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Results 26 - 50 of 62,234
26. March issue of Words without Borders

       The March issue of Words without Borders is now up, featuring: 'On Memory: New Japanese Writing', as well as some pieces on 'Mexico Interrupted'.

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27. Norman Manea Q & A

       At Bomb Morten Høi Jensen has a Q & A with Norman Manea, whose early work, Captives, is finally available in English; see the New Directions publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com.
       I have a copy and should be getting to this; meanwhile, the only Manea title under review at the complete review is The Lair.

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28. The Faces of God review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mallock's thriller, The Faces of God -- part of his 'Chroniques barbares'-series (though US publisher Europa editions is going with the more anodyne 'A Mallock Mystery').

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29. Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome?

Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome? Whether the amotivational syndrome exists or not is still controversial; there are still too few poorly controlled small studies that don't allow a definitive answer. Most people who use marijuana don't develop this syndrome.

The post Does marijuana produce an amotivational syndrome? appeared first on OUPblog.

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30. Democracy is about more than a vote: politics and brand management

With a General Election rapidly approaching in the UK, it’s easy to get locked into a set of perennial debates concerning electoral registration, voter turnout and candidate selection. In the contemporary climate these are clearly important issues given the shift to individual voter registration, evidence of high levels of electoral disengagement and the general decline in party memberships (a trend bucked by UKIP, the Greens, and the Scottish National Party in recent months).

The post Democracy is about more than a vote: politics and brand management appeared first on OUPblog.

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31. Creating a constructive cultural narrative for science

The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH) is currently running a series of events on Humanities and Science. On 11 February 2015, an Oxford-based panel of three disciplinary experts — Sally Shuttleworth (English Literature), John Christie (History), and Ard Louis (Physics) – shone their critical torchlights on Durham physicist Tom McLeish’s new book Faith and Wisdom in Science as part of their regular ‘Book at Lunchtime’ seminars.

How can we understand the relation between science and narrative? Should we even try to? Where can we find and deploy a constructive cultural narrative for science that might unlock some of the current misrepresentations and political tangles around science and technology in the public forum?

In exploring the intersection of faith and science in our society, positive responses and critical questions at the recent TORCH Faith and Wisdom in Science event turned on the central theme of narrative. Ard Louis referred to the book’s ‘lament’ that science is not a cultural possession in the same way that art or music is, and urged the advantage of telling the messy story of real science practice. John Christie sketched the obscured historical details within the stories of Galileo and Newton, and of the Biblical basis beneath Frances’ Bacon’s vision for modern science, which serve to deconstruct the worn old myths about confrontation of science and religion. Sally Shuttleworth welcomed the telling of the stories of science as questioning and creative, yet suffering the fate of ‘almost always being wrong’.


What resources can Judeo-Christian theology supply in constructing a social narrative for science – one that might describe both what science is for, and how it might be more widely enjoyed? The project we now call ‘science’ is in continuity with older human activities by other names: ‘natural philosophy’ in the early modern period and in ancient times just ‘Wisdom’. The theology of science that emerges is ‘participatory reconciliation’, a hopeful engagement with the world that both lights it up and heals our relationship with it.

But is theology the only way to get there? Are we required to carry the heavy cultural baggage of Christian history of thought and structures? Shuttleworth recalled George Eliot’s misery at the dissection of the miraculous as she translated Strauss’ ‘Life of Jesus’ at the dawn of critical Biblical studies. Yet Eliot is able to conceive of a rich and luminous narrative for science in Middlemarch:

“…the imagination that reveals subtle actions inaccessible by any sort of lens, but tracked in that outer darkness through long pathways of necessary sequence by the inward light which is the last refinement of energy, capable of bathing even the ethereal atoms in its ideally illuminated space.”

Eliot’s sources are T.H. Huxley, J.S. Mill, Auguste Compte, and of course her partner G.H Lewes – by no means a theological group. (Compte had even constructed a secular religion.) Perhaps this is an example of an entirely secular route to science’s story? Yet her insight into science as a special sort of deep ‘seeing’ also emerges from the ancient wisdom of, for example, the Book of Job. In his recent Seeing the World and Knowing God, Oxford theologian Paul Fiddes also calls on the material of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes to challenge the post-modern dissolution of subject and object. Participatory reconciliation emerges for both theologian and scientist motivated to draw on ancient wisdom for modern need. Was Eliot, and will all secular thinkers in the Western tradition be, in some way irrevocably connected to these ancient wellsprings of our thinking?

An aspect of the ‘baggage’ most desirable to drop, according to Shuttleworth, is the notion that scientists are a sort of priesthood. Surely this speaks to the worst suspicions of a mangled modern discourse of authority and power? Louis even suggested that the science/religion debate is really only a proxy for this larger and deeper one. Perhaps the Old Testament first-temple notion of ‘servant priesthood’ is now too overlain with the strata of power-play to serve as a helpful metaphor for how we go about enacting the story of science.

But science needs to rediscover its story, and it is only by acknowledging that its narrative underpinnings must come from the humanities, that it is going to find it.

Headline image credit: Lighting. CC0 via Pixabay.

The post Creating a constructive cultural narrative for science appeared first on OUPblog.

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32. Nineteenth and twentieth century Scottish philosophy

In the history of Britain, eighteenth century Scotland stands out as a period of remarkable intellectual energy and fertility. The Scottish Enlightenment, as it came to be known, is widely regarded as a crowning cultural achievement, with philosophy the jewel in the crown. Adam Smith, David Hume, William Robertson, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson are just the best known among an astonishing array of innovative thinkers, whose influence in philosophy, economics, history and sociology can still be found at work in the contemporary academy.

The post Nineteenth and twentieth century Scottish philosophy appeared first on OUPblog.

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33. Yaşar Kemal (1923-2015)

       Turkish great Yaşar Kemal has passed away; see, for example, The New York Times' obituary.
       The New York Times suggests he was Turkey's "first novelist of global stature"; whether he was first or not, he was certainly of global stature, and a serious Nobel candidate.
       Memed, My Hawk is a good place to start: see the New York Review Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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34. German March/spring best-of lists

       The German-critics-best list for March is out, the SWR-Bestenliste, where 26 prominent literary critics vote for their top title of the month: Ian McEwan's The Children Act tops the list, albeit very unenthusiastically -- a total of 67 points is lower than if every judge had voted it in fourth place .... Meanwhile, Stefano D'Arrigo's much more interesting sounding Horcynus Orca, which I mentioned recently, came in second, with the new Kundera a lowly seventh, the new Houellebecq an even lowlier eighth (the latter two also still to come in English). Not much uniform enthusiasm, it seems.

       Meanwhile, there's the Bestenliste "Weltempfänger" from Litprom, where a jury selects the best translated (into German) works from Africa, Asia, and Latin America -- the new spring selections more conveniently listed here -- which looks pretty interesting too.

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35. "At some well-chosen moment Melville took out the book whose publication they had both been awaiting..."

“At some well-chosen moment Melville took out the book whose publication they had both been awaiting and handed his friend an inscribed copy of Moby-Dick, the first presentation copy. In no other way could Hawthorne have had a copy so soon, one that he had read by the fifteenth or sixteenth, in time to have written a letter Melville received on the sixteenth. Here, in the dining room, Hawthorne for the first time saw the extraordinary dedication and tribute to his genius – the first book anyone had dedicated to him. Never demonstrative, he was profoundly moved… .”

- from Hershel Parker’s biography of Herman Melville, more on the story of Melville dedicating Moby Dick to Nathaniel Hawthorne. They met at a hotel to have dinner—and as it was so unusual for two men to meet at a hotel, they were the subject of intense gossip in the town. This is via Rich Kelley at the Library of America blog. (via alexanderchee)

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36. Books A Million Selling Variants Online and Getting DC from Diamond

Princess-LeiaThis may well spoil things for people trying to flip variants on eBay, but it looks like Books A Million will let you order (and pre-order) variant covers off their website.  And it looks like they’re expanding how many different publishers they’re getting variants from:

And that Princess Leia link is for the sketch variant.  Yes, BAM now has variants and sketch variants for some of the Star Wars titles.  A Marvel variant will set you back $7.99, but a sketch variant is $9.99  Start saving your pennies, kids.

There are a lot more variants available than just those, with Marvel leading the way in terms of volume.  On the BAM site, the publisher of the comics is always listed as “Diamond Comic” or “Diamond Comic Magazine,” amusingly reminding use where these are coming from.  I’d take as a good sign for how BAM’s doing with non-returnable fare that they’re adding all these variants and from all sorts of publishers.

And then there’s DC.  BAM lists a few DC titles online.  Here’s Convergence #1.  It’s not listed as being an exclusive cover, but it’s got “Diamond Comic Magazine” as the publisher and an ISBN number:

  • ISBN-13: 9781492472070
  • ISBN-10: 1492472077

Here’s the link for Convergence: Suicide Squad #1, which BAM has listed as a hardcover (almost certainly an error).

DC did not get back to me about why some of their titles are showing up on BAM’s site as Diamond titles, but since they’re not listed as variants, it’s entirely possible they weren’t aware those listings existed.

In the meantime, if variants are your thing, you don’t have to pay a jacked up price for the BAM variants on eBay if the title in question is still available on their website.


Have you read Todd’s book Economics of Digital Comics?  You can also ignore him on Twitter at@Real_Todd_Allen

 

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37. Entertainment Round-up: Supergirl pulls a Smallville and casts Dean Cain and Helen Slater, Lucifer is cast, Thor and Aquaman speak out

Thor

Between some casting news and a few choice interviews, it was a busier 24 hours than most in the entertainment news cycle. Here are the headlines of interest for the weekend:

– CBS’ Supergirl added a few Superman franchise vets yesterday as both Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Helen Slater (Supergirl, the movie) have signed on for the series. It isn’t the first time these two have re-joined the DC Universe, both appeared in Smallville at different times: Cain as a Vandal Savage-like immortal scientist, and Slater as Lara-El. Their roles are being kept under wraps this time around.

– FOX’s Lucifer has found its lead as well, as British thespian Tom Ellis (Rush, Miranda) will be playing the former Lord of Hell who now helps the LAPD punish criminals.

– On the Avengers: Age of Ultron side of things, we have some new character posters promoting the film including The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Nick Fury:

hulk

Thor

BlackWIdow

NickFury

 

Collider also has a great interview with Chris Hemsworth that’s worth a look at if you’re curious where Marvel may be taking Thor specifically. There’s one bit of exchange I found interesting, where Hemsworth slightly hints at why Thor: The Dark World wasn’t as necessarily successful as the first Thor:

What’s something Thor gets to do in this film that he hasn’t done before in the other fims?

HEMSWORTH: He’s loosened up a bit. I think we lost some of the humor and the naïveté, that sort of fish out of water quality of Thor from the first film into the second one. There were things I loved about what we did in the second one too, tonally, but that sense of fun… I would have liked it to be there a bit more, and Joss I think felt the same way.  So there’s more humor in Thor or at least because he’s been on Earth, he’s a little more accessible now.  He’s off Asgard now so he doesn’t have to be as regal and kingly as he is in that world, which is nice. I enjoy that more.  It’s sort of a box, which is tough to step out of on Asgard.  You know, that stuff just looks out of place whereas here, he can have a gag with the guys and he can throw away lines and be a party scene with them in civilian clothes, which is nice.

– Speaking of regal superheroes, Jason Momoa chatted briefly with EW while promoting Sundance TV’s The Red Road, and of course Aquaman came up. At one point he compares his DCU experience with that of Conan The Barbarian:

The whole mythology of Aquaman is pretty amazing. There’s so many things to tell, and there’s a whole backstory that’s just amazing. There’s a lot of surprises coming. I think, yeah, he’s been cast aside. But, um [laughs] times are going to change now, buddy. Conan was really hard, because you have 15 different types of fans and so many things to respect and honor. To do it right it’s got to be bloody-bloody-bloody-bloody-bloody, and not a lot of people go see that anymore. It’s not the ’80s anymore. It’s a really hard format. We busted ass, but there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen on that one. What’s great about this is Zack, man. We don’t want to just reinvent it, but he’s a got a whole idea of what Aquaman should be and I’m really honored to be playing it. I’m excited for the world to see it.

He also more or less confirmed that Aquaman’s role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is fairly small and filming for Justice League has not begun yet.

 

1 Comments on Entertainment Round-up: Supergirl pulls a Smallville and casts Dean Cain and Helen Slater, Lucifer is cast, Thor and Aquaman speak out, last added: 3/2/2015
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38. Clarity about ‘the gay thing’

Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean to applaud maturity rather than further disparage appearance. And so it is with the gay thing. The accidental difference between what people are saying or writing, and their intended meaning, is becoming perplexingly polarized.

The post Clarity about ‘the gay thing’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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39. Emily Brontë, narrative, and nature

Catherine’s removal from the plot (other than as a haunting presence in the background, much less potent hereafter than the waif-like child ghost whose wrist Lockwood rubs back and forth across the broken window glass till the blood runs freely (p. 21)) has seemed to some readers to weaken the second half of the novel. One modern critic has suggested, indeed, that the whole of the second-generation narrative was an afterthought.

The post Emily Brontë, narrative, and nature appeared first on OUPblog.

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40. Five Biblical remixes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a theologian and pastor, who used biblical texts and imagery extensively in his speeches and sermons. Here is a selection of five biblical quotations and allusions that you may not have noticed in his work (in chronological order). 1. “And there is still a […]

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41. Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite

Unite01

Archie previously revealed that the Worlds Unite crossover is going to feature two huge video game characters (Mega Man and Sonic) teaming up together. The publisher confirmed several more beloved franchises from Sega and Capcom that are coming out to play in the storyline. A brand new teaser from the crossover shows some wish fulfillment that you wouldn’t believe. Everything from Golden Axe to the obscure Alex Kidd franchises are contained in the full scope of this crossover. Here’s a quick lowdown on some of the different franchises teased in the image released today from the publisher.

Let’s kick things off with Sega:

Alex Kidd

  • First Appearance: Alex Kidd in Miracle World (1986)
  • Why do we care?
  • Kidd was Sega’s answer to Mario in the late 80s, and while he hasn’t been seen in a little while, we still have a soft spot for the Kidd.

Billy Hatcher

  • First Appearance: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (2003)
  • Why do we care?
  • Anything from Sonic Team is worth a second look.

Golden Axe

  • First Appearance: Golden Axe (1989)
  • Why do we care?
  • College.

NiGHTS

  • First Appearance: NiGHTS into Dreams… (1996)
  • Why do we care?
  • NiGHTS was one of the first games to take advantage of the video game art form featuring a heroine flying around on the Sega Saturn.

Skies of Arcadia

  • First Appearance: Skies of Arcadia (2000)
  • Why do we care?
  • The game is an early 3D RPG sporting good characters and a strong setting.

Panzer Dragoon

  • First Appearance: Panzer Dragoon (1995)
  • Why do we care?
  • Dazzling visuals and a unique approach to gameplay made this game an essential entry into the Sega Saturn library of games.

Onto the Capcom games:

Breath of Fire

  • First Appearance: Breath of Fire (1993)
  • Why do we care?
  • Breath of Fire is a Japanese title early on in the NES library that contained an actual plot and cast of fleshed out characters.

Ghosts N’ Goblins

  • First Appearance: Ghosts N’ Goblins (1985)
  • Why do we care?
  • Ghost and Goblins was one of the first games that really challenged gamers on consoles while still being fun and intuitive to play.

Monster Hunter

  • First Appearance: Monster Hunter (2004)
  • Why do we care?
  • While the game initially may seem archaic to some American gamers, there’s something mystifying and deceptively simple about the original Monster Hunter that makes it an incredible game to play.

Street Fighter

  • First Appearance: Street Fighter (1987)
  • Why do we care?
  • Street Fighter earned it’s acclaim as a staple game among fans in the arcade fighting scene.

Okami

  • First Appearance: Okami (2006)
  • Why do we care?
  • Okami took it’s time melding Japanese folklore with a more cerebral Zelda-style game design.

Viewtiful Joe

  • First Appearance: Viewtiful Joe (2003)
  • Why do we care?
  • This is one of those major gamecube built around the personality of the main character that can rewind time. Viewtiful Joe was an original idea in the space of video games.

A full prologue is launching along with Free Comic Book Day on May 2nd from Archie, after that this comic is directly spinning off into an epic 12-part crossover. Thanks to Comics Alliance for the cover. The tale is broken up into a flipbook featuring separate Mega Man and Sonic versions. Ian Flynn is writing the story. The Sonic comic includes art from Adam Bryce Thomas, with the Mega Man portion complete with art contributions from Patrick Spaziante, Jonathan Hill, Powree, Ryan Jampole and Jamal Peppers.

3 Comments on Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite, last added: 3/3/2015
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42. Rebel Girl: Lesley Gore’s voice

In 2005, Ms magazine published a conversation between pop singer Lesley Gore and Kathleen Hanna of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Hanna opened with a striking statement: “First time I heard your voice,” she said, “I went and bought everything of yours – trying to imitate you but find my own style.”

The post Rebel Girl: Lesley Gore’s voice appeared first on OUPblog.

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43. Wolf Hall: count up the bodies

Historians should be banned from watching movies or TV set in their area of expertise. We usually bore and irritate friends and family with pedantic interjections about minor factual errors and chronological mix-ups. With Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and the sumptuous BBC series based on them, this pleasure is denied us. The series is as ferociously well researched as it is superbly acted and directed. Cranmer probably didn’t have a beard in 1533, but, honestly, that’s about the best I can do.

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44. Photo





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45. Matt Wayne on What Dwayne McDuffie Meant To Comics

dwaynephoto

Although it’s in Playboy, it’s SFW and a must read: former Milestone managing editor Matt Wayne on his friend, the late great Dwayne McDuffie:

“I’m 22 and I haven’t done anything with my life!”

That was my friend Dwayne, speaking to me in his dorm room in February 1984. Nine years after he got his name in the papers by attending the University of Michigan at age 13 (but only for a year — turns out, even genius kids need to be around their peers). Seven years after the Detroit News named him one of its All State high-school basketball players. A year after a crisis of conscience turned him away from his undergraduate research into the properties of thermocouples — he learned his work had been applied to missile guidance systems — which started his writing career in earnest. And three years before he became the first African-American to create a Marvel comic.

 
There was only one Dwayne, but his memory lives on with the Dwayne McDuffie Award being presented this weekend at the Lonb Beach Comics Expo. I’m extremely proud to have been associated with this first award, and thrilled with the final list of nominees. We have a long way to go to live in the world that Dwayne may have dreamed of, but that doesn’t mean we should give up.

Today is the next to last day of Black History Month. I don’t always mark it with content here at the Beat because I think there should be 12 months a year of black history and women’s history and queer history and Asian history and every kind of history. Confining any minority to their own month is ultimately counter productive. I don’t always succeed but at the Beat I try to create an atmosphere that invites diversity….and NOT just women writing about women or writers of color writing about those issues. I think that’s confining too.

That said, there were some good BHM pieces, and here’s one: Reggie Hudlin, Jamar Nicholass Jerry Craft and Brandon Thomas talking about comics with Danica Davidson. More to come.

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46. Rio Rancho mom “incredibly disturbed” by finding “Palomar” in school library

Student finds pornographic book at Rio Rancho High   New Mexico News   KOAT Home.png
Sadly I can’t embed the local news scare quotes story here but the transcript is almost as good. A mother in Rio Rancho, NM found her son had checked out Gilbert Hernandez’ PALOMAR from the school library, and then things got dangerous!


She said her son checked out the book “Palomar” from the Rio Rancho High School library Wednesday.

The 14-year-old thought it might be a Magna, or Japanese-style comic book. There are cartoon-like characters, but Lopez said she found 30 disturbing images in the book.

“I started to find child pornography pictures and child abuse pictures and I was like, ‘No. That’s not going to happen in my house,’” she said.

Online, “Palomar” is described as a graphic novel written by Gilbert Hernandez.


Even more incredibly the book—which reprints Hernandez’s acclaimed stories set in a small Mexican town from the first 10 issues or so of Love and Rockets—had been in the library since 2006! And no one noticed! The school library is investigating to find out HOW THIS HAPPENED?

How did it happen? Palomar is an acclaimed book by an acclaimed author, probably.

That said, the Palomar tales are definitely full of pee-pees, woo-woos and lots and lots of bazingas. It is a haunting, adult story of love, sex, betrayal, memory and loss. No one in comics draws guys with their dinguses hanging out quite the way Beto does. That said, as wonderful as this material is, school libraries are under a lot of pressure over standards, and Palomar is definitely rather adventurous material.

I would link to some images by my ad network won’t allow it. UPDATE: Jen Vaughan has a dingus parade! Thanks Jen!

Anyway, this seems like a tempest in a teapot with some deliberately misleading scary inaccurate quotes. Will it blow over as virtually every similar scandal—PARENT led protests, that is, not government led ones like the removal of Persepolis from Chicago schools—in recent years has? We’ll see.

duckfeet.jpg

UPDATED 2: ON a more serious note, the CBLDF is responding to this with help and information:

Needless to say, Palomar is not actually a collection of child porn — Publishers Weekly called it “a superb introduction to the work of an extraordinary, eccentric and very literary cartoonist” and it often draws comparisons to the magic realism of novelists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book collects Hernandez’s “Heartbreak Soup” stories which originally appeared in the Love and Rockets series, a collaboration with his brothers Jaime and Mario. Gilbert Hernandez’s stories focus on the interconnected lives of characters from one family in the fictional South American town of Palomar.

Although filtered by KOAT’s biased reporting Rio Rancho Public Schools officials’ characterization of the book as “clearly inappropriate” is worrisome. We certainly hope that the said officials are up to speed on their district’s policy on Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials, which says in part:


Review of questioned (“challenged”) materials will be treated objectively, unemotionally, and as a routine matter. Criticisms of print and non-print materials must be submitted in writing on a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form obtained from the librarian at the library/media center where the material is housed and submitted to the Superintendent of schools. The Request must be signed and include specific information as to author, title, publisher, and definite citation of objection.

7 Comments on Rio Rancho mom “incredibly disturbed” by finding “Palomar” in school library, last added: 3/1/2015
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47. Kickstarter alert: Comic Book People 2: Photographs from the 1990s by Jackie Estrada

9af810e0baab30c08d845a4752c7bd27_original.jpg

Somehow I have neglected to mention until this moment that Jackie Estrada is crowdfunding a second book of photos taken at conventions over the years, this one focusing on the 90s.

The first volume was a roaring success. This second one (Despite not having me on the cover) looks to be just as good. And the perks are excellent.

This volume covers youthful looks for most of today’s superstars.

722000078b9436aba261fe2f7754329d_original.jpg
That’s Frank MIller, Neil Gaiman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson and Dave Gibbons from 1991.

487e596a58b98ee6b57cd8d3c203b276_original.jpg

And Chris Ware and the late Kim Thompson from 1993.

There’s also a very rare photo from an event that I didn’t think any photos existed for, the VERY FIRST Freinds of Lulu Meeting at the Cafe Lulu in San Diego:

cb49aa19a31ccbf7892d41865c39c46b_original.jpg

That’s Cat Yronwode, Lee Marrs, unknown, the late Kim Yale, Martha Thomases and Maggie Thompson. Veteran warriors all.

Anyway, this kickstarter is at the “halfway done 50% funded” spot, so it could use a little kick.

3 Comments on Kickstarter alert: Comic Book People 2: Photographs from the 1990s by Jackie Estrada, last added: 2/28/2015
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48. Diagram Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year.
       A fairly entertaining selection -- and readers have until 21 March to vote for the winner.

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49. The Physics of Sorrow review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Georgi Gospodinov's The Physics of Sorrow, coming out soon from Open Letter
       Internationally acclaimed, this is definitely one of the most anticipated translations of the year.

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50. Blurb ethics

       Much as I love Open Letter's books, and thrilled as I was to see Georgi Gospodinov's The Physics of Sorrow, I do have to wonder about the prominent placement of this blurb on the (front) cover of the book:

The Physics of Sorrow blurb


       'Well, how could you resist putting a blurb like that on the cover ?' you might ask. What great praise for a book to get !
       The problem is that surely anyone who sees the blurb assumes the obvious: that it refers to the book in hand -- after all, there are no indications otherwise. Alas, it does not: the blurb comes from a review in The New York Times Book Review from ten years ago -- long before The Physics of Sorrow was even written -- of Gospodinov's earlier novel, Natural Novel.
       Is it just me, or does this go way, way beyond even the usual ridiculously loose lines of blurbing-ethics ? Surely, this blurb could not be more misleading -- yes, the praise and description may apply equally well to The Physics of Sorrow, but ... it doesn't: as presented, this is just classic bait-and-switch.
       Mind you, I'm tempted to think maybe consumers should be baited in this way in this case -- Gospodinov, and this book, deserve the readers ..... But, no, that really is playing too fast and loose with readers' trust.
       I realize we don't, and can't, expect blurbs to be very reliable, or representative of what whoever is quoted actually wrote and meant, but this stretches things beyond breaking. The appropriate place for this blurb would have been on the inside-page of praise where other blurbs are collected -- there's a whole page of more general: 'Praise for Georgi Gospodinov', with a mix of blurbs taken from reviews of his earlier work as well as (foreign) reviews of this work. As is, however -- beyond dubious indeed.

       [Incidental observation: Among the 'Praise for Georgi Gospodinov'-quotes is one ascribed to the: "New Journal of Zurich"; it is taken from this review in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Okay, maybe the NZZ isn't as English-familiar as, say Le Monde ('The World'), Pravda ('Truth'), or Die Zeit ('Time' (but not Time ...)), but I'm still surprised the publication-name is translated -- especially when another quote is simply ascribed to the far less well-known and prestigious "Berliner Zeitung".
       Also: 'New Journal of Zurich' ? Huh ? Oh, wait, I see: that's what Wikipedia says ! Yeah, no, not the way to go/translate it.]

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