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As an avid secondhand–book buyer, I have certain rituals when I enter a bookstore. I always step into the horror section to see if I can catch a stray Stephen King; I walk through the classics looking for beautiful hardbacks and marbled pages; and, most importantly, I reminisce among the Young Adult shelves and see if I can spy the iconic black, white, and red–toned Twilight novels. If one part of my bookstore explorations is comfortingly predictable, it’s that I’ll find Stephenie Meyer’s infamous series—often, in its entirety. As of 2021, the saga had sold more than 160 million copies, and according to Publishers Weekly, Twilight was fifth on the list of top–selling books between 2004 and 2021 (just under Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!). If you entered a teen girl’s bedroom in the 2000s or 2010s, chances were you’d find at least one copy—and maybe even a poster or life–size cardboard cutout of a character or two.
"To collect photographs," wrote Susan Sontag in her book On Photography, "is to collect the world." Photography has always fascinated me, particularly in one specific context: when photos adorn book covers. While the saying goes "Don't judge a book by its cover," I can't resist an enticing visual. Hanya Yanagihara's 2015 novel, A Little Life's cover, achieved just that for me. The book delves into the lives of four college friends as they navigate the turbulent waters of success and suffering in New York City.
All great love stories seem start with fate: two people existing in the same room, two eyes meeting for a split of a second, fate dealing them lucky hands in a great cosmic card game.
Three tracks into Sufjan Stevens’ newest album, Javelin, he asks one of the most simple and honest questions that perhaps anybody can ask: “Will anybody ever love me? For good reasons, without grievance, not for sport?” He isn’t looking for forever, or for massive promises. He just wants someone to be able to “pledge allegiance to my burning heart.” The fittingly titled, “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?” may be one of the best songs of Stevens’ long and varied career.
There’s no way around it. You live in a world where Drake songs can be recorded without Drake, paintings are born from DALL–E prompts, and ChatGPT will write an apology text to your girlfriend.
Why should you care about King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard? With the recent release of The Silver Cord, the Australian psychedelic rock band has released 25 albums since they formed in 2010, which averages out to almost two albums per year for 13 years straight. In 2016, King Giz frontman Stu Mackenzie shattered the minds of fans and reviewers alike when he announced that the band would release five albums in just one year and then actually followed through on that promise in 2017.
My professor recently remarked that there’s only been one noticeable difference in the student body since he began teaching creative writing classes in the '70s. The only change? Students no longer gather around his seminar table, each clutching a pencil and paper copy of the last assignment. Today, they settle into their seats with laptops at the ready and water bottles within arm's reach. It’s unlikely you will sit down in a college class without your neighbor whipping out a water bottle only to place it on the table, take a sip, and leave it alone for the rest of class.
Every October, the best of world cinema visits the Bourse theater on a quiet street of old city and the Philadelphia Film Center beside Rittenhouse Square. The annual Philadelphia Film Festival celebrates cinematic splendor and brings together filmmakers and audience in conviviality. This year, our writer Aden Berger and I sat through multiple screenings at the festival like we have for the past few years, and selected what we believe to be under–the–rader gems from this year's extravagant lineup.
“I feel perfectly at ease with everything feminine,” Marie Laurencin wrote in her Le Carnet des Nuits. “When I was small I loved silk threads, and I stole pearls and spools of colored thread which I hid carefully and would look at when I was alone. I would have liked to have had many children to comb their hair and dress with ribbons.”
I walked into the Philadelphia Print Center in Rittenhouse Square to a welcoming crowd, off a small cobblestone street that made me feel like I had stumbled upon some small European gathering. When I went upstairs, I sat quietly as Alan Nakagawa chatted with the front row of the audience. I could tell he was grateful to be making connections, grounded in experiences, and anxious to talk about his career as an artist. This gratified excitement immediately helped me understand Nakagawa’s ability to find steady success in the ever–unpredictable art world.
Time in South Korea moves fast. As quickly as Gangnam Style skyrocketed past the one billion view mark on YouTube, the Korean economy rallied from the trenches of a post-war depression into its current status as a G20 country. The nation has transformed into the highly urbanized culture and tech factory that we know today.
Popular media has always been a means for discovering and understanding worldwide conflict. In fact, most of the world has arguably encountered every major global event of the past century through news, television, propaganda, photo, and film. News of the scandalous Iran–Contra Affair exploded in print and ricocheted through TV airways, Vietnam War photography made its way from newspaper to protest poster to Congress, and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were more defined by its infamous imagery than any before.
Philadelphia is widely known as a city of medical firsts. Over 250 years ago, America’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, was founded in Philadelphia. Nearly a decade and a half later, the University of Pennsylvania established America’s first school of medicine. 109 years after that, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania became America’s first teaching hospital.
As college students, we all depend on SEPTA. But can SEPTA workers depend on fair treatment? Recent union negotiations suggest otherwise.
Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty: A Friendship is a memoir about her friend and fellow writer, Lucy Grealy. Patchett’s piece is striking for many reasons, one being that people don’t really write about adult friendships. Some of the most popular genres include coming–of–age, romance, fantasy, etc.; All of these rely on friendships, but none center friendships. Even stories that seem to be about friendships at first (think Harry Potter) end in a romance.
It is no secret that controlling women’s bodies is one of the patriarchy’s biggest tools to undermine women: Women are taught to hate how they look and are pressured to change their bodies, ending up stuck in a vicious cycle of self–hate. For years, women have been hounded to minimize the space they take up in this world. After all, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
With over 3 billion views on TikTok, the term “bimbo”—formerly used to derogatorily describe an attractive but air–headed woman—has been recently reclaimed as a positive expression of unapologetic femininity among Gen Z. The idea of reclaiming the term has been in the discourse for a while, but the concept of a “bimbo feminism” exploded in popularity in 2022.
Content warning: The following text describes suicide and can be disturbing and/or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
Ariel Djanikian (C '04) discovered an unlikely alchemy in words.
Every day, dozens of residents file into a ministry on Kensington Avenue. Patrons are clustered around tables as waiters approach them, offering plates of food and pitchers of juice. The waiters know the guests and the guests know the waiters; they chat and exchange updates on the happenings of the week. St. Francis Inn, a long–standing establishment serving as a ministry, soup kitchen, and home has made it their mission to provide a safe haven for those in need.