Make Yourself Romantic: Candles, Wine, and Fresh Food Travels

What if you could go out for the perfect, romantic date that treats you as much as your new love interest or long-term partner? Look no further than the great destinations in and around Sparta, Ontario, a village located a short 10 minutes away from the shores of Lake Erie. Sparta is also located a…

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin, Ursula K. (1969). The Left Hand of Darkness. Ace Books; New York.  You can read a lot of great reviews, analyzes, and summaries of The Left Hand of Darkness online (for an example, check out the humorously-written cheat sheets over at Shmoop). Indeed, this Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel has been critically acclaimed…

House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels

Michaels, Barbara. (1974). House of Many Shadows. Berkley Books; New York.  As a young teenager, my frequent immersions into the world of fiction meant that I enjoyed the rather tawdry and sensational novels in the genre of Gothic romances. House of Many Shadows fits into this category quite nicely, and innocent, doe-eyed readers will find…

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Chopin, Kate. (1899, 2008). The Awakening. Premier Classic Paperback; New York.  It is hard for me to fathom how this book was written and published so very long ago, although Knopf Publishing Group thoughtfully outlines a chronology of historical events to contextualize the work in my version. While reading the book, I had to keep…

Wanderings in Cooperstown, Otsego County, New York

For the last several days, I’ve been away at the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (NERR) which – at least for the time I’ve known it – has always been held in Cooperstown, New York. I previously attended NERR in 2012, and this time I was pleased to see both old and new sights in the…

Black Swan, White Raven: Edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling.

Datlow, Ellen, & Windling, Terri. (1997). Black Swan, White Raven. Avon Books; New York. This enchanting compilation of fairy tales – 21 in all, with a mix of short stories and poems – contains the typical tropes and memes of the classic fairy tale in new and disruptive contexts. While some people have examined these…

How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric

Krznaric, Roman. (2012). How to Find Fulfilling Work. Picador; New York. Despite its discrete size and colour, this book packs quite a punch. It’s part of The School of Life book series – described as a “cultural enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life” (The School of Life, 2014). Consequently, How to Find Fulfilling Work…

The Rope by Nevada Barr

Barr, Nevada. (2012). The Rope. Minotaur Books; New York. I’ve always been a big fan of Nevada Barr’s mystery novels, for two reasons: 1) they take place in the serenity of nature (more specifically, in various U.S. national parks), and 2) her central protagonist is the gutsy and seemingly invincible park ranger, Anna Pigeon. I…