Monday, August 10, 2009
“Heart of the Volcano” by Imogen Howson
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
Cover art by Scott Carpenter
Caught between love and duty, can she make an impossible choice?
Five years ago, Aera was called away from everything she had ever known: her home, family, and Coram, the boy she was growing to love. She was given no choice. As the only living lava-shifter—able to transform her body into molten rock—she is destined to serve the volcano god as his fire priestess. Now, before she takes her ordained role, she must face her final test. Execute a criminal sentenced to death for the most unforgivable of all sins. Blasphemy.
She’s shocked to discover it’s no anonymous law-breaker waiting chained at the center of the labyrinth. It’s Coram. For the crime of being a gargoyle, a winged stone-shifter. A gift akin to hers…except his gift is unsanctioned by the temple, his powers proclaimed unholy.
If she refuses the test she will betray her god and condemn her family to dishonor. To pass it she must kill the boy she used to love…the man she still does.
Check out an excerpt here. Purchase here.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I know, I know...I'm supposed to be reviewing new books, especially those written by upcoming self-published or independently published authors, but I homeschool my two teenagers, and we're hitting the modern classics this year, so I just re-read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book yesterday.
I hated this book when I read it as a teenager. I didn't remember a single detail from it, so I was shocked at what an incredible book this is to read as an adult. I know so much history now, and so much more about human nature. What seemed bleak and terrible to me as a teenager reached out and grabbed me in the gut this time around. Solzhenitsyn's account of a single day in a Russian prison camp encompasses more about life and the human condition than most novels three times its size.
It does the impossible: shows us that no matter how grim the circumstances are of your existence, the sublime is with us always, in the details of every day.
If you haven't read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, go get it today. And if you have, read it again. You won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I grew up in the decades after women's liberation and I was always confident that I could compete with boys in any subject at school. Turns out I was right. And according to Tyre, the generation of women who grew up after me went on to trounce their male counterparts.
Boys still score slightly higher on the SAT, but girls take more AP classes, have better grade point averages, participate in more activities and look better all around to college admissions officers. In fact, Tyre says that if this trend continues, a whopping sixty percent of all college attendees in 2016 will be women.
Women are also taking over graduate programs. One statistic that jumped out at me is that seventy percent of all students in veterinary school are women.
I think we're going to see a sea change in my children's generation. I think my sons are going to find it hard to out-earn their wives. This has all kinds of implications. If a woman earns more than her husband, how much time will she take off from work to raise her kids? Will we see more men taking part time or flexible jobs to run Sammy and Janey to piano lessons? What will that mean for housework and childcare? Will these tasks finally be valued more by society when men take them over?
The next twenty years are going to be interesting.