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1. Book Review-A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

 
Title:  A Little in Love
Author:  Susan Fletcher
Series:   N/A
Published:  October 2014 by Chicken House Books
Length:  288  pages
Source:  Cheezyfeet Books
Summary :  As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.

Review: Eponine Thenadier lies in a Parisian street, seventeen years old, dying.  As she does so, she remembers how her life progressed in such a way from a spoilt childhood and years of cheating and stealing to taking a bullet for the boy she loves.
I wanted to read this because I have a love for the musical  of Les Miserables and an appreciation for the book (see here for my review). Eponine is one of my favourite characters because she has to stand up for herself and no one fights for her, and I was looking forwards to seeing a backstory for her.
It's interesting seeing the formative years through the eyes of Eponine. We know that her parents were abusive towards Cosette, but the extent they are to Eponine and sister Azelma in their treatment isn't one you think about when seeing or reading Les Mis.
I liked the fact that in little ways, Eponine attempts to redeem herself. Her development is very thorough and wonderful to watch. Sadly, I don't think any of the other characters got the same treatment, which would have been interesting to see.
I didn't like the fact that it randomly slips into French for a couple of words at a time. I don't mean where we need words like sou or Les Halles for nouns or specifically French things. it's just occasional phrases.  Oui. Excuzez-moi, mon pere. C'est un joli matin. It's just one of my little pet hates, if it's not a language that is foreign to the focaliser and the thing that is being said has a perfectly good English equivalent (yes, excuse me, father, it’s a pretty morning). We understand that Eponine is speaking and thinking in French, and the little random changes are noticable and get on my nerves.
The plot progresses gently.  It fills in the gaps of Hugo’s novel where the focus is on Cosette and Les Amis. At times, it drags, but my interest levels did stay up enough for me to not give up.
However,  my heart for Eponine. Fletcher does very well in making you empathise with her, and  Especially with the little quote from The Brick at the start, in both French and English- j'etais un peu amoureuse de vous . Please excuse me while I go cry.


Overall:  Stregth 3 tea. I really liked the idea and Eponine's development, but it lacked depth in other areas.





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2. Jewelry Boxes, first gifts, and stories

Downsizing isn't easy, but it must be done if we are to become more mobile for this move to Scotland. I'm realizing that a photo of a precious item can sometimes be enough to keep - that I often don't need the actual item. What I do need is the trigger for that memory. Because I plan to use these memories in my writing. Strong writing comes from being able to relate experiences that feel true and I have a lifetime to draw upon.
     One item I let go of was the first gift I ever received from a boy...
     My 5th birthday was looming and somehow Danny came into my life. He lived in a neighborhood that backed up to ours in Maryland. I don't recall how we met, but I do remember standing on the back stoop to our house. If I stepped off or tried to open the door to go inside, Danny would run forward to tickle me. He made me laugh - I like him!
     When I finally did make it inside, I asked my mother if Danny could come to my birthday party. He did! And he gave me a lovely jewelry box as a gift - a music box. It used to have a little ballerina that spun around with the music, but that disappeared long ago. It remained one of my most precious possessions for many years...until I realized it was the memory I cherished. The photo is enough to trigger the memory, and that is what I hold dear and what I will use - that first feeling of a heart in play. The jewelry box hasn't shown up in any of my stories yet, but I imagine it's just a matter of time. Meanwhile, maybe some other little girl is enjoying it.

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3. Vermeer-inspired poetry

white2

Vermeer in Hell
by Michael White
2013
http://www.perseabooks.com/detail.php?bookID=114

from publisher’s website:
Through the paintings of Vermeer, Michael White explores new landscapes and transforms familiar ones in this extraordinary new collection of poems. This captivating masterwork transports us across eras and continents, from Confederate lynchings to the bombing of Dresden, through its lyrical inhabitations of some of Vermeer’s most revered paintings, each one magically described and renewed. More than mere ekphrasis, Michael White explores the transformative possibilities of great art in his fourth collection.

reviews:
“Vermeer in Hell is Michael White’s museum of ghosts and shades, of narratives woven masterfully out of the personal and historical alike—out of the lived, the envisioned, the loved, and the terrible. Rarely have I felt the ekphrastic to be as dramatic as in White’s tour through the portraits of Vermeer, with its history of fiery damages, wars and afflictions, but also its own depiction of ‘love’s face as it is.’ Out of Michael White’s vision, each poem achieves for us the delicacy and durability of Vermeer’s own art.”
—David Baker

“Nearly every one of Michael White’s new poems is the equivalent of a quiet stroll through a blazing fire, igniting the reader’s imagination. His insights are frightening and comforting at the same time, his craft allowing for the most surprising and thrilling of associations. Vermeer in Hell is a collection that belongs in the room with all of the traditions of our language’s poetry, but it brings something completely original to us, too. It is not an overstatement to call this poetry Genius.”
—Laura Kasischke

“In these elegant, powerful poems, Michael White pays homage to a great painter while engaging social realities that affect us all. They are brave, beautiful poems linked by authentic vision and a sensitive, educated ear.”
—Sam Hamill

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4. Free First Five Pages Workshop with Agent Shelby Sampsel Opens in One Week!

Our February workshop will open for entries at noon EST on Saturday, February 7, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have the very talented Chelsea Pitcher, author of THE LAST CHANGELING.  If that wasn’t enough, in the final week agent Shelby Sampsel will not only review the first five pages, but a query letter too!

FEBRUARY GUEST MENTOR: Chelsea Pitcher

Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.
Chelsea’s paranormal fantasy, THE LAST CHANGELING, is available now!

 A Kingdom at War . . .

Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.” 

A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .

To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.
 









We are thrilled to announce that Shelby Sampsel of the Vicky Bijur Literary Agency will be our guest agent for February – and Shelby has agreed to review a query letter, too! See below for Shelby’s bio!

Shelby Sampsel joined the Vicky Bijur Literary Agency after graduating from NYU. She comes to the agency with previous internship experience at Thomas Dunne Books, Simon and Schuster, Tor Books, Penguin Group, the Maria Carvainis Agency, and McIntosh and Otis. She is interested in Young Adult and New Adult Fiction as well as memoirs with a strong voice.

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5. Vermeer-related publication

beholder

The Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing
Mar 16, 2015
by Laura J. Snyder
http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?id=4294985240

from the publisher’s website:
In Eye of the Beholder, Laura J. Snyder transports us to the streets, inns, and guildhalls of seventeenth-century Holland, where artists and scientists gathered, and to their studios and laboratories, where they mixed paints and prepared canvases, ground and polished lenses, examined and dissected insects and other animals, and invented the modern notion of seeing. With charm and narrative flair Snyder brings Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek—and the men and women around them—vividly to life. The story of these two geniuses and the transformation they engendered shows us why we see the world—and our place within it—as we do today.

reviews:
“Laura Snyder is both a masterly scholar and a powerful storyteller. In Eye of the Beholder, she transports us to the wonder-age of seventeenth-century Holland, as new discoveries in optics were shaping the two great geniuses of Delft—Vermeer and van Leeuwenhoek—and changing the course of art and science forever. A fabulous book.”
— Oliver Sacks

Eye of the Beholder is a thoughtful elaboration of the modern notion of seeing. Laura J. Snyder delves into the seventeenth century fascination with the tools of art and science, and shows how they came together to help us make sense of what is right in front of our eyes.”
— Russell Shorto, author of Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City

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6. Curious George's Crane (2014)

Board Book: Curious George's Crane. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One day out his window George looks and sees a bright shiny crane as high as the trees!

Premise/plot: The book is one of four in the "mini-movers-shaped" board book series starring Curious George. There's also a train, a firetruck, and a dump truck.  The arm of the crane is movable. But the wheels are not. The text is simple, as you'd expect, and features George investigating a construction site. What are they building? A playground!

My thoughts: Not particularly thrilling for adults to read. But for a construction-obsessed toddler, this one probably has some appeal. The book also has press-out pieces so kids can play construction on their own. I'm not sure if these pieces would really work and stand up to repeated use. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. College Arts Association 2015 Annual Meeting Conference Guide

The Oxford University Press staff is happy that the College Arts Association 2015 Annual Conference (11-14 February 2015) will be held in our backyard: New York City! So we gathered together to discuss what we’re interested in seeing at this year’s conference, as well as some suggestions for those visiting our city.

Alodie Larson, Editorial:
I look forward to CAA. I love having the opportunity to meet authors, see old friends, and get together with the outstanding group of scholars who make up the Editorial Board for Grove Art. The years that New York hosts CAA are low-key for me, as I don’t need to travel. 

I recommend heading to MoMA to hold meetings over coffee and snacks in their cafes. If you need a break from the din of the conference and/or architectural inspiration, slip over to Cram and Goodhue’s beautiful St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue for a moment of quiet reflection.

Joy Mizan, Marketing:
This will be my first time attending CAA with OUP. I’m excited to help set up our booth and display our latest books and online products in Art, but I’m really excited to meet our authors, board members, and academics to learn more about their interest in Art. (It’s always great to meet in person after only interacting over email or the phone.)

Need a place to eat? There’s a great food cart called Platters right outside the hotel, so I definitely suggest attendees try it out while in NYC. It opens at 7:00 p.m. though!

Sarah Pirovitz, Editorial:
I’m thrilled to be attending CAA this year as an acquiring editor for monographs and trade titles. I look forward to hearing about interesting new projects and connecting with scholars and friends in the field.

Mohamed Sesay, Marketing:
I’m delighted to attend my first CAA conference with Oxford University Press. This conference will be a great opportunity to meet authors in person, and to get to know some of our Art consumers.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat in New York City I suggest Landmarc in Columbus Circle. The restaurant has great food and it’s right next to Central Park.

Here are just a few of the sessions that caught our eyes:

  • The Trends in Art Book Publishing, on 10 February at 6:00 p.m. in the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium (Yes, we work in publishing!)
  • Original Copies: Art and the Practice of Copying, on 11 February at 9:30 a.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor South
  • Building a Multiracial American Past (Association for Critical Race Art History), on 11 February at 12:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor Center
  • Making Sense of Digital Images Workshop, on 11 February at 2:30 p.m.
  • CAA Convocation and Awards Presentation, including Dave Hickey’s Keynote Address, on 11 February at 5:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, East Ballroom
  • Chelsea Gallery District Walking Tour, on 12 February at 12:00 p.m.
  • Presenting a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (CAA Committee on Intellectual Property), on 13 February at 12:30 p.m.
  • New York 1880: Art, Architecture, and the Establishment of a Cultural Capital on 13 February at 2:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Beekman Parlor
  • Art Lovers and Literaturewallahs: Communities of Image and Text in South and Southeast Asia (American Council for Southern Asian Art), on 14 February at 9:30 am in the Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, Rendezvous Trianon
  • The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd Edition (Oxford University Press – that’s us!) on 14 February at 12:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor Center

Of course, we hope to see you at Oxford University Press booth 1215. We’ll be offering the chance to:

  • Check out which books we’re featuring.
  • Browse and buy our new and bestselling titles on display at a 20% conference discount.
  • Get free trial access to our suite of online products.
  • Pick up sample copies of our latest art journals.
  • Enter our raffle for free OUP books.
  • Meet all of us!

And don’t forget to learn more about the conference on the official website, or follow along on social media with the #CAA2015 hashtag.

Featured Image: Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct @ DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC by Axel Taferner. CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The post College Arts Association 2015 Annual Meeting Conference Guide appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Curious George's Train (2014)

Board Book: Curious George's Train. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Choo-choo! Choo-choo! The engine's pulling in. George is so excited for the train ride to begin!

Premise/Plot: George and one of his friends--a boy, not the man in the yellow hat--are going for a train ride. George is excited, of course. Don't expect this curious little monkey to get into trouble during the ride. It doesn't happen. He stays in his seat like a good little monkey. The text is simple; it rhymes. It's okay. Nothing special.

My thoughts: This was an okay book for me. I liked that this book is in the style of the original Curious George. And I do think that there's always, always a demand for more train books. This one works well enough for that need at least. The wheels on the front cover do spin a little. This book like Curious George's Crane features press-out pieces for children to play with.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Teaching the Teachers FLOW as part of the William Penn Foundation funded education program

Last year I shared the extraordinary news that my river autobiography, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, was selected as a core element in a William Penn Foundation-funded program designed "to improve environmental education in Philadelphia middle schools."

The first sweep of teachers is now meeting every Saturday morning at the Water Works (pictured above) to build the sweeping curriculum that will change the way children learn in my city. This morning, I'm joining my dear friend Adam Levine there on site to contribute to this program. Adam will be sharing his huge knowledge of secret city water ways and streams that have become sewers. I'll be teaching the teachers how to teach Flow, giving them writing exercises and critiquing ideas.


And so into the frosty cold we go....

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10. Vermeer-related article

“Most rare workmen”: Optical practitioners in early seventeenth-century Delft”
Huib J. Zuidervaart and Marlise Rijks
The British Journal for the History of Science, pp. 1 – 33, (March 2014)

online article can be accessed at:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9202672&fileId
=S0007087414000181

abstract:
A special interest in optics among various seventeenth-century painters living in the Dutch city of Delft has intrigued historians, including art historians, for a long time. Equally, the impressive career of the Delft microscopist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek has been studied by many historians of science. However, it has never been investigated who, at that time, had access to the mathematical and optical knowledge necessary for the impressive achievements of these Delft practitioners. We have tried to gain insight into Delft as a ‘node’ of optical knowledge by following the careers of three minor local figures in early seventeenth-century Delft. We argue that through their work, products, discussions in the vernacular and exchange of skills, rather than via learned publications, these practitioners constituted a foundation on which the later scientific and artistic achievements of other Delft citizens were built. Our Delft case demonstrates that these practitioners were not simple and isolated craftsmen; rather they were crucial components in a network of scholars, savants, painters and rich virtuosi. Decades before Vermeer made his masterworks, or Van Leeuwenhoek started his famous microscopic investigations, the intellectual atmosphere and artisanal knowledge in this city centered on optical topics.

Especially of interest is the authors’ tie between three optical practitioners who lived in Delft simultaneously with Vermeer. One of them, Jacob Spoors, was in 1674 the notary of Vermeer and his mother-in-law Maria Thins. Another was an acquaintance of Spoors, the military engineer Johan van der Wyck, who made an optical device in Delft in 1654, most likely a camera obscura. A report about the demonstration in nearby The Hague has been preserved. Van der Wyck also made telescopes and microscopes and an apparatus that probably was a kind of perspective box. As a telescope maker he was preceded by Evert Harmansz Steenwyck, brother-in- law of the Leiden painter David Bailly and father of two Delft still-life painters: Harman and Pieter Steenwyck. The latter was familiar with Vermeer’s father Reynier Jansz Vermeer, at a time when the young Vermeer was still living with his parents. According to the authors, this is the first real archival evidence that such a device existed in Delft during Vermeer’s life.

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11. Pesona Kawah Putih Bandung


<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->Kawah Putih Bandung adalah salah satu objek wisata yang banyak dikunjungi oleh warga di sekitar Bandung maupun wisatawan yang datang dari luar daerah. Kawah Putih ini mulai terkenal sejak tahun 1837 ketika seorang berkebangsaan Jerman yang mulai meneliti dan menemukan tempat ini.


pesona-kawah-putih-bandung

Sejarah Singkat Kawah Putih
Dikatakan bahwa ahli botani berkebangsaan Jerman tersebut sangat penasaran dengan keadaan di desa yang sangat sunyi dari kicauan burung.Tentu saja ini menyebabkan rasa penasaran serta keingintahuan penyebab fenomena tersebut. 
Berbekal cerita yang beredar di masyarakat, yaitu, terdapat sebuah tempat angker yang selalu menyebabkan burung-burung mati apabila melewatinya, kemudian ahli botani berkebangsaan Jerman tersebut mulai menjelajah dan mencari tahu apakah kebenaran atau fakta yang disampaikan oleh warga tersebut bisa dipercaya atau tidak. Dalam perjalanannya tersebut sang ahli botani kemudian menemukan Kawah Putih. dan ternyata uap dikawah inilah yang menyebabkan burung mati.

Objek Wisata Kawah Putih
Hingga saat ini Kawah Putih merupakan tujuan favorit wisata warga di sekitaran Bandung karena tempat ini memiliki pemandangan alam yang sangat indah serta tentunya Kawah Putih yang menjadi daya tarik utama.
Selain kawah yang berwarna putih di sekitar tempat ini juga terdapat tanah yang berwarna putih. Kawah yang berada di Ciwidey tersebut sebenarnya adalah kawah yang berada di kawasan pegunungan. Gunung ini tingginya sekitar 2.400 meter di atas permukaan laut.
Pada musim dingin biasanya suhu di tempat ini turun sangat drastis mencapai 80 celcius.Namun pada hari-hari biasa suasananya lebih hangat dan mencapai 220 celsius.Walau demikian bagi anda yang tidak terbiasa dengan kondisi cuaca dingin kemang, cobalah untuk selalu membekali diri dengan baju hangat atau jaket dan syal.
Kawah Putih memiliki air yang sangat jernih dan kadang-kadang berwarna kehijau-hijauan.Hal tersebut dikarenakan kandungan belerang yang terdapat di sekitar kawah.Bukit-bukit hijau yang ditumbuhi semak belukar merupakan pemandangan yang jamak kita temukan ditempat ini.
Akomodasi Kawah Putih
Akomodasi dan fasilitas di Kawah Putih, akomodasi dan fasilitas sudah lumayan lengkap karena telah memiliki beberapa akomodasi standar seperti area parkir, transportasi, pusat informasi, toilet, restoran dan warung makan.
Akses menuju kawah putih
Untuk mencapai tempat ini anda bisa mengaksesnya dari jalur Tol Cipularang dan keluar di pintu Tol Kopo.Kemudian melanjutkan perjalanan menuju Soreang.Setelah itu anda akan tiba di Ciwidey.Jika anda tidak memiliki kendaraan pribadi anda juga masih bisa menggunakan angkot untuk datang ke tempat ini.
Untuk bisa masuk ke kawasan Kawah Putih biasanya anda harus membayar tiket masuk atau biaya kontribusi sebesar Rp. 15.000 per orang.
Namun sangat disayangkan bahwa ongkos parkir di tempat ini sangatlah mahal.Terutama jika anda ingin membawa kendaraan hingga ke dekat lokasi kawah.Untuk parkir di atas, kendaraan roda 4 biasanya dihargai Rp. 150.000, sedangkan roda dua dihargai Rp. 35.000.Namun jika anda tidak ingin biaya terlalu mahal untuk parkir anda bisa parkir di bawah dan berjalan menuju kawah biaya parkir di bawah biasanya Rp. 6.000 untuk kendaraan roda empat, dan Rp. 5.000 untuk kendaraan roda dua.
Tips
Jangan lupa untuk membawa masker jika anda berkunjung ke Kawah Putih.

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12. Re-Post: Dear Committee Member

(This post was orignially published in January 2014, but I think it's fitting that I have friends serving on the award committees this year and I want them to read this encouragement once again and know it's for them too!)

Dear Committee Member-

On the eve of the youth media awards and your committee announcements, I offer you some words of advice from someone who has been there before.

Your choices are amazing. You have done a fantastic job and worked the hardest you have ever worked over the past year. You have read, and re-read, and re-read yet again, taken notes, analyzed, and discussed titles in more depth than you ever thought possible. Your hard work is appreciated.

When the announcement happens and your choices are known, just remember that your titles are amazing. You know why you honored the books you did and now you get to share those amazing titles with the world. You get to watch as others read them and discuss them and discover the intricacies in the plot, setting, characters, and voice that you did. Be proud that you get to share these titles with readers everywhere. Be proud that you have honored an author for their incredible work. Be proud that you get to highlight literary excellence in children's and young adult literature.

Be happy with your choices and don't listen to any naysayers. They don't know these titles as well as you and your fellow committee members. Remember it's not about popularity. That popular mock favorite that you didn't honor? It's OK. The obscure title that surprised everyone? It's OK. The title that everyone has mixed opinions on? It's OK. No matter what you choose, your titles are worth reading, worth knowing, and worth sharing. It doesn't matter if the honored titles don't match everyone's expectations-you know why your books were honored and be proud of giving these books a chance to shine. Feel good about sharing these fantastic titles with readers everywhere and giving them books to discover (or re-discover).

Understand that you just undertook a year of immense critical reading and it's OK to take a break from reading. Your work was exhausting and you deserve a chance to step away from books and not read for awhile. It doesn't make you a bad librarian or a bad reader-you deserve a break. Come back to reading when you're ready-and read something you want to read and find fun. And don't be surprised if the way you read has forever changed-you'll find yourself reading critically, but you can also give yourself a break and read for fun-and sometimes those things will intertwine.

Feel good about the work you did and be proud of your committee. Seek out your titles in a bookstore and library and feel proud when you see that shiny sticker placed on the cover.  Be excited when you get to booktalk one of your titles and share it with a reader. And share away-that's one of the best parts of committee work-sharing your titles with others and getting them to read the books you worked hard to honor.

Thank you for your amazing year of reading and re-reading. Thank you for taking the time to discuss titles with your fellow committee member. Thank you for working hard to shine a light on great titles and honoring the best children's and young adult literature has to offer. Thank you for your amazing list of titles and congrats on a job well done! We're all cheering you on!

Now sit back and enjoy celebrating your hard work over the next year!


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13. Little Red's Riding 'Hood (2015)

Little Red's Riding 'Hood. Peter Stein. Illustrated by Chris Gall. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Here and there, up and down, in and out, Little Red loved riding around his 'hood. One day, Big Blue Mama gave Little Red an important job. "Poor Granny Putt Putt is feeling run-down," she said. "Her oil is muddy, her exhaust pipe's exhausted, and her wiper fluid is wiped out. Please take her this basket of goodies right away."

Well. I almost don't know what to say about it. It's unusual and original all in one, I suppose. I'd never have thought about retelling the tale of Little Red Riding Hood in this way. The book is set in Vroomville, and all the characters are machines. Little Red is a scooter; Granny Put-Put is a golf cart; and the Big Bad Wolf, well, he's a very mean monster truck. The story is familiar enough, I suppose, in the end, yet it has an original feel to it. That doesn't mean that I personally love it.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. hourly comic day: how it works

The first of February is annual Hourly Comics Day! That's tomorrow (Sunday)! If you've ever wanted to try your hand at comics but not known where to start, this is a great way to do it with lots of other people.



How to do it:

1. Draw a comic for every hour you're awake.

2. Load it onto your blog.

3. If you have access to Twitter, tweet it using the #HourlyComicDay hash tag.

4. Browse around and see what other people have done! Leave comments, they'll love it.


You can also submit it to the tencentticker website (here's last year's forum you can browse). Some people even print it up later and sell copies at comics festivals, but don't let that pressure you into trying to make it too perfect; you can do it very roughly, just for fun.

It was first started in 2006 by John Campbell and most people make it about what they're actually doing in their day, so it's a slice of life, but you don't have to do it that way. It's very informal, no one really runs it, but it's great fun seeing the other contributions. It feels more social doing it on the actual day than any other day because you can see people chatting about it on Twitter, but a few of us aren't able to do it on Sunday - a work day's easier for me - so we're going to do it on Monday. Some people tweet each hour as they go and other people save it all up to scan and post the next morning.

Keep an eye on the hashtag if you want to see conversation about it! (You don't even have to be on Twitter to watch.) Here are a couple of mine from previous years.

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15. I left my heart on a park bench and a pigeon used it as a nest…

feathered heart


Filed under: children's illustration, flying, moon, pigeons, songs

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16. My tweets

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17. My Totally I̶r̶r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ Rational Fears

Is it weird that I want bus drivers to like me?


I was thinking about this the other day.  Like, why does it matter if I'm on their good side?


I've never seen the same driver twice.  It's kind of an irrational fear.


But then I thought


Is it really that irrational?


I mean, nothing's really stopping THIS


from happening.



















Later...



*******





Another Totally Rational Fear I have:

Why waiters scare the tar outta me.

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18. My tweets

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19. Catching up with Sara Levine, Multimedia Producer

Another week, another great staff member to get to know. When you think of the world of publishing, the work of videos, podcasts, photography, and animated GIFs doesn’t immediately come to mind. But here at Oxford University Press we have Sara Levine, who joined the Social Media team as a Multimedia Producer just last year.

When did you start working at OUP?

I started working at OUP this past August, three months after completing my Master’s degree at Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program.

How did you get started in multimedia production?

I’ve been drawing comics and making short videos since I was a kid. My first big hit was in high school. I wrote, directed, filmed, and edited a parody of Wuthering Heights called “Withering Estates.” I played Heathcliff. No, it’s not on YouTube.

What is your typical day like at OUP?

My workdays at OUP vary depending on the projects that I’m currently working on. I’m usually filming, animating, drawing, recording audio, editing footage, or multi-tasking any of the above.

sara-as-heathcliff
“Sara as Heathcliff.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What will you be doing once you’ve completed this Q&A?

After I complete this Q&A I’m going to continue making illustrations for an animated short I’m producing for the Oxford Dictionaries YouTube channel.

What gear or software are you obsessed with right now?

I learn something new about Adobe After Effects every time I use it. The unlimited amount of techniques and shortcuts in After Effects seems daunting at first, but I really enjoy exploring everything it can do.

What are you reading right now?

I just started reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. I have a bad habit of reading books too quickly (developed over years of tearing through Harry Potter books on their release dates), so I’m trying to pace myself with this one.

batwoman
“Batwoman.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What’s your favorite book?

Instead of one favorite book, I’m going to list five of my favorite comics:

  • Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
  • The Long Journey by Boulet
  • Pancakes by Kat Leyh
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Which book-to-movie adaptation did you actually like?

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed teen movies that are modern adaptations of older works. Films like Clueless, She’s the Man, O, Easy A, and 10 Things I Hate About You are very clever and sometimes overlooked because of their target demographic.

sara-backpack
“Sara’s backpack.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What is in your backpack right now?

A Maruman Mnemosyne sketchbook, a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet, Orlando, a manual for the Canon C100, a pencil case, a red umbrella, a disposable rain poncho, a pear, and a small bag of gluten-free pretzels.

Most obscure talent or hobby?

I’m not sure how obscure this is, but I played the French horn for about eight years. The experience gave me very powerful lungs and some great French horn jokes.

What do you do for fun?

I make more multimedia, of course! You can find my doodles, comics, .gifs, and videos under the handle “morphmaker” on Twitter, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Deviantart. I also run a podcast with my sister. It’s called Sara & Allison Talk TV. We discuss television shows and web series that feature central female characters and include elements of fantasy, action, and science fiction.

The post Catching up with Sara Levine, Multimedia Producer appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Peter Turchi on the value of sideways drafts, in A MUSE AND A MAZE

Last Friday evening, at an intimate salon, I had the privilege of hearing Peter Turchi, author of Maps of the Imagination, tease us toward his gorgeously crafted new book, A Muse and a Maze.

(Read that title fast, and you'll get the point.)

Like the best of books, this one won't be easily classified. Puzzles and magic abound. Commentary on obsessions. Quotes on sentence rhythms. Forays into slow time. A slice from Bruce Springsteen (yes, my friends, that Bruce Springsteen). A few helpful definitions illuminating genres, puzzles, and mysteries. I'm not finished reading yet. It's not the sort of book one rushes. But an hour or so ago I came across Turchi's reflections on the real purpose of multiple drafts, and I knew that I could be accused of gross selfishness if I did not stop and share. I live for the next draft with my own work. I've gone horizontal-vertical-down-out-up, and if one were to apply aesthetic measures to my draft sequences one would shake one's head in pity. One Thing Stolen, my new novel, is the perfect example of a book that took more than a little swish and swirl (and more than a few tears, but I did not drown) before it found itself. But that is a story for another day.

With no further ado, then, Peter Turchi:
To learn to dwell in our work is to use drafts to explore, with the understanding that our movement toward the final draft of a story or poem or novel is likely to include not only lateral movement but backward movement, and circular movement, and movement we can't confidently describe. Because to insist to ourselves that each draft carry a story toward closure is, necessarily, to limit the possibilities. Every choice must then at least seem to be an improvement on what's currently on the page, part of a straight-line progression, rather than an alternative to what's on the page, movement within a larger plane. We need to allow ourselves to pursue hunches, to discover, in the words of Robert Sternberg, nonobvious pieces of information and, even more important, nonobvious relationships between new information and information already in our memory.

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21. What I Make

Logos  •  Icons  •  Emoticons

Characters  •  Packaging

Brochures  •  CD Covers

Books and Magazines

Ads • Product Renderings

Textiles  •  Posters

Banners  •  Illustrations

Silk Screen Prints

And So Much More...

       

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22. Vermeer-inspired memoir

white1

Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir
by Michael White
2015
http://www.perseabooks.com/detail.php?bookID=113

from the publisher’s webpage:
In the midst of a bad divorce, the poet Michael White unexpectedly discovers the consoling power of Johannes Vermeer’s radiant vision. Over the course of a year, he travels to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Washington D.C., New York, and London to view twenty-four paintings, including nearly all of Vermeer’s major work.

“A certain chain of events has left me open, on a startlingly deep level, to Vermeer’s gaze, to his meditation on our place on earth,” White writes.

Part travelogue, part soul-searching investigation into romantic love and intimate discourse on art, this erudite and lyrical memoir encompasses the author’s past–his difficult youth, stint in the Navy, alcoholism, and the early death of his first wife–and ends with his finding grace and transformation through deeply affecting encounters with the paintings of Vermeer, an artist obsessed with romance and the inner life, who has captivated millions, from the seventeenth century until now.

reviews:
“All the sorrow of love is compressed into White’s memoir. But so, too, is all the consolation of art. Nothing I’ve read…suggests so eloquently what [Vermeer’s paintings] hold for a contemporary viewer…Figures it took a poet to get it this beautifully, thrillingly right.”
— Peter Trachtenberg

“[Travels in Vermeer] touches on the mysteries of seduction, loss, and the artistic impulse. It shows how time can be interrupted.”
—Clyde Edgerton

“This book is a treasure and a guide. It is a type of healing for the intellect and the heart.”
—Rebecca Lee

about the author:
Michael White is the author of four collections of poetry and a memoir, Travels in Vermeer (Persea 2015), and has published widely in respected periodicals, including The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Western Humanities Review, and the Best American Poetry. White teaches poetry and is presently chair of the Creative Writing department at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

publisher’s webpage:
http://www.perseabooks.com/detail.php?bookID=114

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23. Daffodils

Daffodils-01

Sometimes beauty is its own reason. These daffodils (any daffodils really) bring me joy.  Building these vector flowers was every bit a love affair. As with every project, I get to practice what I know and stretch into areas unknown. For those of you that know Illustrator, the leaves are brushes with the twist built in. The flowers themselves are blends, and radial and linear gradients (no gradient mesh).

Whenever a sign of spring is needed, this little beauty is there to remind me.

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24. The Action Art of Mort Kunstler


On Thursday we visited the exhibition "Mort Kunstler: The Art of Adventure" at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  
Mort Kunstler, "Buried Alive for Four Months," Stag Magazine, 1965.

The exhibit spans his entire career, celebrating his well-known Civil War paintings, but I'd like to focus here on his earlier work for the men's action magazines, which doesn't get exhibited as often. 

When Mort Kunstler started doing illustrations in the early 1950s, he said that the field of mainstream magazine story illustration was already beginning to die away. "Color photography and television was coming in," he says, and advertising money was going to television. Dramas were broadcast on TV instead of being published in magazines.


But there were over 130 separate titles of men's adventure magazines still going strong, catering to veterans of World War II. The magazines had names like Adventure, Real, True, Saga, Stag, Swank and For Men Only

The illustrations were often printed in limited color palettes, such as red and black, and they required tight deadlines. Kunstler produced a vast output of complex images, usually staged with maximum drama and sex appeal. Most of these early paintings were executed in gouache on board.



Still at the easel in his 80s, Mort has remained busy for all these decades, with one assignment or painting idea following another. He has done it all: movie posters, plastic model box covers, commercial advertisements, and limited edition art prints.


He painted this spoof on Jaws for Mad magazine. He wasn't sure if it would alienate his fans, so he signed it "Mutz," just one of his pseudonyms.


In the 1970s, after the era of men's magazines was over, he painted paperback covers, such as "The Kansan," above. He switched to oil paint, and found his main calling painting scenes from American history, particularly documenting epic moments from the Civil War. 

All these aspects of his career are well represented in the three large rooms of the exhibition, along with examples of his preliminary sketches, comprehensive drawings, and tearsheets that show his process.

The exhibition "Mort Kunstler: The Art of Adventure" will be on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through March 8. 

Books:

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25. Vermeer-related film

onscreen

Girl with a Pearl earring and other Treasures from the Mauritshuis
produced by Exhibition on Screen
in cinemas from 13 January
http://www.exhibitiononscreen.com/girl-with-a-pearl-earring

from Exhibition on Screen’ website:
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most enduring paintings in the history of art. Even today, its recent world tour garnered huge queues lining up for the briefest glimpse of its majestic beauty – In Japan 1.2 million people saw the exhibition. Yet the painting itself is surrounded in mystery. This beautifully filmed new documentary seeks to investigate the many unanswered questions associated with this extraordinary piece. Who was this girl? Why and how was it painted? Why is it so revered?

After its world tour, the Girl with a Pearl Earring returned to the much-loved Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands, which has just completed extensive renovations. Enjoying unparalleled exclusive access to this historical exhibition, the film takes the audience on a journey as it seeks to answer many of the questions surrounding this enigmatic painting and its mysterious creator, Vermeer. Using the recently completed and highly complex makeover of the museum as its starting point, the film goes on a behind the scenes detective journey to seek out the answers that lie within the other masterpieces housed in the collection.

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