Stories of Music Volume 1

Review by Grady Harp

Without music, life would be a mistake’ – Friedrich Nietzsche

Now and then along comes a book that simply changes everything. STORIES OF MUSIC, of which this is Volume 1, is that kind of book, though ‘book’ would hardly define this heart work: this is a multimedia project that includes audio and video aspects of the physical, very handsome book that can be held in the lap for musing and with the little miracles of modern technology expand that reading experience spherically. Art, poetry, stories, songs, photography from around the world are gathered as a tribute to the influence of music in our lives.

STORIES OF MUSIC is the creation of Holly E. Tripp, a musician, freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant based in Denver, Colorado who stepped from the corporate world to respond to her own memories of childhood and stories from her grandmother, realizing the impact music has had in her history. Continue reading

Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms

Review by Grady Harp

Terrorism … The word that means nothing, yet justifies everything.” —Glenn Greenwald

Washington, DC author Arsalan Iftikhar presents his second book – his first ISLAMIC PACIFISM: Global Muslims in the Post Osama Era published in 2011. Now pesents a most timely new book – SCAPEGOATS: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms. Arsalan is an international human rights lawyer who according to NPRs Michael Martin has ‘become a go-to voice in American media, playing a variety of roles—explaining Islam, decrying Islamic extremism and also what he sees as rising islamophobia.’ Arsalan is also the founder of, senior editor of The Islamic Monthly, and has spoken on the major media outlets. Continue reading

Young Shakespeare’s Young Hamlet: Print, Piracy, and Performance

review by Paige Ambroziak

Not too long ago I came across “Shakespeare’s Badass Quarto” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which details the latest controversy about the first edition of Hamlet. Though I have worked on Hamlet and am inclined to linger over its narrative aspects, debates about the historicity of the text are riveting, nonetheless. For anyone who doesn’t know, there are three printed versions of the tragedy, the First Quarto (1603), the Second Quarto (1604), and the First Folio edition of 1623. The First Quarto has always been suspect and a bit of a bastard child, if it is even considered the master’s offspring. I happen to love that edition best. It is shorter, tighter, and less about a hesitant and incapable prince than a young heir facing a suspect stepfather. The differences between the editions have been widely examined and discussed, as well as prove viable as evidence for both sides, which brings me to my point. After reading Ron Rosenbaum’s article in the Chronicle, I picked up Terri Bourus’s Young Shakespeare’s Young Hamlet, which he had discussed in depth since it convincingly heralds a much needed change to our perception of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. Bourus claims the 1603 Hamlet is the playwright’s original version, first performed on the Elizabethan stage in 1589. Continue reading

In the Oneness of Time: The Education of a Diviner

Review by Joey Madia

It is said that, when you are “following your bliss,” as Joseph Campbell would say, or walking the Good Red Road of Native American spirituality, the teachings you most need in the moment will find you. Six and a half years ago, this maxim was made manifest in a book co-authored by William Douglas Horden titled The Toltec I-Ching (also from Larson Publications). When it arrived in the mail with a request for review, I was in the midst of opening an arts education center that would house the social justice theatre company of which I am the founding artistic director. As with any big endeavor, there were endless meetings with political and community leaders, business groups, educators, potential donors, and prospective teachers and it seemed that everyone had a different idea of what the arts education center should be, including its interior design, programmatic content, and even hours of operation.

Looking for answers deep within, in order to honor (and protect) the mission of the theatre company and our other arts programs, I found The Toltec I-Ching to be an invaluable aid.

A great deal has happened with my arts mission since that time, including closing the center and leaving the state where it was founded, and changing the name of the theatre company, all in part to honor the messages gleaned from The Toltec I-Ching. In recent months, I have begun to lay the foundations in our current home to create new material for the company, hire administrative staff and passionate creatives, and set up classes and auditions. Not long after the process was begun, I received for review Horden’s newest book, In the Oneness of Time. It has proven to be just the guide I needed to find clarity and strength for this new journey. Continue reading

The Pocket Instructor: Literature: 101 Exercises for the College Classroom

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a new college instructor with a doctorate in Literature, must be in want of teaching techniques.”

Review by Paige Ambroziak

I have been teaching literature to college students for about two years and as much as I love the material I teach, I struggle with communicating the most important aspect of why we teach literature to all kinds of majors: critical thinking is not reserved for quantifiable subject matter alone. What I mean by this is that if a student can assess a work of literature, derive meaning from it, understand it on more than one level, tear it apart and put it back together again, he or she can productively contribute to any manner of occupation, and society in general.

This is where The Pocket Instructor comes in. This book is filled with tried-and-tested exercises for the college classroom that help an instructor connect with the active learner, and offer ideas to enhance student-centered pedagogy. As expressed in the introduction, “These days the work environment is frequently an extension of the learning environment. Continue reading