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The Bookseller of Florence

The Florentine Renaissance is best known for its magnificent art and buildings, which include works by Michelangelo and da Vinci and structures like the Dome cathedral and the Basilica of San Lorenzo. But at the time, Florence flourished in other ways not as well known.

Hena Khan: Searching for Connection

Living through a pandemic, with movement restricted, we all yearn for places and people who are out of reach. This feeling has long been familiar to me. As a child of immigrants from Pakistan, I felt my parents' ache for their homeland, although they had settled happily into life in the U.S.

Hena Khan

Interior Design That Speaks a Tropical Language

Designing Paradise is not just about beautiful interiors, it’s about knowing ‘paradise’, feeling its spirit, and celebrating it. And, Juan Montoya’s interiors epitomizes all those elements. The Colombian-born designer speaks the language of tropical design, so poignantly displayed in Designing Paradise: Tropical Interiors by Juan Montoya.

How I Discovered Poetry

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that I read my very first poem five months ago, on October 3, 2020--a poem from Marosa di Giorgio's scalp-tingling collection about loss, I Remember Nightfall (Ugly Duckling Presse, $20). I recall a seventh-grade textbook that featured a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay and, later, because of the person I was dating, perhaps something by Sharon Olds. It wasn't until completing in one long go Proust's In Search of Lost Time and I asked, what could I possibly read next? that I realized what the gift of this bizarre life-long desire to resist poetry has left me with in middle age: wide-open reading country.

A Year of Reading Women

Even before the pandemic sent me indoors last year, I had made a commitment to read only books written by women. With suddenly more time to focus on the TBR (To Be Read) pile that was teetering on the coffee table, I launched in, removed half of the pile and focused in on some neglected classics.

Rhymes and Raps: Rethinking National Poetry Month

When you think of National Poetry Month, you probably think of folks like Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare. As a teacher, you probably think of having your scholars make acrostic poems or try their hand at the dreaded sonnet. But I believe poetry can be so much more than the "classics" we've taught year after year--especially as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month. With new influencers like Amanda Gorman and Rupi Kaur coming onto the scene in the last few years, the idea of what is poetry and who is considered a poet is evolving.

The Year of The Houseplant

I declare 2021 the year of the houseplant. There is a longing for the calming influence of greenery in my indoor spaces. A charming fiddle leaf fig tree for the living room, the whispery abundance of ferns overflowing in the study and a miniature lemon tree to cheer up the kitchen. Maybe even a tropical-leaved money tree, officially known as pachira aquatica, for the entrance hall, why not!

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