French Film Fest: The Master List. (Just add wine.)

French Films to Watch with Wine and Chocolate

It all started with Joyeux Noël. I watched it in January, fell in love, and decided I was missing out by not watching more foreign films. Anton Tchékhov 1890 followed, seen in a Novosibirsk theater (Russian-dubbed), and then later in the summer I rented a few films advertised in the theater’s own French film festival. Add to that an upcoming … Read more…

A Review of Horror Novel JENNIFER THE DAMNED by Karen Ullo

Jennifer the Damned by Karen Ullo

“I die a thousand deaths because I do not die.” From this opening epigraph from St. John of the Cross, Karen Ullo’s horror novel Jennifer the Damned sets the perfect tone for its intelligent, spiritually rich, and yet fast-paced story of a teen vampire coming to terms with two difficult realities: one, that she doesn’t have a soul (and … Read more…

Happy Halloween: 15 Spooky Stories, Poems and Songs Under 15 Minutes

All right, folks, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and give you my top reading recommendations for Halloween. Except I’m not going to recommend books. No, I suspect your reading list is long enough already. Instead, I’ve gathered up my favorite stories, poems, songs, and poem-songs, which you can enjoy in 15 minutes or less. … Read more…

Darkness, Warm-Fuzzies and Other Reasons to Skip “Winter’s Tale”

So on the plane back from Russia, I was browsing through Aeroflot’s cache of movies when I saw something called Winter’s Tale. Having studied English literature, I thought, Hey, cool! Shakespeare! Nope. That would be The Winter’s Tale. As soon as I realized my mistake, I should have dumped it … but curiosity and hope-beyond-hope for redemption … Read more…

So I finally finished CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

Wow, wow, WOW. I’ve said many times before that Dostoevsky is one of my all-time favorite novelists. I read The Brothers Karamazov almost two years ago and was stunned by his prophetic voice, as well as the strength and multidimensionality of his characters. It’s true that reading his works does require some patience from the modern … Read more…