Galatea is no fairytale. It is the story of a woman held captive in her own skin, valued only for her body, trapped in a life lived only for the pleasure of another.
Galatea is a retelling of the story of Pygmalion as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Some read the myth as a metaphor for how artists fall in love with their art; others (like Miller) are more disturbed by the mysoginist implications of the story.
But “Pygmalion’s happy ending is only happy if you accept a number of repulsive ideas: that the only good woman is one who has no self beyond pleasing a man, the fetishization of female sexual purity, the connection with ivory to perfection, the elevation of male fantasy over female reality.” (Miller, 51-52).
Galatea does not speak at all in Ovid’s version. In fact, she is not even given a name–she is only called “the woman“. She is given no freedom, no choices, no autonomy. But in Galatea, Miller gives her a voice.
With this feminist retelling, Miller reclaims the story of Galatea, exploring her life, her thoughts, her feelings, and getting to know her as more than just “the woman”.
It’s the house of their dreams. Former marine Harry and his wife, Sasha, have packed up their life and their golden retriever, Dash, and fled the corporate rat race to live off the land in rural Idaho. Their breathtaking new home sits on more than forty acres of meadow, aspen trees, and pine forest in the Teton Valley. Even if their friends and family think it’s a strange choice for an up-and-coming pair of urban professionals, Harry and Sasha couldn’t be happier about the future they’re building, all by their lonesome.
That is, until their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, come bearing more than housewarming gifts. Dan and Lucy warn Harry and Sasha of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one that with every season will haunt them in fresh, ever-more-diabolical ways. At first, it seems like an old wives’ tale. But when spring arrives, so does the first evil manifestation, challenging everything Harry and Sasha thought they knew about the world.
As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger, the land more sinister, and each encounter more dangerous. Will Harry and Sasha learn the true meaning of a forever home before it’s too late? Haunting and bone-chilling, Old Country is a spellbinding debut in the horror genre.
“You don’t know anything.”
This book takes a deeper look at the realism behind horror. It reflects on society, authenticity, and mortality, but most of all humbles us to our place in the grand scheme of things.
“We’ve been out here on borrowed land and time, and while I don’t regret a minute of it, this land was never really ours.”
In a larger sense, the demon of the seasons represents a very real danger. If we, as humans, continue to take from the Earth as we do, we will anger the Earth, and it will turn against us. This book reminds us of our place in nature, and pleads with us to recognize and respect that balance.
“Follow the rules, and we can live a safe life here.”
The Earth is not ours. Nature belongs to no man—it belongs to Spirit itself. Trying to take land away from Spirit will only anger it. Trying to banish this spirit will not work—you must learn to understand the spirit, it is a part of Creation. You may not own it, but you may learn to live with it—if you can find respect and understanding for the land itself, you can find a balance, and Spirit will allow you space on this land. Must learn to coexist with you the forces of the universe, we must understand and respect the give-and-take nature of the earth and its cycles, and only then will you find harmony.
“All our lives, every hour, are subject to the whim and caprice of the spirit, we all share that, and in the end, it takes us all.”
You can still read the original publication on Reddit r/nosleep here. Some changes were made to flesh out the story and turn a short story into novel length. Notably, there is much more character development from Harry in the book; he has much more space to reflect on himself, his choices, and his place in nature.
Netflix has made a commitment between rights to the Matt Query short story My Wife & I Bought a Ranch, and scripting fees for the author’s brother Harrison Query to write the screenplay.
Thank you so much to Grand Central Publishing for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.
Honeycomb is a sweeping grand tale, made up of many smaller ones, each woven together like the threads of a spiders web.
“But certain dreams thrive best in the waking world, and these are among the most powerful.”
Dreams of the Barefoot Princess
Long ago and far away, in the dreamy world of magical fae and honeybees, the Lacewing King and the Spider Queen spin a tale of love and trechary that spans across worlds.
“For, as the Honeycomb Queen had said, love is often half-sweetness, half-sting, and he had been stung once too often.”
The Honeycomb Child
The story is so beautifully written. It’s a fantasy. It’s horror. It’s mythology and fairytales at their best. I would describe it as Grimms Fairytales meets Aesops Fables, and I loved the imagery and the world building.
“For the midwife had realized that she was among the Silken Folk; weavers of glamours, spinners of tales, most dangerous of the Faerie.”
Short meaningful stories—each their own stand-alone tale, and still part of the grander story—show how all beings are connected, from the grandest of kings of the smallest of bees. All of the characters circle back to the beginning, each conneted to each other in smalls ways that arent always realized until later in the story.
Though the book is laregly a collection of shorts, there is a main storyline that shows up every few chapters or so: the tale of The Lacewing King. a cruel, thoughtless, trickster. Honeycomb follows his heros journey and character development, from his mischievous childhood adventures, to his outwitting of villanious foes, and his many disasters in love. His often careless choices will have dire consequences for both his own fate and the fates of those around him.
Some of my favorite chapters included: The Watcher and the Glass—; The Gardener—an instance of giving an inch and taking a mile; The Girl Who Never Smiled—; and The Sparrow—a story tha
I did not want to put this down! It was magical, beautiful, and haunting. Easily my favorite book of the year so far.
“Now you have made me believe again that stories are real, and that dreams can come true.”
Generally, I appreciate all page-to-screen adaptations: all press is good press, and whether you love or hate the new film, it is doing a lot for reigniting interest in the book.
When I found out that this adaptation would be inspired by the book rather than a faithful adaptation of Persuasion (a la Bridgerton) I had high hopes for it. HOWEVER. My personal opinion of this movie is that it is absolute trash.
“I am all agony, no hope”
I saw a lot of criticism around the film, and it kind of influenced my opinion before I could even watch for myself. TBH I was skeptical of the criticism. I wanted to believe that it couldn’t be as bad as people were saying. But after watching for myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the critics.
I think the most disappointing thing is that this adaptation was passed over for the Sarah Snook version, which seemed to lean more towards a faithful adaptation, whereas this version is clearly only based on the book and takes MANY creative liberties.
Fans of this version found the variety refreshing and funny, and seem to appreciate the deliberate changes. And if you found this version relatable and enjoyable, I am happy for you, and I am not here to change your mind. But I, personally, did not find this version relatable or enjoyable.
To be clear, I am a Janeite, but not a purist. I have no possession over Anne Elliot. I had never even read Persuasion until just before the release of this movie. So it’s not like I was set on hating this movie from the start. My personal favorite of Jane Austen’s is Pride and Prejudice. I bring it up to make this point about adaptations: I find value in the 1995 P&P for it’s gold-standard accuracy. I love the dreamy Hollywood 2005 version for its nostalgic soundtrack and cinematic scenes. I appreciate silly spin-offs like Lost in Austen and Austenland. Because, at the heart of them, they are able to take my favorite story and re-tell it, in different ways, but it is still the same story I love told over and over. Unfortunately, this ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion attempts to rewrite the story itself rather than retelling it, making it unrecognizable for those who do love the original story of Persuasion.
The point of an adaptation is found in the name—it is meant translate, modify, and adapt the text. At their worst, adaptations can lack real understanding of the source material, which seems to be exactly what happened here with Carrie Cracknell’s ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion.
I definitely agree that it seems like no one on the team at any point read Persuasion. It’s like they read the wiki summary and then wrote a play inspired by that bad summary. The script itself doesn’t seem to take much from the text. It seems that the actual story of Persuasion merely inspired the script. Which is weird. Fans understand the need to modernize the dialogue of Austen’s works, but here it was taken so far that it completely changes the story. It’s not at all how it goes in the book, and that is why fans are so upset. So many liberties are taken to make a new story, that at this point, they should have just written a new story. It’s irritating. Like, if they wanted to do a new modern movie set in the Regency Era, why not just do that? Don’t ruin a favorite classic and then claim to be reinventing the period drama.
So let’s begin with how they ruined Anne Elliot. Anne’s emotional intensity is a huge driving force of her character. Austen writes of Anne’s “elegance of mind and sweetness of character,” sensibilities, and compassion. In the book, her feelings are super intense inwardly, but she is still classy and has manners. Controlled passion! But this Anne is just a crybaby! In contrast to the book, the movie shows her pining from the start, and that just didn’t seem like Anne to me. The movie made her a damsel in distress, and completely misses the nuances that make Anne endearing. Which becomes an issue later in the film when we see Louisa’s declaration that “she won’t hear any ill talk of Anne”. Because as far as the film goes, it doesn’t make sense that Louisa would defend Anne like that. The film did a terrible job of showing Anne’s merits, making her snarky and dislikeable instead of the compassionate Anne we love.
I am seriously displeased that Anne’s ‘thing’ is breaking the fourth wall. It takes away from her character. If revolutionary was what they were going for, I hate to break it to them, but the rupturing of the fourth wall has already been done (see Patricia Rozema’s charming take on Mansfield Park from 1999). And it’s pointless if there’s no purpose behind any of it. Though Cracknell comes with a hefty portfolio, her work on Persuasion comes off as a gimmick capitalizing on current trends. How exactly does the line, “it is said if you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath”, improve on Austen’s work or make it any more palatable to modern audiences? Or what about the comments on being “an empath” and focusing on “self-care”? These are all just marketing buzzwords.
These memes really highlight the language barrier, for me:
And whyyyyy did they have to make her an alcoholic? What is the point of that? It was supposed to be funny and plucky, but it’s just painful. I really loved the cinematography during the hangover scene, with the ASMR toast-scratching… and then it was shattered with the bad acting. They didn’t have to make her an alcoholic to make that a powerful scene, she could have just been hungover one day, and it would have hit even harder.
I can’t even talk about the octopus. Please don’t ask.
Sir Walter, Mary and Elizabeth were all well cast. Mary is my favorite kind of Jane Austen character, and thankfully she seems to be a fan-favorite. I love the complain-y blabbering ones, and the humor that makes Mary worked really well with the tone of the film. She is the silver lining in a dark raincloud of horror.
I also liked Wentworth, but it didn’t seem like he had much chemistry with Anne unfortunately, It’s unique though because I don’t usually see a romance that only has chemistry on one side. His acting is really good, but Anne is ruining the illusion for me. I think she would’ve made a pretty good Jane Austen, like if they remade Becoming Jane she probably would’ve been good in that role. I don’t think she did bad in this role–I’m just upset that they made her break that fourth wall and do all of that like Jim-from-the-office eyebrow work. I admit that I liked what they did with the cinematography and the set design and the costumes I think the only thing I didn’t really like was the script. But it is so bad that it makes everything else unforgiveable. I really loved Mary’s Musgrove‘s character, but I think they really disrespected Anne and Wentworth, specifically.
The cinematography and set design were the standout early-on in the film. With lavish and bold sets, this show really could have done so much more as a satire of wealth, and unfortunately, misses so many points. The director was still able to do some great things with the camera though—take a look at this shot of Lyme, for example. Here we see everyone walking along the sea-wall, but the last lady (Mary) skips off on her own, oblivious, as-always marching to the beat of her own drum, while everyone else keeps in formation. This is a great play on the Regency rules of society, and gives us a small glimpse at women who break away from that mold (if only for a moment).
They should have done more with Sir Elliot, IMO. To me, his fall from grace was a huge point. The tone of the film could have done a lot as a parody of privilege, but instead they focus on modernizing Anne’s character, which just butchers the story. The vanity of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall is highlighted really spectacularly with grand shots like this one:
And I really liked that last line about “dont let anyone tell you how to live, or who to love. “(But even then she was more narrating, she wasn’t talking at us through the screen, so maybe that’s why I liked that little scene). I like how they redeem it and they come back to the sextant thing, that’s cute too. But nowhere near enough to redeem the film, for me. This is an adaptation I will not be able to watch over and over, sadly, this is going to bottom of my list.
As one of the world’s most loved poets, Rumi’s poems are celebrated for their message of love and their beauty, but too often they are stripped of their mystical and spiritual meanings. The Gift of Rumi offers a new understanding of Rumi, contextualizing his work against the broader backdrop of Islamic mysticism and adding a magical richness and authenticity that is lacking in so many Westernized readings of his work.
“The main goal of Sufism is to achieve loving union with the divine by detaching from the self and the desires of the ego”.
Dervishes try to free themselves from any attachments to the ego. One of the secrets to Sufism is to “die before you die”. It is seen as an intentional rupture of one’s attachment to ego, the material world, and identity.
Essentially, Sufism teaches us “how to live and how to love”. And the happiness of the Sufi flows from within—not from the material external world.
“Know that the way of pleasure is from within, not from without.”
At the heart of Rumi’s mystical poetry is the “religion of love” which transcends all religions. Through his majestic verses of ecstasy and longing, Rumi invites us into the religion of the heart and guides us to our own loving inner essence. The Gift of Rumi gives us a key to experiencing this profound and powerful invitation, allowing readers to meet the master in a new way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Jane O’Dell has studied Sufism both academically, in her work and research at Harvard, Columbia, and the American University of Beirut, and in practice, learning from a Mevlevi master and his whirling dervishes in Istanbul. She weaves this expertise throughout The Gift of Rumi, sharing a new vision of Rumi’s classic work.
The Physick Garden by Alice Smith is the ultimate guide for anyone interested in herbal remedies and healing.
“The backstories of the humblest of herbs can often provide cause to pause…”
Alice Smith, The Physick Garden
Since the dawn of time, people have used plants as remedies, seeking to brew and bottle both the positive and deadly effects of Mother Nature. But, “it is only in recent decades that modern research has confirmed the efficacy of many of these herbal treatments”. These herbal treatments have become enshrined in folklore, in old wives’ tales, and in the curious names—The Physick Garden tells their stories.
From the brain to the bowels, The Physick Garden introduces readers to 80 plants with curious medicinal pasts that found their way into modern medicine cabinets. Striking illustrations and lively tales bring these plants to life on the page. Gardeners, witches, and healers will love this reference book.
Unlike other herbal compendiums, this volume focuses on the history of the plants, rather than their practical usage. WARNING: Always consult your doctor before taking herbal medicines.
Thank you to Quarto Publishing for sending me a free Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this title. All opinions are my own.
I began my journey with Fortunate by using the book blindly for a few days. Each morning I would open to a random page, and read it as if pulling a tarot card for my days fortune. I found the daily readings to be inspiring, motivating, and a fun–it was like starting the day with a fortune cookie!
I like that this book of poetry pairs so well with any tarot deck–you could even use them in place of pulling cards! Flipping through the pages of this book mimics the act of shuffling a deck of cards, making the experience of reading this book just as magical as if you were pulling for a spread.
It was readings like this that kept me coming back for more —
venture off and take the route
that seems fitting
and if this sounds too hard, remember
that value requires committing.
from Knight of Wands
Each poem speaks to the reader, imparting wisdoms and truths that are meant to motivate, inspire, and to help see your life through a different lens. Tarot cards are meant to bring understanding and insight to your life, and this collection of poems does just that, delving deeper into the age-old messages of the cards and broadening our interpretation of those messages. In this way, the cards are modernized, kept relevant, and creates a conversation between traditional and modern analysis’ of the cards.
acknowledge your brilliance
on the smallest of scales,
be patient with you and
let new dreams set sail.
from Seven of Pentacles
Finding routine in any daily practice (such as meditation, journaling, or even tarot) can help you get in the habit of accessing your intuition, which in turn can guide your decision-making and align your actions.
This is an amazing supplement to any Tarot reader’s collection, and it is a great tool for helping readers to become better understand the meaning of the symbols in tarot. If we can better understand the messages in the cards, we can gain insight into our own lives. Some of the interpretations do not line up with the traditional RWS Tarot meanings, but that’s the great thing about readings–they can be interpreted many different ways and it is always interesting to think about the meanings in a new way.
Tarot cards have been used throughout the ages for gaming and fortune-telling, but their symbolism suggests a deeper purpose–to gain insight into the human mind, and enhance our own personal development. Some people read fortunes to gain insight into the future, but I believe tarot provides much more insight into the reader themselves. The cards provide us with excellent advice at any juncture and, if taken to heart, can help us to understand ourselves better and plan how to live better in the future.
“Tarot cards … can serve as an advisor and help in widening the users’ vision. Tarot cards are deemed as a map of life, or a signpost, to tell you how to lead a good and correct life.”
–Royal Thai Tarot, Sungkom Horharin
Thank you to Andrews McMeel Universal for sending me a free Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this title. All opinions are my own.