The Summer Dragon, Todd Lockwood

Why do I love dragons? Is it their impossibility? Even with hollow bones, something that large carousing through the air with nothing but muscle power is pretty unbelievable. Is it their ferocity? I do also love bears and sharks (at a distance). Is it their mythical nature? I tend to be drawn towards those creatures…

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

I was trying to think about when post-apocalyptic literature began. I don’t know that there is any, that I am aware of, pre-cold war, nuclear-fallout stuff. Maybe some early zombie movies? This dearth of post-apocalypse media is odd given that humanity has dealt with large-scale disease before. How did no one think to write a…

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

The story of Commonwealth is simply the tale of two interwoven families; a narrative common to many of us even if every clan is unique. But somehow Ann Patchett manages to spark interest in familial history in a way that your mother and grandmother have always failed to do. I love inter-generational literature. Int-Lit. I…

To Ride Hell’s Chasm, by Janny Wurts

Hell’s Chasm terrifies me, and it does so because Janny Wurts’ talent for writing about a harrowing flight through some of nature’s most unforgiving terrain is second to no one. I didn’t even really understand the title of the book until the lead characters come to the titular Chasm itself, and then I could think…

Kings of the Wyld, Nicholas Eames

As if the fantasy genre and heavy metal weren’t connected enough, along comes Nicholas Eames to tighten the leather straps and forever marry two oddly similar forms of entertainment in Kings of the Wyld, the first in a series that thrums like a Jimmy Page riff in a genre full of entry-level chord practice. What’s…

Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

It took me ten days to read The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. I could have probably read four or five books in that time, but instead I chose to invest myself in this sprawling fantasy epic that clocked in at over 1200 pages, in the mass market paperback version, and while I found…

Fantasy Bingo 2017

There is a fun little challenge over on the fantasy reddit called Fantasy Bingo that I’ve opted to participate in. It basically gives you a bingo card and you fill it in with fantasy books (mostly) that match each square’s category. There isn’t really a prize for making a line or filling the whole thing…

Zen Center Day 6 – A Redwooded Farewell

I decide upon waking that I need to try to meditate one more time before I leave this place. While the entire experience has been meditative in its own right, I have not consciously sat and cleared my mind very often, which in some ways was the entire point of this trip. I slip into…

Zen Center Day 5 – The Heights

Thursday marks our last full day of work, and I spend it with a variety of people. As we stand in the circle to mark the beginning of the day, I feel at home. It’s easy to fall in to the rhythms of these people. I don’t really know anyone here, even if I’ve met…

Zen Center Day 4 – Trees of Liberation and Prayer

I sleep in on Wednesday, which means I linger in bed until 6:30am. It’s easier to wake up at the zen center because everyone goes to bed between nine and ten every night. The rhythms of nature are the alarm clock, and people seem content to follow that. I clear trails again today with Carlos,…

Zen Center Day 3 – Oceans and Pubs

On Tuesday, I awake from my ten hour slumber and feel refreshed but melancholy that I let a night slip away from me. I skip the morning meditation and instead write for a bit before breakfast. My goal for the day is to see how the pre-dinner meditation at 5:15 is, and if I will…

Zen Center Retreat – Day 2, Meditation and Work

Day two of my retreat begins at 5:50 in the morning, which is one of those times I’ve only seen a few times in life. My advantage lies in the fact that 5:50am in California is actually 8:50am in Michigan, but the lack of sun makes it feel early. I don my brand new mediation…