Thursday, January 18, 2018

PSG Bookshelf: Biographies

By Melina Leon
Fall 2017 Intern
The reality of living in New England during the winter is that it is very cold and snowy. Why not escape that reality, stay indoors, and read about other people’s lives?

Here are some of the PSG staff’s favorite biographies and autobiographies.

·            One of Kate’s top choices is Mindy Kaling’s Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Kaling narrates how she started her writing career and gives behind the scenes information about her time on the US television series The Office. She also recommends Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father for a more serious reading experience.

·            Colleen has a rule that she will not reread books; however, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is the exception to that rule. She found Midnight Riders: The Story of the Allman Brothers Band to be another fascinating read.

·            Melina fell in love with To Selena, With Love by Chris Pérez. The book is Pérez’s reflection on his relationship with Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla.

·            Nora likes to read about the lives of writers. Her favorite book is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Also, both she and Melina agree Stephen King’s memoir On Writing deserves another blog shout-out.

·            Tess has always admired Audrey Hepburn, so any biography about her will find its way on her reading list. She also loved reading about Natalie Wood’s background in Natalie Wood: A Life by Gavin Lambert.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A View from The Mount: Visiting Edith Wharton's Home

By Tess Renault
Editorial Assistant
New England has no shortage of historical sites to visit, and if you’re like me, visiting historical homes is a favorite tourist pastime. I always try to scout out any old homes of famous writers, so I was pretty excited that Edith Wharton, one of my favorite authors, once lived in my home state.  

Located in the Berkshires in Lenox, Massachusetts, is the Mount, a 42-room estate that was designed by Wharton in 1902. Wharton’s interest in design and architecture is apparent as you stroll through the impeccably decorated rooms that you can tour either on your own or through a guided tour. Wharton’s ingenuity extends outside to the beautiful gardens, which are a must-see during the spring and summer months. However, if you’re visiting during the fall, the estate offers ghost tours. 

It always fascinates me to see the environment where a role model once lived and worked, especially one as talented as Wharton. Over 40 years, she wrote more than 40 books and she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence. During her time living at the Mount, she wrote some of her best novels, including The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. 

In addition to a museum, the house is now a cultural center for all things Edith Wharton and also hosts other historical events. Even if you’re not familiar with Wharton’s writing, it’s still a beautiful architectural site to visit!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sit, Stay, Listen to Jane Austen?

By Melina Leon
Fall 2017 Intern
Some dogs do great when left alone, but others have a harder time being without their owner throughout the day.

Cesar Millan, dog trainer extraordinaire, explains that the separation anxiety your pet feels often results in undesirable behavior. It can also cause your dog to feel depressed.

As a solution, Millan created a line of audiobooks for dogs. The point of playing these audiobooks is to keep your dog calm while no one is home with them. Millan also says the audiobooks affect dogs’ behavior differently than having your pet listen to the TV or radio. The difference lies in the tone of the voice of audiobooks, which lets the dog stay relaxed. In fact, according to one study, three out of four dog owners noticed a positive change in behavior after playing an audiobook for their pet.

Millan also recommends listening to audiobooks with your dog at first to find one that works. He says the audiobook you choose should be the same gender as you and played at an average volume.

Some of Millan’s suggested audiobooks include Pride and Prejudice, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the Mary Poppins series.