Book review: The Mandarins

Book of words

The Mandarins My tattered copy of The Mandarins

I have a soft spot for flea markets because everyone loves a good bargain and browsing through crummy and musty pre-loved items for a precious find is always such a thrill.

The most recent item I thrifted is a book titled “The Mandarins” by French author Simone de Beauvoir which turned out to a pleasant surprise because firstly, I have never read anything nor heard of the author and secondly, I had no clue whatsoever about the book. All I wanted to was to read something that is out my comfort zone and this was it.

Set during post-World War Two, this book focused on the French leftist intellectuals attempting to negotiate their political roles as their country struggled to recover in a world dominated by Soviet and U.S. powers looming in the background. These uncertainties also bleed into the personal lives of the…

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Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 2

The Blog

Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)

As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on

Before You Know It Something’s Over (Riese Bernard, Autostraddle)

On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:

My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I…

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Underlining Random Terms In a Dense Book

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

This summer I am reading from my list of 100 items (50 books and 50 articles) for my Ph.D. comprehensive exams.  Much of this list includes theory, and while I’ve been thorough on my readings of most everything so far, one book has reduced me to skimming and underlining random terms that seem important.  It is Kenneth Burke’s Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method (1966).

language as symbolic action kenneth burke

Based on the title, you’d think I would love this book, especially since my own blog subtitle echoes his subtitle.  And I do like it.  However, much of the content is unrelated to my field of professional communication.  And while a good theoretical essay about Shakespeare’sAntony and Cleopatra, Goethe’s Faust, or Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood is certainly interesting, I don’t have time to engage in them properly.  I am not studying drama or literature, as much as I would…

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Blue Five Notebook – (July 2014 / 14.13)

Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series

Blue Five Notebook – (July 2014 / 14.13)

Claire Ibarra, Mausoleum Wall Claire Ibarra, Mausoleum Wall

Claire is a writer, poet and photographer residing in Miami, Florida. Her photographs have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Smokelong Quarterly, Roadside Fiction, Foliate Oak, and Lummox, and her work is forthcoming in Stone Path Review. She was a visual artist in residence for Counterexample Poetics in January 2014 and is currently art director for Gulf Stream Magazine.


Charlotte Hamrick


in the abrupt slow tumbling
of the first seconds rolling
like dirty laundry in a foggy
window arms and legs
defy gravity
the tinkle of glass
the crunch and scrape
metal collapsing into
flesh safety abandoned
on a strip of red clay and stone
no flashing of life before
startled eyes only
wide black pupils and
blank heads

Charlotte Hamrick lives in New Orleans where she often scribbles words…

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