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Breaking Silence is Not Sharing a Secret: Speaking with and Reading Dr. Rosenna Bakari

It is time to break our silence. After speaking with Rosenna Bakari ’11 and hearing her insights on living as a survivor of sexual assault, it is evident that it is time for women to live openly about their experience with assault and move past the discomfort in order to reframe the conversations we are having about the topic. Much of the rhetoric and literature about violence against women has channeled women’s stories into a feed dominated by conditions that maintain comfortability among audiences. In Rosenna Bakari’s  recently published memoir Too Much Love Is Not Enough, she discusses the relationship between silence and psychological trauma in a way that imbues its audience with her own personal reality in an honest, relatable fashion. Dr. Bakari is a Cornell alumna whose story and dedication to creating a space for survivors is beyond inspirational.

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Ready Player One: A New World for Readers and Characters

When I saw the trailer for the cinematic adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, it almost deterred me from reading the novel. But what seemed like an archetypal hybrid of Tron and Divergent is in fact its own body of work, with unique ’80s culture references, vast world building and most importantly, a story centered around a nerdy, ordinary boy. The book follows protagonist Wade in a near future, roughly 2045, where the world is plagued with hunger, famine and climate change. To escape these harsh realities, people enter an augmented reality world known as the OASIS, where anyone can be anyone; regardless of their past status or background, individuals can make a new life for themselves, choosing where they work, how they live and what they eat. We learn that the founder of the OASIS has died and left behind a tournament in which gamers can search the OASIS for three keys that unlock three gates to find an easter egg.

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A Disconnect in The Feed

In a period often referred to as the “information age,” the notion of technological addiction is a fairly pervasive reality, and very much a hot topic of conversation. Written for an audience primed with various science-fiction films and novels about this idea, the expectations for The Feed, Nick Clark Windo’s debut novel, were high. With a title that overtly references the main aspect of popular social media: one’s facebook feed, twitter feed, instagram feed, etc., there was a sense of relevancy to the novel that was almost immediately debunked by the end of chapter one. The novel evoked commentary similar to that of Dave Eggers’s novel The Circle (2013) in an atmosphere of mass-death and suspect forces akin to Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood. However, the execution of The Feed lacked the subtlety and mind-warping prose that allowed for the success of its forebears.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Books You Should Read in March

1. A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy  

Author: Sue Klebold

Genre: Nonfiction

By Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, perpetrator of the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, this moving memoir details how she came to terms with her son’s horrific actions, which have haunted her for the past eighteen years. Following the tragedy, Klebold continuously reexamined her role as a mother, her faith, and the possible causes and warning signs of her son’s behavior. In light of the recent school shooting in Florida, this book further highlights the urgent need for reevaluating mental health care and gun laws in this country.  

2.

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Arts To-Do List for Valentine’s Day

For Happy Couples

Movies:

La La Land — Damien Chazelle

Start with a cliche, heartwarming love story and you have a good movie. Throw in a soundtrack that’s impossible not to dance along to, Ryan Gosling’s beautiful bone structure and an ending that renders me incapable of movement every time I rewatch it and you have a V-Day must-see. The Proposal — Anne Fletcher

If you’re looking for that perfect “wanna come over and watch a movie or something” film, look no further. The Proposal combines raunchy comedy with a story of unexpected love to create fun for the whole family. But be warned — your significant other will ask, “why don’t you look as good as Ryan Reynolds/Sandra Bullock naked?”

– Pete Buonanno ’20

The Philadelphia Story – George Cukor

A witty script and great comedic timing from the cast make this 1940 film a classic.

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Discussing Death from Beyond the Grave: Denis Johnson’s Final Stories

 

Few authors can place their readers in wildly uncomfortable situations with unreliable characters and still leave them with a sense of poignancy like Denis Johnson. In his long-awaited collection of stories The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, Johnson weaves together five fairly disjunctive tales, all of which mimic the style of Jesus’s Son, one of his most accredited works. However, in his most recent book, published posthumously in January 2018, Johnson’s writing is slightly darker than his previous works. There’s something more resonant about the lessons these stories teach the reader, considering that they come from the grave. Perhaps Johnson describes the experience of reading his work best in the opening of “Strangler Bob” when he says, “you hop into a car, race off in no particular direction, and blam, hit a power pole.”

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is in many ways a follow-up to Jesus’s Son in that it shares some of the same characters, but more so in the way it evokes the same sort of humanizing tone to discuss recurring struggles in his stories.

Swing Time

Shall We Dance? Yes, but not Around Colonialism

As a longtime Zadie Smith fan, I began my journey into Swing Time, her latest novel, with a certain degree of expectation. I anticipated to be entertained, that there would be points where I laughed and, as a testament to the complexity of her writing, for there also to be moments in the book when I cried. I did not however, expect to feel intense irritation, almost to the point of hatred. The plot of Swing Time is effectively split into two. The first revolves around the childhood friendship of two girls tied together by their similar skin tones and mutual love of dance.

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Kulturkampf: Fiction Versus All We Hold Near and Dear

The day following Donald Trump’s election, protests broke out on college campuses across the country and Cornell was no exception. Students came together across campus to showcase their collective rage, terror and sadness. These sentiments are just; I shared all of them and questioned our country’s future alongside my classmates. Yet another question continued to nag at my mind: how detached from reality are we? Little effort is needed to recognize the political correctness on college campuses.

DANBERG BIGGS | Speak to God in Public

My mother has a way of using gifts to assign required reading. She marks the inside sleeve with the month and year in which the task was handed down, and a little note reminding me who gave it. There’s a small mountain of these books out there, if you can find them. It’s really not an unreasonable tactic, and certainly not one that I resent. Coercion is, after all, the most direct thruway to the part of my brain with buttons and levers for doing things.