On Goddesses, Aliens, and Avatars
Since her debut novel in 2011, Bloodspell, Amalie Gosine Howard ’97 hasn’t looked back, publishing three additional young-adult novels, including two already this year. The Caribbean-born French and international studies major moves easily from fictional world to fictional world, inventing an undersea princess who fights to save her kind and her kingdom, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess, and a girl soldier from a parallel universe whose mission lands her in the strange world we know as Earth. All in a year’s work for Howard, who has lived and traveled in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and who delights in using her experiences as the seeds for her shape-shifting fiction. The stories involve witches, oceanic aliens, and veterans of android wars, but the lessons aren’t lost on today’s earthbound teens who sometimes must bridge different worlds of their own.
This chapter book for younger readers introduces brother and sister Max and Molly on their annual ski weekend with their grandfather at Powderhound Mountain. The pair worry about keeping up with the Little Rippers ski group, but soon the kids find themselves off the trail and entangled in a backcountry ski adventure they won’t ever forget. Readers are rewarded with a family pancake recipe, a ski game, and craft projects to round out their experience.
Surette is back with his fourth book of poems, which is really a memoir of growing up in Massachusetts with hockey and rock ’n’ roll, rambunctious brothers, and girls who mesmerize like mythological Sirens. But Surette, a high school teacher and coach, knows that these moments, strung together, are our lifeblood, even if it’s blood spilled during a playground fight. A girl at a junior high dance is “beautiful/ for sure, but like a movie ghost, I could walk/right through her.” A motorcycle damaged in a fatal crash is “on its side/ like someone resting on one arm.” Turns of phrase illuminate a teenager’s life rendered here by the filter of Surette’s sympathetic but unflinching sensibility. It’s like being reminded that these things you remember are, as you half suspected, ultimately the stuff of life itself.
Harrison is both writer and illustrator of this, her debut children’s book for ages 3-5. Her publisher describes her as a “talent to watch,” and certainly Extraordinary Jane is a picture book to read aloud to a child while poring over the rich illustrations. The story is about Jane, a circus dog whose family stars in the big top. Trapeze artists, strongmen, acrobats, and stunt dogs, the rest of the fuzzy gang brims in talent. Jane attempts these circus skills but fails miserably, leading the circus master and readers to the conclusion that the pup’s real skill lies in being “a really good dog.”
It’s a sweet tale that will leave adults smiling as well.
As violinist and arranger of all the songs on the Bohemian Quartet’s CD Silhouette, released in December, Colby Orchestra Director Stan Renard brings Romany, AKA “Gypsy,” music to shimmering, vibrant, energetic life with three accomplished collaborators. The challenging melodies and meters, fluid tempo changes, and soaring glissandi showcase Renard’s virtuosic mastery of his instrument. The music is so technically challenging that few could aspire to keep the classic Eastern European folk traditions alive and available to North American audiences. But Renard and the quartet not only succeed in that, they’ve embroidered upon it, turning the dark minor keys and soaring dance melodies into an aural tapestry that is complex, contrasting, and compelling. Visit bohemianquartet.com for details, including concert dates throughout the eastern United States —SBC
Renowned for her column on style and politics, “Fashion Whip,” for the Huffington Post, Lauren Rothman guides interns and CEOs alike toward the perfect balance between appropriate and stylish in the workplace. Style Bible is the ultimate style resource for busy professionals and a go-to source for understanding dress codes by industry, city, and gender. The “styleauteur’s” advice, anecdotes, and rules of thumb prevent fashion mistakes at the office, and her shopping strategies help readers build a versatile, fashion-forward wardrobe with the right thing to wear for every occasion. With a decade of experience in the fashion industry, Rothman helps the modern professional dress for success and dress to impress. —Christina Dong ’17