The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #93


The 12-in-12 Meditation Method Leaves You Feeling Calmer in Minutes | Glamour
Want to know the secret to feeling calmer and more focused-fast? Enter the 12-in-12 meditation method, a contender for the biggest wellness trend for 2024.
Mindfulness vs Meditation: What’s the Difference? | Very Well
Mindfulness and meditation overlap. What’s the difference between them?
Mindfulness vs Meditation: How Both Can Benefit You | BetterUp
Curious about the differences of mindfulness vs meditation? Learn their differences as well as similarities, and how to practice both to help your well-being.


Is Chronic Migraine Affecting Your Mental Health? | Healthline
You can answer these questions to determine whether it may be advisable to talk with your doctor about migraine’s effect on your mental well-being.
What Causes Chronic Migraine? Triggers and More | Healthline
The causes of migraine, whether it’s episodic or chronic, aren’t well understood. Here, learn about triggers, treatments, and more.
Relief from Chronic Migraine: Medications and Other Treatments | Healthline
Chronic migraine is defined as a migraine headache that occurs 15 or more days a month, for at least three months. Episodes often last four hours or more. Finding relief from chronic migraine symptoms can be difficult. Explore multiple treatment options here.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

How to Heal from Childhood Trauma: 3 Steps to Start Coping | BetterUp
Physical or sexual abuse This kind of trauma can cause not only physical damage to the child but also psychological damage that can last for years after it happened. Physical abuse includes any kind of physical violence against a child. It’s sometimes masked as a “discipline measure” by many adults.
9 Tips to Help Free Yourself From Childhood Trauma | Psychology Today
Creating a coherent narrative to heal from trauma.
What is Trans-generational Trauma, and How Does it Affect Our Families? | BetterUp
Transgenerational trauma happens when the trauma of a tragic event is passed through generations. Learn how it happens, symptoms, and treatment options.

Mental Health

8 Daily Habits for Improved Mental Health | Healthline
Making a few small adjustments to your regular habits can go a long way toward improving your mental health. Get started with these 8 strategies.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health: 10 Tactics to Try Today | BetterUp
It’s hard to take good care of your mental health. Try these 10 tips to proactively care for your mental health – and strengthen your mental fitness.
5 Tips for Improving Your Mental Health | Sharp HealthCare
As we usher in the new year, don’t forget your mental health when setting wellness goals.


Classic books to read at least once in your lifetime | PanMacMillan
From the gothic horror of Frankenstein to the social satire of Pride and Prejudice, here is our edit of the best classic books to read before you die.
Long Classics Actually Worth Your Time | Booklist Queen
Long classics don’t have to be overwhelming or dull. Find out which long classics are worth your time and which to avoid!
Best Book Club Books: 10 Page-Turners from Romances to Thrillers and Historical Fiction | Woman’s World
These reads deliver unputdownable stories that are just perfect for your next book club get-together! From romance to historicals to thrillers and more from, @FionaDavisAuthor, @carleyfortune, @kileyreid, @mattzhaig, @juliewriteswords, @AlexMichaelidesOfficial,…

Cooking and Baking

20 Cozy Winter Comfort Food Recipes | All Recipes
These warm and cozy soups, stews, and casseroles are perfect for chilly weather. Get the recipes here.
15 Veggie-Packed Lunches That Are Ready in 15 Minutes | Eating Well
Get your midday greens in at lunchtime and make one of these hearty grain bowls, refreshing salads or fresh wraps, each packed with flavorful veggies.
The Easiest Loaf of Bread You’ll Ever Bake | King Arthur Baking (formerly King Arthur Flour)
Recipes Bread Crusty bread With just five everyday ingredients, simple instructions, and no advanced baking techniques, this recipe for European-style crusty bread is a great introduction to yeast baking. It truly is “the easiest loaf of bread you’ll ever bake” – thanks in large part to the…
World’s Easiest Yeast Bread recipe – Artisan, NO KNEAD crusty bread | Recipe Tin Eats
This is the most incredible Easy Bread Recipe in the whole world. A simple yeast bread with phenomenal results – no knead, no stand mixer, ready in 2 hours.

The Alexandria Papers Newsletter on Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts by email and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. I’m committed to keeping the Newsletter free, but your contributions help with the research of the weekly articles.

My Books

In the Thin Places  (a poem)
Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even shorter. ~ Eric Weiner, “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer”
for Max or Alex or, maybe, James

Last night I dreamt of you, after all these
years, and you were lying in my arms, in

the middle of the day, the sunlight showing
the first strands of silver in your hair, and

your eyes blue, so blue, heart-poundingly
blue, like something out of a romance novel

only better because, at last, you were mine…

(read more)


The Kommandant’s Mistress, (a novel)

Part One: The Kommandant, Chapter One

“Then I saw her. There she stood, in the village store, her hair in a long braid down the center of her back, her skin white in the sunlight, and my hand went to my hip, seeking the weight of my gun. As the girl spoke, I stumbled back against one of the shelves, my fingers tightening at the leather around my waist. While the shopkeeper arranged the food in the bag, the morning sun glinted on the storefront windows, illuminating the girl. The wooden shelves pressed into my shoulders and back. Sweat dampened my forehead and ribs. Another shopper spoke, frowned, pushed aside my arm to reach a jar on the shelf behind me, but I didn’t move. My hand slid down over my hip and leg. No, I’d forgotten that I no longer wore my gun…”


The rumors spread by the Camp’s inmates, other Nazi officers, and the Kommandant’s own family insist that she was his “mistress,” but was she, voluntarily? Told from three different perspectives – that of the formerly idealistic Kommandant, the young Jewish inmate who captivates him, and the ostensibly objective historical biographies of the protagonists – this novel examines one troubling moral question over and over: if your staying alive was the only “good” during the War, if your survival was your sole purpose in this horrific world of the Concentration Camps — whether you were Nazi or Jewish — what, exactly, would you do to survive?  Would you lie, cheat, steal, kill, submit?

Flashing back and forth through the narrators’ memories as they recall their time before, during, and after the War, and leading, inevitably, to their ultimate, shocking confrontation, “Szeman’s uncompromising realism and superb use of stream-of-consciousness technique make [this novel] a chilling study of evil, erotic obsession, and the will to survive” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

New York Times Book Review “Notable Book” and one of its “Top 100 Books of the Year,”  Winner of the University of Rochester’s Kafka Prize for “the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman,” the tales told by the Kommandant, his “mistress,” and their “biographer” will mesmerize and stun you, leaving you wondering, at the conclusion, which, if any, is telling the complete truth about what happened between them.


• New York Times Book Review “Notable Book”
and “Top 100 Books of Year”
• University of Rochester Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
“the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman”
• Publishers Weekly (* review) “Outstanding Merit”
• Talmadge McKinney Award “Excellence in Research”

(originally published by HarperCollins / HarperPerennial NY)

As powerfully written, darkly humorous, surprising, and accessible as Szeman’s short stories, these poems let you glimpse into the hearts, lives, and minds of ordinary people — whether they be mythological, biblical, literary, or contemporary — as they struggle to make sense of relationships, family, marriage, divorce, children, spirituality, faith, and the existence of God. As they struggle to comprehend the very things each of us experiences every day.

All of the poems in the collection have been previously published in literary and university journals; several were part of her dissertation, Survivor: One Who Survives, winner of the Elliston Poetry Prize and the Isabel & Mary Neff Creative Writing Fellowship. Along with her Holocaust poetry collection, Where Lightning Strikes, this collection, Love in the Time of Dinosaurs, was unanimously accepted for publication by all outside readers of UKA (United Kingdom Authors) Press.


• Grand Prize Winner, Elliston Poetry Prize
• Isabel & Mary Neff Creative Writing Fellowship
• First Place, Elliston Poetry Prize
• Second Place, Elliston Poetry Prize
• Centennial Review Prize for Poetry
• Honorable Mention, Non-Rhyming Poetry,
Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Contest

My Other Books

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