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1. J.K. Rowling Featured in the Guardian Weekend Conversation Special

The Guardian announced today, through Twitter, that J.K. Rowling would be one of the many names taking part in their “Conversations Special” of their weekend edition. The tweet released a promotional picture featuring J.K. Rowling and Lauren Laverne.


The Weekend edition of the Guardian is out tomorrow!

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2. Success Story

Dave Fragments reports:

Dear EE,
This is a success story in two ways.

1) Last May or June you offered to edit 70K words for a charitable donation to FARM SANCTUARY in place of the Brenda Novak Fund Raiser. Farm Sanctuary and I have a happy relationship. I took your edits and worked the stories into an anthology. It is now in print and Kindle format and available for sale. The links are below.

2) I checked through Blogger and 8 of the stories were “New Beginnings” and 1 story started out as a “Writing Exercise.” For some reason (unknown to me) 1 story I just wrote. I make those stories in the blurbs below.
Thanks for your blog and all the effort it takes.

FUTURES YET UNKNOWN: Dreams Become Reality
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
-A hunting expedition on an alien world -- NB-821
-An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas
-Murder on an alien world with altered humans -- NB-851
-A new frankenstein, conceived in metal with a human brain -- NB-868
-A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots -- NB-971
-Devils, demons and ghosts come to visit -- NB-246
-Ambitious survivors of a plague war -- NB-974
-Cyborgs trying to be human once again -- writing exercise 2 Dec 2007
-Six friends in the strangest sinkhole ever discovered -- NB-925
-The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope -- NB-1038

CreateSpace, print -- https://www.createspace.com/55454
Amazon Kindle -- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018F1FWQ2
Amazon US, print -- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1514242613
Amazon UK, print -- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Futures-Yet-Dreams-Become-Reality/dp/1514242613/

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3. Periwinkle Sky Shop is Open for a short time

Hi! The PeriwinkleSky Shop will be open for a 
small window of time before Christmas
Nov. 26- Dec 9th
(Afterwards, the shop will be closed for the Holidays)  
The shop will be open only a few weeks a year, 
I plan to spend time with family and friends, 
and work on new projects. 

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4. Chris Van Allsburg and Eric Carle Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

Dream Snow Cover (GalleyCat)We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending Nov. 22, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #3 in Hardcover Fiction) The Guilty by David Baldacci: “Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.” (Nov. 2015)

(Debuted at #6 in Children’s Illustrated) The Polar Express (The 30th Anniversary Edition) by Chris Van Allsburg: “A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole…” (Sept. 2015)

(Debuted at #8 in Children’s Illustrated) Dream Snow by Eric Carle: “It’s December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter’s nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! It is in his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket.” (Sept. 2000)

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5. Interview with Donna Maguire, Author of The Silly Willy Winston Series

BookBuzzr - Interview with Donna Maguire

In an effort to understand Children’s Book Authors, their inspirations, their writing process, their needs, their problems,… we reached out to Donna Maguire, author of the Silly Willy Winston series who after close to 40 years in the advertising business Donna left it behind to care for her grand niece and nephew in Nevada some years ago.

Donna believes that the love for reading is more nurture than nature and reads to her grand children often. It was this reading that led her to pursue her life-long passion of writing children’s books. A collection of 4 books and fifth in the making, Donna joined me for my first ever video interview. I’m so exited it turned out so well. :)

In the interview Donna answers my questions about -

  • her journey to becoming an author
  • her inspirations, her muse, her learnings
  • the challenges she has faced and what she did about them
  • marketing activities she has done and her learnings
  • why she has her own online store for her books & her favourite tools for book marketing
  • her plans for the next book launch and the Silly Willy Winston Review Club

You can see all of Donna’s books and read more about her at www.sillywillywinston.com. Also connect with her on Twitter at @DmmSilly and on her Facebook Page.



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6. Is the 30 Million Word Gap a stat we should be using?


Most recently, I read about it in the ALSC campaign Babies Need Words Everyday.


It was such a clear campaign with great graphics that we immediately hung up in our library’s bathroom. And, it had research to back it up – the introductory flyer said “By the time children from low-income families reach the age of four, they will have heard thirty million fewer words than their more advantaged peers.” The initiative was created in response to the Obama Administration’s 2014 call to increase early literacy initiatives to bridge the word gap. It uses the research that coined the 30 Million Word Gap as a talking point, and integrates newer research done by LENA or Dr. Dana Suskind, both of which use the “30 Million Word Gap” research as a framework for theirs. My colleague Claire Moore and I were curious about this statistic, and did some digging to learn more.

The “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3” by University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley was a 2003 article in American Educator (Spring: 4-9), which was an excerpt from their 1995 book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children. The research, although it has been used as a rallying cry in campaigns across the country (including Too Small to Fail, Thirty Million Words, and local initiatives), has been shown to have some disturbing issues.

The issues that other researchers and educators have found in this study include:


Here is a breakdown of their critiques.

Sample size

In their most cited body of research, the researchers visited 13 high-income families, 10 families of middle socioeconomic status, 13 of low socioeconomic status, and 6 families who were on public assistance in Kansas City one hour per month for two and a half years. They made 1,318 observations and counted vocabulary words spoken to children by parents. The families only included African-American and White families that spoke English; bilingual children do have slower rates of learning vocabulary, but have other skills that monolingual children do not have (Dufresny & Madsey, 2006). They then looked at the number of words heard by each child by SES and saw the gap that has been trumpeted over and over again. The average child on public assistance heard 616 words per hour, the working class child 1,251 words per hour, and the professional family’s child heard 2,153 words per hour of observation. This number was then greatly extrapolated to show that by age four, there was a 32 million word gap between the child receiving public assistance and the child in the professional class. This assumes that the year had 5200 hours and the big assumption: that the number of words heard in an hour during observation was typical.

Data coding

After the observations, the researchers coded the words the children were hearing from parents. They coded for “quality of interactions” and spent very little time explaining how these codes are backed up by research – in fact, their explanation cites extensive research, but the footnotes only contain a reference to look at their earlier research. Sarah Michaels, Professor of Education at Clark University, said, “Hart and Risley coded for upper middle class/academic or professional politeness and interactional patterns, found that the upper income families used more of them, and simply asserted that more of the quality features is better in producing learning-related outcomes. They identified upper and middle class features of talk, coded and counted them and found, guess what, they correlate with class” (p. 26, 2013). Other researchers say “…by taking the language practices of the middle- and upper-SES families in their sample as the standard, Hart and Risley transformed the linguistic differences they found among the welfare families in their study into linguistic deficiencies” (Dudley-Marling & Lucas, p. 365). The Hart and Risley study set up the working class families and families receiving public assistance to fail. Teresa McCarty, from the University of California Los Angeles, puts it well: “Cloaked in well-intentions— ‘giving children the competencies they need to succeed in school’ (Hart and Risley 1995:2)—gap discourse simultaneously constructs a logic of individual dysfunction, limitation, and failure while masking the systemic power inequities through which the logic is normalized” (Avinerini, et al, p. 71).


This deficiency thinking is similar to the reaction to a 1961 book by Oscar Lewis called The Children of Sanchez which coined the term “culture of poverty.” The book was an ethnographic study of small Mexican Communities that attributed 50 shared attitudes, such as violence and poor planning skills, to the larger culture of all poor people. Unfortunately, this deficit thinking is incredibly harmful to both those under the microscope and the educators (and librarians) who work with them. Paul Gorksy says “Deficit theorists use two strategies for propagating this worldview: (1) drawing on well-established stereotypes and (2) ignoring systemic conditions, such as inequitable access to high-quality schooling, that support the cycle of poverty” (2008). Again, by using a deficit framework, we obscure structural inequalities.

“Valence” or the emotional character of the words was also coded: affirmative, open-ended statements were seen as quality, whereas directive were seen as low quality. Again, no research was cited. There are many reasons why coding in this way without an explanation is wrong – mainly, that white, upper and middle class ways of speaking to their children were valued as quality. In a 2015 article, Gulnaz Saiyed says, “While middle-class activities do lead children to develop a sense of entitlement, individuality, and set them up to feel comfortable in schools, they deemphasize other childhood experiences. For example, many working-class parents do not overschedule their children with extracurricular activities. Instead, they provide opportunities for play, development of curiosity, creativity, and respect for different perspectives.” Another point brought up by Saiyed is how African American children are disciplined more harshly in school, and parents may be preparing them for that. Michaels (2013) agrees, saying “Again, I want to remind you that people from different cultures talk differently to infants, and no one approach or style has been shown to be cognitively superior to another in helping children acquire their native language or grow up to be smart” (p. 29).


In addition, mobile technology has changed parenting for all social statuses. In other research conducted by Dr. Dana Suskind, middle and upper class parents have other bad habits: “[Anne] Fernald, who sits on the scientific advisory board for Providence Talks, told me, “Some of the wealthiest families in our research had low word counts, possibly because they were on their gadgets all day. So you can see an intermingling at the extremes of rich and poor. Socioeconomic status is not destiny” (Talbot, 2015). The blanket assignation of the bad culture of poverty is harmful to all parents.


The research makes sweeping extrapolations for its findings. In their book Meaningful Differences, Hart and Risley assert that vocabulary is an important indicator for future success, but spend very little time explaining why: “Because the vocabulary that individuals can command reflects so well their intellectual resources, we still have oral examinations, and vocabulary plays a major role in tests of intelligence” (p. 6). There are no citations of other research that describes why vocabulary is indicates “intellectual resources” – instead, they talk about how it is easy to measure.


As a librarian, I understand the importance of vocabulary as one aspect of literacy. However, I don’t understand why this study allows vocabulary to be the main indicator for school success, or why specifically children as partners in the conversation (as opposed to overhearing conversations) was seen as so important. As Susan Blum says in “Invited Forum: Bridging the ‘Language Gap’” (Averini, et al, 2015), “Anthropological research shows, in fact, that addressing the youngest children as conversational partners is extremely unusual in the world” (p. 75). Are we sure that makes it better?

Michaels says, “The deeply destructive, pernicious thing about the Hart and Risley study is that it presents what seems like totally rigorous, careful, objective science (what under careful inspection is nothing more than pseudo-science)—that gives teachers, educators, policy makers the ‘proof’ they need to believe that these poor kids aren’t smart, aren’t good learners, don’t have adequate language to think well with” (p. 35).  As librarians, when we cite the 30 Million Word Gap, we run the risk of continuing to enforce the bias and classism that this study did, as do some of the initiatives that have cropped up around this study. “In effect, the word gap interventions propose that improving social and economic outcomes for poor and minority families can be as simple as training them to act more white and middle-class (and monitoring their compliance with a ‘word pedometer’)” (Saiyed, 2015). While Babies Need Words Everyday does not go as far as to install word pedometers on parents, and instead simply encourages them to speak with their babies, the issue is very different – but by using word gap and deficit thinking, we may be treading in dangerous territory.

What can we do?

As librarians, we can help support literacy skill-building for both parents and children with Babies Need Words Everyday’s colorful posters and in our storytimes and outreach efforts. As public libraries, we provide free support to parents of all classes who may be struggling to find time or resources to provide early literacy practices to their children. Families in poverty also get support from public libraries to help them combat the structural inequalities they face. We also have to make sure we are creative and reflexive about encouraging multiple literacies, such as (all of which are strengths of a diversity of groups):


As centers providing informal learning opportunities, libraries are the perfect spaces for encouraging multiple literacies. For instance, “Low-income children are more likely than their higher-income peers to be in factory-like classrooms that allow little interaction and physical movement. As a result, these children spend more time sitting, following directions and listening rather than discussing, debating, solving problems and sharing ideas” (McManus, 2015). ALSC members have many brilliant ideas for programming to combat this issue on this blog. What else can we do?

If we are truly invested in literacy equity as librarians, being engaged in understanding our own attitudes and resources is important. I feel hesitant to use the 30 Million Word Gap as a statistic in my storytimes because of what it implicates, and I wonder what you all think. Even the newer research by the LENA foundation and Dr. Dana Suskind use Hart and Risley’s flawed framework. The newly updated ALSC competencies are full of guidance about recognizing and responding to structural inequalities, being self-reflexive, and culturally competent. I’ll end with one of them.


-Many thanks to Claire Moore – this piece is the result our meetings and conversations and her editing skills.

Lisa Nowlain is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Fellow and Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT (you can be the next one! Apply by April 1 at www.darienlibrary.org/mcgrawfellowship) She is also an artist-type (see more at www.lisanowlain.com).

Sources cited

Avinerini, N., et al (2015). Invited Forum: Bridging the “Language Gap.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 25(1), pp. 66–86. Retrieved from  http://www.susanblum.com/uploads/4/7/2/1/4721639/jla_-_language_gap_forum_2015.pdf

Dudley-Marling, C. & Lucas, K. (May 2009) Pathologizing the Language and Culture of Poor Children. Language Arts, 86(5), pp. 362-370. http://academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/med/langpoor.pdf

Dufresne, T. & Masny, D. (November 2006). Multiple literacies: Linking the research on bilingualism and biliteracies to the practical. Paediatr Child Health, 11(9), pp 577–579. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528653/#b12-pch11577

Gorski, P (April 2008).  The Myth of the Culture of Poverty. Poverty and Learning, 65(7), pp 32-36. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr08/vol65/num07/The-Myth-of-the-Culture-of-Poverty.aspx

Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Paul H. Brookes: Baltimore.

Hart, B. & Risley, R. (Spring 2003). The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3. American Educator, 4(9).

McManus, M. (2015, October 12). Are some kids really smarter just because they know more words? The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/are-some-kids-really-smarter-just-because-they-know-more-words-47819

Michaels, S. (Autumn 2013). Déjà Vu All Over Again: What’s Wrong With Hart & Risley and a “Linguistic Deficit” Framework in Early Childhood Education? LEARNing Landscapes, 7(1), pp 23-41. Retrieved from http://www.learninglandscapes.ca/images/documents/ll-no13/michaels.pdf

Saiyed, G. & Smirnov, N. (2015, January 9) OpEd: Does ’30-Million Word Gap’ Have Gap in Authenticity? Chicago Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.chicago-bureau.org/oped-30-million-word-gap-gap-authenticity/

Talbot, Margo (2015, January 12). The Talking Cure. The New Yorker. Retrieved from  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/12/talking-cure
Other Resources

The post Is the 30 Million Word Gap a stat we should be using? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Stitching Together an Animated Leap of Faith: An Interview With ‘The Prophet’ Director Roger Allers

We spoke with Allers about awards season, women in animation, and why we still don't see enough anthology animation at the multiplex.

The post Stitching Together an Animated Leap of Faith: An Interview With ‘The Prophet’ Director Roger Allers appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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8. The Great Snape Debate

Ever since J.K. Rowling became more active on Twitter than posting twice a year, it has become almost impossible to report her Twitter activity as news–she’s on so often it’s difficult to keep up. It has also become a commonality in our lives: we sit, settle down with a mug of steaming hot tea, coffee, or coco, and spend too much time scrolling through J.K. Rowling’s Twitter feed, being thoroughly entertained by lively discussions.

J.K. Rowling has also been known to release a lot of Harry Potter “extras”–little tidbits and details from her imagination–and answer many fans’ Harry Potter questions. This morning, the same thing happened, but things got a little more interesting.

As fans, we have engaged in The Great Snape Debate for years and years. Snape is as grey as grey can be when it comes to good vs. evil, white vs. black. It can’t be denied the Snape was a hero, but it also cannot be denied that Snape was a bully. Does he qualify as an anti-hero?

This morning, J.K. Rowling jumped in on the debate–on accident, by simply answering one fan’s question that many of us have asked before–and her time line exploded. It is time to bring it about again, The Great Snape Debate. Check out what happened, and feel free to add your feelings and opinions to the debate in the comments below.

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We didn’t start the fire, but we are sure going to fan the flames a little and add to the discussion. I happen to be a very loyal Hufflepuff with an “I Love Snape” bumper sticker on the back of my car. However, I know that many of my fellow Leaky staffers who feel very differently about the subject matter. What do you think?

UPDATE: She’s just come back to Twitter to add more to the on-going debate….

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Yes, let’s!

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9. Maya Angelou Documentary Featured On Kickstarter

Bob HerculesRita Coburn Whack, and their team of filmmakers hope to raise $150,000 on Kickstarter for a documentary profiling the late Maya Angelou. For this project, the collaborators have interviewed several people who knew Dr. Angelou including President Bill Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and her son Guy Johnson. We’ve embedded a video about the new project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “Dr. Angelou has become a global symbol of peace, humility, and freedom–– but parts of her story are not well known. The Maya Angelou Documentary will reflect on how the events of history, culture, and the arts shaped Dr. Angelou’s life and how she, in turn, helped shape our own worldview through her autobiographical literature and activism. We hope to shed light on the untold aspects of her life and to educate audiences about her story.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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Heroes Beneath the Waves: Submarine Stories of the Twentieth Century 

Author Book Sale and Signing Holiday Event 
Event Type: Adults 
Date: 12/5/2015 
Start Time: 1:00 PM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Knox Rooms A+B+Great Hall
Description: Author signing event and book sale.
Other: The Library will showcase authors at this holiday book sale and signing event. Meet neighbors who are authors and have them autograph your purchases. Books make great gifts, so shop locally and support talented authors! Authors: please register for booth space beginning November 1. No charge. Space will be available on a 1st come 1st served basis.
I'll be there, join me. Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County

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11. Cover Revealed for New Emily Foster Book

Drowning Eyes Cover (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Emily Foster’s forthcoming book, The Drowning Eyes. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

According to Tor.com, Christine Foltzer served as the designer and Cynthia Sheppard created the artwork for this project. Tor/Forge, a division at Macmillan Publishers, has scheduled the release date for Jan. 12, 2016.

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12. J.K. Rowling Fuels a Twitter Debate on Severus Snape

rowlingHave you ever wondered about how Harry Potter came to choose the middle name of his second son? Fans sent their questions via Twitter to J.K. Rowling in the hopes of learning why Harry chose to honor his former Potions Master by naming one of children Albus Severus Potter.

To the Twittersphere’s delight, Rowling decided to answer these burning questions with a lengthy explanation. Below, we’ve chronicled all of the exchanges in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think? (via Mashable)

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13. Books for Babies

Today’s guest blogger is Veronica Creech, Director of Partner Engagement at First Book.

MadelineR2When you open a book for a baby, their eyes light up. They’re fascinated by the contrast of the colors. They marvel at words as you read to them.

What these little ones don’t know is that books will also shape their future.

Book Babies is one of many wonderful programs my team at First Book supports. Part of the nonprofit organization Book Harvest, Book Babies helps 150 families in Durham, NC discover the importance and joy of reading together.

The families they serve all have big dreams for their children, but lack books to build those dreams upon.

JesusR2Take 18-month old Ian and his mom for example. Every morning, Ian wakes his mom before sunrise with a new book in his hand for them to read together. Though it’s earlier than she’d like, reading has become a fantastic way for them to connect and start every day.

Before they joined Book Babies, there were no books in their home. They now have over 30.

This holiday season please donate to First Book and give the hope of a bright future to babies and their families.

The post Books for Babies appeared first on First Book Blog.

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14. Review Roundup: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Good, Not Great, Pixar

"The Good Dinosaur" isn't the greatest Pixar film ever made, according to reviewers -- but its painstaking replication of the Real World is astounding.

The post Review Roundup: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Good, Not Great, Pixar appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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15. HBO to Possibly take on “Comoran Strike” series in US

HBO has teamed up with BBC to bring the US adaptions of J.K. Rowling’s work before, with The Casual Vacancy mini series. The private cable network is once again looking at bringing a J.K. Rowling adaption to the United States: The Cormoran Strike Series . According to TV Wise, who received the story exclusively, HBO is looking to become co-producers of the series.

TV Wise posted the article on their Twitter feed:


The article reports:

The drama series, which is eyed for a 2016 premiere, is based on the first two Cormoran Strike novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. It was originally commissioned back in April 2014 and then Director of Television Danny Cohen was widely credited with securing the series for the BBC, even as major Hollywood Studios and rival UK broadcasters were chasing, thanks to his close relationship with Rowling and her long-time agent Neil Blair. A formal episode order has not yet been set, with the BBC stating that it would be finalised once the scripts are completed.

The Cormoran Strike Mysteries is described as being “steeped in the atmosphere of contemporary London” and follows war veteran turned private detective Cormoran Strike who investigates shocking crimes together with his female assistant Robin, whose forensic mind and fierce determination he cannot ignore. The murders take them from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the literary haunts of Fitzrovia, exposing the seedy reality lurking beneath seemingly innocent societies. With each crime, they discover a little more about each other and both learn that appearances can be deceptive.

Assuming the deal closes and HBO does in fact board as a co-producer (sources close to the project tell me that they will), this would mark the second such BBC drama from Rowling that the network has co-produced. Last year, just as pre-production was getting into full swing, HBO signed on to co-produce the three-part adaptation of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Representatives of HBO did not immediately respond to TVWise’s request for comment.


As Leaky reported previously, The Cormoran Strike series is shaping up to be very similar to The Casual Vacancy mini series adaptation. Working with BBC 1, J.K. Rowling will be the executive producer, Sarah Phelps (writer of The Casual Vacancy) will be writing the adaption of The Cuckoo’s Calling, and Ben Richards is set to adapt The Silkworm.


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16. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e November 27th, 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Business Musings: What Market? (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

18 Signs You Were Destined to be a Writer (Marian Schembari)

Free Advice for Writers (Joe Moore)

Elevator Pitches (Wendy Lawton)

The Big Reason Why Agents and Editors Often Stop Reading (Paula Munier)

Surviving Submission (Kim English)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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17. Harold Speed on Modern Art, Part 2

Today we'll take a look at the second half of Harold Speed's chapter on Modern Art from his 1924 art instruction book Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.

I'll present Speed's main points in boldface type either verbatim or paraphrased, followed by comments of my own. If you want to add a comment, please use the numbered points to refer to the relevant section of the chapter.

1. The "extreme impressionist movement" was the product of an age of scientific discovery.
Since we often think of Impressionism as a nostalgic style, it's easy to forget that it was founded on new scientific theories of light and vision. Speed is receptive to the gains that impressionism brought to painting, particularly in the freshening of the palette.

Childe Hassam - Une averse
2. "Aspects of nature that had been hopelessly unpaintable on the old formulas were found to lend themselves to expressions in colour."
The Impressionists were revolutionary not only to their approach to color and painting, but also to their subject choices, painting contemporary life at unusual times of day or atmospheric conditions.

3. "...it did not lead art very far and had no possibilities of development."
There had to be a "but" in there. Speed sees the development into Post-Impressionism and Cubism as a consequence of the inevitable dead end of the "extreme impressionist movement."

4. Cutting with the art of the past
He argues that a flaw of the extreme impressionist position was to "entirely cut with the art of the past." We see that attitude of dispensing with the art of the past even today in many academics, curators, and art historians. For example, at Bard College near us, they built a big art museum, but they only show work of the 20th century, and all of their traditional realist paintings are either put in storage or relegated to a private, locked building that the public is not allowed to enter.

Had he lived into the 1960s, Speed would have been shocked to see the fervor for dumping the past as art schools gleefully pushed their plaster cast collections out of second-floor windows to crash in pieces on the ground. Speed is arguing quite correctly that the extreme end of any ideological or religious movement can get destructive. He says, "There is something of Puritan austerity, a love of destroying pleasing things, and a dislike of seeing things going on too comfortably, in many of these modern movements....and a secret pride in being misunderstood, and if possible, persecuted."

"La Mont Sainte Victoire" by Paul Cezanne
5. "There is something about Cezanne, something about his uncompromising attitude toward all the softer graces of expression, and his love of uncouth directness, that makes him particularly attractive to a very large body of young painters." 
It is remarkable what a huge shadow Cezanne cast over painters in the 20th century. If you look at 1950s American Artist magazine, you can see realist painters trying to absorb Cezanne into their way of seeing. He was rapturously elevated all the time in our art-school composition classes. Speed says: "He was deeply concerned with the third dimension in painting." I don't personally see that—maybe I never "got" Cezanne. His work has always struck me as rather concerned with flatness, and full of deliberate distortions.

6. Art, like religion, holds that these emotional perceptions put us in touch with things transcending the material world...and open up a correspondence with the world of ultimate realities.
This is an important value of art that was often overlooked in the era Speed was talking about, and is still often overlooked today, as many people are concerned with painterly surface and natural appearances. Speed seems to be acknowledging that the modern movement (meaning primarily Impressionism) was sound and valid at its core, but that the extremists were distorting the value of it by forgetting spiritual values, good design, and subtlety.

Painting by Thomas Moran
7. In modern "ism" movements, the aesthetic approach is to openly flout every other artistic consideration, and to limit the statement to a single principle.
To me, this was the problem with the abstract painting movement. I love the beauty of abstraction, but the abstract artists weren't the best at it. I always thought that the best abstract painters were realists like Thomas Moran or Andrew Wyeth, perhaps because they were accountable to nature. As Speed puts it: "Abstract ideas "gain their full significance in painting and sculpture only when associated with the representation of nature. Unassociated with anything but themselves, such abstract lines, tones, or colours become mere geometrical diagrams."

Most abstract-only painters have had a clumsy sense of color and design. Other abstract artists, it must be admitted, found their way to this way of painting because it doesn't require the drawing skills of realist painting.

Some abstract artists were sincerely trying to find in the visual arts some equivalent to the pure expression of music, but for reasons I'll have to cover in another post, visual art and auditory art are fundamentally different, making the goal of "painting aspiring to the condition of music" an impossible goal. Or at least that the goal of achieving pure abstraction in the visual arts is reached most perfectly by music visualizer programs, wallpaper, or motel art (not to disparage any of those forms—they all have their purpose).

8. "I am inclined to believe that every age has the art it deserves."
Maybe so, but I think we deserve better. Given that the Internet has created a level playing field where young artists can immediately find their way to the work they love, there's no reason that our age can't be the breeding ground of great work in every field of art. Speed here talks about a theme he developed earlier in the chapter, associating the art that is ascendant in any age with the cultural values that circulate around it.

9. "There are formulas at the basis of all good artistic design."
...but he says the life of the art is not in the formula. Art escapes the formula.

10. "There is no modern art any more than there is any modern truth. There is just Art and Truth. There is good and bad art, as there is truth and untruth."
Speed says that when you have to put an adjective in front of a kind of art, such as "Futurist Art" or "Post Impressionist Art" it marks it as second rate.

Speed concludes with some interesting points:

"The vigor and directness of expression one finds in good primitive art may be the thing we need in these days, but the scrapping of all traditions of fine painting and going back to a crude primitive means of expression is not the only way of reinculcating it.... The true advance in art is along the middle lines, in tune with a tradition of natural truth."

"What is original is only what is true, a newly perceived truth."

Next week: Chapter 3, The technique of painting.
In its original edition, the book is called "The Science and Practice of Oil Painting." Unfortunately it's not available in a free edition, but there's an inexpensive print edition that Dover publishes under a different title "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials," and there's also a Kindle edition.

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18. New York Historical Society Hosts the Superheroes in Gotham Exhibit

Superheroes (GalleyCat)Have you ever noticed all the comic book heroes that call New York City home? To explore this topic, the New York Historical Society has been hosting the “Superheroes in Gotham” exhibit.

According to The Gothamist, this program focuses on six characters: Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Spider-Man. Some of the items on display include a bat mobile, posters, costumes, toys, and comic books.

The closing date has been scheduled for Feb. 21, 2016. Who’s your favorite superhero from fiction? (via The Guardian)

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19. बदले बदले से सरकार नजर आते हैं

बदले बदले से सरकार नजर आते हैं आज बहुत दिनों के बाद कुछ खबरे देख कर बेहद खुशी हुई . जैसाकि दिल्ली में 22.5 करोड की चोरी पुलिस ने तुरंत पकडी. चोर प्रदीप शुक्ला गिरफ्त मे. दूसरी बिहार मे शराब बंदी लागू की जाएगी और तीसरी आज लोकसभा में संविधान पर चर्चा करते हुए प्रधान […]

The post बदले बदले से सरकार नजर आते हैं appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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20. The Little Prince Soars in a New Movie Trailer

A new trailer has been unveiled for The Little Prince animation film. The story for this project comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s book.

The video embedded above features the voice acting talents of Mackenzie Foy as the young girl, Jeff Bridges as the pilot, and Riley Osborne as the prince. Follow this link to watch the international trailer (in French).

This movie adaptation came out in France back in July 2015. The United States release date has been scheduled for Mar. 18, 2016. (via MovieWeb.com)

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21. Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1288 would like feedback on the following revision:

Smugglers have inadvertently awakened a dragon. Trapped in an artifact, the dragon secretly compels the smugglers to bring it treasure to fuel its magic. It also sends them to kidnap Shimmer, a girl who can set it free.

Guard Tali Adilrein is hired as Shimmer's bodyguard after rescuing her from the kidnappers. Tali survives an assassination attempt. She finds traces of magic during an apparent accident that severely injures her partner. To protect her client from more direct magical attacks, Tali calls on the dragon magic she abandoned when it started turning her into a monster.

The trapped dragon will soon grow powerful enough to break free. When it does, it will lay waste to the city and kill Shimmer. However, if Tali uses her own magic to stop it, she will change into a dragon, and her client will become her victim.

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22. ‘Lost Property’ by Аsa Lucander

When you lose something dear to your heart, there is only one place it can be found: The Lost Property office.

The post ‘Lost Property’ by Аsa Lucander appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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23. The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker. Retold by Stephanie Spinner. Illustrated by Peter Malone. 2008. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was Christmas Eve, Marie's favorite night of the year. She was so excited that she did a pirouette on her way to the drawing room, where she joined her brother, Fritz, at the big double doors.

My thoughts: I love, love, love the music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I do. I listen to it frequently--all throughout the year. Why limit the music itself to just one time of year?! That being said, I like the ballet. I've only seen it performed once or perhaps twice. Though there are plenty of movie adaptations of it as well. Perhaps I should try to watch some of these. (Do you have a favorite? a least favorite?)

Stephanie Spinner's picture book retells the story of the ballet for young readers. It is not a retelling of the original Nutcracker story. Which I think is probably for the best! Since most people, I imagine, are more familiar with the ballet than with the original work by E.T.A. Hoffmann. (Hoffmann's work reads more like Alice in Wonderland.)

The illustrations. There were a few spreads that I just loved, loved, loved. But for the most part, I tended to "like" more than "love" the illustrations.

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

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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24. First School Visit

Your first school visit can be nerve-wracking, but a little preparation goes a long way.


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25. Sara Brickman Poetry Video Goes Viral

Sara Brickman has crafted a poem called “Talking Shit to Sadness.” The video embedded above features her performance at the 2015 National Poetry Slam.

For more poems by this writer, follow these links to listen to three more of her pieces: “Letter from the Water at Guantanamo Bay,” “Crazy Girls,” and “Mirror.” How do you react in times of sorrow?

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