Sneak Peak: Floods and Fires

If you’ve been following our blog, Twitter, and Facebook, you may have seen our growing excitement over the upcoming release of Flood and Fires.

In Dan Leach’s first short story collection, he delves into emotions that span all people in a uniquely southern landscape. In the title story, a man struggles with the decision to uphold his strong family ties, even as his son becomes a fugitive. In “Everything Must Go,” a day that starts off at a harmless in a garage sale, turns emotionally haunting as our main character suspects his ex-wife’s belongings are the ones up for sale. In “Transportation,” a young boy’s imagination is his greatest hope as he becomes extraordinary in his mind’s eye in an attempt to escape his trailer park upbringing. In “Midnight Showing” a man takes his ex-girlfriend on a short late night trip—to redemption, or maybe to a happier past? Pick up your copy this fall to find out about these and more!

We are getting so close to it’s September 12 release; in our excitement, we can’t help but share this sneak peek with you. Click here to read or download a sample chapter of Floods & Fires, and make sure to check back in for more updates!

How-To Make Summer Last Forever

As the sun-kissed days of summer begin to dwindle and you embark on the last lap of summer courses, it can feel a bit melancholy. It could feel as though you’ve spent your entire summer in a textbook and ambivalence could set in – you’re happy that the rigorous work of the course is ending, but that means summer is over too.

Well, summer doesn’t have to be (that is, until the bitter chill of winter sets in). Summer is not a time or a place, it’s a feeling and all of us can capture and hold onto it forever with a couple of tweaks to our lifestyle.

Summer creates the great notion that we’re all allowed a pass. A pass from our mundane work responsibilities, a pass from cleaning after work and a pass from things that generate negative energy. One way to hold onto summer forever is allowing yourself a pass throughout the year. Even though the weather may be colder than it was a couple of months ago, if you’re feeling stressed, you can still take a break and dance in your office, eat a chocolate bar (or two) and blast your music. Giving yourself a break throughout the entirety of the year allows you to possess the whimsical feel of summer.

Another way to feel the bright rays of summer all year long is to enjoy your mornings. During the summer months, mornings seem to last an eternity, the morning seemingly fades into the afternoon and only when it is dark does it feel different. Whether it’s summer, spring, fall or winter, enjoy your mornings. Give yourself the quiet time to self-reflect, cook yourself a large breakfast, read. Taking time for yourself in the morning will provide a positive outlook on the day, even when it’s raining or snowing. You will feel warm inside.

Lastly, read a summer themed book even in the dead of winter. Read of remote islands with beaches full of warm, white sand. Allow yourself to bask in the rays from the words of your book and escape the cold weather. Some titles we love are The Vacationers by Emma Straub and Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

As we said before, summer is a feeling that can be felt during any season. However, we suggest to soak up the sun on these last summer days.

Please tell us, what are your personal summer joys that repeat all year long?

How to Choose the Right Book for You

There is an abundance of book genres to choose from, and recently there has been an increase in the ways a person can read a book, whether its Kindle, Audible or an e-text. Nick Morgan, a contributing writer of Forbes, stated that in 2013 there were “between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone.” With the vast amount of books, the task of choosing one to read can become daunting.

Never fear, here are some helpful suggestions to combat against the overwhelming feelings associated with picking a book in order for you to start reading.

Figure out what kind of reader you are. Patrick Betdavid, an entrepreneur, states that all readers fall in one of two categories, either you’re an accidental reader or an intentional reader. An accidental reader will stumble upon a book and read it, regardless of the genre or will be easily swayed to read a book based on another person’s opinion. An intentional reader will be strategic about choosing a book. Identifying the type of reader you are will minimalize the stress you may feel, instead of worrying, you’ll begin to go with the flow.

Set goals. It is helpful to set personal goals for book reading. Plan to read a new book each month, or if you’re fast, every two weeks. Change the genre of the book for some additional pizazz. Not only will you become a seasoned reader, you’ll be able to determine what kind of books motivate and excited you enough to meet the deadline.

Don’t stress. If the task of finding a book seems too engulfing to bear, let a friend or family member take a little bit of the burden off of your shoulders and recommend a book. Sometimes, it’s about choosing to let someone help. If you wanted a book suggestion outside your immediate circle, check out Book Riot, a blog devoted to sharing the newest book titles.

We hope these simple steps will help you in your quest to choosing a great book. Comment below and let us know what you’re currently reading or any of your enlightening or difficult experiences choosing books.

The Basics of American Government

In August, the University of North Georgia Press will publish the 3rd edition of the textbook The Basics of American Government edited by Carl D. Cavalli. The textbook, or BAG, as we like to call it, comprises work from eight current members and one retired member of the UNG faculty. The authors created BAG because of their  shared concern with “the rising cost and lack of academic rigor among American government texts on the market.”

The textbook is thorough yet cost-efficient. It provides a “no-frills” examination of the American political system, while also providing original academic pieces that emphasize the content discussed in each chapter. The textbook also poses questions to the reader to force them to think about the content discussed, and it furthers their involvement with the content through a civic engagement exercise.

The book includes fifteen chapters discussing topics ranging from the U.S. Constitution, to the presidency, and even U.S. foreign policy. The reader will gain an in-depth understanding of American government after immersing themselves in this textbook. For example, in the fourth chapter, Political Socialization and the Media, the importance of understanding government is proved: “Political socialization is a lifelong process” (Maria J. Albo & Barry D. Friedman, 50). It is important to be well-versed in politics as it is an undying aspect of society. The book has been updated to include recent and relevant events in American politics, such as the 2016 election and its aftermath. Carl Cavalli, PhD, explains how another significant addition is the update of the Georgia Public Policy supplement which includes a discussion about the controversial campus carry bill. All of this information is available for only $23.66. E-textbook options are available, as are used versions for a cheaper price. The textbook can be found online using the ISBN: 978-0-9792324-6-6.

The breadth of information concerning American government can be easily understood within the pages of this textbook. The jargon is easy to understand, and the layout of the textbook is neat. This textbook is perfect for anyone taking a course in political science or criminal justice or for someone who simply wants clarification on America’s government.

Poetry and Drama in the Renaissance

The Renaissance was an an awakening in Europe inspired by the reintroduction of Greek and Roman literature after the fall of the Roman Empire. In the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, artists of all circumstances began experimenting and expressing themselves in new, distinct ways.

Two of the main artistic consequences of the Renaissance were poetry and drama. The arrival of the share of knowledge provided by the printing press coupled with the start of international trade, allowed people to widen their banks of information. The Renaissance period saw the rise of the middle class through education; more and more people had the opportunity to obtain an education. Therefore, poetry and drama were no longer intended for just the privileged. Poetry and drama became shared artistic concepts among all classes because of the newfound influx of information.

Poetry in the Renaissance became one of the most valued forms of literature and was often accompanied by music. According to The Literature Network, the poetic forms most commonly employed during this period were the lyric, tragedy, elegy or pastoral. The goal of each poet was to capture the essence of beauty in the modern world, “the chief aim of English Renaissance verse was to encapsulate beauty and truth in words. English poetry of the period was ostentatious, repetitious, and often betrayed a subtle wit” (The Literature Network, 2017). One of the most significant poems written during this time is the epic Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667). According to Referatele, the purpose of this epic was to communicate the reasoning behind God’s decision involving Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden and to “express the central Christian truths of freedom, sin, and redemption as he conceived .” Milton expressed this point in the poem, “I may assert eternal providence, / And justify the ways of God to men (Line 26).

William Shakespeare dominated the English drama arena during the Renaissance. Shakespeare’s ability to alternate between different genres, comedy and tragedy, while continuously teaching a profound lesson is what set him apart from the rest. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragedy in which a noble soldier goes rogue with greed, killing several people; he does all of this because of a prophesy. In the end, nothing yet everything goes as planned. Shakespeare attempts to warn audiences against fooling with fate. Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest playrights and even created several words in the English language. However, much of Shakespeare’s life is unknown; there are gaps of time when Shakespeare’s presence is absent from society. To learn more about his life, read the University of North Georgia Press’s biography.

The developments of poetry and drama are significant to the era as a whole as they added a new form of entertainment and source of information to all of the classes.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play and why?