What “Into the Water,” Buzzfeed Quizzes, and Musical Taste Have in Common

(No spoilers here.) In Paula Hawkins’ thriller Into the Water, characters aren’t simply “good” or “bad.” While Sean is called a “good man” over and over again he’s done some terrible things, and while Nel is loved by some she’s hated by others (even by the same people at different times). And then there are Lena, Jules, and Louise…

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This is part of what makes a thriller work. We can’t figure out “who dun it” because literally everyone has some kind of nasty history that suggests they might be capable of murder (what a terrifying thought)!

And yet, by writing the book through these characters’ perspectives, Hawkins forces us to empathize with them and understand their motivation. This doesn’t make their actions any less screwed up or horrific, but in experiencing the story in this way we are basically forced to view these people as human, and not as demons who hurt and kill people because they’re twisted and like it. Honestly, in a way that would be a lot more comforting–it would make us feel safer from the possibility of committing such horrific deeds ourselves.

And then there are Buzzfeed quizzes. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Music

(Because it does exist.)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Even though the day has passed, I’m still reminded of how much I can be thankful for my family, my friends, to everyone who has supported and continues to support me, and the ability to support myself and study at Northwestern. While it’s all to easy to lose perspective I am truly, deeply grateful.

So in the spirit of continued thankfulness here’s a song specifically about Thanksgiving as sung by Josh Groban. Enjoy!

Which Cat Would Make a Better Pet: Crookshanks or Dinah?

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I never really thought about it until I started writing this post, but there don’t seem to be a whole lot of pets in literature or YA books. (Maybe because the characters are off on crazy adventures so having a pet just doesn’t fit in the story?) Be that as it may, Crookshanks (Hermione’s cat in Harry Potter) and Dinah (Alice’s cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) are two pretty great felines. Continue reading

Dinosaur Sweaters and Riding Polar Bears (i.e. The Mystery Blogger Award)

img_5090First, I want to give a shout out to all of my readers, especially those who return again and again to my blog to read and interact with my posts. Lately I’ve been struggling to keep up with my own blogging and especially with reading others’ posts as I’ve been adjusting to Ph.D. life, so I appreciate your patience and support as I find a new blogging schedule that will get me back on track. I’ve also been having some ideas for future posts and post series that I’m really excited about and that are in the works, so I’m looking forward to sharing those with you soon, as well!

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Last week I was incredibly honored to be nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Michael Miller over at My Comic Relief. While Continue reading