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Literary Cosplay

After 10 years of living in Boston, I finally went to my first Anime Boston.  Anime Boston is an annual convention that celebrates and promotes Japanese animation, comics and pop-culture. I don’t keep up with anime as much as I used to but part of the appeal of an event like this is just immersing yourself in the culture. And one of my favorite parts of this culture is cosplay. Cosplay is a type of performance art in which participants dress up as a character often from video games, anime, or comics. Many cosplayers create their elaborate costumes by hand – sewing, gluing, molding and piecing together ideas that existed only in an imaginary or virtual world. The art of cosplay has grown over the years and has created celebrity cosplayers and even a reality show! And as we all know, once you have a reality show, you’ve really made it in this world.

Cosplay isn’t just limited to anime and comics. Some of my favorite literary characters have been brought to life by cosplayers. As I read, I form images in my mind as to what the characters and the setting look like. It’s one thing to see it in my head, but to see it brought into the real world is truly incredible.


Mistborn cosplay by Ellen Hyde of Hyde Designs

Mistborn – I love the Mistborn series written by Brandon Sanderson. He is a master at creating rich and detailed worlds. In this series, Allomancers are people who are born with the ability to “burn” metals which give them special abilities such as increased strength, speed or the ability to influence the emotions of others. While Allomancers can only burn one kind of metal, giving them access to only one special ability, Mistborn can burn all metals which makes them especially powerful. To distinguish themselves from regular Allomancers, Mistborn wear special cloaks that enable them to blend in with the night mists. See more of Ellen Hyde’s work at her website, Hyde Designs.

A Surprise Pride and Prejudice Engagement

A Surprise Pride and Prejudice Engagement

Pride and Prejudice – This Jane Austen cosplay is just beyond words. A family planned an elaborate Pride and Prejudice surprise engagement in which they put on hand sewn Regency dresses and acted out various scenes from the novel ending, of course, with Mr. Darcy proposing to Elizabeth Bennett. It also helps to have family members who look as if they’ve stepped out of a BBC period drama.

Moaning Myrtle at Dragon Con 2013

Harry Potter – With the end of the books and movies, some of us may be experiencing a little Harry Potter withdrawal.  Thankfully, there are other ways to revisit Hogwarts. While it may seem pretty easy to cosplay as a Hogwarts student (Sweater, white collared shirt, tie, done.), these people definitely took it to another level. By the way, there’s an entire convention dedicated to Harry Potter!

Marauder’s Map dress by Ali

Marauder’s Map dress by Ali.

The map on this dress was hand drawn using a fine point Sharpie! See more details on Ali’s Tumblr.

Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw by Aleta Pardalis

Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw by Aleta Pardalis

Aleta Pardalis is a genius at creating steampunk interpretations of well known characters. See more of her work on her website!

Who would you like to cosplay as? Are you a cosplayer? If you are, we would love to see your creations! Share links in the comments!

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Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month! In honor of this 28th anniversary of the event, we have installed a display and browsing shelf that highlights the library collection. The display illustrates the progress that women have made throughout history and across the globe. The books on the browsing shelf showcase different women and women’s issues from various eras and regions. There are books on women in the arts, women in education, women social workers, and women writers. Some of the books include biographies about famous local women such as Mary Baker Eddy and Jane Addams.

Pictured: Lucy Wheelock and grade school children Photo Credit: Wheelock Archives

Women have had a major impact on history. We invite you to explore and enjoy the plethora of books we have selected for you in honor of Women’s History Month.

If you want to know more, visit the following websites for more information about WHM.

Resources for Education


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Style by the Book – Paddington Bear

A while back, our food blogger, Cortney, did a post on Paddington Bear’s favorite… marmalade! At the time she decided to forgo creating a Style by the Book post but I couldn’t resist taking on Paddington’s iconic toggle coat. I added in plenty of marmalade as well! I think Paddington would approve.

Paddington Bear
Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!
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Love Letters

Dear Readers of the Wheelock College Library Blog,

Have you ever written a love letter . . . be it a note passed before gym class, a hand-written card picked just for that special someone, or a double-spaced, proofread, edited piece of perfection that expresses your thoughts just so?  I believe in the power of mail, particularly the variety on which you put a stamp, but electronic can be equally meaningful.  The entries I write here on this blog are my love letters to books; if someone picks up a book I recommended and feels something, my letter would have done its job.

Here listed for you are a few of my favorite epistolary novels, unscientifically chosen and in no particular order.


Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis:  Evil is real and its employees are legion.  Wormwood, a younger demon recently under such employ of Lucifer, receives advice from elder demon Screwtape about how to best torment Wormwood’s assigned human.  Lewis appeals to readers regardless of their beliefs; the idea of temptation, fall, and redemption are explored on a very human level.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker:  Letters also reveal the nature of good and evil in Alice Walker’s classic, though the tormenters in this novel are very much human.  Protagonist Celie writes first to God and then to her sister, about pain, sorrow, joy and hard-won triumph. Also available as an e-book!

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira:  This contemporary young adult novel begins with a school assignment: write a letter to a dead person.  Laurel picks Kurt Cobain because her late sister May loved him.  Laurel, inspired by the assignment, keeps writing letters to other famous people gone too soon.  Through Laurel’s letters, the reader moves with her from grief to the truth of her experience.

Why we Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman:  This book is written in letters, but it is really a book about a box.  Min collected all of the items that defined the moments of her relationship with Ed.  He dumps her, and so she dumps the box, along with her thoughts about its contents, on Ed’s porch.  Though heartbreak is fresh, there is a post script that suggest the hope of a new love.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary:  Also a book about a school assignment, Leigh Botts writes to his favorite author over the course of several years, later keeping a diary of his thoughts rather than sending them.  In writing to Mr. Henshaw (both real and imagined), Leigh comes to terms with his parents’ divorce, a school lunch thief, and his own emerging desire to be a writer.  Leigh’s voice is pitch- perfect for a little boy, but appeals to anyone who has been forced to write to someone else, only to find him or herself.


These five books are my favorite epistolary stories because they demonstrate how personal storytelling affects not just the reader, but the writer as well.  Letters start in one place and end in another; a good story takes the reader along for the ride.  These stories show love, lost love, despair, hope.  So often the movement from one to the other is not linear, rather the good and the bad are jumbled up together.  Clean lines are erased and roughly drawn, not unlike the pencil and eraser markings of a note from a friend.



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Failure in Fiction: Take Heart, Readers

In my last blog entry, I noted that I would be attempting NaNoWriMo; that is, I would try to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  Succinctly put: I failed.  Utterly.  Miserably.  Horribly.  Failed.

Week one went well.  I wrote 10,000 words.  I don’t think that there was much plot, character development, or any setting of which to speak within the 10,000.  But oh there were words.  When week two rolled in, however, my little boy got sick.  Then I got what he had.  Then his sister got it.  And the thought of sitting down to write became so daunting I began actively avoiding nouns, verbs, a few adjectives, and most adverbs.  By week three I was so far in the hole that I wore my shame like a warm hug.  And week four?  Why do they even have National Novel Writing Month in November anyway?  It’s barren, freezing, dark, cold and flu season, and the gateway into winter holiday preparation!  Why would I have even wanted to finish?

The grapes of NaNoWriMo are very sour.

Nonetheless, I have 10,000 more words than I had at the beginning of November.  That’s something, as the good people of NaNoWriMo are quick to point out.  It is better to have written a few words than not to have written at all.  And for those like me who don’t always reach the goal on the first try, I give you a bibliography for reflection.  The books listed below demonstrate that if at first you don’t succeed (or even on the second, third, fourth, or fifth try), you still might be okay.


1.    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

2.    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Lloso

3.    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier ( J C815c)

4.    Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (J Sp4s)

5.    Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

6.    Taking Off by Jenny Moss

7.    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

8.    Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

9.    Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

10.  I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak


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