• Blog

    “Outlander” Part 1: A Second Honeymoon

    As a student of English Literature, one of the biggest challenges I face is the ability to read for pleasure. I suppose after almost 5 years of dissecting novels for themes, motifs, and symbolism, it’s hard to think of a book as just a book and not a topic for a term paper. For this very reason, I have decided to start this blog, in the hopes that it will keep me motivated to continue reading for pleasure. After hearing raving reviews about the novel and TV show, I have decided to read and write chapter summaries of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Chapter 1 – A New Beginning The novel immediately…

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    Interview with Laura Bitterlich – Author of Shapeshifters Part 2

    I sat down to have an interview with Shapeshifters author Laura Bitterlich, who is an accomplished writer in Germany. At just nineteen, she is a published author and an intelligent thinker of various social issues including gender and sexuality. Her writing is mature, well-thought out and gripping. Focusing her energies on the genre of fantasy, she pays keen attention to her readership and uses her big imagination to transport us all to the universe of Shapeshifters. In this part of the interview, she relays her in-depth views about her ideas on relevant social issues. You use your writing to address social issues as well. An example would be Leara serving…

  • Blog

    Interview with Laura Bitterlich – Author of Shapeshifters Part 1

      I Laura and I met for the first time in person in Munich, Germany early last year. Laura had traveled from her town of Saarbücken to meet me while I was traveling around Europe during my semester abroad. We had an evening of pizza and ice cream where she let me know that Canadians are indeed too nice! She and I have known each other for years. We met online and quickly became friends. We bonded over our passions for writing, reading, and social activism. Over the years, I have gotten to know her to be equally nice and kind as she is talented. Laura has been a published…

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    The Case for Horror Fiction

    Horror is perhaps the only genre defined by the response it is meant to create in the reader. No other genre works that way. You can laugh at a tragedy, you can cry at a comedy and still enjoy them. Conflicting responses are okay and even valuable. But you cannot not be scared with horror. Otherwise it is bad horror. Side note: what is the opposite of horror? Feeling safe? It is a genre that had endlessly intrigued me and the reason why I became the avid reader I am today. I grew up reading all types of gothic, horror, mystery and thriller books. And perhaps now, more than ever,…

  • ESA blog Fatima Ahmed

    The Highland Experience

    I was in the Scottish highlands, doing a tour of one of the lochs in the area when my tour guide asked me what I did. I told him I was a literature student. He asked me if I knew some of the Scottish authors like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. I had to confess to him that I hadn’t even heard of them before. I told him that we don’t do a lot of literature outside American and English authors. He quietly turned away. A couple of minutes later he handed me a crumpled up brochure. He said, “That book was recommended by an English professor up in…

  • Blog

    Stumbling Through the Wardrobe

    It’s difficult and exhausting. It needs incredible attention to detail and thorough planning. Scheduling and organizing are key to this endeavor. Any slip-ups will cost priceless time and precious money. It is more physically intensive than you’d think while you operate on as little sleep as possible. Be prepared for subpar food, miscommunication, and a lack of adequate facilities. Your irritability might increase and frustration is a common symptom. Yes, that is indeed how much work travelling is. Oh, I should correct that: That is how much work travelling is when you’re a university student. I don’t know how many nights I have spent with snoring people, trying to sleep…

  • ESA Blog

    Breathing Life Into Books

    Ello, Guvnah. That was my terrible attempt at the local lingo in an attempt to hook your interest while also hinting at the topic of this entry. How did I do? I am currently in England. The reason I have managed to be sitting here in the middle of the semester is because I am currently on exchange at the University of Manchester. It’s still surreal to me and I have not yet slipped into comfort or acceptance yet. Hopefully that will happen soon. Nonetheless, here are some of my initial reactions so far… My first reaction to being here is the aching awareness of my accent; it feels like…

  • #WeNeedDiverseBooks

    Story Worthy

    Today, I did a little experiment. I went to my bookshelf where I keep the books that I have studied in my English classes over the years. I did a quick count of how many works of literature I have read so far for my English major. The number is at about thirty (not counting course packs or works that I accessed online). Then I went to count how many of them were works of fiction that featured a non-white protagonist. That number was five (sadly, that is including a world literature class). I then counted the number of books that featured an explicitly queer protagonist. That number was one.…

  • Children in Theater Leonova

    “Playing” the Part

    I kicked off this year with my first English class about theatre accompanied by a trip to Bard on the Beach. Naturally, I’m finding myself to be quite immersed in theatre at the moment. This makes sense since almost every English course I’ve taken has incorporated at least one play into its reading list. As English students, we are meant to look at the play as a text and analyze it in its written form. But isn’t it more complicated than that? When I sat in class reading a play, I raised my hand and asked the professor how the audience was meant to know what the names of the…

  • Tina Reading Under an Olive Tree_Marc Dalessio

    Summer Reading as an English Major

    By: Fatima Ahmed Summer reading as an English major can be a tough field to navigate. Personally, I feel completely unable to read for mere pleasure anymore. That can be a problem. Ironically, the love of books that actually got me to sign up for an English major is slowly waning because of it. Whereas I once used to dive into multiple books a week, nowadays I find it exhausting to read for even an hour a day. The excitement and the curiosity are diminishing. This, of course, scares me to death.

  • Blog

    Oh, the Irony!

    By Fatima Ahmed While doing research for a term paper last week, I discovered that there is no term for the opposite of dramatic irony. Just a reminder, dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters do not. There is no word to describe when the characters know something and do not tell the audience. You see, this bothered me. It seems so obvious. Create a term for when the character doesn’t tell the audience something important, something they should know (to clarify, I’m talking about first person or certain third person narrators). Of course I’m not saying that a character has the obligation to divulge every…

  • Blog

    The State of the English Major

    We are happy to introduce our new blogger: Fatima Ahmed Source: Zoitz: a capricious webcomic (http://www.zoitz.com/archives/38)             We’ve all heard the jokes and we’ve all seen the memes. English majors can’t do anything but work at McDonald’s or Starbucks for a living. We are a group of the most uselessly educated students and a dispensable resource. Our thoughts, ideas and input is so extremely worthless that we will all be inevitably unsuccessful. Well, that makes me feel swell. No, it makes me really angry. I don’t like the way people squish their eyebrows in disappointment at me when I tell them what I study. I don’t like how all I…