Elevate Difference

Reviews by Beverly Jenkins-Crockett


The doors have been flung wide open when it comes to the liberation of the modern day mother. Well, they are cracked considerably wider than they were thirty-five years ago at least. Gestating for ten years now, Sunshine, a film by Karen Skloss, eloquently portrays just how much our attitudes toward motherhood and family dynamics have changed over the past several decades. Skloss’s film is deeply personal yet not so focused on navel gazing that the viewer can’t glean some social commentary from it.

The Lacuna

A Barbara Kingsolver novel can often be defined in just one word: captivating. In her first work of fiction in nearly a decade, The Lacuna delivers (in true Kingsolver style) with intricate characters, potent settings, and a sturdy construction built on extensive research.

Healing Pandora: The Restoration of Hope and Abundance

The mythic Pandora has long been misunderstood as one who brought evil into the world. She was thought to be the first mortal woman created and sent to Earth by the gods. Her infamous box, once opened, leads to the escape of diseases and other ills, resulting in a lasting curse upon humankind. But this is not Pandora’s original story; in fact, the modern retelling of this myth is vastly different from Pandora’s true nature.

Changer Pendant

“She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes.” This quote by Starhawk accompanies the Changer Pendant by K Robins Designs and is an apt summary behind this sterling silver emblem’s meaning. The pendant figure sits serenely in a lotus-like pose with hands brought together over her heart. Her curves are fluid and rhythmic.

Know Better Learn Faster

“Messy” and “complicated” could very well be the two best words for defining romantic love. As suggested by the title of Thao with The Get Down Stay Down’s latest record, Know Better Learn Faster, the brokenhearted masses could easily avoid painful relationships if they were just plain smarter and quicker learners.

Chöd Practice in the Bön Tradition

In Chöd Practice in the Bön Tradition, author Alejandro Chaoul presents a scholarly overview of a form of meditative practice that is little known in the Western world.

It’s Never too Late to Be What You Might Have Been

The title of this book is drawn from an adage that is sometimes lost on the young. Youth is often painted as an open road with endless paths leading to infinite dreams. The challenge that we face as we get older is maintaining the attitude that life still holds an abundance of opportunities and that we are up to the task of conquering them.

Homemade Ship

Rose Melberg made a name for herself in the nineties as a singer and guitarist for bands like the Softies, Tiger Trap, and Go Sailor.


It’s a treasure to stumble upon new music that for one reason or another resonates deeply within you. I selected Crepusculo after learning that Petracovich singer Jessica Peters Malmberg had made the album while pregnant, and then tragically lost her son shortly after he was born.

The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman

The Blue Tattoo tells the story of Olive Oatman, a nineteenth century woman with an unusual life. In 1851, Oatman was violently abducted along with her younger sister by Yavapais after watching this group of Native Americans brutally slaughter the rest of her family.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin

It’s a sinful world out there, and Tori Amos wants to talk about a few sins not included in the Ten Commandments. Her tenth studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, tackles themes of oppression, shame, intolerance, and abuse of power.


One tell-tale sign of good music is that it has the ability to transport you somewhere physically, mentally or spiritually. Ascension by Phoenix Rising aims for and succeeds at the latter.

Miles from Nowhere

Present-day New York City is incomparable to its former seedy and dismal self. It was a city of survival up through the eighties, and as Nami Mun shows in her novel, Miles from Nowhere, people were either crushed by the city or driven to great lengths to make it through the day. The story follows the teenage Joon, the daughter of a Korean family who immigrated to New York.

The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers

As far as dream jobs go, being an organic flower farmer ranks right up there with travel writer, cake baker, and rock star. As Lynn Byczynski thoroughly explains in The Flower Farmer, growing organic flowers for profit is a completely reasonable and realistic career choice that anyone can accomplish. Byczynski, who has been growing flowers commercially for 20 years, takes the reader step-by-step through the beginner stages of flower farming.

Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival

Born in the Big Rains begins like a beautifully written work of fiction: “In the distance, a lion roared, deep and long, dismissing the night. The air smelled of smoke and freshly brewed tea, and on the horizon the day’s first light chalked the sky.” But the writing’s rich details and driving action belie that this is no tall tale, but the true story of an adolescent girl, named Fadumo Abdi Hersi Farah Husen, who was born to a nomadic family in Somalia.

Bees and the Birds

The Bee Team (formerly known as the Bees and the Birds) presents a sweet sample of songs on its EP Bees and the Birds. With melodies that seem to have been born somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, the songs with flit between folk, pop and rock. This Philadelphia band is self-described as a group that makes fun and honest music.

Night of Sorrows

If you only knew the basic plot of Frances Sherwood’s Night of Sorrows, you might think it was a novel set in the 21st century. It’s a story about an invasion done in the name of a higher good with an ulterior motive of wealth. And it’s hard to tell who the good guys are because both sides are nowhere close to being saints. But this isn’t a story about America’s invasion of Iraq, Middle East terrorism, oil or the altruistic spread of democracy.

Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

The Twilight Sad’s debut album, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, offers nine tracks filled with melancholic lyrics and music that is softly sweet at times, and quaking at others. The album reaches far, but it is not a stand-out. Although intense and gripping at times, many of the tracks fall slightly short of being great.

Self Storage

Flan Parker makes money off of other people’s lost stuff. With her husband passively working on his thesis and two children to support, Flan makes money off the contents of unpaid-for storage units that she bids on. Before selling her spoils, Flan vicariously lives through the contents of each box as a reprieve from her own routine life. Although there are worse mates out there, Flan feels somewhat alone in her marriage as her husband, Shae, atrophies on the couch “researching” his thesis. Tables turn, however, when an Afghani woman accidentally hits Flan’s youngest child with a car.