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Susan Sontag: Controversial Cultural Critic

By Carrie Scott. Jan 28, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

“Words alter, words add, words subtract.”

Susan Sontag: philosopher, literary critic, academic, political commentator, humanist, essayist, novelist, celebrity, diva, activist, zeitgeist; there is no one label in her repertoire that she didn’t engender a polarizing opinion on. With her trademark hair boasting an austere white stripe, Sontag shot to celebrity status in the 1960s, when she not only branded herself physically, but also made sure to be seen at shows, launches and Hollywood parties, laying the framework for a diva's reputation for haughtiness and mercurial behavior. She was observed berating any clerk or waiter who didn’t treat her with proper deference and imperious reverence. She was either venerated or villainized, either as a counter-cultural hero or a posturing pop celebrity. Never one for people pleasing, Sontag voiced her opinion on culturally controversial issues. 

     
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Top Books by State: Idaho

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 13, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature, Literary travel

Today we continue our literary road trip by taking a closer look at some of the best books from the state of Idaho. This Pacific Northwest state is known for its impressive, mountainous beauty and its sweeping forests. In fact, approximately 38% of the state is actually owned and preserved by the United States Forest Service. Idaho is unique in that it shares natural characteristics with both the Pacific Northwest and geological features more associated with the American West. This beautiful state is known for its national park tourism, agriculture, mining, and rich Native American cultures. The books we're looking at today focus in on Idaho's incredible vistas. Come travel the Gem State as we continue with the next stop in our Top Books by State series:

     
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Ten Interesting Facts About Jack London

By Neely Simpson. Jan 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Jack London's characteristically raw, edgy writing influenced and inspired such literary giants as Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, George Orwell and Upton Sinclair. He was also one of the first writers to gain fame and wealth from his fiction. However, London's short life was one marked by poverty and struggle from beginning to end. Here are 10 interesting facts about this often abrasive American author:

     
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Top Books by State: Hawaii

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literary travel

Today we continue our literary journey through the United State with our Top Books by State series. The next stop: Hawaii. Hawaii is one of very few states to have been a sovereign nation before statehood. While the U.S. had acknowledged Hawaii as an independent nation and had established treaties, the U.S. and European businessmen organized a coup to overthrow the Kamehameha monarchy. The U.S. government supported the coup, stating that military demonstrations in Hawaii and the queen's new constitution expanding her personal power were a threat to U.S. citizens; however, control of the sugar trade was a primary motivation. Hawaii existed as a republic until its incorporation into the United States in 1959. Since then, Hawaii has become a major tourist destination, sporting some of the most beautiful lands in the world. Home to many plants and animals unique to the islands, Hawaii is an important natural habitat and one ever changing and at risk from volcanoes and tourism-related expansions.

     
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James Thurber's Life and Work

By Shelley Kelber. Dec 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

James Thurber became one of the most popular humorists of his time by shining a comedic light on the everyday man and his daily, mundane frustrations and idiosyncrasies. In his work, Thurber often asked his audience to consider how their minds shaped their view of reality.

     
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Anne Rice, Grand Dame of Gothic Fiction

Born October 4, 1941, Anne Rice shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps best known for The Vampire Chronicles series, Rice has written gothic fiction, Christian novels, and even erotica.

     
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Book Spotlight: The Golden Age by Gore Vidal

By Abigail Bekx. Oct 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

American novelist Gore Vidal is widely known for his witty, irreverent writing. His Narratives of Empire series contains seven historical fictions that explore the growth of America from her birth to taking her place as one of the great empires of history.

     
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Ten Inspiring Quotes From The Great Gatsby

By Abigail Bekx. Sep 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book and is widely considered the paragon of his career. Its exploration of the lavish wealthy lifestyle of the 1920s causes it to be hailed as the archetypal Jazz Age novel. The reasons behind Gatsby’s place among the greatest twentieth-century classics can be seen in Fitzgerald’s masterful word crafting.

     
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Top Books by State: Delaware

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Today we are continuing our Top Books by State series by taking a closer look at Delaware. Known for being the first of the Thirteen Colonies to ratify the new United States Constitution, Delaware earned its its nickname, "The First State." Delaware is a state that embodies contradictions. While it is the second smallest state in the country, it is one of the most densely populated. While it has beautiful seaside vistas and picturesque coastal villages, it is also home to bustling metropolitan centers. The books we've selected to represent Delaware take place in different time periods and are vastly different in style. But, like the state itself, they each represent some of the best writing of this varied New England state.

     
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Five of John McCain's Fascinating Books

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

Born in 1936, John McCain dedicated his life to serving the United States. He graduated from Naval Academy in Annapolis and received a commission from the U.S. Navy. During his time serving in the Navy, McCain worked as a naval aviator and was captured during the Vietnam War, remaining a prisoner of war for five and a half years before his release in 1973. After retiring from the Navy in 1981, he entered politics, where he served in both the House and the Senate until his death in 2018. Many of his writings were done in collaboration with Mark Salter, who served for a time as McCain’s chief of staff.  

     
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