorted to a ploy. Their king, named Þrymr, stole mighty Mjölnir and let it be known he wanted the beautiful, fertility-giving goddess Freyja as ransom, to be his wife — a ransom that Freyja declared no one would pay, stamping her foot in rage and making the hall of the gods shake. So it was Thor who had to don a bridal gown

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: May 2018

    May 4, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Small Homes Grand Living” by Gestalten Press Are you one of those people who derives furtive yet intense pleasure from leafing through photobooks of soothing minimalist design and modern small spaces? Your secret’s safe with me. Take a peek at this one and sigh a happy sigh. ~Reva “Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands” by Judith Schalansky What a queer little book. Subtitled “Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will,” this pocket-sized yellow volume feels like a relic from a bygone age of exploration, speculation, and mystery. ~Reva “Meeting the Shadow” edited by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams This is a collection of scholarly essays exploring the darker depths of the human psyche. Themes range as widely as Life, Death, Sex, and even Work. It’s an excellent source for understanding one’s own shadow self, and broaches the age-old question: “What are we hiding?” ~Joe “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” by Stephen King A terrifyingly accurate though moving depiction of childhood and the innately human fear of the dark. ~Bekah “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros A series of short vignettes gives soaring voice to a multitude of characters whose stories would otherwise be left unheard. “The House on Mango Street” stands out with simple yet awe-inspiring writing with a powerful message duly delivered. ~Susannah “Golden Hill” by Francis Spafford Spafford’s witty and

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: April 2018

    Mar 30, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “How to Build a Girl,” by Caitlin Moran Sincere to the point of (hilarious) obscenity. A sweet-and-sour story about growing up and the ultimately brutal reality of what it means to be a woman. ~Bekah “The Child Finder,” by Rene Denfield Shining light in the darkest of places, “The Child Finder” is a terrifying, beautiful book. I couldn’t put it down. ~Michaela “Bad Feminist,” by Roxane Gay Reading this book is like hanging out with your best friend. Brilliant, honest, and hilarious. ~Michaela “City on Fire,” by Garth Risk Hallberg This novel, Hallberg’s first, is stellar. I marveled at the beauty of his sentences, fell in love with his characters, and didn’t want it to end. ~Michaela “Nadja,” by André Breton The author of “The Surrealist Manifesto” forays into fiction. He uses Dadaist and Surrealist techniques in an interesting juxtaposition of images and words that strongly influenced the “illustrated novel” of today. ~Joe “Binti,” by Nnedi Okorafor This story is heartwarming in the most surreal way possible. From the first paragraph I was swept into an absolutely alien, but still somehow comprehensible world. And from there I traveled with Binti — I was afraid of Binti — and eventually, I found peace with Binti. ~Jon “The Pelican Tree,” by Marnie Devereux Local author Devereux is back with her second book of poetry. Her sincerity is refreshing,

  • Myth & Mind: Blessings under the skirt

    Mar 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard There’s a story about the old wall around Milan, Italy. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his armies were at the gates, ready to storm the city. A young Milanese woman appeared up at the battlements in full sight of the Emperor and his soldiers. She raised her richly embroidered skirts to her waist and, with regal unconcern, began trimming her pubic hair with a pair of shears. Thunderstruck, Barbarossa froze where he stood. His soldiers gaped and crossed themselves, aghast; some dropped their weapons. Confusion and dread spread among the troops, who until moments ago had been hot with battle-purpose. When at last the Emperor raised his voice it was to order a retreat. He would be back, but for that day the city was safe. To celebrate the taunt that had driven Barbarossa from their walls the merchants and nobles of Milan had a marble bas-relief of the woman — raised skirts and all — installed over the gate where she had stopped the army. For centuries after it was known as Porta Tosa, “Shears Gate.” The tale may be apocryphal, but the carving is real; it dates from the 12th century, when Barbarossa laid siege to and eventually sacked Milan. And it’s not as a far-fetched a notion as it seems that a little flashing may have turned back a medieval army. The

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: March 2018

    Mar 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Debriefing: Collected Stories,” by Susan Sontag Sontag is the clear, precise voice of a generation and the hardships they endured. ~Lacey “Some Kind of Happiness,” by Claire Legrand This may be the best coming of age tale for girls. Young Finley deals with her parents’ looming divorce, a terrible family secret, navigating new friendships, and much more — yet the book stays lighthearted and fun. ~Veri “The Fifth Season,” by N. K. Jemisin A refreshing new(ish) voice in epic fantasy. Part epic fantasy, part urban fantasy, part sci-fi. You’ll see … just check it out.~Jon “A Gentleman in Moscow,” by Amor Towles An enchanting narrative with a very charming character. If you’re looking for a nice work of historical fiction with well-drawn characters, this is it. A good book for a relaxing day. ~Susannah “Catwings,” by Ursula LeGuin I read this wonderful series when I was a kid, long before I knew anything about LeGuin’s better-known oeuvre. The story is sweet and subtly deep. A magical story … without magic. ~Susannah “The House of the Scorpion,” by Nancy Farmer In the not-so-distant future, there is a land overrun with hackneyed dystopian “Young Adult” novels, where the citizens cower before the ever-present threat of yet another book about a girl who really wants to snog a lame vampire. Just kidding, the time is NOW, and the place

  • Myth & Mind: Chamunda, the skull beneath the skin

    Feb 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard A terrible demon ravaged the earth in ancient days. A shapeshifter, he could take the form of a man or a huge water buffalo at will. The gods and goddesses could not kill him: The poison on their spearpoints had no effect, and for every drop of his blood that touched the ground an identical demon sprang up raging. Out of the female godhead emerged a deity born to defeat this monster. Sinking her teeth into his giant throat, she drank his blood so thirstily that not a single drop fell. As the demons wailed and died, all their power went into her. Her skin turned blood-red, her flesh withered and clung to her protruding bones, her eyes blazed, and she became the goddess Chamunda, the demon killer. The glance of her staring eyes sears evil out of existence, and her head is crowned with flames. She wears a snake, a necklace of skulls; a scorpion rests on her shrunken belly. Throughout India, she is revered as mother goddess, in some places as an aspect of Durga, Kali, or Parvati, in others as the ultimate in herself. Like the better-known Kali, whose name means “dark one,” she is black or red and her mouth stretches savagely open, revealing teeth. In carvings she dances atop a corpse or sits enthroned on one; otherwise she rides a tiger or

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: February 2018

    Feb 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “The Greatest Story Ever Told — So Far,” by Lawrence Krauss This gem by famous physicist and Arizona resident Krauss is easy and fun to read. I guarantee you’ll learn something — but I promise it won’t hurt! ~Jon “Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth,” by Frank Cottrell Boyce Prez, a silent boy from the Children’s Temporary foster home, meets Sputnik, an alien disguised as a dog, in this touching book for young readers. Sputnik and Prez embark on a mission to save the Earth that has a lot in common with “The Hithchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” It’s just as funny while also dealing with some very difficult topics. ~Veri “Stages of Rot,” by Linnea Sterte This is a beautiful limited edition of Swedish artist Linnea Sterte’s debut graphic novel. Her illustrative skill is unique. This lyrical exploration of what happens to the underwater carcass of a whale belongs in the hands of any art lover or true sequential art enthusiast. ~David “Transformations,” by Anne Sexton A modern take on the Brothers Grimm though poetry; dark and twisted. ~Lacey “Women & Power,” by Mary Beard The brilliant, hilarious, charismatic Mary Beard, a Cambridge professor and scholar of the Classical world, tackles the thorny relationship between women and Western cultural structures of power in this brief and potent new book. Like a glass of really good

  • Myth & Mind: When blue is not blue: A glance at color through the eye of linguistics

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard When Ahmed ibn Fadlan, 10th-century diplomat from Baghdad to a king on the banks of the Volga River, encountered the Scandinavian settlers there, he described them as covered fingers to neck with green tattoos. The account I first read this in was puzzled what to make of the “green” markings, as colored tattoo ink is a relatively recent innovation. If that writer had glanced below the surface of the translation — or had had personal experience with tattooing — they would have seen that the word for “green” in ibn Fadlan’s Arabic also meant “blue.” A further historical glance would have informed them that the medieval Arabs were by no means the only society to assign the two colors, distinct to modern eyes, a single name. I, myself, am significantly tattooed with traditional black ink, and can testify that once healed a black tattoo in fair skin becomes dark blue-green. Likewise the visible veins beneath fair skin can look green or blue, though we call aristocrats “blue-bloods.” The phrase is a direct translation of Castilian Spanish sangre azul, a term of pride and bigotry used in the age of inquisitions by pale families with no skin-darkening tint of Jewish or Moorish genes. It is a delightful historic irony that the very word azul (blue), like countless other common Spanish words, was loaned from the Moors who occupied

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: January 2018

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “After Dark,” by Haruki Murakami A term comes to mind: a book to get lost in. That defines this book, as well as all of Murakami’s work. Just don’t be upset if you don’t make it back out again. ~Jon “The Art of Eating,” by M.F.K. Fisher Such lush sensory riches — such a virtuosic harmony of taste, talent, and elegance — such a deeply involving appetite for love, warmth, and the food that lends voluptuous color to one and satiety to the other: Fisher’s oeuvre delivers, and delivers, and delivers. ~Reva “Meddling Kids,” by Edgar Cantero Scooby-Doo meets … Lovecraft?! … in this fun and wacky mystic mystery. A real romp with grown-up scares and plenty of laughs. ~Susannah “Night Air,” by Ben Sears Another graphic novel by the amazing Ben Sears. Appropriate for kids but at least as much fun for adults! It’s like Tintin on a roboplanet committing clever heists. ~David “The Girl with All the Gifts,” by M.R. Carey You thought there was nothing new anyone could do with zombies? Well, you were wrong, and this book will show you why. Spine-tingling! ~Susannah “Reservoir 13,” by Jon McGregor This novel is a meditation on rural living, plus the far-reaching effects of a girl’s disappearance on a seemingly tranquil community. ~Lacey “The Fisherman,” by John Langman This was a weird horror story. Fantastic

  • Myth & Mind: Furies & hunts

    Dec 1, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard King Agamemnon’s ships lay in harbor, manned and ready to sail to war in Troy, awaiting a wind that wouldn’t come. As days crawled past a plague spread in the still air under the drooping sails. With more and more of his army sickening and the outcome of the war in the balance, Agamemnon chose to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to gain divine favor. When the girl’s throat was cut a wind sprang up, scoured the plague from the army’s lungs and drove the ships to Troy. Queen Clytemnestra grieved wildly for her daughter. While her husband was at war she turned for comfort to his rival Aegisthus. When Agamemnon returned victorious, bringing a captive princess as his prize and concubine, the lovers killed them both. It was now the duty of Orestes, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra’s son, to avenge his father’s murder. He slew his mother and her lover with his own hand. But the crime of matricide woke the Erinyes, or Furies, goddesses of punishment. Relentlessly they pursued Orestes and drove him mad. ***** What are the Erinyes? Etymologically, erinys (Greek, singular) likely means just what the Romans glossed it as: fury. These female powers are older than the Olympians, representing an equally ancient law. The laws and cultural values — and breaches thereof — embodied by Zeus and company belong to the machinery of civilization,

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