Posts Tagged ‘Reva Sherrard’

  • Myth & Mind: Bring out your dead

    Jun 2, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard They say not to tip the man who tends the pyres on the burning ghats of the Ganges, keeping the oxygen roaring through the wooden towers and prodding the hands and shins back into the flames when they fall: give him whiskey instead. It’s the only thing that keeps the smell at bay. I was brought to Nimtala Burning Ghat as part of a Kolkata-by-motorcycle tour, which involved holding tight to a city native as we chugged through the streets’ sooty pandemonium on a green vintage Royal Enfield. I was almost as anxious over my intrusion as tourist at a funeral as compelled by the pyres and taste of woodsmoke in the oily, Dickensian smog. But the male relatives chatting around their shrouded corpse as they awaited its turn paid me no mind, and as the day’s dead were transmuted to ash I watched and thought of our English word bonfire, which means a blaze hot enough to consume bone. Nimtala is the most famous, and reportedly the most haunted burning ghat on the Hooghly River, a distributary of the sprawling Ganges and the heart of the city of Kolkata (Calcutta). A ghat is one of innumerable crumbling flights of stairs lining the river to make it accessible for the bathing, washing, and prayer that never for a moment cease along its banks from its origins in

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: June 2017

    Jun 2, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “The Black Prism” By Brent Weeks I can’t remember ever reading a fantasy novel where I had such a difficult time determining who the good guys and bad guys really were. Brent Weeks completely rejects fantasy tropes like the flawless, handsome, inhumanly talented main hero; instead, we are given Kip, whose total incompetence shines like a fat, stupid beacon in a darkly unforgiving world. ~Sean “The Way of Natural History” By Thom Fleischner A window into one of the most important and least talked-about scientific fields, this book is an antidote for environmental despair. It reminds us that the natural world is wondrous and ever-present. ~Ty “Cry, Heart, But Never Break” By Glenn Ringtved & Charlotte Pardi “Some people say Death’s heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal, but that is not true. Beneath his inky cloak, Death’s heart is as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life.” This children’s book by a Danish author and illustrator team is a marvelously wise parable about death’s place in life. ~Reva “The Shining” By Stephen King Constantly teetering between reality and dreamland, this book will shake how you see the world around you — even with the lights on. ~Bekah “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” By Emil Ferris This debut graphic novel about dark secrets and the

  • Myth & Mind: Loki’s tricky tongue saves his neck

    Apr 28, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard There was a time when words had power. Oaths and contracts bound their makers as securely as iron, curses flew truer than arrows, and on the slippery outer edges of words was a subtle magic. In the North, the god Loki wanted gifts for the Æsir, so he sought out the dwarves in their caverns, master smiths who made wondrous things from the Earth’s ores. From the four sons of Ivaldi he commissioned a spear for Odin that would strike whatever the thrower aimed at and always return to his hand; a mighty warship for Freyr that could be folded away so small and light it would fit in your pocket; and living golden hair to replace that which he’d cut from the head of the goddess Sif — another story entirely. When Loki had these treasures he showed them to the dwarf brothers Sindri and Brokkr. They were rivals of Ivaldi’s sons, and their works and hearts were darker. “Toys,” the brothers sneered. “We make things of real power.” “Care for a bet?” asked Loki. “Make your own gifts and let the recipients decide whose work is best. If Ivaldi’s sons win, we keep your gifts for free. If you win, how much gold do you want?” Loki was good at getting gold. “No gold. When we win, we take your head for our price.” It

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: May 2017

    Apr 28, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Mistborn” By Brandon Sanderson A semi-heroic band of thieves plot to overthrow a god-king who has ruled uncontested for a thousand years. But can they really do any better? Not your standard average-Joe-vs-god fantasy story, this trilogy will leave many images and questions burning in your mind. ~Sean “Tribe” By Sebastian Junger What is it about modern affluent life that so starves us psychologically? How is it that wartime can provide the strongest social bonds and sense of meaning? Why do some survivors of extreme trauma develop PTSD, and others not? For succinct, powerful answers- read Tribe. I want to give it to all my friends. ~Reva “Bird Brains” By Candace Savage A photographic homage to corvids, that brilliant and gregarious family of birds whose members include jays, magpies, crows, and our own ravens. Full of fascinating natural history tidbits and anecdotes. Bird lovers will spend many a happy moment leafing through. ~Reva “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” By Aimee Bender An honest and palpable representation of familial relationships verging on the supernatural. ~Bekah “The Stranger in the Woods” By Michael Finkel Christopher Knight lived in the Maine woods in a tent for 27 years. You read that correctly. Now get the book to find out how he did it! ~Jon “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” By Susanna Clarke An exceptionally funny and lighthearted story

  • Myth & Mind: The yolk and the sun

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard In the beginning, before the worlds had form, the sun thrust her right hand over the sky’s edge. She did not know what her place was to be, nor did the moon and stars know where to shine. Now that the stuff of time and place is differentiated and the wheels of the sun’s chariot turn the day and year on a set path, a monstrous wolf pursues her through the sky. All that is begun must also end, and one day this clockwork will run down. When the serpent round the earth’s middle sets the oceans loose and the dead rise to battle, the wolf will devour the sun and stop the turning of time. Or we could say that one day our star’s fiery heart will run out of fuel; one day its expansion and contraction towards death will disrupt the complex balance that keeps its satellite the Earth in a settled orbit, and the cycles of movement that make time will gradually or violently come unpinned. Whether our life can exist independently of our sun is an academic question. What is beyond questioning is that our life — human life, life on Earth — was and is given and ruled by the Sun. So of all her movements, her return from darkness at dawn has the greatest mythic significance as a cornerstone of human

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: April 2017

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “The Name of the Wind” By Patrick Rothfuss The best fantasy novel in decades, and the best introduction to the genre for any curious minds. The prose is nothing less than musical and the worldbuilding is seamless. This book stands up to dogged theorizing and dissection; there are stories under stories and secrets in the songs. Listen to Kvothe’s tale, but pay attention; things are not what they seem. ~Sean, Jon, & David “Here I Am” By Jonathan Safran Foer An astounding new novel from Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated. Foer, again, is pushing the literary envelope in a stunning display of talent and heart. ~Jon “The Way Things Work Now” By David Macaulay No matter your age, interests, or feelings towards woolly mammoths, this book will entertain and teach. Just open it to any page and learn how stuff works. ~Sean “Plainwater” By Anne Carson Both intimate and dazzling, my favorite essay from this collection is Part V: The Anthropology of Water when Carson takes the reader on a pilgrimage in pursuit of water. ~Lacey “Pond” By Claire-Louise Bennett Pond is sharp and compassionate, beautiful and strange – and everything felt turned upside down and inside out after I read it. Claire-Louise Bennett inspires observation and self-awareness. ~Lacey “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” By Truman Capote So you’ve

  • Myth & Mind: Thor, Strength & sudden light

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Thor had a mind to go fishing. Striking the head off a bull to use as bait, he demanded the giant Hymir take him out in his boat. Far they rowed out to sea. Hymir caught two whales on his line. “We’ll turn back now,” he said. “It’s not good to go into deeper waters than this.” But Thor rowed on, and where there was no bottom to the sea and the sky closed grimly over the tops of black swells rearing higher than mountains, he cast his bait down on a long, long line and waited. Soon a bite nearly wrenched the line from his grasp. The giant’s boat juddered on the dark water, its planks creaking, as Thor braced himself and pulled with all his might. With a roar as if the very ocean rose against him, the terrible head of the Midgard Serpent breached the deep and yawned over the boat, Thor’s iron hook wedged fast in its jaw. They say that none have seen fearful things who did not see this: the massy weed-hung head of the world-encircling snake disorganizing the swells, deadly venom dribbling from its jaws, and Thor staring back in awful fury while thunder growled in the clouds overhead and lightning stabbed red from his eyes. As the thunder god reached for his hammer, Hymir, in terror, cut the fishing-line,

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: March 2017

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Walking to Martha’s Vineyard” By Franz Wright Every word of this moving poetry collection is worth reading, more than once, while sipping tea (or whiskey), in front of the fireplace, while petting the cat. ~Jon “Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It” By Daniel Klein This philosophy book is fun and easy to read. You read that right: fun and easy. Two words you wouldn’t normally use to describe a philosophy book. The author has made a craft of making philosophy something everyone can read, but it doesn’t take away from any of the big ideas throughout. ~Jon “High-Rise” By J. G. Ballard I dare you: read the first sentence, then try to look away. Ha ha haaa. Ballard’s psychological thriller is a diabolically perspicacious, riveting free-fall into absolute social collapse. ~Reva “The Devourers” By Indra Das Holy hell, is this book good. Das’ shapeshifter novel soars above its predecessors in both substance and style, a mesmerizing tale of were-predators and the twinned natures of humankind. The writing has real literary merit, mingling gruesomeness and beauty in ardent descriptive language. The concepts are original and convincing. I’m telling you, good stuff! ~Reva “Fortunately, the Milk” By Neil Gaiman This book has it all: A dinosaur, pirates, a volcano god, aliens, ponies, wumpires, and, fortunately, the milk. ~Veri “Perdido Street Station” By China

  • Myth & Mind: The drinking horn full of the oceans

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard What is myth? Raven stealing the light, Athena bursting fully-armored from Zeus’ forehead, and so on? Where did these stories come from and why? Well — once upon a time — our primate ancestors lived, ate, loved, and died just like other animals and needed nothing more. Like wolves and chimpanzees, we hunted cooperatively and communicated using indicative vocalizations. Then language happened, and from thinking largely in concrete facts we started thinking in symbols. We made the cognitive leaps from grunting when we saw antelope, to having a specific sound that meant “antelope,” to using it when there were none around. Suddenly we had more to think about apart from whether or not we could run the antelope down; now we were concerned with meaning, and lo, through one of evolution’s stranger vicissitudes the human consciousness was born. Language and the super-complex brains it built gave our sorry, furless ancestors the cooperative and imaginative edge they needed to survive. But now, those complex brains found equal complexity in otherwise straightforward struggles to get food, mate, fight, and resolve fights. Life had a new dimension for which meat and copulation alone were not enough (well, for some of us). We needed to find a working truce with the loneliness and fear that go hand-in-hand with speculative thought; we needed not just physical but psychological strength to outwit death

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: February 2017

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Three Moments of an Explosion” By China Miéville A collection of short stories, ranging from somewhat odd to completely absurd. The range of styles and moods expressed in Miéville’s work is impressive to say the least. For a quick taste, I’d recommend “The Rope Is The World” and “The Crawl.” ~Sean “And Then There Were None” By Agatha Christie Arguably the single best story penned by the most popular mystery author of all time. “And Then There Were None” is full of subtle guidance and misdirection; I challenge any reader who claims to have predicted the simply unpredictable conclusion of this timeless mystery. ~Sean “Based On A True Story” By Norm Macdonald At first glance, Macdonald’s book seems like the typical autobiography you’ve come to expect from a comedian. However, the brilliance of the novel is that it’s an “honest” work of fiction with bits of truth sprinkled in. ~Joe “Home” By Carson Ellis Beautiful illustrations. Wonderful storyline. Open it up and see! ~Jon “Into The Dark” By Mark Vieira Simply put: This book is packed with absolutely gorgeous black & white stills from the Noir era of crime films in the ’40s/’50s. My favorite book in the store. ~Joe “Despair” By Vladimir Nabokov A story of doubles and dopplegangers. Pay very close attention to each paragraph, sentence and word with this story because as soon

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