Book Review – Krampus: The Yule Lord

From Gerald Brom, a man known for painting horrifying monsters, comes a novel that is quickly becoming a Christmas tradition in my household, and a perfectly bittersweet antidote for the usual saccharine Christmas stories. Let me put it this way, if Charlie Brown and the Grinch are the cookies and pie you have after Christmas dinner, then Krampus: The Yule Lord is Christmas dinner itself. Literal (literary?) soul food.

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Finding a Career as an English Major

If you’re like me (and most other college students), you’ve struggled with deciding on a major. I came into college nervous about my declared Pre-Optometry/Biology major because I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted to study. Now, I am a much happier English major. The problem I faced was not knowing where my interests and skill-set best combined. When I changed my major to English, it still didn’t feel right. My analysis skills allowed me to excel in English, but I didn’t want to be a writer, and I didn’t want to be a teacher. I didn’t know any other possible jobs prospects. After discussing my dilemma with English colleagues, though, I finally found my niche in the sub-genre of editing.

Source: The Odyssey Online

Of course, everyone’s process is different, but if you’re an English major, or considering to be one, then allow me to help you figure out your niche in this sometimes fuzzy study.  While I am not at all an expert, my hopes are that this post can be a guide of sorts to help you recognize and utilize your English skills and interests.

I’ve listed four areas an English major can pursue. Find the one (or more) that matches up with the skills/interests you like best! Maybe all four sound interesting to you.

1.Writers (Creative Writer, Poet, Blogger, etc.):
Writing, researching, creativity.

Maybe there’s a book you’ve always wanted to read, but hasn’t been written. Maybe you’re really great at writing greeting cards.

via GIPHY

2.Teachers (High school, TESL, etc.):
Interacting with others, sharing knowledge, reading, proofreading.

You can be the person that molds a young mind into another English major, or you can help young children in a foreign country conquer linking verbs.

3. Professors:
Research, reading, writing, sharing knowledge, interacting with others, presenting/public speaking.

Because who doesn’t want to be able to discuss Dr. Seuss as high literature? There’s a class for almost anything these days.

Source: University Primetime

4. Editors (Blog editors, book editors, copy editors, etc):
Analyzing, reading, organizing, proofreading, researching.

If you’re the friend that always corrects everyone else, maybe this path is for you.

None of these professions are straightforward. If you decide you want to teach, you could become a high school English teacher or teach English as a second language in a foreign country – two very different experiences. So if you find that your interests and skills fit in with one of these, I’ll leave it up to you to do your research. Otherwise, I hope you are one more step closer to a career full of opportunity, hard work, and big dreams!

Below are a few helpful websites:
Dear English Major blog
Standford University
Top Universities.com

3 Tips to Start Managing Your TBR List

We all know, as book lovers, that a To Be Read (TBR) list is something that never seems to go away. The list only seems to grow because we buy more books, but have less time to read them. However, my resolution for 2017 is to start managing my TBR list more effectively. I’ve come up with some tips to help you, and me, to accomplish this!

via GIPHY

  1. Get Organized!

First thing to do to get started on all those unread books is to get them organized. I have a bad habit of just putting books wherever they will fit because I own so many, which is clearly not productive to accomplishing any reading. Instead of having to search for those books all over your shelves, make an actual TBR list or put all your TBR books in one place. (You can even organize by genre or year of publication.) Alyssa, our Director of Public Relations, suggests putting all your TBR titles in a jar and then drawing one at random to add a little spontaneity. But no matter how you organize your TBR books, having all of your titles in one place that is easy to access is the first step to tackling your list.

  1. Make Time to Read!

As a college student, I understand that making time to read isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Scheduling time to read is a surefire way to start making an impact on that TBR list. One way I make time to read is by rewarding myself. This is how I justify taking thirty minutes away from college or work. If I’ve worked hard all day, I feel like taking a little time for myself to read and unwind is well deserved. Not only am I stepping away from the stress of reality, but I am working on a personal goal.

Printable poster can be found at etsy shop EtOfficina.
  1. Join a Book Club

For me, joining a book club has made it much easier to tackle my list. Not only do I have an organized list of books that we are planning to read, but I have people to discuss these books with. Having people reading the same books as me not only makes my reading more productive, but also challenges me to keep up with the reading and not slack on our reading schedule. So join an already existing book club or create one with your friends! Reading one book every two to three weeks, depending on length, has made managing my TBR a possibility.

There’s three tips to get you started on your TBR list. If you have any tips of your own that we haven’t mentioned, please feel free to share in the comments below! Happy reading!

via GIPHY

5 Booktubers to Get You Started

It’s no secret that I can waste plenty of time on YouTube. It’s a black hole. I start off with a “just for a few minutes” mindset, checking what some of my favorite Youtubers may have uploaded, and then five hours later, I’m learning how to do Yoda costume makeup for absolutely no reason.

YouTube is a community of communities where there is something for everyone: makeup lovers, gamers, musicians, belly dancers in training, you name it. Book lovers are not excluded, as they shouldn’t be.

BookTube is a glorious place where readers can unite for our common love: books! You just have to know where to look. If you aren’t familiar with it, here are a few booktubers that you can start off with. If you are, maybe we’ve mentioned one of your favorites.

1. Ariel Bissett

Quirky, charming, entertaining, Ariel is a personal favorite. Her channel is one full of book reviews, poetry, writing tips, and creativity. She’s delightful to watch and just plain adorable, and between you and me, she is living the dream life. Who doesn’t want to live in London?

Here’s one of my personal favorite videos:

2. WellDoneBooks (Max)

If you’re looking for more literary, analytical reviews of your favorite books, or of a book you’re hoping to make a favorite, Max is the booktuber for you. His channel is loaded with book reviews from memoirs like Heart of  Glass by Wendy Lawless to fun novels like The Girls by Emily Kline. He gives insightful opinions so that you never have to wonder, “Is this the book for me?”

Check out his most recent video:

3. polandbananasBOOKS (Christine Riccio)

Christine is certainly one of the more energetic booktubers out there and is perhaps my favorite on this list. Her videos are fun and highly engaging. And with her upbeat, all over the place attitude, it’s hard to get bored when watching her videos. She does “booktalks,” often with popular authors, book hauls, and reviews of TV shows and movies.

Get to know her here:

4. PadfootndProngs07 (Raeleen Lemay) 

Raleen is a wonderful choice in BookTube entertainment, especially if you are like this blogger and have a passion for YA fiction. She has read and mentioned perhaps every possible book that YA readers could love and put on their TBR lists. As a bonus, she does a monthly unboxing of Owlcrates, YA book and swag subscription boxes.

Here’s a book tag!

And last, but not least:

5. jessethereader (Jesse)

Jesse is a joy to watch and keeps things interesting. He’s energetic and genuine and truly loves his books. He keeps his book reviews entertaining and produces lots of fun content, including plenty of challenge videos. And I am very jealous of his library.

Another fun book tag to check out:

Of course, there are plenty of other wonderful booktubers that didn’t make it to this list, but we all have to start somewhere. There is a whole book-loving world to be discovered and it’s waiting for you. But if you are already a BookTube aficionado and we haven’t mentioned one of your faves, feel free to share in the comments below! Have a great day, everyone, and go explore BookTube!

Short review of the Ethnic American Literature course at UCO in Edmond, Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma has recently hired Dr. Iliana Rocha, whose debut book, Karankawa, won the 2014 Donald Hall Prize in poetry. Along with her Creating the Poem class of her inaugural year, she also taught Ethnic American Literature. It may be safe to say to the reader that Oklahoma has a strong cultural vibrancy strongly linked to Indigenous People, and we certainly must not forget the struggle of our African-American brothers and sisters who suffered one of the most violent race riots in Tulsa, and of course all other peoples facing oppression in these confusing times.

Past events, not only in Oklahoma, but throughout the nation have and will forever be a solidified presence (as it should) in literature. Having said that, the syllabus for Dr. Rocha’s Ethnic American Literature course in Fall 2016 took me on a roller coaster of emotions and offered a new lens and perception into reality of America I had subconsciously put on the backburner, as a white male–while coping with my own struggle transitioning from soldier to student. To read poetry and feel its struggle to be a voice from the lens of war in its purity. Below is the reading list of the course, which if you love literature and rollercoastered emotions, then you should pick these up!

Translating Mo’um by Cathy Park Hong

Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua

Please by Jericho Brown

Look by Solmaz Sharif

She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo

Hum by Jamaal May

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia (this was our novel we covered)

Dinosaurs in the Hood by Danez Smith

We also read several short stories, flash fiction, and studied some spoken word poetry. I am very fortunate to have taken this course; otherwise, I may not have read the war poetry of Solmaz Sharif, or the multiple narrators found in Jericho Brown’s Please. This thought has now opened not only my understanding to an oppressed group in a clearer way, but it has shaped my own writing and my hopes of being a voice for the voiceless.

With love and hope,

JB Barnett

Good Day!

New Plains Review started thirty years ago with a general purpose of helping students at UCO help get published, but soon realized a prestigious journal resists limitations. With the invention of the internet, literature took an abrupt shift and simultaneous submissions took a steep hike. New Plains has understood the importance on keeping with the times while maintaining the prestige in being a worldwide literary journal, and are in our first times of reaching out for submissions beyond poetry, prose, and visual art to include music, spoken word poetry, and short films.
This progress was sparked by a former editor, Joshua “Grizzly” Shepard, who first suggested we use Submittable, which would make our reading and suggestion process easier, allowing time to be put elsewhere in other projects going on. The practicum class, Publishing & Editing, at the University of Central Oklahoma allows for this type of holistic environment to allow student editors the chance to have these brainstorming sessions and suggestions; and our Executive Editor, Shay Rahm, leads the charge.
We hope to only see further progress, which propels New Plains Review into the realm of publishers like The New Yorker, and look forward to experiencing this journey.

Best,

Here’s a cat picture found on Google for your viewing pleasure

JB Barnett