Knowing where you come from is important. Heritage provides a connection between the past a present, a way to appreciate your family members and inform where you’d like to be in future. Living in the UK, I’ve grown up around my English relatives, but I didn’t know a lot about the Polish side of the family. Recently, I took a trip to Warsaw to get in touch with my Polish heritage, and that would have never happened if I hadn’t discovered The Witcher. What started out as an appreciation for a series turned into a pilgrimage of learning about my family’s history.
“Nine years ago, when I began working with the dead, I heard other practitioners speak about holding the space for the dying person and their family. With my secular bias, ‘holding the space’ sounded like saccharine hippie lingo. This judgement was wrong. Holding the space is crucial, and exactly what we are missing. To hold the space is to create a ring of safety around the family and friends of the dead, providing a place where they can grieve openly and honestly, without fear of being judged.”
Addressing death is difficult for many people, even though it’s a natural part of life. Whether it’s having to confront the notion that a loved one is gone, or attending a funeral, death isn’t an easy subject. But death can take on a whole new meaning in other cultures. Mortician Caitlin Doughty went around the world to write From Here To Eternity, a book about funeral rituals from various cultures. Death isn’t presented as something to fear, but as rather something that can heal, that connects family members together. Doughty takes the reader on a journey that features wish-granting skulls, open-air pyres and mummies.
Reading books allows you to discover a variety of characters who might reflect an experience you’ve been through. Fantasy stories are full of interesting characters that offer an insight into who we are as people. Fantasy is my favourite genre and it’s introduced me to a range of complex heroes, villains and everything in between. There’s so much to appreciate about fantasy, which is why I’m listing four complex characters that are worth reading about.
The Prohibition era is one of the most interesting parts of the 20th century. Gangsters like Al Capone were able to create an empire out of smuggling alcohol and earn a place in pop culture legend. Chicago became a haven for criminals of all kinds and the city is at the centre of Ray Celestin’s novel Dead Man’s Blues. Taking place during the 1920s, the book focuses on a brutal crime that involves the poisoning of several Chicago politicians. Jazz, murder and industrial innovation mingle together to create a story that pops with intrigue and excitement.
Reading comics is a good way of exposing people to new ideas and exploring real life issues. More importantly, they can be an educational tool for children, which is a message that the Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) is keen to promote. Focused in Colorado, PCC was created in 2012 to educate young people through the medium of comics and sequential art. I became aware of the initiative when a member of the team, Rob Keosheyan reached out to inform me about the programme and I was happy to write about it.
We all have stories that are personal to us, whether it’s because we connect with a certain character, or because we relate to their journey. I’ve lost count of the amount of novels I’ve read over the years and I can’t remember a series that has stood out to me more than The Greatcoats quartet. Written by Sebastien De Castell, the series follows the adventures of three travelling magistrates who are determined to fulfil the final wishes of their dead king. It’s been nearly a year since the last book, Tyrant’s Throne, was released and I’ve decided to examine the themes of the series to demonstrate why The Greatcoats are so memorable.
Every day, more and more digital content is churned out in an effort to grab people’s attention. Blogs, social media posts, infographics and videos are all battling it out in an information overload. No wonder some marketers are looking for other mediums to get their message across. The most popular form of storytelling has always been novels, and brands are keen to make the most of the book format. This begs the question as to whether novels can help push branded content in a new direction, and if so, how can your business make the most of it?
The decay of civilisation has cropped up in several places, from Egypt to Rome. History has a habit of repeating itself and that’s the case with Firewalk by Chris Roberson. The supernatural thriller covers themes of decay and myth in the modern city of Recondito. It follows FBI agent Izzie Lefervre as she comes back to Recondito to deal with a case from her past. What starts off as an investigation into old evidence soon becomes a paranormal nightmare for Izzie. I was sent a free copy of Firewalk in exchange for an honest review.
The traditional view of a knight is an armour wearing hero who saves maidens. They are considered honourable, noble and gallant. But a knight’s honour is different to the modern view of honour, and a character who personifies that difference is Jaime Lannister. Jaime is one of the most fascinating characters in literature, and The Comic Vault is looking into his history to deconstruct what it means to be a knight and an honourable person.
Short story collections and novels have the ability to make us feel, yet poetry collections seem to exist in another world. They’re a lot shorter, which means the writer has to do a lot more to make each section resonate. There’s also the chance to be creative because a poetry collection doesn’t have to follow the structure of a traditional novel. As far as poetry collections go I find Factory of Tears by Valzhyna Mort unique, most notably for the Belarusian dialect accompanying the poems.