Tag Archives: book

Worlds Apart

Worlds Apart is a book I wrote a couple years ago, printed by Blurb.com for a photography class I took. I really enjoyed the ability to discuss and write about my work and process in detail and I feel like the book is a great representation of who I am as an artist. So, if you’re curious about the ideas in my head and why I photograph what I do, check it out.

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Mummies in Massachusetts

 

S.J. Wolfe, author of Mummies in Nineteenth Century America : Ancient Egyptian as Artifacts

From Worcester Wired: Worcester Researcher Unwraps Mummies in America

I’m interning for Worcester Wired this summer, an online publication in the Heart of the Commonwealth, supplying folks with another venue for the things the T&G misses. Check it out!


A preview of my book! Check it out!


There are a lot of books in my life.

I’m a college student. I’m an English major. I want to be a journalist. I write for my school paper. I keep a journal. I also blog. I write poetry. I’m making a book as my final in my photo class. I’m studying print culture in another class. …I’m beginning to realize that there are simply a lot of books in my life.

Besides all the print i come into contact with given my area of study, it has appeared in my other area of study as well. Right now, my floor is covered in small note-card-sized pieces of premium luster photo paper. The cats keep scurrying across the hardwood every couple hours, causing me to either laugh or yell and quickly rearrange them.

Arrangement. It’s a huge part of making something in some degree or another. In making a book, there has to be a sequence. No matter what is on the leaves, the grass must be in some coherent fashion. When I first found out I’d be making a book of my photography as my final, it sounded wonderful. Great, I thought, one less final paper I have to churn out. That’ll save  me some time. Wrong.

For weeks now, I’ve stared at these tiny pictures. I’ve tried narrowing it down, but the one I want to omit looks great with one I love. Those two can go on a page together. But that one needs this one to precede it. It wouldn’t make sense without that one, either. So… they all have to stay. And I’m back to square one.

All of this is definitely reminding me of all of those classes about semiotics and messages of media. How much of a work depends on the format? Is publishing these photos in a book changing their meaning? What if I change the title? Do I give the reader a back story or should they stand on their own? Are these two images too much together? Why doesn’t this look good? It’s maddening.

At any rate, I’m excited about publishing a book of my work. Awesome.


Bonding with Books

As midterm week is looming overhead, slowly turning my brain into mush, I find myself rekindling a very special relationship: the one with my textbooks. After years of getting used textbooks from the bookstore, I still get some strange satisfaction in picking them up at the beginning of the semester and flipping through the pages before the beginning of classes. Maybe it’s just my love for things in print, but they do have character.

Take, for example, the things in them left behind. While the bookstore tries its hardest to eliminate any residual traces of previous readers, they do sneak in from time to time. Ironically, in a memoir of an Iranian-born woman who immigrated to the U.S. to face many clashes of cultures, I found a strip of perforated postage stamps prominently marked with American flags, jutting out from the pages of Funny in Farsi. Funny, indeed.

In other books I’ve picked up, I’m constantly baffled with what readers before me have chosen to underline or write into their margins. Although sometimes useless, it’s interesting to get a glimpse into someone else’s brain.

This raised a question for me: why was marking in textbooks so heavily discouraged in high school? Perhaps the mentality of high school students would be more focused on mustaches and profanity than thought-provoking commentary, but still… Why discourage engagement with the text?

And still, this raised another contemplation: these are things that would be lost with the potential switch to Kindles. No marking, no scribbling of epiphanies in the margins, no postage stamp bookmarks, no scent of aged paper wafting from between the pages… no pages. So take this time to rekindle your own appreciate for your books (pun intended).


Summer Reading Recommendations

As many of us are already so aware of, college may be a mind-opening, altering, and inspiring process, but it can easily come with an overwhelming amount of text.

Although summer reading may also be a mandatory sentencing for many college students, there is no reason why you can’t find some alternative material to enjoy in your free time and keep your mind both sharp and at ease during summer vacation.

So, just what does one read for fun during their single season of freedom with so much reading assigned throughout the school year? Straight from the minds of college kids, here are some suggestions on how to feed your head this summer.

Comedic author, Christopher Moore is a modern writer with a strong cult following. His novels commonly twist an everyman character into a plot filled with the fictionally absurd and supernatural. Some critics have compared Moore’s style to that of Kurt Vonnegut. His vampire trilogy Bloodsucking Friends, You Suck, and Bite Me may at first conjure a parallel to the horrendous sensation that is Twilight, readers will be pleasantly surprised to find little connection between the two. Moore’s vampires come with a heavy dose of ironic comedy driven by a meshing of traditional and unique ideas.

A good complementary to Moore’s taste for the unusual spin on a classic prototype is the writing of Seth Grahame-Smith, whose historical fiction has reached the third spot on the New York Times’ bestseller list. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter are just two of the well-known books Grahame-Smith has put out. Other comical works include Pardon My President: Fold-and-Mail Apologies for 8 Years, a book composed of letters written by the author to various organizations to apologize for the actions of George Bush. Grahame-Smith’s books also deal with pop culture; he’s also written about the history of pornography, Spiderman, and how to survive typical horror film situations. If you’re needing comic relief between semesters, look no further.

For something a little more real but still amusing, the autobiographical works of David Sedaris are a goldmine. In his collections of essays, Sedaris recounts his unusual upbringing, family life, drug-filled college years, jobs and his education. The author’s often satirical wit is richly embedded in his writing, and while not all of the stories are necessarily upbeat, they are still humorous. Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, have all become New York Times Best Sellers.

If you’re into asking yourself “what if,” books by Harry Turtledove also offer great venues for thought provoking, easy reading during your time off. Dubbed “The Mast of Alternate History” Turtledove has written on various hypothetical historical situations, including alien invasions during World War II, the Confederacy winning the Civil War, and survival of the Byzantine Empire.

Two more well known books by Afghanistan native, Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, have caught much attention in recent years. Hosseini grew up in the Middle East in a time of political unrest, and his family eventually sought political asylum in the United States. The Kite Runner, Hossenini’s first novel, is also set in Afghanistan and tells the story of a young boy dealing with childhood problems and a troubled relationship with his father. The novel deals heavily with political and ethnic tensions as the family moves to U.S. The Kite Runner has also been adapted to film. Hossenini’s other noteworthy novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is also filled with Afghani culture.

Students had more obscure suggestions.

The Stranger, by well-known author, Albert Camus was also recommended. Though he never outwardly considered himself an existentialist, Camus’ writings often centered on such themes of philosophy, and this example is no different. The book focuses on a seemingly irrational murder by the title character, and his narrative throughout the book is divided before and after the event.

Shantaram was another interesting suggestion. Written by a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict, Shantaram carefully describes the autobiographical, factual event through a guise of the fictitious and blurs lines. The author recounts his story of the crime and fleeing to India for 10 years and all the horrific and diverse happens that befall him.

Straight from the minds of students themselves, here’s a short list of unique books from the fantastical to the real life recollections to help break the monotony of assigned reading. Because even the biggest bookworms can get burned out during the school year.