When One Bookstore Door Closes, Another Opens

Laura Larson ’85, an Ithaca High School and Cornell University alumna, moved to Ithaca at nine years old. She recalls her love for reading and frequenting the plethora of bookstores available in Ithaca during her childhood — because of this, she dreamed of opening a bookstore someday.

YANDAVA | Pay Attention, Be Astonished

While people worldwide were mourning Mary Oliver’s death, I was at home celebrating my 20th birthday. I saw the news scrolling through Tumblr, the platform that had first made me fall in love with her work at the age of 11. You’ve probably seen the lines “What is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” on Facebook or Twitter or staring down at you accusingly from your middle school English teacher’s classroom wall. However, although Oliver’s work regularly appears on sites like Pinterest, it doesn’t quite translate to social media in the same, trite way as you might think at first glance. Last semester, I wrote a column criticizing Instapoets like Rupi Kaur for sacrificing depth and poetic language for accessibility in order to gain Internet stardom.

Family Is Everything in For a Muse of Fire

Heidi Heilig’s new book, For a Muse of Fire pulls the reader into a vibrant, lush world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. The story follows Jetta Chantray, a young Chakran shadow player of the Ros Nai troupe, as she and her family strive to win passage to Aquitan, the home of the Aquitan emperor and a spring rumored to cure madness. But Jetta’s malheur, her madness, is only one of the secrets she keeps. Jetta has the ability to slip souls into new skins, and in a world still haunted by the brutality of the mad nécromancien Le Trépas, the old ways have been abolished, punishable by death or worse. Heilig weaves a complex tale, balancing the powers of colonization, rebellion and a family caught in between.

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.

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.