August 30th, 2014 marks Mary Shelley’s 217th birthday and what has become known as Frankenstein Day.
Frankenstein was always one of my favorite books to teach, and it was fun to go crazy with it around Halloween. One year my students were treated to watching a “Grow Your Own Monster” that I picked up for a dollar get pretty scary as it took over a grimy jar of water.
When I discovered The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, I was instantly hooked. A noir-style murder mystery set in the pre-apocalypse? Sign me up. A refreshing take on both story and setting. But as I continued to read the series, the question "What's the point in solving a murder when the world is ending?" slowly started to reveal the true allegory at the core of this trilogy.
By the end of the third book, bleak and gray as it is, we finally get to the root message of Detective Henry Palace and his nobleman's journey. Throughout the series, Palace was often chided for his persistence in his goals. But then I realized, we're all Hank Palace. We're doomed the same fate. The world is going to end and we only get one go 'round on this blue marble. And in the short time we have, we're here to give each other strength and love, as Winters writes, "like strangers on a crashing plane."
Those six words are so important. Not only do they sum up the point of the books, those words sum up the point of life. So I had to get them tattooed, as a constant reminder to love and give strength, because we're all on our own crashing plane.
"The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names." -- The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald
Man, nobody throws a party like Jay Gatsby! Oh wait… Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra does! And he’s actually a real person whose Jazz Age Lawn party is open to all! For two weekends every year you can take a ferry back in time to Governor's Island where the 1920’s are alive and roaring. Fans of Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, and Really Good Music can expect a feast for all the senses as they don vintage attire and indulge their love of all things old fashioned.
Even before stepping onto the ferry it’s hard not to notice the ladies and gents converging at the South Ferry subway stop. Even for NY, a city known for its colorful characters and cutting edge fashions, these dapper dans and dames definitely stand out; some with parasols, some with picnic baskets, and all with the same exuberance. A quick (and very cheap) ferry ride later you step onto the green lawns of Governor's Island and are immediately greeted by the sounds of Jazz in the distance. Each decade of the 20th century has had one thing that has defined it above all others and for the 1920’s it is no doubt the music; They didn’t call it the Jazz Age for nothing.
Summer. It's the time for vacations and of course, hitting the open road. Sadly, summer is wrapping up, and you might have missed your time to hit the road. So whether you’re stuck at home dreaming of a getaway, or are lucky enough to have gone on your own summer adventure, we’ve got the road trip stories to keep you entertained.
These five books have it all, from a young rock band traveling for their first road show, to an epic cross-country quest in search of a missing girl. The one thing they have in common is that they all involve an unforgettable road trip!
So sit down, buckle up, and gas up the car. We’re hitting the road!
Dogs! Beloved across the nation, they have always been an important part of many presidencies, from the founding of our country to today. Because of this and their important place in American history, I propose that August 26, already declared National Dog Day, become recognized as a national holiday. And not just any national holiday, but a federally recognized one with a day off from work! We can hold puppy parades and dog parties to celebrate our canine friends. Think I’m joking? Maybe this official petition to the White House asking for a federally recognized day celebrating dogs will show you how serious I am! Dogs have played an important role in our history and it’s time they get their well-deserved recognition. Here are some of the Presidential Pups we should be celebrating on National Dog Day!