{Story Diary} The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Jul 19, 2018

the secret history donna tartt dark academiaThe Secret History by Donna Tartt
Literary Fiction, Mystery, Social Issues, 1980s
July 1, 1993 from Penguin Books

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt's cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement - both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful. 

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.

"Forgive me, for all the things I did but mostly for things that I did not."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History

New England, US 

[Image Source]
Set in college somewhere in New England in the 1980s.
aka the characters
  • Richard Papen
  • Henry Winter
  • Camilla Macaulay
  • Francis Abernathy
  • Charles Macaulay
  • Edmund "Bunny" Corcoran
  • unreliable narrator (also morbid)
  • morally gray characters
  • accidental murder
  • murder mystery sans the whodunit aspect
  • classical mythology influence
  • politically incorrect
  • fatal flaw
  • the five-man band archetype
  • set in the 1980s New England
There's a ton of classics mentioned in this literary novel.

  • Untimely Meditations by Friedrich Nietzsche, Epigraph
  • Republic, Book II by Plato, Epigraph
  • Tom Swift by Victor Appleton
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
  • The New Testament
  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  • Oresteia by Aeschylus
  • Inferno by Dante
  • Poetics by Aristotle
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Bacchae by Euripides
  • Parmenides by Plato
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Rover Boys by Edward Stratemeyer
  • Journey from Chester to London by Thomas Pennant
  • The Club History of London
  • The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert
  • Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
  • Marino Faliero by Lord Byron
  • The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  • Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Mémoires by Duc de Saint-Simon
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Othello by Shakespeare
  • The World Book Encyclopedia
  • Men of Thought and Deed by E. Tipton Chatsford
  • Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  • Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by J. M. Barrie
  • The Divine Comedy by Dante
  • The Upanishads
  • Perry Mason Novels by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • With Rue my Heart is Laden by A.E. Housman
  • Lycidas by John Milton
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
  • Corpus of Mycenaean Inscriptions from Knossos
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Malcontent by John Marston
  • The White Devil by John Webster
  • The Broken Heart by John Ford, epilogue epigraph
  • Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
  • The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

"There are such things as ghosts. People somewhere have always known that. And we believe in them every bit as much as Homer did. Only now, we call them by different names. Memory. The unconscious."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
"Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
"It is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend, which have been translated into thirty languages. Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

The daughter of Don and Taylor Tartt, she was born in Greenwood, Mississippi but raised 32 miles away in Grenada, Mississippi. At age five, she wrote her first poem, and she first saw publication in a Mississippi literary review at age 13.

Enrolling in the University of Mississippi in 1981, she pledged to the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted Tartt into his graduate short story course where, stated Hannah, she ranked higher than the graduate students. Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem. At Bennington she studied classics with Claude Fredericks.

She divides her time between Virginia and New York City.

{Story Diary} The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Jul 13, 2018

the foxhole court nora sakavicThe Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
Contemporary, Older YA/College Sports
January 15, 2013 from Smashwords Edition

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.



the foxhole court exy

Exy is a huge thing in this trilogy, as it is the center and connection in all of the characters lives, so I'll give you the lowdown on the sport.

[Image Source]
Exy is a sport played on a soccer-sized court that has walls and ceilings made of Plexiglas. It is "an evolved sort of lacrosse with the violence of ice hockey." A team consists of six players, each of which has a racquet with varyind depths of netting. To score, the players must shoot the ball at the goal, a rectangle marked on the shorter wall. The goal will light up in red if it has been hit. The objective of the game is to out-score one's opponents.

Six players per team are allowed on the court at a time. Generally speaking, this allows for two strikers, a dealer, two backliners, and the goalkeeper. The goalkeepers is an optional position, however, a manager may sacrifice the goal for an extra player under certain circumstances. The minimum size for an NCAA team is nine players. In theory, this allows for six on-court players and a sub for each position save goalkeeper.

[Read the authors full explanation of Exy on her website here!]


There are four positions:

  • Striker: The striker is offense and plays to score. They start the game on the half-court line. Strikers on the serving team start on the inside; strikers for the defending team are on the outside.

  • Offensive Dealer: The dealer serves and is the thereafter the middleman; dealers have the option to specialize as offense or defense and can play as an extra striker or backliner depending on how the game is going. Dealers start on the first/far-court lines.

  • Backliner: The backliner is defense and protects the goal. Backliners start on the first/far-court lines.

  • Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper guards the goal.

The equipment's needed are:

  • Racquet

  • Ball

  • Helmet

  • Armor


AKA my fox children: the Exy team of Palmetto State University.

In their first year, Palmetto State refused to sign any female players Coach Wymack asked for. After their disastrous first season, he was allowed to sign the three women and made Danielle captain - the first female team captain in NCAA Class I Exy. GO LADIES!!!

  • Coach Wymack

  • Neil Josten

  • Andrew Minyard

  • Kevin Day

  • Danielle Wilds

  • Renee Walker

  • Aaron Minyard

  • Allison Reynolds

  • Matt Boyd

  • Nicky Hemmick

  • Seth Gordon


"It sounded like a dream; it tasted like damnation."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he thought perhaps he liked it."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"Neil couldn't remember what it felt like to have someone hold him up. It was terrifying and liberating all at once. His life was out of his control now; he was giving it to Andrew and hoping Andrew would keep it safe."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"It’s not the world that’s cruel. It’s the people in it."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


Sagittarius & barista. Army brat & Japanophile. Sex-repulsed aro-ace. Love-hate relationship with writing; love-love relationship with alcohol. You gotta work for your happy ending around here.

june 2018 | a look back

Jul 1, 2018


  • i went to an advanced screening of THE HATE U GIVE and that's all i can legally say. but go watch it on opening weekend in october! fans of the book will not be disappointed.
  • voted in the california primary election!! 
  • speaking of election, roomies and i volunteered in door-to-door canvassing in the sacramento area and phone banked california voters with fellow volunteers, organized by the amazing aclu of norcal team
  • started our family fro-yo tradition we do every summer
  • we did some late spring cleaning but let's just call it summer cleaning
  • attended the aclu of norcal's webinar campaign to help pass ab 931 and sb 1421
  • text-banked for caleb frostman (sd-1) and anne groves lloyd (ad-42) with flippable.org to #gotv in wisconsin
  • judge aaron persky got recalled! karma is fucking sweet. thank you to the voters in santa clara county.
  • attended the local indivisible general meeting organized by the indivisible guide team, where we discussed 
  • marched in the families belong together march at the state capitol. the turn out and compassion and drive from everyone who participated was incredibly heartwarming. definitely restored a bit of faith in humanity.
  • kid lit says no kids in cages raised $195,000+ for the migrant kids! the authors/publishing peeps who organized it and those who shared and donated are amazing.
  • roomies and i marched at the local families belong together rally at u.s. citizenship immigration here in downtown sacramento, and also attended to support the immigrants in ca vs. (jeff) sessions court hearing via aclu of norcal


  • we hit 100 degrees pretty early this month, the first three-digit weather this year. i know i said i'm ready for summer but i will never be ready for the 100+ degree heat.
  • speaking of summer, my skin hasn't been handling this heat very well (as it never does around this time of year). my face has been more dry than it usually is and parts of it burns. wasn't as bad as the flare up around this time last year but it was still painful. aloe vera gel and vasaline saved my skin, thank God.
  • killed a big spider i saw in my room at my parents house and right after i killed it, on the other side of my room there was a huge cockroach. my mom and i screamed...loud. but we killed it. cleaned out my closet and room after that. it reminded me of when i used to live in san jose, but they never that huge. my skin still crawls just thinking about it.
  • some of the california and local election results were disappointing. we're definitely going to have to vote better in the general midterm elections this november.
  • grandma went back to philippines. only for two months and she's coming back in august.
  • the "zero tolerance policy" and locking up both illegal and legal migrant children in cages and separating them from their mother. this is eerily reminiscent of the japanese internment camps. the photos and audios of those poor children is absolutely heart-breaking. 

what i read

fresh ink: an anthology by lamar giles

what i listened to

calypso // luis fonsi x stefflon don
girls like you // maroon 5 x cardi b
never been in love // will jay
summer games // drake
f.f.f. // bebe rexha x g-eazy
give yourself a try // the 1975
beautiful // bazzi
wish i never met you // loote

[more in my summer playlist post coming soon]


none. i was supposed to go to seattle with my grandma to see my cousins but she had to go back to philippines, so the trip will be postponed until she comes back.

inspiration/motivation this month

maxine waters. she is badass.

everyone who called their reps, marched to end family separation, and donated to orgs/funds that provides for migrant children.

looking forward to in july

  • my baby sister turns 4 on the 22nd! (i can't call her baby sister anymore)
  • road trip with friends
  • california adventure with the family for my little sisters birthday.
  • my friend from alaska is coming down for a visit and i'm hoping on taking her on some california adventures since we couldn't the last time she was here
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