Salutations, Gentle Readers!
For this first post, I’ll reiterate some of the information that’s up there in the “about” tabs — mostly because it just feels a bit daft not to have an introduction of some kind.
My name is Cass, and I’m a Virginia native who recently completed her Master of Letters at Mary Baldwin College. I earned my undergraduate degree, a BA in English with a minor in history, from the College of William and Mary in 2007. I love theatre and have been, at times, a dabbling actress and director, and I served on the boards of student theatrical production companies at both Mary Baldwin and William & Mary. I now work as Academic Resources Manager at the American Shakespeare Center, composing study guides, workshops, web content, and other ephemera related to teaching Shakespeare to students of all ages. It’s the best job I could imagine having, and I feel so lucky to have gotten it straight out of grad school. I get to work with the most fun, amazing people every day, and I spend most of my time playing around with Shakespearean verse. In addition to working at the ASC, I’m a freelance writer of prose fiction and historical nonfiction.
Why does this blog exist? Well, after ages of spouting off my book-musings to my friends, family, coworkers, and cats, I’ve finally decided to pen these thoughts for a wider audience. I’m a big fan of genre fiction, and I’d like to take a bit of a stand against the marginalization of all those magnificent works which can’t be neatly slotted into “literary fiction” — a term which clearly has meaning for publishers and booksellers, but which rather eludes This Author’s understanding. On this blog, you’ll find reviews of historical fiction, romance novels, science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, suspense thrillers, and even the occasional non-fiction title. My reviews will be both technical and personal, evaluating the merit of the words along with my own emotional reaction to it — and so you may occasionally get personal reflections or bits of my history thrown into the mix. The way I figure, anyone can review a book, and there are thousands of places someone could go to read a straight narrative of what happens and whether it’s well-done or not, but an individual touch adds a little something extra.
I’m going to begin by posting some reviews that I’ve recently put up over on Goodreads, just from the past few months, and then — Well, we’ll get more as I read them!
Why an incurable bluestocking? Well, quite simply, because I am, and proud of it. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been the girl with her nose in a book, never happier than when lost in an imagined world. Bluestocking ladies were those, during the 18th and 19th centuries, who earned a reputation for literacy. Though some observers would use the term in a derogatory fashion, deriding the bluestockings as hopeless causes, without any fashion sense or cultural grace, these women were, in fact, often leaders of society. Their salons and parlours were the scene of sparkling conversation and dazzling wit. They were well-read and well-informed, versed in history and mythology, able to hold conversation on any number of fascinating subjects. So when, one evening, as I realised I’d passed up the opportunity to go to a bar in favour of staying home with a good book, I called myself an incurable bluestocking — and, as one friend pointed out, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t. I’ll wear the badge of the bluestockings with as much pride as my predecessors.