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Hello and happy Monday! I'm so excited to share this Magic Moves Jammin Gym toy that I worked on for Educational Insights. I illustrated the packaging, store display as well as some downloadable instructional exercise posters. I just got a bunch of samples in the mail over the weekend. Yay! Thank you Eric and Educational Insights for the opportunity work on such a cool project! Wishing everyone a great start to their week! xo
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When Fire Ignites
1. Boarding school? Try bored-ing school. How many games of field hockey can one girl tolerate? Silvy's ready to run away until she discovers just how much fun pyromania can be.
2. Shortly after an irascible literary editor rejects a manuscript for being thinly-disguised plagiarism of a Ray Bradbury novel, he bursts into flames.
3. Bad enough that fire elemental Cassidy got stuck hosting Thanksgiving dinner yet again, but then air elementals crash the party, murder some of the guests and kidnap others. And you thought Thanksgiving sucked in your family.
4. Severely burned in a suspicious local church fire, fireman Sam slips into a coma. His soul travels out of his body in an attempt to solve the mystery of the arson. Will a nurse who seems able to communicate with ghosts help him or will she and Sam succumb to vicious demons that appear to be planning something evil for all the parishioners?
5. Tina is a rare elemental fairy, able to control fire. Imprisoned in an iron cage and sold to a wizard, Tina must use every trick in her tiny little body to win the wizard's love . . . and expose a ring of black-market fairy traders.
6. Beautiful Beverly is the youngest of the Smoke Eaters, brave firefighters who parachute into dangerous wildfires. She's never thought a man could meet all her dreams, until she meets Captain Hank Jordan. Unfortunately, Jason Bradley feels the same way.
7. When Jonathon Storm was a little boy he hated water. The rain made him sad and Saturday bath night made him bat shit. His sister, Susan, could just disappear whenever she wanted, but she never skipped bathing. Magic happened the first time Jonathon lit a match, and his screams of, "Flame on!" are legendary. When Fire Ignites: The Human Torch, an unauthorized biography.
8. It's usually a one-way trip to the remote mining planet of Shiro. The indentured workers have been tricked into accepting such lousy wages they will never earn their passage home. Until one stands up to the corporation and ignites the fire of revolt in the hearts of the downtrodden. And ignites fires in the oxygen generators . . . oops, didn't think that one through.
Dear Agent X,
For Cassidy MacNamara, Thanksgiving’s no piece of piss—after all, throwing a bunch of fire elementals in one room incites brawls and torched curtains. [It sounds more like Thanksgiving is a piece of piss. Not that I'm familiar with the term, but I assume it means the same thing as piece of crap or piece of shit.] [Oops, a bit of research reveals it's British and means the same as piece of cake. Hey, at least cake, unlike piss, comes in pieces, you crazy Brits.] [Wait, do Brits even celebrate Thanksgiving? Additional research shows they don't, but these could be Americans in Britain or Brits in America, so I'll let it go.] However, this year air elementals crash their dinner, killing some of her own and kidnapping others. including her little sister. [The word "however" suggests that this year Thanksgiving is a piece of piss, when in fact it's still no piece of piss. What you want is something like: Thanksgiving's never been a piece of piss, but at least it's never been a piece of shit. Or: Cassidy didn't expect Thanksgiving to be a piece of piss—after all, putting a bunch of fire elementals into one room incites brawls and torched curtains. But when air elementals crash their dinner, killing some of her own and kidnapping others, including her little sister, she declares it her second-worst Thanksgiving ever.] [Note that I changed "throwing" to "putting." "Throwing" was giving the wrong impression.] [By the way, "piece of piss" is a great tongue twister. Say it five times fast.]
With her aunts and uncles arguing among themselves and her drunk Ma cradling a bottle in the corner, [This is in the same room with the corpses of their relatives lying on the floor?] Cassidy, like always, has to take responsibility. Those bastard air elementals took her little sister, but she’s going to get her back.
Problem numero uno though: fire elementals are restricted to the South. If she crosses the border, the elemental Council will send their extraction team after her. [Problem numero uno should be arranging for the Council's disposal team to get rid of the bodies in the dining room. Otherwise Sis will be coming home to a highly unpleasant scene.] [Are air elementals restricted to the North? If so, why didn't the extraction team deal with them? If not, how does Cassidy know her sister's been taken to the North?] If caught, not only will her little sister be gone for good, but Cassidy will be stripped of her powers. A fire elemental without fire is nothing. Even though all she’s armed with is a couple of her crazy, but loyal cousins, her ‘69 Camaro and a hostage who won’t shut up, [You forgot to include the ability to manipulate fire. When you have flamethrowers and your enemy has leaf blowers, I like your chances.] Cassidy will make sure her family comes home, no matter what the cost.
"When Fire Ignites" is a 90,000 word urban fantasy.
You'd think a society that has extraction teams to keep elementals in their own areas would also have authorities to deal with renegade air elementals who commit crimes.
Presumably the mix of mythological creatures, Thanksgiving, "piece of piss," "numero uno," is part of the book's charm, and not anachronism gone wild.
I like the voice and humor if the book is also funny, but it's unusual for a query in which the main plot development is that characters are murdered and kidnapped to stress the comical aspects. Is the plot more adventure/thriller or comedy?
The query is mostly setup. When her little sister is kidnapped by air elementals, Cassidy and two of her cousins head into the forbidden North on a rescue mission. Expand that into a three or four-sentence paragraph that includes the important stuff I left out, and you still have room to tell us what the plan is, what obstacles pop up, what the air elementals want with Little Sis.
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Blog: cynsations (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Linda Joy Singleton
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations
Blame it on the SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators).
When I joined SCBWI over two decades ago, I’d already sold a middle-grade and was interested in writing young adult books, too. Yet most of my writer friends wrote picture books.
Whenever I went to SCBWI conferences, I attended many presentations by talented picture book authors and illustrators. I listened to so many picture book talks that I joked I could teach a picture book writing class myself.
But write a picture book?
Nope. Not interested.
2009 was the year I sold my 37th book, Buried, a YA mystery (Flux)—and the year I wrote a picture book. This picture book idea struck with no warning—like summer rain or falling in love.
I was driving to a SCBWI retreat with authors Verla Kay, Danna K. Smith and Linda Whalen when my thoughts jumped to the childhood photo Verla had showed me of a snow dog.
More than anything, Ally wanted a dog—but dogs made her achoo. So Ally drew pictures of dogs….
|37th Book by Linda Joy Singleton|
How did this age-market hopping happen?
Thinking it over, it’s more of a surprise that I resisted writing picture books for so long. Whether I’m writing for big or little kids, I love the rhythm of lyrical, active and funny words. Studying the art of picture book writing has actually strengthened my novel writing. Sentences roll and sway like songs from thoughts to finger-tips.
For example (from a middle grade work-in-progress):
I’m squashed like a human pretzel and struggling not to sneeze at dog hair or freak out as I imagine creepy crawlies creeping and crawling all over me.
This is a sentence from a middle-grade book, yet fun words like "sneeze," "creepy" and "crawling" create a rhythm like when I’m writing picture books.
From Snow Dog, Sand Dog:
They heated popcorn and played fetch with straw brooms. They napped with a scarecrow then danced to the music of wind chimes.
I love the craft of word play; molding words like clay until they’re shaped into sentences that make children smile. Writing words for children brings out the child in all of us—and it’s fun.
|Snow Dog & Sand Dog|
It took five years for Snow Dog, Sand Dog to become a published book. It went through editors, agents, rejections and rewrites. I rode a roller coaster of disappointments and hopes.
The day it sold, my agent told me, “You’re now a picture book author.”
And this middle grade/YA author is very proud to be a picture book author.
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Good news for Goodreads fans that have old Kindle devices. The social reading community is now available as an app on first generation Kindle Paperwhite devices. The app is available along the top navigation bar under the icon ‘g.’
Goodreads first launched on the new Kindle Paperwhite back in November and the company always planned to become available on older models based on customer interest. The app is available to customers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Here is more about Goodreads blog: “Kindle will be made available in a free and automatic over-the-air upgrade to the first generation Kindle Paperwhite in the coming weeks. How will you know when you have it? You’ll see the Goodreads “g” on the top right-hand side of the menu bar.”
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As sexy as James Bond, as lethal and discrete as an air bubble to the heart, Mike Fallon is a genius at the art of making assassination look like an unfortunate accident.
The Complete Accident Man collects, for the first time ever, four tales of sex, revenge and violence, written by legendary comics author Pat Mills together with Tony Skinner and artwork by an outstanding selection of international stars!
From the writer of legendary titles Charley's War, Marshal Law, Nemesis the Warlock and many more, with artwork by a murderer's row of talent, and a cover by the indomitable Howard Chaykin!
Anyone remember Rod Taylor as Boysie Oakesin the movie The Eliminator, based on the Liquidator books (7 of them) by John Gardner in the 1960s? Well, Boysie Oakes was a coward and how he "liquidated" targets was quite funny. However, with "The Accident Man", there is no question of cowardice. But there are some well orchestrated killings!
In fact, when this series was first published in Toxic! comic I was not too keen. What changed my opinion was the absolutely luscious full colour art of John Erasmus when he took over. I still say his was the best run on the strip. Now you can see those pages lovingly reproduced in a great quality book.
You know, looking at the internet you would think that only one person was involved in this comic -Pat Mills. I doubt Pat Mills will object to all the attention. Now, despite some hit-and-miss artwork in places, and the Chaykin cover (I much prefer the back cover art) there are some nice touches such as how the strip got started and even sketchbook pages.
I really cannot recommend this enough and despite what I just wrote, that front cover is eye-catching.
Treat a friend!
BUY a copy.
At least the creators got paid properly this time.
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro) (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.
To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.
Authors Therese Walsh and Barbara O’Neal will appear for a signing event at BookCourt. See them on Monday, March 10th starting 7 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)
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Blog: Liz's Book Snuggery (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Read Roger - The Horn Book editor's rants and raves (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Candlewick 32 pp.
3/14 978-0-7636-1495-9 $15.99
Somewhere in the mountains, Stella the fox and her parents live in a mobile home by the side of the road. The Starliner meets all their needs. “Inside was a room for sleeping and a room for being awake. There was a kitchen and a radio and a sofa that turned into a bed.” Daddy comes home from work on the weekends, and there are pancakes on Sunday mornings and fishing on Sunday afternoons. During the week there are trips to the market and visits to the bookmobile. This peaceful life snags for Stella when a gang of weasels mock her home and call her “poor.” She tries to hide her hurt to protect Mama’s feelings, but her intuitive mother sees. Meanwhile something magical happens as the Starliner, hitched to Daddy’s truck, flies through the night sky toward palm trees, the ocean, and new bunny neighbors who see value in this “sterling silver” house. Packaged within silver starry-sky endpapers, the illustrations (in watercolor, gouache, pastel, ink, and colored pencil on sanded paper) vary in size from spot art to a striking double-page spread of the flying Starliner. Backgrounds are full of symbols that deepen the story, and words and images work effectively together to develop the setting and this loving family looking out for one another.Add a Comment
Blog: Children's Illustration (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I was excited to be asked to do a little guest blogging – check it out here:
Tying together a Possum, a Pickup truck, and God’s plan isn’t easy.
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Cookie Monster plays Jean Bon-Bon; he and his friends sing hilarious versions of “Look Down,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Do You Hear the People Sing,” and “One Day More.” We’ve embedded the short film above–what do you think?
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
Links to posts about questions to ask a prospective agent.
Blog: paperwork (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: The Mumpsimus (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Forced by some reductive power to declare a single favorite essay, mine would be "The Death of the Moth" by Virginia Woolf. It is a marvel of concision, and yet it contains the universe. It is an essay both personal and cosmic, material and spiritual.
Whenever I teach writing, I use "The Death of the Moth" as an example of the interplay of form and content. (While I have seldom met a pairing I didn't want to deconstruct, the form/content binary is one I continue to find useful. Yes, the separation is problematic — what, in language, is content without form or form without content? — but I also find it a valuable way to talk about concepts that are otherwise invisible or easily muddled.) Usually, I take one sentence, scrawl it out on the board, and pick it apart. It's not always the same sentence, but recently I've been using this one:
Yet, because he was so small, and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain and in those of other human beings, there was something marvellous as well as pathetic about him.The first thing to do is break the sentence apart. Here's one way:
because he was so small,
and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window
and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain
and in those of other human beings,
there was something marvellous
as well as pathetic about him.
One thing we can do is try to paraphrase the basic meaning of the sentence, to get at what it says and does before we tackle the how.
It says that there was something marvelous and something pathetic about the dying moth. It doesn't only say that, of course, but that gives us a starting point. All right. How does it say what it says?
The first word sets the sentence up in opposition to what has come immediately before it. The second word prepares us for answers to a question we don't necessarily know yet.
And now we can't avoid questions of form. The sentence is complex and, especially on a first reading, beguiling. It is possible that this sentence is difficult because Virginia Woolf is a bad writer, or she was half-asleep when she wrote it, or some other flaw. After all, this essay was not published in Woolf's lifetime. Maybe she thought it was a dud.
This is where, in class, I bring in Peter Elbow's believing/doubting game. In academia, we're used to playing the doubting game. We seek out flaws, weaknesses, troubles. But if we switch our frame of thinking, new insights are possible. Let's assume, for instance, that we are not smarter than the writer. Let's assume that the writer was vastly more skilled and intelligent than us. Let's assume that there are no flaws. Such an assumption (game) forces us to seek the reasons, rather than condemnations, for what perplexes us.
(As I said above, this is my favorite essay. Woolf is one of my favorite writers. I completely believe she was more skilled and intelligent than I. I have to force myself into the doubting game with Woolf, because all I want to do is believe, believe, believe. But I'm talking pedagogy here. My students typically find the essay boring and pointless, and they think Woolf writes difficult sentences to annoy them. I like to find ways to circumvent those feelings other than screaming, "Stop being an arrogant and defensive reader!")
If we look back to how I broke the sentence up above, we can see that it can break into three major parts: the introductory word (a transition that positions the sentence in relationship to other sentences), the because section, and the final statement. We know what the introductory word does, but what about the middle section? What does it do, particularly in relationship to the final statement?
The middle section elongates or prolongs. It keeps us away from the final statement. It's important, then, to look at how it does that: not with a randomly long statement, but with phrases connected with the word and. (Here, I often read the middle section aloud at least once, dramatically emphasizing the word and at the start of each section. The and between narrow and intricate can be a little confusing, as it's connecting something different from the other ands, but that's why I don't separate it out visually. I've sometimes thought of replacing the word with an ampersand.)
Each of these ands serves to push us away from the final statement one more time.
Thus, the sentence does to us what the moth is doing: it fends off, for as long as it can, finality. The moth's struggle is replicated in the sentence's structure.
Part of the wonder of "The Death of the Moth" is that it achieves so much in so few words. It does so by uniting form and content in a specific way. Over and over, the essay replicates in its structures what it is "about". Again and again, Woolf forces the reader to consider scope. We move from the very tiny to the cosmic. The cosmic is shown to contain the microscopic, the microscopic to contain the cosmic. Life is strange and death is strange, and the two are also, like form and content, inseparable.
It's not known when Woolf wrote the essay. It's tempting to read it as something she wrote late in life, as she struggled against her fears and depression as World War II began. But the insights of the essay are more universal than that, and the struggle the speaker identifies with is one that Woolf expressed through much of her life. (In the sixth volume of The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Stuart N. Clarke writes that "it might have been composed in September 1927", but it's also just as likely that it might not have been.) The essay captures not only the scope and scale of existence, but it also represents many of the recurring ideas in Woolf's writing. Add a Comment
Blog: Geoffrey Philp's Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Caribbean literature, Small Axe, sx salon, Add a tag
The novel grew out of a desire to know more about home, to know Jamaica’s history, to understand the Chinese experience in Jamaica, the complexities of otherness for them—people who are neither black nor white. I wanted to know their particular experiences of exile and immigration and displacement, their experiences of community and home there on the island.
These complexities arise in the two creative pieces in the special section, both of which return to the ubiquitous, though often overlooked, Mr. Chin character. While Victor Chang’s short story marries the unimaginable and the expected occurring on and to Mr. Chin’s property, Staceyann Chin’s poem to her father voices Mr. Chin’s progeny, the daughter now diasporic citizen who refuses to forget. Tao Leigh Goffe’s article closes the section with a consideration of six writers, including Staceyann Chin, who are “thrice diasporized,” that is, “shaped by the experiences of the African diaspora, the Asian diaspora, and the Caribbean diaspora.”
Via the writers included in this special section, this discussion seeks to not only contribute to but also complexify the slowly growing acknowledgement of a significant body of work from the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.
Our issue also features five new book reviews as well as creative work from Cyril Dabydeen, Colin Robinson, Reuel Ben Lewi, and Rajiv Mohabir. The table of contents is included below.
This issue of sx salon is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Stuart Hall (3 February 1932–10 February 2014).
Kelly Baker Josephs
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The troubled son of a callous father and socialite mother determines his own meaning of success in Red CloverAdd a Comment
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 99 Luftballoons, Berlin Wall music, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Going Over, Nikita, Object Retrieval, The Berlin Wall, The Chipmunks, Add a tag
Long before I went to Berlin I was singing and dancing to "99 Luftballoons/99 Red Balloons" (both the German and English versions were on the record my husband had bought while in graduate school at Yale).
It wasn't until I began to research and write Going Over, the Berlin novel that launches in three weeks, that I understood the greater significance of the song. Its rhythms filter into Ada's dreams. Its possibilities filtered into mine.
Here is part of the story, as presented by Object Retrieval.
"99 Luftballons" is a Cold War-era protest song by the German singer Nena. Originally sung in German, it was later re-recorded in English as "99 Red Balloons".
"99 Luftballons" reached #1 in West Germany in 1983. In 1984, the original German version also peaked at #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and the English-language version topped the UK Singles Chart. The German version topped the Australian charts for five weeks and the New Zealand charts for one week.
While at a Rolling Stones concert in Berlin, Nena's guitarist Carlo Karges noticed that balloons were being released. As he watched them move toward the horizon, he noticed them shifting and changing shapes, where they looked nothing like a mass of balloons but some strange spacecraft. (The word in the German lyrics "UFO") He thought about what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to the Soviet sector.
Both the English and German versions of the song tell a story of 99 balloons floating into the air, triggering an apocalyptic overreaction by military forces. The music was composed by Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, the keyboardist of Nena's band, while Karges wrote the original German lyrics.
Interested in Berlin Wall music?
Check out Bruce Springsteen singing Bob Dylan in one of the most moving Springsteen performances ever.
Check out Elton John, slyly singing "Nikita."
Check out The Chipmunks singing "Let the Wall Come Down." Add a Comment
Blog: What You Want to Read (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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In case you missed my review of The Year of the Book, I’m back with a review of its sequel, The Year of the Baby. In the first book, Anna discovered the joys (and tribulations) of authentic friendships. In The Year of the Baby, Anna gains new responsibility when her Chinese-American family adopts a baby girl from China. Anna loves her little sister Kaylee, and knows her role as big sister is important. So she feels helpless when the doctor announces that Kaylee isn’t gaining enough weight.
Everyone in the family is worried about Kaylee, and it seems they’ve tried everything to get her to eat, with no results. But Kaylee does finally begin to improve when Anna and her best friends decide to use Kaylee in their science fair project – knowing that Kaylee loves the songs Anna sings to her, the girls use the scientific method to study whether Kaylee will eat more when she’s being sung to. As it turns out, she will! She especially likes the Chinese songs that Anna, Camille, and Laura learned in Chinese language school, and the girls suspect that maybe it’s because they are songs that Kaylee heard before she was adopted by Anna’s family. Once Kaylee begins to eat more, it seems like everything comes together – she says her first words, and even attempts to sing her first song!
Author Andrea Cheng is remarkably good at capturing friendships, family dynamics, and the inner life of a sensitive child finding her place in these realms. As in the first book, The Year of the Baby is dotted with sweet illustrations by Patrice Barton. There’s also a guide to pronouncing some of the Chinese words that come up in the book, and a recipe for making steamed red bean bao zi (stuffed buns). This book, like the last, truly warmed my heart. I would recommend it to readers in 3rd grade and up looking for realistic fiction. The third book, The Year of the Fortune Cookies, will be coming in Spring 2014!
Posted by: Parry
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(All of them that I could find, anyway.)
In 2011, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make one myself. Since then, I’ve periodically updated and reposted it, and I plan to continue doing so. If I’ve missed any, or included some that no longer exist, won’t you please let me know?
Children’s Literature Association
Diverging Diversities: Plurality in Children’s & Young Adult Literature Then and Now at University of South Carolina
University of Alabama National Celebration of Latino Children’s Literature
University of Arizona Tucson Festival of Books
University of Connecticut Connecticut Children’s Book Fair
Kennesaw State University Conference on Literature for Children and Young Adults
The University of Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature
Northern Illinois University Children’s Literature Conference
Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University Ohio Kentucky Indiana Children’s Literature Conference
University of Kentucky McConnell Conference
Simmons College Children’s Literature Summer Institute
University of St. Thomas Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference
University of Central Missouri Children’s Literature Festival
The University of Southern Mississippi Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival
Concordia University Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival
Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival
Rutgers University One-on-One Plus Conference
Stony Brook University – Southampton Southampton Children’s Literature Conference
Appalachian State University Children’s Literature Symposium
Kent State University Virginia Hamilton Conference
Kutztown University Children’s Literature Conference
Brigham Young University Symposium on Books for Young Readers
Western Washington University Children’s Literature Conference
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Rosie's Riveting Recipes was an interesting book to browse. It includes vintage tips and advice for food preparation. The introductory section includes vintage items like "Uncle Sam's Daily Food Rules (1943)," and "Equal to A Serving of Meat as a Source of Protein (1943)" and provides contemporary readers with context into the period. "Wartime diets changed to include: more eggs, more cheese, more grains, more chicken, more fish, less red meat" (16). And people were urged to..."extend meals containing minimal available meat with grains and fiber; stretch and substitute butter with margarine; substitute sugar with molasses or honey; make stews; eat more fruits and vegetables; grow their own fruits and vegetables; can excess food; eat salads; make vegetables, eggs, cheese, and grains center stage." (17) The focus is on making substitutes and economizing meals. For example, there are quite a handful of tips on how to extend butter by adding various things to it. There is also a helpful conversion chart showing what you can substitute for a "cup full of sugar" in all your recipes.
Most of the book is, of course, dedicated to sharing recipes. Like most traditional cook books, the book is divided into sections: "Soups & Salads," "Eggs & Cheese," "Fish," "Poultry," "Meats," "Vegetables," "Potatoes, Starches, & Legumes," "Stuffings & Dumplings," "Breads," "Desserts," and Canteen (Recipes for Large Groups).
Some recipes sound good. A few sound HORRIBLE. (Like the noodles, margarine, cottage cheese, horseradish dish!!!)
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews Add a Comment
Blog: Tony DiTerlizzi (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I’ve finally received my May tour dates to support the fantastic finale to the WondLa trilogy.
My presentation includes drawing and discussing how the WondLa books came to be. Attendees will receive the third limited edition WondLa sketchbook for free. And, of course, I will sign just about any book (or gaming materials) that you bring – though different stores have different signing policies, so its best to check with them beforehand.
As well, Angela and I will both be attending the LA Times Festival of Books in April at the USC campus. Though The Battle of WondLa will not be available for sale then, I will be signing all my previous titles. Hopefully I’ll see you there!
PS – I am hoping to add some additional dates for our local friends in Massachusetts, so stay tuned…Add a Comment
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Jan Mieszkowski reviews The Death Penalty: Volume I, the latest collection of Jacques Derrida’s seminars to appear in print. Drawn from the first half of a two-year seminar he gave from 1999 to 2001, the book postulates the American position on capital punishment as complicit with a logic in which a sovereign state has the right to take a life. In this takeaway from his review, Mieszkowski positions Derrida within today’s academy:
Derrida’s prominence in North American universities has waned, at least superficially, in the decade since his death. A new group of European philosophers has supplanted him as the must-reads of the moment, including Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, and the Slavoj Žižek. In the intellectual circles in which Of Grammatology and Specters of Marx were once standard fare, the works of Gilles Deleuze or Giorgio Agamben are now more likely to enjoy pride of place. Perhaps most striking for those who remember a time when Derrida’s oeuvre was viewed as a fount of productive positions on virtually every philosophical topic, there is an increasing tendency to refer to his “one or two” major ideas, as if his thought were distinguished not by its range but by its lack thereof. Of course, fashions in academic citation practices may be poor measures of Derrida’s abiding influence, which makes itself felt in numerous contexts in which he is never mentioned by name, not least because so many of his strategies and positions are now widely taken for granted.
Taking off from this, it’s worth pointing the reader toward Arne De Boever’s interview with the translator and coeditor of Derrida’s seminars in English, Peggy Kamuf, which accompanies the review:
One other thing that struck me reading this course — and you’ve gestured to it already in several of your answers—is how US-focused it is. Derrida was of course teaching the course in both France and the US. But there’s more to it than that: he repeatedly states in the lectures that his topic, the death penalty, is particularly pertinent to the US and its demographic. Reading the course I wonder if we still think of Derrida too much as a “French” philosopher—he’s almost just as much an “American” philosopher, wouldn’t you say? Focusing on issues that are central to contemporary American life? “America” is certainly a recurring theme in his work.
Yes, it is, but nowhere perhaps as insistently as in The Death Penalty, for reasons that are obvious. As for Derrida being an American or “American” philosopher, I would say no. Which doesn’t mean he is therefore a French or a “French” philosopher. (Although his passport would have said otherwise.) True, he wrote in the language called French, but he also wrote in or with an idiom that would have been his own, all the while treating and translating texts from both other languages (German, Greek, Latin, or English) and other idioms. Insofar as philosophy passes itself down in writing, it has to contend with the problem of couching the universal in a particular language/idiom. The solution cannot be a set of philosophical nationalisms, “American” and “French” or even analytic and continental. On the contrary, philosophy has to suppose the possibility of translation. Either that or, as Hegel tried to show, all philosophers would have to learn to speak German. But is translation indeed possible? Derrida more than once has defined “deconstruction” as “plus d’une langue,” a phrase that English has to translate twice in order to capture the sense of “more than one language” but also “no more of just one language.” You could say that deconstruction is philosophy in the wake of the commandment at Babel to translate what is impossible to translate.
To read more about The Death Penalty: Volume I, click here.Add a Comment
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Over the weekend there was a kerfuffle or two! Are you shocked?
These involved comic cons which had promotions that seemed to forget that about 40% of the con going audience is now female.
The first kerfuffle involved Capital City Con, which will be held in Austin, TX in July. To promote the show, they printed a bunch of postcards, and among them was the above. This was first noted by Texas retailer Richard Neal of Zeus Comics on twitter,
— Richard Neal (@captduckstogive) March 8, 2014
As I noted in my tweet, I’m sure a picture of giant breasts is a suitable promotion for some things—a plus sized bra store perhaps—but a comic con isn’t one of them. Women are going to be squicked out by this ind of promotion and it certainly doesn’t promote a family friendly image.
And then DC Women Kicking Ass got involved. You’d think when confronted with the obvious problems I mentioned above, they’d say, oops sorry we were just maing a joke and it was wrong, but…NO. Apparently, in a NOW REMOVED post on their FB page, this was their first response:
I wasn’t going to go into full battle rage over this but…”if you’ve ever been to a comic con?” WTF? These jokers think that a comic con is a place to ogle women and buy comics by Jim Balent? What year is this?
Luckily, a saner head prevailed and the following statement was issued by the Capital City Comic Con organizers, but only after several professionals said they were planning to withdraw from attending the show:
In response to our prior ad campaign, the proper steps are being taken in regards to this situation. Capital City Comic Con did not mean to offend or harm anyone, in any way. Our advertising department has been contacted and changes to our marketing material and plan are being made.
We respect everyone’s opinion. We are glad this issue was brought to our attention. We want everyone to feel safe at our convention and not feel offended. As a comic book convention, it is primordial that we do not send the wrong message to fans.
We were contacted by a few female fans who wish to support the distribution of our initial flyers, to which we respectfully declined. As for our future plans, we will no longer use the image of superheroes (or any character) in such fashion. We wish to apologize to anyone we may have offended with our initial promotional campaign.
We would like to invite all of you to comment on our new campaign once released. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
From the staff and management
YA THINK? This story did require the use of our much-loved Citizen Steele image, above, and also this tweet:
— Nerd Jokes (@nerdjoke) March 9, 2014
BUT THAT WASNT THE ONLY CON KERFUFFLE!
Jill Pantozzi at The Mary Sue expressed alarm last week , about the Toronto Comic Con, which is run by the same people who put on the mega huge Fan Expo, when they sent out a promotional piece as seen below:
Now this may not seem like as clear a slam dunk of idiocy as the boob shot postcard, but several people noted that the “cuddle a cosplayer” contributed to the idea that it’s okay to touch cosplayers without their consent, or they are there to be grabbed, neither of which is true. However, the show organizers once again put their foot right in it with a leaden response as reported by Pantozzi:
They stated that their attendees and their team were adults, and it was all a bit of fun that people wouldn’t take seriously. A direct quote from the email ’We thought about clarifying that cuddles must come with consent, but we thought if we’re always putting the rules in front of the fun – well that hurts the spirit of Fan Expo as much as the people that try to abuse our rules.” They also stated that they hadn’t gotten around to putting their harassment policy up yet, but had made it a priority.
Eventually the show—which was just held this weekend—did put up their harassment policy and I guess everyone had a good time
I think both these incidents show that some convention organizers are not hep to the fact that along with the growth of con culture, as more and more people attend these shows, and more and more attend to see the cosplay and the audience becomes more and more diverse, cons have become a big, hot petri dish of social interaction, with all the potential for disaster that entails. There have been rapes at conventions; there have been stalkers; there have been all kinds of harassment, and this is not an imaginary thing or crying wolf but real incidents.
Convention organizers need to get it into their heads that no one is trying to “stop the fun” by pointing out inappropriate promotions; what people who call them out on it are trying to do is MAKE SURE that everyone has a fun time, and it isn’t ruined by an ugly incident. That should be the goal of everyone in a position of authority at all times.Display Comments Add a Comment
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