On Reading Christopher Columbus

In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two, we’re taught, Christopher Columbus crossed the ocean blue. (There’s apparently a longer poem behind that, and I consider it an unfortunate example of literary work. I have no idea who wrote it, and I think it is objectively bad.) I have never been quite what one might call a fan of Columbus’s, but I also never really thought about him, at least in … Continue reading On Reading Christopher Columbus

Blue Blood and the 99 Percent: La Révolution on Netflix

La Révolution is a strange beast. It’s French historical horror, and, while I’m not usually one for horror, it’s definitely my sort of show. It’s filled with violent class strife, and women striving to attain and (and maintain) power. It’s clogged with family secrets, and family lies corrode its halls. It’s exciting, generally. It’s violent as hell, blood arcing across the snow, staining walls, spattering … Continue reading Blue Blood and the 99 Percent: La Révolution on Netflix

on re-reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series

I first stumbled across Elizabeth Hoyt’s romances back in grad school. I’m pretty sure I started with The Ice Princess, as I was locked in the cage match of a library school job hunt; I moved from there to the rest of the books in the Princes series, and then on to Maiden Lane. I have those fogged grad school memories of lying awake in … Continue reading on re-reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series

yes, Virginia, history does change

I don’t know what the hell to write, what to say, and so, for this moment, I’m going to write a little about collection development, and reading history, and the importance of understanding—or trying to understand—what came before. We mythologize the hell out of the past, you see. We lie to ourselves, about our families’ pasts, about what made us who we are, about what … Continue reading yes, Virginia, history does change

Barkskins on Hulu: The Turtle King

Everything is awful today (except for the snow showers earlier, I liked those), so I finished up episode two of Barkskins: “The Turtle King.” It’s a great episode! There’s a lot that felt really accurate to me, and I truly appreciated that the chracters stayed dirty once they got dirty—or they were just grubby all the time. (That works, too.) I still think Goames is … Continue reading Barkskins on Hulu: The Turtle King

Barkskins on Hulu: New France

I finally started watching the television adaption of Annie Proulx’s eponymous novel, Barkskins, yesterday, and I am really not sure why on earth I waited this long to do so. It’s pretty obviously my sort of content. I should start this with an acknowledgement: I haven’t read the source material! So I have no clue how closely this adaption (originally on National Geographic, who’d have … Continue reading Barkskins on Hulu: New France

Showing History: or, [Yes, There Really Were] Records Before the Spanish Came

Scribes at work: “Codex-Style Vessel with Two Scenes of Pawahtun Instructing Scribes; c. A.D. 550–950; Possibly Mexico or Guatemala, Maya culture, Late Classic period (A.D. 600–900).” Image by FA2010, 2009. Wikimedia Commons. We peoples of letters have a knack for believe that we, and only we, are capable of creating literature, of composing epics, of recording our histories. We are the greatest at convincing ourselves that our way–only … Continue reading Showing History: or, [Yes, There Really Were] Records Before the Spanish Came

Three Things that Cinco de Mayo Is Not

1901 poster at the Biblioteca Nacional de México. Image from Wikimedia Commons. I bought a car yesterday, which meant that I didn’t give much thought to the date (other than, of course, to write it repeatedly, in an increasingly childish hand); it also meant that I avoided most of the obligatory social media posts about drinking José Cuervo or Corona or tequila or Patrón or whatever … Continue reading Three Things that Cinco de Mayo Is Not

Columbus, de las Casas, and the Undiscoverable Land

Once upon a time, in Iberia in the fifteenth century, there was a Genoese man with fanaticism in his soul and a dream in his heart, a dream of sailing West to go East. This made absolutely no sense to anyone but our hero, because the Iberian Peninsula, thanks to its years as several Moorish caliphates, was well-versed in science. One did not sail west … Continue reading Columbus, de las Casas, and the Undiscoverable Land

Hippie Beads, Ghost Ships, and Cultural Similarities Through the Ages: Vikings! at the Field

Cultural similarities drew me through that exhibition, and made me think when I left it, drawing parallels and wondering at this evident melding of creativity among Stone Age to Medieval Northern Europeans. But the ghost ship, with its rivets suspended in light and air, was its highlight. Continue reading Hippie Beads, Ghost Ships, and Cultural Similarities Through the Ages: Vikings! at the Field