A Few Thursday Thoughts

One…one more day…just one more day until the weekend.

Guys, it’s so close I can almost see the faint light at the end of the tunnel…well almost.

Anyways…Happy Thursday! Everybody here at FFC knows that at this point in the semester things start to ramp up and get a little, well a lot, crazy. So keep your head up, you got this!

Can you believe we only have SIX and A HALF weeks of school left in this semester? Where in the world did the time go?

Well, before we get ahead of ourselves and start dreaming about the holidays, we have to stay focused. Besides, there’s SO many cool things left to do this semester!

Speaking of which, there’s a really cool English-y opportunity coming up!

Next Tuesday (10/24) Dr. Cassandra Falke will be here to talk about the “Phenomenology of Love and Reading,” which just happens to be the name of her most recent book published earlier this year! Through her experience as a literary critic in the phenomenological tradition, she studies how exactly loving and reading are directly connected to our personal experiences with literature…woah…yep, woah is right.

Dr. Falke is a Professor of English Literature and Culture at the University of Trosmo, Norway’s Arctic University.

She will be participating in a round-table discussion in the Faculty House (12:30-2) that will be very casual and conversational.

At 7:30 that evening, there will also be an opportunity to go to a formal lecture in CH 125.

We are honored to have her on campus to speak, especially on such an interesting and deep topic!

Well, that’s all for today my English-y friends!

Stay strong.

You can do it!

ENJOY the weekend!

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Busy Busy Busy

Gooood morning and Happy Tuesday!

I hope you all had an absolutely fantabulous Homecoming 2017! Congrats to Katherine Crider for being crowned our 2017 Homecoming Queen!

If you missed the game for some wild reason, shame on you, but seriously, you missed an amazing atmosphere. The crowd was loud and our TOPS won 45-14!! I think it’s also important to note though, that a Charlotte 49ers player was severely injured in the game on Saturday. Linebacker Karrington King suffered a dislocated knee and our thoughts are with him today as that was quite a scary scene to watch from the stands. It was neat to see so many players and fans alike showing their support for him, because at the end of the day, there’s something more important than competition and who wins. So kudos to all of you that showed good sportsmanship in a tough situation on Saturday!

Well, after an obviously busy and fun-filled weekend, it’s back to reality for all of us English majors, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some exciting things to share!

#1) On Sunday, the Jim Wayne Miller Celebration was a HUGE success! Thanks so much to everyone who submitted their poems, came, supported the finalists, and had a chance to listen to Professor Frederick Smock a.k.a. the Poet Laureate of Kentucky. It was an honor for us to have him be a part of an event that means so much to the English Department here at WKU. Now let’s all stop what we’re doing and give a big round of applause to the winner, drumroll please…ALICYN NEWMAN! She definitely deserved it, so when you see her in Cherry, be sure to smile and wave to our winner. In case you missed it, we recently even featured one of her pieces on the blog, check it out!

#2) This WEDNESDAY is the Potter College of Arts and Letters’ Fall Festival! It’s from 1-4 P.M. and we’d love love love to see you! There will be t-shirts, a button making contest, and a bracelet making station…yay! So come by and say hi and celebrate all fall-y things with us!

#3) TODAY and TOMORROW is the semi-annual English Club book AND BAKE sale! How are we already to this point in the semester? I have no idea, but it’s here and we’re excited to help out a really great group of English majors that need your help! It’s from 8-3 each day in the exquisite Robert Penn Warren Room in CH 101. You need to check it out and you never know what jewel you might find…!

#4) HEAD’S UP! The deadline for submissions for The Ashen Egg is rapidly approaching! If you haven’t ever submitted before, this is an opportunity to get your work out there and gain some invaluable experience. It’s super easy too, just pick up a cover sheet from the English Office (CH 135) and then submit your essay to the English Office OR to Dr. Langdon via email. The deadline is November 1 so get to writin’ and have fun with it!

As you can see, we are busy busy busy here in the English Department and we are so excited to have so many cool things going on, especially ones that shine a light on the immense amount of talent we have here at WKU. So, as always, have a great week guys. Go TOPS!


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The Unofficially Official Guide to WKU Homecoming 2017

Homecoming n. | hohm-kuhm-ing |

An annual fall event that involves a heavy dose of nostalgia, high heels, parades, football, family, food, floats, and sappy Instagram posts

Ladies and gentlemen, this is high school no more. Welcome to WKU and Homecoming 2.0.

If this is your first year, buckle up and let the festivities begin…

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, we cannot just celebrate to celebrate. We need a theme. Hmm…homecoming, coming home, home, I like home, there’s no place like home…that’s it!

What’s more appropriate than that? Wizard of Oz it is. Theme, check!

Grab your football jerseys and all you girls out there, put on some red lipstick and enjoy the glory that is WKU Homecoming.

Whether you’re a part of the Greek scene or prefer to be a Roman, there is fun for everyone. So find your friends and your red towel because here’s the week’s schedule of events:


Friday (10/13)

5-6:30 PM- Homecoming Concert in the Park (Jordan English)

5 PM- WKU Homecoming Parade 2017

6:30 PM- Big Red’s Roar 2017 (annual pep rally)

7 PM- Hilltopper Hysteria (meet-and-greet with the men’s and women’s basketball teams)


Saturday (10/14)

11 AM-3 PM- WKU vs Charlotte Tailgate

3:30 PM- WKU Homecoming Football Game vs Charlotte 49ers


Sunday (10/15)

2 PM- Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing (in the Kentucky Room of the Kentucky Museum and Library)

3 PM- WKU Choirs Homecoming Concert


Come one, come all support the TOPS and have some fun!

College is a special time for each one of us, so enjoy every crazy moment.

Traditionally, homecoming is a time when past students and their families return to relive and remember all the precious memories made during their time here. So, let’s show ‘em that same ol’ WKU love and community they’ve known and loved for years.

Homework can wait, it’ll still be there after all the festivities are past, unfortunately, but let’s enjoy this awesome week and take advantage of all the cool options to be a part of!


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Nerve-Wracking 101: English Edition

Gooood morning! I hope everyone had a relaxing, rejuvenating, and re-energizing weekend. With fall in full swing, let’s get back to the grind and finish out this semester strong; you can do it!

Now, on to more English-y things…calling all writers out there on the intergalactic net, remember the first time you let someone read your work?

It was absolutely FRIGHTENING. You were baring your naked soul to be judged and critiqued. Writing is very personal and intimate, it takes some serious guts to hand over those pages for someone to read.

English major Alicyn Newman recently wrote on this very topic. In her essay, she talks very candidly about those feelings and her journey as an English major. This piece is SO TRUE! When I was reading it, I caught myself saying “AMEN” approximately every 3.4 seconds.

Because the English major is so diverse, sometimes it’s nice to know that we’re not all that different. Sometimes, it’s just nice to know you’re not alone. Check it out and give Alicyn some encouragement; she is SUPER talented.

Thank you, Alicyn, for sharing this with all of us!

The First Story: A Personal Narrative

Letting people read what I’ve written has been one of the most bone-chilling terrors of my short existence. So, naturally, I decided to pursue an English major in Creative Writing. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as spilling your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual guts onto the notorious blank page to be critically examined by well-meaning classmates and professors. It is what I expect being a sheet on a clothesline must feel like: having substance, yet being vulnerable to the slicing wind. It’s like stretching my arms wide and my hands empty and letting the gusts of potential criticism and failure rock my frame. I wasn’t as afraid of this as a young writer. In fact, I’m not sure when the fear of vulnerability encroached, but it wasn’t so much there when I wrote the story that started it all.

It began when I was young, very young. I was a storyteller from an early age, but it wasn’t until I was twelve that I tried to write that first novel. Inspired by a song, it was a complex story (so I thought), with interesting, dynamic characters (again, so I thought) and brilliant prose (I hoped). I hunkered in front of my computer every night typing into the glare and spent most of my waking moments away from the keyboard daydreaming of these characters and their riveting story. I told my best friend about it and we brainstormed together on her bed, the white ceiling space turning into our imagined alternate universes above us. I was young and fearless and naïve, writing with no mental editor in my head telling me to go backspace and make it perfect next time.

Another novel followed that first one. It fizzled in the middle, but sparked an idea for a third book that would complete the trilogy. I finished that one. (I didn’t know about word count at the time, and that these novels I was writing were in fact novellas, but as a kid, anything with more than five chapters seemed like a tome to me). I broke away from the trilogy to write a story about a group of teens who get trapped in a building and experience a game of “Murder in the Dark” gone wrong. My originality escalated when I delved into writing the first novel of a second trilogy, this one about a dystopian world, warfare, and its young and miraculously talented male protagonist.

Seven years later, I return to the haphazard debut novel in my mind, as well as those that followed, and I inwardly wince. It was a highly flawed beginning, to say the least. Being a writer is a continual process of flawed beginnings and constant revision as you spot all the weaknesses in your works. I have learned this in the best and hardest ways, but since that day that I wrote the opening words of my first novel as a twelve-year-old, I have not stopped writing, to the point that I chose English as my career path. My higher grades in English courses had something to do with it, as did my hunger for reading, but when it all comes down to it, not writing was never an option for me.

My early works were cringe-worthy, but I never stopped. I never stopped writing because to stop writing was to cease improving, and improving I was, step by step, sentence by sentence. I improved with each writing class, each English course, and each novel my eyes devoured. I improved while studying reference books, writing character profiles, and gazing listlessly at the ceiling wondering why I wanted to try to make it in life as a writer. I improved even by staring at the notorious blank page when I was a high school senior panicking slightly because honestly, who makes a living by writing?

People can, and people do. When I registered for WKU’s Creative Writing program, I registered for risk and vulnerability. As a Creative Writing major, I am risking job stability, and risking my comfort and confidence by letting people read my works-in-progress. It is not something I have considered lightly. In fact, I’ve faced a lot of opposition from well-meaning folks who are concerned enough to tell me I should major in business or something that can guarantee to put food on the table. I appreciate their concern, I really do. But to not write? To not pursue that hunger for stories that I’ve been stumbling toward since I awakened to it as a child?

Life may take me in a variety of directions, but that first story – no matter how flawed it was – set me on the winding path toward this Creative Writing degree. Will it lead to publication? Teaching workshops? Writing for magazines or literary journals? Running a popular blog? Time will tell. Time, hard work, and experience. If I have learned one thing from my early stories, it’s that writing is a continual process of growth, and I am thankful to be pursuing a career that allows me to watch that process unfold. Looking back, I am inspired by the fearless young writer I once was, and by realizing how far I’ve come in my craft since those days. But there is still much to learn, and that is why I’ve chosen English, a field in which I’ll never stop learning, growing, and hopefully, writing.

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Just DO IT!

Hello again all you English enthusiasts! I hope you’re having a wonderful week.

Here’s a head’s up of some amazing things coming up!

The WKU Herald has come up with a really neat way of bringing WKU students and members of the community together to share in something we all can appreciate and love, storytelling. So all you English majors, minors, readers, writers, public speakers, and human beings out there, listen up!

The project is called “Narrations” and the goal is for anyone who comes to feel comfortable to share a personal story on the specific topic for that night.

October 17 is the first meeting and The Herald hopes that many will come and join in on this really unique opportunity. The first theme or topic is all about traditions. You can take that in so many different directions, family traditions, holidays, weird traditions, the true meanings behind those traditions, and there are so many other ideas too!

They’ll meet in DSU Room 3020 at 7 p.m., so choose your best story and be ready to share it!

This is such a cool idea and I can’t wait to hear about its success!

If you’re interested, submit your best story for approval here.

So clear your throat, calm those butterflies, stand tall, and have FUN! Share a story that is meaningful to you. You just might learn something new or meet some really awesome people in the process.

You got this, so just DO IT!

Speaking of going outside your comfort zone…

The 2018 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s Writing Contests are now taking submissions!

This is a really big deal and there are so many different contests you can get involved in. There are separate contests for fiction, poetry, very short fiction, and one-act plays; there’s so much information available so take some time, do some research, and check all these out!

The prizes vary for each contest, but winning aside, this is invaluable experience for anyone looking to be published and get some practice in doing what they love best, writing!

As the late and great Ron Popeil said, “But wait, there’s more!”

The Saints and Sinners Festival, which is a LGBT literary festival is also accepting submissions, but the deadline is coming up super soon, it’s October 3. The grand prize winner gets $500 and a pretty cool opportunity to get some major name recognition.

Take a look at the guidelines and submit!

Seriously guys, seize every opportunity to do something like this! There’s no time like the present to hone your skills and grow as a writer, and you never know, you might win big!

Happy writing and good luck!


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Donuts? Um Yes Please!

Happy Wednesday y’all! We’ve made it to Hump Day and the weekend is within sight. That light at the end of the daunting, dreary, and depressingly long tunnel is now visible! We can do this!

As we power through the rest of the week let us come together and think of happier things like Subway’s chocolate chip cookies, unicorns dancing on fluffy clouds and DONUTS.

You know donuts, those delectable treats that are warm and soft and the glaze sticks to your fingers, and of course you lick them all in slow motion like you’re starring in some kind of ‘80s commercial. Some even have chocolate or sprinkles on top while others have juicy and creamy fillings…ok, yep I need a donut now…

Anyways, in the Talisman last week, there was a very intriguing article that got a lot of buzz around campus.

Fellow English major Rachel Phelps put her taste buds to the test as she went to local favorite GADs (Great American Donut shop) and embarked on a journey her stomach will not soon forget.

Along with a few friends, she sampled all 35 types of donuts available at this fine establishment and ranked them according to her liking. I, personally, am very jealous that I missed out on what I can only imagine must have been an almost spiritual experience. However, after researching, judging, and positioning each donut in their respected placement on her list, many were up in arms over the results.

Controversy struck the university because many felt their favorites were not given the proper chance to succeed and perform to their best ability. Some took their frustrations online and made very clear that there are many differing opinions in regards to what exactly makes a donut great.

In these trying times in our nation’s history, it’s important that we make our opinions known about everything, just in case our viewpoint isn’t understood, heard, or believed to be the majority and therefore the only opinion that stands as fact.

May we come together and discuss this!

What donut really IS the best?

May your taste buds choose wisely, and to all you donuts out there, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Check out Rachel’s article and see if you agree with her findings!

Comment below your favorite donut!

But remember, we cannot let our differences divide us, unless you don’t like donuts…because then you’re just crazy and nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.


P.S. There is this super cool opportunity that’s popped up for you creative writers/writers/English majors/anybody out there! The U.S’s oldest undergraduate-run literary journal is looking to publish YOUR creative pieces! They are looking for anything fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, or maybe even a combination. The submission deadline is coming up though, it’s October 1, so get your creative juices flowing and submit your best piece to be considered to be PUBLISHED. This is a huge deal for us English majors because, as we all know, name recognition and getting your stuff out there is VITAL. If nothing else, this could be good practice for future submissions and opportunities.

So, go for it! Put yourself out there and SUBMIT SOON!

Check out the specific submission guidelines.

Submit your works here!

Have a great week guys, and remember, if life gets you down…eat a donut!

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We’re Baaack!

I know it’s a little late to be saying this, but…welcome back everybody!

With the convocation and everyone settling back into the new semester, we’ve all been pretty busy here in the English Department!

Thank you to all of you that made the 2017 Convocation such a huge success. We always love getting to hear from YOU and your experience as an English major here on the hill. It helps us all to refocus and remember our goals for the upcoming year.

It’s also a great reminder of all the many opportunities available for us both here in the community and abroad as we grow in our love of reading, writing, and teaching. Shout out to Dr. Hale and his extremely diligent staff, including yours truly, wink wink, for organizing and planning events like these. P.S. Keep those gourmet popsicles coming!

Speaking of shout outs…there have been so many super cool things happening lately!

#1 Talisman


As you know, the Talisman is the student-run organization that covers all kinds of topics, news, and tidbits from around campus. They recently set their sights on Cherry Hall and the new and innovative things that can be found in our…restrooms?

Yep, you read that right.

Here in Cherry Hall, the office staff came up with a super cool way to channel the creative minds of men and women while they feel inspired when using the restroom. You might’ve noticed the whiteboard material and dry erase markers attached to the back of each stall door. On them, you can see song lyrics, inspirational quotes, encouraging words, and the occasional details of…well, “struggle bus” trips.

Check out the rest of the article for more dirty details here

#2: Former student shines in big-time magazine


Here at WKU, everyone is family. We always love to hear about the successes of each and every graduate once they leave the classroom and go out to find their own path. We were so incredibly excited to read that our own Rachel Hoge published an article in Self Magazine! In it, she discusses her day-to-day issues with a very real and personal struggle that so many others share.

We are so proud of her progress, growth, and strength of character. She is such an inspiration for all of us!

Read the full piece here

When she’s not writing for big magazine, she’s recently started her own writer site/blog that she updates frequently.

Click here to check it out and give her some WKU love!

I’ll sign off for now, but check back soon because there’s always something exciting happening in Cherry Hall!


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10 Books to Read Over the Summer

book beach

If you are like me (which if you’re in the English department you more than likely are) you love reading. One might even say in a thick tone of condescension that you are obsessed with reading, like has been done to me.

What people like this don’t understand is that one of the primary beauties of life is that there will never come a day when the fountain of books will run dry. And one of the primary beauties of summer is that it is often the best time to catch up on all of those books you couldn’t read during the spring.

Sure, doing stuff is cool too, but… Books > Other Stuff

Oh, the irony that the English department would keep you and I from our reading.

Yet now that the season of hours and hours of outdoor reading is here, this humble English office blogger is here to provide you 10 personally-loved book titles for reading this summer.

I enjoy diversity, so I won’t be that blogger that only lists one or two genres, mistakenly convinced that everyone reads the same stuff I do. Hopefully, I’ll have enough range (and enough uniqueness) that even if our tastes are so far removed from each other you’ll be able to take at least one book away with you to add to your book bucket list.

Also, there is no particular reason to my order. They’re all amazing, guys. I swear.


Uno 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

book list 1 1Q84

You may have heard of Haruki Murakami, the famous Japanese author, but in case you haven’t, Murakami has a style that is enchantingly strange. He is known to write what I would like to call hard-boiled, dream-esque fiction. The strangeness that he is able to achieve in the midst of an often mundane setting as well as beautifully simple language is extremely enviable.

This novel, though admittedly quite lengthy (but as a fellow lover of books, surely you’re not deterred!), is my favorite novel by him. I have read a number of his works, and while I have not read a novel of his I have not been enraptured by, 1Q84 succeeds in a way more profound than the others. It is hard to put into words what exactly I love so much about this novel, yet his skill at achieving something borderline indescribable is much of Murakami’s appeal. If pressed, however, to force the reasons I love it so much into crude words, I suppose I’d say, without giving any of its content away, that I was put under a spell not unlike seeing a painting you are so taken with and being saddened yet gladdened by its being unattainable in description.

Did I beat around the bush in my answer? Why yes, yes I did. Just read it. Try to describe it afterward. I triple-dog dare you.


DosThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

book list winter king

I don’t about you, but I have always been attracted to Arthurian legends. It has a general magic to it that one, I think, would have to try no to see. And of all of the novels I have read of Arthur and his knights, none, not even the enchanting lyricism of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, have surpassed Cornwell’s trilogy in my personal enjoyment.

Yes, I said trilogy. The Winter King is the first book of a trilogy collectively called The Warlord Chronicles. But for the sake of this blog, I will only include the first of the three in this list.

The Winter King hangs up some of the fantastical elements of other versions of the Arthurian legend and focuses on a more gritty character of the story. It doesn’t mean there’s no fantasy element in it, however. You could compare it to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in this respect.

Cornwell tells his version of the story from the perspective of a character known as Derfel. The characters take on different shades than are typically seen. Lancelot is not the great warrior everyone knows him to be, Nimue is more fleshed out than ever before, and Arthur becomes more a character in his own right than a boring eye of the storm with interesting characters circling him like usual.

If you’re into Arthurian legends, you will find nothing better than The Winter King. This novel joined with Tolkien’s The Hobbit became my gateway drug into literature. It’s quite possible I owe a debt of gratitude to this novel for my place in the English department today.


TresPhantastes by George MacDonald

book list phantastes

Phantastes is a “faerie romance” written in the middle of the 19th century. I was led to this enchanting tale through my utter love and adoration of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Lewis in particular considered MacDonald to be more or less his literary master, providing much influence for Lewis’s own works.

Phantastes tells the story of Anodos (cool name, huh? #meaning), who eventually finds himself in the dream-like world of faerie. (I think I like fantasy, guys. Don’t tell any millennials. They wouldn’t understand.)

His journey through this strange land is one led by his desire to find his ideal embodiment of womanly beauty. I won’t give anything away, but I’ll just place #morals right here.

The world of this novel can only be described as enchanting. And while I can admit MacDonald’s writing style is not one of lyrical superiority, the journey is breath-taking. One chapter in particular is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

Also, fun fact: Lewis Carroll (You know, the guy who wrote–yeah, that.); well he was the apprentice to George MacDonald who in fact pushed Lewis Carroll to publish Alice in Wonderland. Yep. It’s alright to say “Thank you, George MacDonald.”

Fun fact #2: MacDonald had a most luxurious beard. Just saying.


CuatroBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

book list brideshead revisited

Credit where credit is due and all of that, I have to say it was Dr. Hale’s class on British literature that introduced me to this novel. Thank you, Dr. Hale.

Brideshead Revisited is, if you ask me, a story of nostalgia. It has other themes too: love, religion, family, but it’s the effect of it being a memory within the novel that makes it so appealing to me.

Of course, the writing itself is superb. Simple but lyrical, no one can deny it’s written well. Yet, much like a Dickens novel, it is the characters that give the story weight. The characters have a depth that is always a delight to see. I’m a sucker for character depth and character development, both of which you see a lot of.

It’s a traditional-style novel in an nontraditional time (1945), which again calls to mind a certain nostalgia, ironically preferring to make a point in its tradition. As a lover of classic British works, dating all the way back to Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, this more traditional voice appealed to me.

I like solidity in the midst of chaos, and like a statue in the constantly shifting tide of the 20th century, Waugh refused to conform to a chaotic lyrical style. So if you’re looking for experimentation, I admit you won’t find it here. But if you have a taste, like myself, for beautifully-written traditional works, this is the novel for you.


CincoTree and Leaf by J. R. R. Tolkien

book list tree and leaf

It would’ve been far too easy for me to list The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or The Silmarillion for my Tolkien choice in this list. And let’s be honest, I needed a Tolkien book in here somewhere.

I chose Tree and Leaf 1) because the works listed above are, I believe, self-evident as need-to-read books to those who haven’t read them and 2) because it’s more than worth reading in context of a certain literary understanding. That understanding is seeing myth and faerie in the proper light.

It’s very eye-opening, and if you’re already a lover of Tolkien, it is instrumental in getting a better grasp on the world he created. The essay On Fairy-Stories, included in this collection, particularly provides a well-articulated argument against the condescension against fantasy and fairy stories in the literary and general world.

I’ve already mentioned my adoration for The Hobbit as my literary gateway drug, so if you haven’t read that yet… Shame.

I jest, guys. I jest. But do I? You should get on that.



seisMidnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

book list midnight children

Again, credit where it’s due. You rock, Dr. Hale

Salman Rushdie is a great source of controversy, as you’ve probably heard. Say what you will, but controversy attracts like a magnet the curious. Everyone likes to know what all the hubbub is about. The work of his that is so controversial, earning him a fatwa calling for his death is however, The Satanic Verses, not Midnight’s Children.

I read Midnight’s Children for class, and in that regard it took me a while to fall love with it. But when I did, I fell hard. After I had finished it, being drawn to understanding the controversy surrounding The Satanic Verses, I read that as well. Both novels are great and well-written, but out of the two, Midnight’s Children had the greater appeal for me.

It’s a great source of oddity which I always lean toward, but more than that, it is a great source of knowledge in trying to understand India. Gaining knowledge from entertainment is the best of both worlds after all!

I wrote my final paper that semester on Midnight’s Children, connecting it to my great love of myth. In doing that, poring over the text and studying it, my attachment grew. It is a phenomenal story, weaving fantasy and historical reality into a wonderful tale both engaging and informative about 20th-century India.

There’s mind-reading, knees of supernatural strength (yep. Not a typo), witches, and so much more. If that doesn’t draw you in, I don’t know, you might have issues.


SieteOn Writing by Stephen King

book list on writing

I will be the first to admit that I have read next to nothing of Stephen King’s work. Besides this book, zip. With that said, On Writing is grade A for anyone looking to improve their writing or looking to get a better idea of what to expect and work toward.

There are few surviving writers, if any, that have been as successful as Stephen King. His experience would be extremely beneficial for anyone hoping to be published.

What I find enjoyable about this book is that King doesn’t just give a bunch of advice on what to do when writing. I mean, he does that obviously. But he does more.

He gives his own journey from a kid who simply wanted to tell stories to an insanely successful and popular novelist. He shows you the timeline of how he got to where he did, providing a road map for any other’s hoping to traverse similar ground.

You don’t have to be a Stephen King fanboy or fangirl to get a lot from this book, speaking from personal experience. It’s filled to the brim with good writing advice, something I’m sure others besides myself are hungry for.


OchoLooking for Alaska by John Green

book list looking for alaska

This novel is the king of John Green novels, my friends. I cannot accept any other opinion in this matter.

Okay, I’ve only read this John Green novel, but I stand by my decision!

It’s a story that’s impossible not to fall in love with. Cupid’s always waiting to pierce someone with a love dart every time this novel is opened. It is one of the few, and perhaps the only young adult novel I would recommend without wanting to throw up in my mouth.

It’s a relatable story for anyone, filled with incredible characters and witty dialogue. It’ll make you laugh and, if you have a soul, make you cry. I’ve been hard-pressed to find characters better realized than those in this novel.


NueveThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

book list dragon tattoo

Lisbeth Salander, who is, you guessed it, the girl with the dragon tattoo, is one of the most sympathetic and beloved characters of any novel ever written. It’s hard not to love her. And the relationship between her and the other protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, is pure gold.

The first novel of the series is more contained than the rest, allowing it to essentially stand on its own. It leaves you wanting more though, and then you’re thankful you have more novels.

The mystery, which is the focus of the plot in this novel is great, but again it’s the characters that lift it to the height its reached. The style is hard-boiled, making it in tune with the overall melancholy of the novel.

If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to treat yo’ self.


DiezThe Discarded Image by C. S. Lewis

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C. S. Lewis is, without a doubt, my main man. I have read more than 20 of his works and have never failed to fall in love with his uniquely intelligent visions. Among all of the works I could have included here, though, I’ve chosen an academic work of his.

It seems fitting I would make two of the more academic works in this list Lewis and Tolkien. Their fantasy is so often in the forefront that I believe their contributions to academia are often undervalued.

The Discarded Image is a short book written with the effort of helping those interested in medieval works to get a better handle on the mentality behind them–their perceptions of the world, of heaven, of fairies, of angels.

All of this provides a better understanding of the authors we love so much and why they wrote what they did and how they did. Many authors are included in this book for discussion including but not limited to Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, Dante, Sir Thomas Malory, John Milton, and John Donne.

It’s a great road map for anyone interested in medieval and renaissance literature. With the wit and style Lewis is loved for, he makes attaining the mindset of the old classics accessible to anyone eager to learn.


Well! Hopefully you’ve found at least one book from my list to add to your own. And the summer still has a ways to go, so if you’re awesome level is over 9,000 you should definitely read them all. I hope you have a great rest of the summer! And remember: Reading > Sleep.


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Our Favorite Talisman Posts & More

So the Talisman has certainly made a huge splash since its recent re-creation as a dynamic student life publication. Their website states their aim:

“Established in 2015, WKUTalisman.com aims to be a smart and humorous voice in the campus conversation.”

The results have been just that. We at FirstFloorCherry have laughed, cried, and stalked our fellow uber-creative English majors and are here to share our top posts on the web from this last year. Then we’d like to plug a little job opportunity or two.


Page’s pick:

Bowling Green Places That are Too Cool for Me by Rachel Doyel (junior Literature major)

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This post spoke right to Page. From the social anxieties, to the atmosphere of her favorite places, to the laughable absurdity of cool-ness. Thanks Rachel!


Ben’s pick:

The Best Cold Treats in Bowling Green by Emily Jones

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This post really encouraged Ben’s love of foodie posts. Also, Ben knows summer is coming and he will be referencing this post for places to find cold, refreshing goodies.


Collin’s Pick:

Ways to Avoid Writer’s Block During NaNoWriMo by Cameron Moreno

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Collin likes writing and hearing about how other people write so that he can keep on writing.

Cheesy allusion high alert:  If you write and find the WKU Talisman as refreshing as a cold treat, but fear it may be a little too cool for you, you should use your skills at overcoming writer’s block and apply anyway! Everyone’s writing steps up a level when they join a great team and challenge themselves.

There is also the Herald for those you you who have an interest in getting your name in print. Check out WKU Student Publications for more opportunities– just get your name out there!

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The Ashen Egg is Here!

In case you missed the email, the 2017 volume of The Ashen Egg has arrived! This year’s volume features essays by Hatim Alamri, Logan Anderson, Jessica Barksdale, Joshua Daniel, Elon Justice, Allison Millay, Megan Skaggs, and Phoebe Zimmerer.

Go pick up your copy in the English office (CH 135) today!

ashen egg 2017


The Ashen Egg publishes essays on literature, rhetoric, linguistics, film, and popular culture. Manuscripts generally range from 750 to 3000 words, though exceptions may be made for submissions of stellar quality. Though many submissions are research papers, they also welcome close readings and textual analysis. Submissions are accepted any time up through May 31.

See the Call for Papers and the Submission Cover Sheet.


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