Author

Joanna Poncavage

Joanna Poncavage has 8 articles published.

Joanna Poncavage has been a national magazine editor and newspaper journalist, writing hundreds of features for Organic Gardening (Rodale), Mother Earth News (Ogden Publications), and The Morning Call newspaper (Tronc). Author of several gardening books, she’s now a freelancer while writing a memoir, short stories and poetry, and tending large quantities of garlic on her Pennsylvania farm.

Nick Drnaso’s “Sabrina” Goes Where No Graphic Novel Has Ever Been

in homepage by

It’s the story of a young woman’s murder, and how the crime and its aftermath rock the fragile lives of those who knew her. Not necessarily an unusually rare storyline. Yet for Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina (Drawn and Quarterly), there is something totally unique: it takes its place as the first graphic novel (or comic, as its author calls it) ever been nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the leading literary award for works in English. Among a growing number of graphic novels with increasingly dark themes, Sabrina is now in the running for honors rivaling the 1992 Pulitzer Prize of Maus, the graphic novel about the Holocaust that depicted Nazis as cats and Jews as mice. Since Maus, noted others with serious…

Keep Reading

An Obama/Biden Caper You Could Not Have Imagined

in Pop Culture by

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (Quirk Books), a work of fiction, may bring tears to your eyes. Yes, it’s that good of a whodunit, with its plot tied up neatly with no loose ends. You may laugh until you cry because this book is that funny. But mostly, you may weep with joy for reuniting with a couple of old friends you’ve missed so much. Hope Never Dies’s leading characters actually were leaders of a different sort from 2009 to 2017: Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Now they’re together again in a rollicking, wise-cracking buddy caper. Just a few months after he’s left his vice presidential office, Joe Biden is trying his best to become suburban Joe, laying tile…

Keep Reading

4 Indie Bookstores Offer Their Top Suspense Reads

in Thrillers by

Sunscreen? Check. Swim suit? Check. Summer suspense? Grab some of these. There’s nothing like a good, gripping tale to help you unwind. We randomly polled four independent bookstores that specialize in murder and mayhem about new bestsellers in the suspense category. Surprisingly, there were no overlaps as each store named four titles selling well, in no particular order: Murder on the Beach Mystery Book Store, Delray Beach, Florida: Cheryl Kravetz, a bookseller at the Murder on the Beach Mystery Book Store, named the following four as her top sellers: 1.) The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (William Morrow). A woman returns to her home after a 10-month absence, too terrified to step outside. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear…

Keep Reading

Annihilation: Sci-Fi Thriller Starring Natalie Portman Has Scary Monsters, But Maybe Not the Kind You Expect

in Fiction by

With apologies to Natalie Portman, the star of Alex Garland’s upcoming Paramount movie, Annihilation, has to be the primal forces of nature itself. The film is an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s Nebula Award-winning book, Annihilation,  which is about a strange coastal locale known as Area X, enclosed by a guarded barrier and investigated by a vague government agency called The Southern Reach. The book opens as a biologist, a psychologist, an anthropologist and a surveyor enter this unknown, altered environment. Their expedition is not the first, but it’s the first made up of only women, for reasons that are never fully explained unless you count that the women were “chosen by a complex set of variables.” In the book, the…

Keep Reading

The Daughter Who Slipped Away: Thomas Jefferson, Race, Class and the Search for a President’s Lost Family

in Fiction by

After 40 years of research by historians that was supported with extensive DNA study, the stories that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with an enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, are now accepted as fact. Now to the family archives comes a new book, Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America by Catherine Kerrison, a professor of American history at Villanova University. “Their lives provide a unique vantage point by which to study the complicated American Revolution itself,” said Kerrison at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C., where she recently spoke about her book for Black History Month. Thomas Jefferson—Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence, and third president of the United States­­­­—had six children with his wife,…

Keep Reading

Eve Ensler of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ Turns Her Body Inside Out

in Non-Fiction by

Just when it seemed impossible that Eve Ensler had anything left to expose about her life, her art, her activism and her vagina, she proved us wrong by turning her body and soul inside out. Her book, In The Body of the World (2013, Metropolitan Books), chronicles her Stage 4 uterine cancer diagnosis and treatment, and makes surprising connections between her disease and the cancers of war, poverty and pollution that plague our planet. And now through March, Ensler performs her play, also titled “In the Body of the World,” at the Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City Center Stage 1. Reviews call the play, directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus, dazzling, gritty, unblinking and hopeful. (Ticket information is at…

Keep Reading

‘Laura Meets Jeffrey’: An X-Rated ‘Literary’ Love Story

in Non-Fiction by

James Wolcott in “Vanity Fair”: “Jeffrey Michelson’s reflections on fighting and fucking are like a bolt of bourbon, a careening chronicle of orgies, S&M, hanging and banging with the stars, and related calisthenics.” Anka Radakovich in “British GQ”: “Laura Meets Jeffrey” is a fascinating nonfiction “erotic memoir.” Jeffrey Michelson chronicles the wildest, most intense sexual scene in New York City’s history. This book is raunchy, dirty and disgusting. I couldn’t put it down.” Norman Mailer from his foreword: “Objective, funny, salacious, and perversely—dare I say it—uplifting!” For Valentine’s Day, I offer you “Laura Meets Jeffrey,” a hot, wild, real-life memoir. I do so, however, with a warning. Reviewers have called it “undeniably brilliant” and Norman Mailer called it “literature,” but this…

Keep Reading

It’s Alive!: ‘Black Mirror’ & TV’s New Golden Age of Science Fiction

in Fiction by

Think of science fiction as a mirror for our times. Just as television’s first “Twilight Zone” (1959-1964) reflected cold war fears and anxieties, “Black Mirror,” the more recent Netflix anthology series is very much of the moment. Plots range wildly, from a dating site with ulterior motives. Genetic engineering by a creepy Captain Kirk clone. An underclass on stationary bikes earning credits for food while they generate electricity. One episode, “San Junipero,” about two women who are more than best friends won two 2017 Primetime Emmys, and was nominated for a Hugo Award for best dramatic sci fi short. “Black Mirror” segments are very much about how we are changed by technology, says Lisa Yaszek, science fiction historian and critic.…

Keep Reading

Go to Top