Sneak Peek (#2) into Laura’s List

triangular_room_bookshelves

Here is another taste of what is to come from Laura’s List. This book honoring Laura Bloxham’s 35 years of Summer Reading Lists will be released Friday, May 9 at the Westminster annual Book Sale which will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the garden between Westminster and Lied.

To donate books to the sale, contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu or (509) 777-3253 and arrange a pick-up.

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The Stones of Mourning Creek
by Diane Les Becquets (2012)

I fell in love with The Stones of Mourning Creek my freshman year of high school. It’s one of those books I could read over and over again and get some new meaning from each time I read it. The element of mystery forced my fingers to turn each page the first time I read it.

I can’t remember if the writing was even “good” and I can barely recall the storyline. But I do remember the feeling I got from reading the book –a kind of aching in my chest and throat, like I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.

Despite the title, this book is not just a young adult romance novel, a genre that perpetually lived on my bookshelf at the time. Rather, it follows the story of a young Caucasian girl who finds herself battling a racist society when she befriends an African American girl in 1960 Alabama. The novel portrays unlikely friendships, complicated familial relationships, death, racism, and heartbreak.

Ivy Beck is a sophomore at Whitworth who is studying English and French, and has taken to writing creative nonfiction.

May and All That It Brings

May 1 reading flier

As of today, there are 18 days until the end of finals week. To help energize you for the last three weeks, we have lots of activities coming your way.

Thursday, May 1

Writing Awards at 4 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. This year’s Writing Awards have a surprise in store for you. Check out the video featuring Annie Stillar and Ryan Stevens on The Whistle’s facebook page.

Writing in the Community Reading at 6 p.m. at Indaba Coffee (1425 W Broadway, downtown Spokane) as seen in poster above made by Rowanne Fairchild. Come out and support Nicole Sheets and her class EL 396: Writing in the Community Practicum.

All semester we have been working closely with different community groups from Mountainside Middle School to Cooper George. Join us for the chance to hear our workshop members read the materials they have been working on for the past eight weeks. And there will be cake!

Friday, May 2

Annual Westminster Round BBQ at 5 p.m. in the garden between Westminster and Lied. Celebrate the end of the semester with friends and burgers (and veggie burgers)!

Next week Friday, May 9

Westminster’s Annual Book Sale and the release of Laura’s List. The book sale will be from 11:30-1:00 in the garden between Westminster and Lied. Donations are still welcome. Contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu or (509) 777-3253 to arrange a pick-up.

Sneak Peek into Laura’s List

Books

Laura’s List is coming soon! It will be released Friday, May 9 at the annual Westminster Book Sale. Laura’s List is a compilation of reflections and reviews on books recommended from over 35 years of Laura Bloxham’s Summer Reading Lists.

Here is a sample of what is to come:

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand (2010)

After completing a Holocaust Literature class with Laura Bloxham, I continued the journey to discover the truths revealed by suffering through the biography of Louis Zamperini.

At its core, the biography is a journey to discover freedom. Zamperini’s captors are numerous: the Axis Powers, the ocean, sharks, hunger, fatigue, and Japanese Sergeant Watanabe. The most formidable enemy, however, is the invisible force that continues to enslave him after the war’s end—namely hatred.

To conquer hatred, Zamperini is tasked with the arduous challenge of forgiveness. He is initially consumed with thoughts of revenge, but when told of his former tormentor’s suicide, he is overwhelmed by compassion. “At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperini, the war was over”(379).

The path to forgiveness allows Zamperini to reflect on the miracles God wrought to keep him alive throughout the war. Years later, the greatest miracle of Zamperini’s life is when God intervenes, not in the realm of nature, but in the realm of the human heart.

The longing for freedom burns perhaps more passionately than any other human desire. We are enslaved by fears of abandonment and death, uncertainty and failure. These fears stem from pride that drives our hatred of anything interfering with our own wellbeing. In relinquishing the pride, however, hatred dissolves away and freedom is ours.

Amber Johnson is a 2012 Whitworth graduate who is currently in her first year of medical school at Creighton University School of Medicine. She is thankful to Laura for giving her the ability to fully enjoy and skillfully analyze literature through the three classes she took with her at Whitworth, as well through the guidance she received from her as an advisor.

Nancy Drew And Lifetime Reading

nancy drew lilac inn

by Jessica Weber (’14)

The first full book that was read to me was Charlotte’s Web. Every night before bed my mother would promise another chapter, and together we would revisit our favorite animation film in its original form. I remember the final chapter distinctly, not for its contents, but because the days of listening to my mother read aloud were over. I had decided I was skilled enough to read on my own, and soon thereafter I started A Horse Called Wonder, the first of many from the Thoroughbred book series. I followed the character of Claire through her personal struggles and riding successes. Eventually my girlish obsession with horses faded, and I moved on to Nancy Drew books.

I cannot remember exactly how I came across my first copy of the books, but I do remember reading The Secret of the Old Clock and being entranced. As I opened each new book of the series, I was confident in Nancy’s ability to somehow escape the danger she found herself in and solve the mystery by the final pages.

After reading every Nancy Drew book in my small private school I begged my mother to take me to the Pasco Public Library. This did not take much convincing. She chauffeured me to the young-adult books and left me there while she went to the Danielle Steele section. I generally despised being left alone in public places, but I did not mind when she left me there. As I sat on the floor searching for new mysteries to solve, I realized how many more books were out there to be read. I paused and inhaled their musty book smell. I reveled in their symmetrical spines on which Carolyn Keene’s name resided, and gazed into their brilliant yellow covers. Led by the colorful photographs, I settled on The Clue in the Jewel Box.

At first it was difficult for me to choose only one book, but my mother reminded me that I could always come back. And I did. About once a month, my mother would take me down Sylvester Street and up 12th. We’d use the crosswalk from the Memorial Public Pool to the library, enter through the familiar doors, and walk directly to the back where Carolyn Keene’s collection lived. I’d scan the spines for mysteries unsolved and reminisce about the mysteries I’d already figured out.

During my first visit to Santa Barbara, California I was carrying The Mystery at Lilac Inn through the airports and on the planes to and from my aunt’s house. I received smiles from older women who noticed what I was reading, and warm comments from a woman who scanned my boarding ticket. It seemed as though everywhere I went, women much older than I seemed to understand the magic that rested between the book’s pages. On our final flight home from Salt Lake to Pasco, a man stopped me and asked me what I was reading. Without a word, I turned the cover of The Mystery at Lilac Inn to his view. He laughed and asked me why I was reading such an old book. I replied with an “I don’t know” and walked away. I did not understand how some people didn’tt feel the same way as I did about reading.

Jessica Weber is a senior who fits the tea-drinking, book-loving English major stereotype. She even goes as far to dabble in other adventurous activities such as gardening, knitting, and cat-loving. Jessica is the editor of the forthcoming Laura’s List and plans to pursue a career in publishing.


Nancy Drew cover is from here.
 

This Is Your Brain On Novels

people-reading

Check out “Does Reading Actually Change Your Brain?” from futurity.org

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” [neuroscientist Gregory] Berns says. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

And hey, speaking of reading, have you submitted something to Laura’s List yet? It’s not too late!

Photo is from here.

Deadline Approaching For Laura’s List: Submit Today!

triangular_room_bookshelves

Did you think the Whitworth English blog had forgotten you? No way. We’ve got plenty of great stuff in store for 2014.

Good news: Laura’s List is still accepting submissions!

In celebration of over 35 years of Laura Bloxham’s Summer Reading List, Whitworth University’s Department of English invites contributions for a single-volume publication titled Laura’s List, forthcoming April 2014.

Submissions should be brief (100-250 words), and they should explore significant reading experiences with titles from Laura’s lists or from your own selections. To contribute, email submissions to lauraslist14@gmail.com.

Deadline is Wednesday, January 15.

For questions, contact Jessica Weber, Editor [jweber14@my.whitworth.edu], or Pamela Corpron Parker, Chair, Department of English [pamelaparker@whitworth.edu].

Bookshelf image is from here.

Tis the Season to Type: Chapbook Contest & Laura’s List

Chapbook

Students, congratulations on being done with finals! Now it is time to enjoy your three weeks of freedom. Here are a couple of ideas about how to keep your minds turning and your fingers typing.

Chapbook Contest 2014 is underway. This is an excellent time to relax and write 10-20 pages of prose, poetry or a hybrid.

The Chapbook Champion will receive $100, have a small print run of your book and be the featured reader at the annual Script reading.

Deadline is Friday, February 7 at 5 p.m.

When submitting to the English front desk, please don’t put your name on the manuscript, rather attach name, major and contact info on a separate sheet. There is no entry fee and multiple entries are permitted.

This year’s guest judge will be Esther Lee, award-winning author and poet. For more information, contact Annie Stillar [astillar@whitworth.edu].

Laura’s List is still accepting submissions!

In celebration of over 35 years of Laura Bloxham’s Summer Reading List, Whitworth University’s Department of English invites contributions for a single-volume publication titled Laura’s List, forthcoming April 2014.

Submissions should be brief (100-250 words), and they should explore significant reading experiences with titles from Laura’s lists or from your own selections. To contribute, email submissions to lauraslist14@gmail.com.

Deadline is Wednesday, January 15.

For questions, contact Jessica Weber, Editor [jweber14@my.whitworth.edu], or Pamela Corpron Parker, Chair, Department of English [pamelaparker@whitworth.edu].

Happy Holidays!

Laura’s List: Calling All Book-Lovers to Take Part

“Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate.” — Jeanette Winterson

Books

In celebration of over 35 years of Laura Bloxham’s Summer Reading List, Whitworth University’s Department of English invites contributions for a single-volume publication titled Laura’s List, forthcoming April 2014.

Submissions should be brief (100-250 words), and they should explore significant reading experiences with titles from Laura’s lists or from your own selections.

Excerpts will be posted here, on the Department Blog, and then selected to create Laura’s List.  Entries may be humorous, poignant, playful or profound, but most importantly they should remind us of the pleasure of reading a good book at the behest of a wise friend and mentor.

To contribute, email submissions to lauraslist14@gmail.com by January 15th.

For questions, contact Jessica Weber, Editor [jweber14@my.whitworth.edu], or Pamela Corpron Parker, Chair, Department of English [pamelaparker@whitworth.edu].