Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gloucester’s Schooner Fest Celebrates the City’s Past


By Colleen Joyce
Senior Project Manager

Growing up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I learned all about my hometown’s rich maritime history from a very young age. Known as “America’s Oldest Seaport,” Gloucester was founded in 1623 and has always been deeply entwined with the ocean that surrounds it. One of my favorite summer events, the Gloucester Schooner Festival, brings some of that history to life right before your eyes, and has been doing so for over 30 years!

Every Labor Day weekend, dozens of schooners converge on Gloucester to take part in the festival. The highlight for me is watching from Stacy Boulevard on Sunday morning as each schooner emerges onto Gloucester Harbor under full sail—if the winds are blowing—and takes part in the annual Parade of Sail. The schooners sail through the harbor on their way to the Mayor’s Race, which starts off of Eastern Point. As I watch these giants sail by, their crew working hard on the decks, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching history glide past on the sparkling water. Cannons boom, my daughters cover their ears, and I capture the scene on my camera.

If it isn’t enough to just watch the schooners, you can set sail on the ocean yourself! Gloucester’s own 65-foot schooner, the Thomas E. Lannon, offers two-hour sails throughout the summer. All aboard!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Novel Ideas for Television


By Tess Renault
Editorial Assistant

When it comes to popular TV, book adaptations are in the spotlight. So if you’re a bookworm like me, there’s a chance one of your literary favorites is headed for the small screen. Be on the lookout for these adaptations of well-loved books!

The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel was turned into an award-winning TV series last year. It did so well with audiences that it was renewed for a second season, which premiered this April. The new episodes go beyond the plot of the novel, but the show still rings true to Atwood’s themes.

Big Little Lies
This hit series was based off of Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name. The second season will dive further into the secrets of the same friend group we met in season one, all set in their seemingly idyllic community in Monterey. Filming for the second season is currently under way and Meryl Streep is set to join this already star-studded cast.

Howards End
For a more classic adaptation, try out Howards End. Released in the United Kingdom last year, the show graced US television screens in April 2018. It’s a four-part series based on E. M. Forster’s novel from 1910. In true fashion of a period piece, there’s family drama, romance and issues with social class all wrapped up in beautifully designed costuming.

From contemporary to classic, books are clearly great material for television. Are any of your favorite books headed for the TV screen?


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Reading Up an Appetite: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Flavor


By Erin Sherry
Spring 2018 Intern

When I think back to the most vivid food descriptions of my reading career, it doesn’t take long for Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy to come to mind. As the title suggests, food plays a major role in the plot and is symbolic throughout the book. In the next installment of my literary recipes series, I cook up some Capitol-inspired cuisine!

In one particularly mouth-watering scene, Katniss describes her first meal in the Capitol with such detail that readers can practically taste it themselves: “Chicken and chunks of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny green peas and onions, rolls shaped like flowers, and for dessert, a pudding the color of honey.”

To make this decadent dish for yourself, start by tossing chicken in flour, salt and pepper, then sautéing it in plenty of butter. Next, add one cup of heavy cream and two tablespoons of unsweetened, frozen orange juice concentrate. Allow it to simmer. Once your sauce has thickened, season with additional salt, pepper and chives; stir in chunks of a single orange; and serve over fluffy white rice along with steamed peas and pearl onions. It’s savory with just a hint of sweetness, and so creamy it might just become your new favorite comfort food.

Happy cooking, and may the odds be ever in your flavor! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Superstitions Around the World

By Alex Belloli
Spring 2018 Intern

You’ve probably heard some of the popular US superstitions: don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back, knock on wood, don’t walk under ladders and avoid broken mirrors. But across the world, there are some very different superstitions!

In South Korea, it’s believed that sleeping with a fan on can kill you! This superstition is so ubiquitous that many Korean fans have timers on them. The Korea Consumer Protection Board issued safety alerts about the topic.

In Russia, wishing a happy birthday or celebrating one in advance is believed to bring bad luck.

In India, Japan and other countries, cutting your nails at night is believed to shorten your lifespan.

Women in ancient Britain believed that carrying an acorn in your pocket helped maintain a youthful appearance. In the present-day UK, catching a falling leaf in autumn is good luck!

In the Philippines, going straight home after a wake is believed to bring bad spirits into your home. It’s customary for mourners to stop at a store or restaurant first—a practice called pagpag, which, in the Tagalog language, translates to “shake it off.”

Knock on wood that bad luck doesn’t follow you around!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bookish Big Shots: Actors Turned Authors

By Erin Sherry
Spring 2018 Intern

I’m always stunned when the actors who portray my favorite characters on screen are revealed as writers. We previously published a blog post about popular Hollywood actors turned poets and novelists, but the list is still growing—and fast! Here are some actors turned authors whose work I can’t wait to read.

Seeing as B. J. Novak wrote for The Office as well as acted in it (and also lauds a degree in English Literature from Harvard), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his short fiction is as clever as it is chock-full of his characteristically infectious charm. In 2013, he signed a seven-figure, two-book deal with Alfred A. Knopf, and both titles went on to be bestsellers.

Though she’ll always be Tibby to me, Amber Tamblyn has made a significant leap from films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to making a name for herself as a poet. Between bylines at BUST and the New York Times, she also found time to pen her first novel.

Chad Michael Murray, the golden-haired gent of early 2000s’ television dramas may not be gracing tabloid covers much anymore, but you can find his name in a bookstore. In 2011, he wrote a graphic novel, Everlast, and in 2017 he teamed up with crime writer (not fellow actor) Heather Graham to produce American Drifter, reportedly inspired by one of his dreams. Maybe Murray’s as much of a wordsmith as the closet poet he portrayed in A Cinderella Story!

Keep an eye out—your favorite actor may soon become your favorite author!