Author Archives: Lauren Nokes

Diana Wynne Jones’s “Charmed Life” pioneers themes of the fantasy genre

“Charmed Life” is the first installment in beloved fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci series, which marries the British tradition of stories about orphans sent to live at the estates of wealthy relatives with a story of young witches and wizards growing into their magic. “Charmed Life” was first published in 1977, but I only

Nokes on new books

I’ll be honest: I haven’t read very many recently published books.  It’s not that I don’t want to read all the wonderful books that I know came out in 2013; but I’m an English major and, at least for right now, I’m kind of in the business of reading not-so-new books. Therefore, I must make

Kingsolver’s debut novel “The Bean Trees” tackles issues of oppression

I once began reading Barbara Kingsolver’s signature novel, “The Poisonwood Bible,” but I abandoned it after just a few pages. I felt sure that a lengthy book about an exceptionally dysfunctional family would only depress me. But after reading just a few pages in Kingsolver’s first novel, “The Bean Trees,” I knew I was in

Mah describes childhood in “Falling leaves”

In her book “Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter,” Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots just as the old Chinese proverb foretells.  She tells the riveting story of growing up ensnared in a rich and dysfunctional Hong Kong family, while also giving a fascinating chronicle of twentieth-century Chinese history. Mah tells

Hindustani concert brings Eastern traditions to Harper

The Hindustani classical musician is composer, conductor and musician all in one, explained vocalist Dr. Pandit Nagaraja Rao Havaldar to an intimate audience during the concert he gave in Harper Hall on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 24. Rather than consisting of musicians directed by a conductor playing music written by a composer, as in

M.T. Anderson sends powerful message in “Octavian Nothing”

“The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing,” the latest literary project by award-winning author M.T. Anderson, is nothing if not truly astonishing.  It certainly deserves the surrounding hype. Anderson has constructed an imaginative, impeccably researched and written story that courageously and intelligently examines the ugly contradiction at the heart of the American Enlightenment and Revolution: that

Father and son folk duo play in World Music series

Not everyone picks up an instrument as four-year-old and spends most of their childhood and adolescence honing their skills to eventually become a virtuoso. Some people don’t come to music until later in their life. Such is the case with both Brad and Ken Kolodner, a father-son old-timey folk duo who performed in Harper Hall

Moura enchants audience with music of Portugal

With her understated grace and elegance, Portuguese Fado singer Ana Moura captivated her audience from the moment she walked onto stage, transforming the Esch Hurvis Studio into the intimate space of a Fado house during her March 27 “Fado of the World” performance.  Her distinctively low and ever-so-slightly husky voice gives her renditions of the

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