Posts Tagged ‘Reva Sherrard’

  • 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,

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: December 2017

    Dec 1, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “Architecture on the Carpet” By Brenda & Robert Vale This is definitely not a book for everyone because it’s focused on a single subject. However, to this reader, it’s absolutely fascinating to see the comparison between the birth of construction toys and modern architecture. ~Joe “Weird Love” By Clizia Gussoni & Craig Yoe It’s difficult to describe why I found myself drawn to the point of obsession with this series of comics. They read like strange soap operas from the 1950s. It’s absurd kitsch. I guess they just feel like home to me. ~Joe Mystifyingly absorbing and entertaining vignettes of some truly weird loves indeed. I’ve had many an incredulous laugh over these satisfyingly pulpy bits. ~Reva “The White Road” By Edmund de Waal A thorough examination of porcelain’s long history, beauty, and how it has enchanted cultures for years. ~Lacey “Coming to my Senses” By Alice Waters With language that is straightforward and simple, it doesn’t take long to realize Alice Waters is sharp, witty, and brave. ~Lacey “Down and Out in Paris and London” By George Orwell With rebellious clarity, Orwell’s reflections on the reality of extreme poverty in Paris and London are both sobering and graphic. ~Lacey “The Book of the Cat” By Angus Hyland Famous artists show some love for our furry friends. My new favorite book. ~Susannah Exquisite, witty, reverent renderings

  • Myth & Mind: Harvests, hops, & human sacrifice

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Autumn has arrived. The wind changed almost overnight: one day towing monsoon clouds from the southwest in summer’s established pattern, then suddenly restive, keeping the trees awake after dark and setting a fresher edge on the mornings. The light, compressed a minute at a time by approaching winter, became a little clearer, more insistently golden. The wind’s mood in autumn, a combination of restlessness and certainty, has always made this season my favorite. The year is setting out on a journey whose destination is death. To the ancient Celts, the germinant sleep of death preceded life; nightfall was the day’s beginning, and the beginning of winter was the new year. The festival of Samhain (SOW-inn), falling in early November, marks not merely the first day of winter but a resetting of the cosmic mechanism at a fundamental level. To pastoral-agrarian ancestors, winter’s onset meant it was time to move the herds down from the highlands to more sheltered pastures, time to reap and store the rich life of summer before harshening weather took it away, but furthermore the crux of nature’s cyclical drama of death and rebirth. As such it was a dangerous season: The doors between worlds stood open, and one might easily wander inside the hills where the race of fairy-folk lived — especially considering the marathon drinking bouts the Irish engaged in as a

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “The Second Sex” By Simone de Beauvoir Along with “The Feminine Mystique,” de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” is one of the quintessential tomes on mid-century women’s liberation. ~ Lacey   “The Book of Emma Reyes” By Emma Reyes Reading “The Book of Emma Reyes” is like holding the key to a secret door. An incredible story of self-discovery, resilience, and courage. ~ Lacey   “In the Cafe of Lost Youth” By Patrick Modiano Master of the hauntingly beautiful, Modiano weaves a world you won’t want to leave. Skillfully layered with the themes of emotion, identity, and human behavior. ~ Lacey   “The Trial” By Franz Kafka Waking up to being accused of a crime and not being told what it is, to supposedly being under arrest but not apprehended and taken to jail, is an odd way to start the day. ~ Joe   “Sanctuary” By William Faulkner This is my favorite in Faulkner’s oeuvre. Part Southern Gothic, part noir, and strangely elegant. Sanctuary is the book to read on a late summer night. ~ Joe   “The Boys from Brazil” By Ira Levin A Nazi hunter plays detective, searching for Josef Mengele, who is rumored to be in South America concocting a frightening experiment. (As absurd as it sounds, this book is a thrilling page turner). ~ Joe   “Finnegans Wake” By James Joyce The

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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