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By: Kim Schwenk,
Blog: Lux Mentis, Lux Orbis
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Living in a time of unprecedented information surveillance, also lends itself to an unbelievable amount of information privilege for much of the “democratized” world. We feign emotions with character smiley faces and iconography as our communications float rapidly over a network of intangible speeds, sometimes coated with an algorithm of encryption and sometimes, not. Identity is, at best, both catastrophic and creative. So as we celebrate and converse about National Privacy Week, it is sort of interesting to think about privacy, not only in the way we might shroud our communications, but also in terms of economics, commodity and modality.
In the early 19th century, the postal system was financially demanding for some people [not unnecessarily unlike today] *and* was the scarcity of paper. Tom Standage writes in the Victorian Internet : “In the nineteenth century, letter writing was the only way to communicate with those living at a distance. However, prior to 1840, the post was expensive. Postal charges grew high in England due to the inflationary pressure of the Napoleonic Wars. Different from the way mail operates today, the burden of payment fell to the receiver, not the sender; prepayment was a social slur on the recipient. One had to be financially solvent to receive a letter. If the recipient could not afford to pay for a letter, it was returned to sender. Any reader of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) knows that to save costs, cross writing was common — a writer turned his or her letter horizontally and “crossed” (or wrote over) the original text at a right angle rather than use an additional sheet of paper. Folded letters with a wax seal may look quaint, but like cross writing, this was also a pre-1840s cost cutting measure since that same missive, posted in an envelope, would receive double charge.”
A cost-cutting measure indeed, however, and not insignificant it created a system of visual encryption one might employ for secrecy, but also as a device of post-modernity and compositional ingenuity. In 1819, John Keats constructed a crossed letter discussing both the merit of prescriptive living for labor workers, only to be written over at an angle by his poem, Lamia, about a man who falls in love with a snake disguised as a woman. “The non-linearity of meaning is generated as an excess against the unidirectional drive of information, like the snakes that weave around the staff of a caduceus or the turbulent wake of a forward-moving ship; meaning is the snake and the wake of information.”  Quite a metaphor to create, as a perception of romanticism, in era of rapid change. Sound familiar? When in doubt, think smart, choose privacy.
We have a suite of 19th century letters in our collection of cross-writing, or “cross-hatching,” check out the images:
 Livingston, Ira. Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity.
1. What surprised you most while writing your latest book?
We're currently writing a book about 18‐year‐olds in their first few weeks at university, and it really surprised us how much has changed since we were at university (which was only 10 years ago!) We just missed the explosion of...
By: Patrick Girouard,
A hidden picture page for Highlights Magazine. Can you find eight objects?
by Patrick Girouard
Supero is a Swiss design studio that strives to make contemporary, yet timeless, work that slightly bends the rules of Swiss Style. The studio often collaborates with the Contemporary Art Museum of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Geneva’s Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, designing lively and elegant posters for the museums’ exhibitions and events.
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I joined a few other children’s lit folks over at Slate Magazine to discuss children’s books that celebrate motherhood. Click on the image above to see the gallery of titles. Until tomorrow …
By: Julie G,
Blog: Book Hooked
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Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not? For decades, New York Times bestselling author Dr. David A Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco, food, and drugs. Over the course of these investigations, he identified one underlying mechanism common to a broad range of human suffering. This phenomenon—capture—is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.
In Capture, Dr. Kessler considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: What are the origins of mental afflictions, from everyday unhappiness to addiction and depression—and how are they connected? Where does healing and transcendence fit into this realm of emotional experience?
Analyzing an array of insights from psychology, medicine, neuroscience, literature, philosophy, and theology, Dr. Kessler deconstructs centuries of thinking, examining the central role of capture in mental illness and questioning traditional labels that have obscured our understanding of it. With a new basis for understanding the phenomenon of capture, he explores the concept through the emotionally resonant stories of both well-known and un-known people caught in its throes.
The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better the chance to alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thoughts and behavior Ultimately, Capture offers insight into how we form thoughts and emotions, manage trauma, and heal. For the first time, we can begin to understand the underpinnings of not only mental illness, but also our everyday worries and anxieties.Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all: the mind.
I'm going to preface my review by just saying that I don't love this cover or the subtitle. The cover is just generic and the subtitle doesn't do the book's topic justice. I probably wouldn't have picked it up without having read the description, which is a shame because the book is actually right up my alley.Writing
Yes, yes, yes! Science and psychology writing exactly the way I like it - tons of examples and studies all backed up with excellent references and footnotes. There are close to 300 pages of text and over 100 pages of footnotes and citations, which is just heaven. I'm still making my way through the notes and making a list of further reading that I want to do. Along with the meticulous research, the author also writes in a way that is easy for the casual reader - you won't need to be a scientist or psychologist to understand the concepts being presented. Entertainment Value
Again, based on the subtitle I never would have guessed it, but this book completely hooked me by focusing on a topic that I've long been interested in but have never found explored the way I wanted. The connection between genius and madness has been something that has fascinated me since college, but I struggled in finding a more psychological examination of the subject. While this book isn't written to directly address the topic, by the end of the introduction I was hooked. I'm thrilled to report that this answered a lot of my questions about the topic or at least addressed the ideas surrounding both genius and madness.Overall
If you're a fan of science and/or psychology writing this is a great one to read. I think it's also good for anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness. It's less of a "how to" and more of a "how your brain works", which I find extremely helpful. It's not fiction and it's not a super fast read, but it's worth it.
Thanks to TLC for having me on the book tour. Click here
to see the other stops on the tour!
Disney will release "Zootopia" on home video and streaming platforms just 95 days after its U.S. theatrical debut.
The post The Full List of ‘Zootopia’ Blu-ray Bonus Features, Available on June 7 appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
Less than two months ago, I got this note:
April, I can't begin to explain how much of a role model you are to me. I love all of your books; especially Girl, Stolen:) Recently, my dad passed away and my house burned down. And I look to your books and you inspire me to finish and accomplish a book I have been working on. I have been writing a kidnapping novel hence you are my favorite. I never thought i would see myself as a writer, and you have showed me that you can do anything and accomplish my dreams. One day I hope to have my book published and I would LOVE to send a copy to you and get your approval. I can't begin to explain again about how much you mean to me and how skilled you are.
I sent her back a box of all my books, signed. But I wanted to do more. Maybe a Skype visit? But her librarian, Jessie McGaffin, had other plans, as you can read about here: http://nevadaiowajournal.com/news/bestselling-author-visits-nms.html
Thank you so much
Your #1 fan, Carlie
When I wrote back, I found out that Carlie was only 13, and that just a month earlier her dad had set their house on fire and then killed himself. This girl had lost so much, yet she was sending love to me.
Mary Poppins. P.L. Travers. Illustrated by Mary Shepard. 1934/2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 224 pages. [Source: Review Copy]If you want to find Cherry-Tree Lane all you have to do is ask the Policeman at the cross-roads. He will push his helmet slightly to one side, scratch his head thoughtfully, and then he will point his huge white-gloved finger and say: "First to your right, second to your left, sharp right again, and you're there. Good-morning."
Premise/plot: The Banks family is in need of a nanny. The children's idea of a 'perfect' nanny is far different from their parents idea. Mary Poppins is the practically-perfect nanny that transforms a family though this transformation is not overnight and without struggle. Each chapter is an adventure of sorts.
My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. It wasn't the first time I read it. I've reread it a few times even. Some chapters I love and adore. Other chapters I merely like. But if you haven't read it, I think it's one you should consider reading! It is really different from the movie and live musical.
My favorite song from the live musical is Practically Perfect
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Beautifully researched and written by Melissa Hart, in an issue (May 2016) that is chock full of incredible stories.
Thank you, Melissa, who is, by the way, the author of the brand-new earth-observant Avenging the Owl,
and The Writer.
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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Tomorrow is Teacher Appreciation Day!
Teachers are truly worth celebrating. They dedicate their time and energy to patiently teaching each child, making learning their top priority. They are mentors, coaches and trusted friends. They introduce us to some of our first lesson and stories.
Share this eCard with a teacher or educator that has made a difference in your life or the lives of kids in your community.
The post Share This eCard on Teacher Appreciation Day – and beyond! appeared first on First Book Blog.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for CynsationsKathryn Tanquary
is the first-time author of The Night Parade
(Sourcebooks Fire, 2016). From the promotional copy:
"I thought you might sleep through it." The creature smiled.
Saki's voice was little more than a whisper. "Sleep through what?"
It leaned over. She stared into its will-o'-the-wisp eyes.
"The Night Parade, of course."
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother's village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family's ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked...and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth-or say goodbye to the world of the living forever...In writing your story, did you ever find yourself concerned with how to best approach "edgy" behavior on the part of your characters? If so, what were your thoughts, and what did you conclude? Why do you think your decision was the right one?
Though my protagonist certainly isn’t the most “edgy” in terms of behavior, she does start the story with a pretty big chip on her shoulder.
Saki’s act of rebellion is the catalyst that sets off the main events of the plot, so it had to be significant enough to provoke consequences without losing too much sympathy for her character.
To find this balance, her motivation was the key. From the beginning, Saki is a flawed hero with a lot of internal conflict; she’s trying to manage a toxic adolescent social life and her own need for acceptance from her peers, so it’s understandable when she caves to some of that pressure and makes a few bad decisions.
Making a big mistake may seem like the end of the world to a lot of people—and Saki certainly thinks so in the story—but I decided right from the concept stage that I wanted to deconstruct that idea. A lot of the books I read growing up had a protagonist with a very strong sense of self, but Saki doesn’t have that yet. Her weaknesses are very human, and sometimes even a little petty. She’s still getting to know the person she’s becoming and that’s okay. Another key theme of the story is forgiveness, and Saki’s journey is all about second chances.As a fantasy writer, going in, did you have a sense of how events/themes in your novel might parallel or speak to events/issues in our real world? Or did this evolve over the course of many drafts?
|Writing longhand in Osaka|
The theme certainly evolved as the characters found their voices, but a sense of duality was there from the very beginning: city and country, young and old, modern and traditional, humans and spirits.
Anytime these things are put side-by-side there’s a tendency to pit them against one another. Go one step further and people start to separate themselves based on these perceived qualities.
One of the major themes of Saki’s story is finding the balance. Part of her journey towards self-discovery is recognizing that she can be dynamic and adaptable, and that she can inhabit more than one world at a time. In a world that seems increasingly divided in its thinking, I believe that’s a quality we should all aspire toward.
On a more concrete level, the story speaks to the issues of age, multi-generational families and tradition. Saki understands on some level why some of the rituals her family performs during the Obon holidays are important, but until she has an experience of her own she doesn’t feel as connected to the tradition.
Younger generations worldwide are facing similar experience gaps. The world we live in now is simply not the same as the world our parents and grandparents grew up in, so unless we invest some of our time in communication there is a lot we risk losing. Fittingly, this was one of the themes that took the longest to mature.
In both fantasy and reality, understanding the past is usually the surest way to help prepare for a brighter future.
Just a reminder that it's Children's Book Week. #cbw16
There are plenty of resources available from the Children's Book Week Digital Toolkit
. I like to order the actual posters, but sadly, I forgot this year. The good news is that there are plenty of last-minute event kits and activity sheets available for download [http://www.bookweekonline.com/activities
Also, be sure to download this year's official CBW bookmark with art by Cece Bell. [http://www.bookweekonline.com/bookmark
You can also add a Twibbon to your Twitter profile pic. (If you don't want it to completely obscure your profile pic, you will have an opportunity to shrink it.) [http://twibbon.com/Support/Children39s-Book-Week
About this book:
In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change. Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected...
"A Girl Like Me"--Zetta Elliot
When I was a child, my mother warned us against playing with Ouija boards. I had no idea what a séance was, but I knew what horoscopes were and those were forbidden, too. My Afro‐ Caribbean father rarely spoke about his childhood in Nevis,...
Motion capture data of martial arts performances reinterpreted into abstract forms and expressions.
The post ‘Kung Fu Motion Visualization’ by Tobias Gremmler appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
A live version of Loreena McKennitt's Huron "Beltane" Fire Dance from her Parallel Dreams album. In the liner notes she says: In the “Huron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance”, I have tried to recall the reverence for dreams of the North American first peoples and the early Celts. If there is a recurrent thread that runs through these dreams, it is one of yearning toward love, liberty and integration. Of all the variations of dreams we may have, these surely are our parallel dreams.”
Welcome to my new site, which I built myself using Headway Themes and WordPress. Please check back as I unveil a new shop and new artwork.
One Sunday afternoon, at Books of Wonder, I met Cordelia Jensen
, whose reputation as a writer and teacher of enormous integrity precedes her.
One recent afternoon at Penn, I sat with Melissa Jensen and we talked. So many surprising connections between us, at least two shared students, a love of story, the start of a friendship.
We write for teens because we remember being one, because we love the ones we've met along the way, because the dialogue is rich, because of the friends we make along the way.
On June 4, 2 PM, at the Penn Book Center on the Penn campus, Cordelia, Melissa, and I will be talking with teens—and with those who love them (or those who simply love a good story).
We'll be talking to each other, too.
We hope you'll join us.
We're grateful to Ashley, for hosting us. This will be the Penn Book Center's first teen event.
She’s been able to maneuver
And to turn herself around, Scooting backwards on the carpet As a way of gaining ground. Also, rocking back and forth While on her knees she’s seemed to nail But our efforts to encourage Her to crawl all seemed to fail. ‘Til today! I saw the video And there before my eyes, Hadley crawled to reach some playthings, Such a wonderful surprise! Guess the easy days are over; There’s a world she must explore But mobility means babySITTING
Days are nevermore!
Today we're spotlighting Jessica Spotswood's novel, Wild Swans. Read on for more about Jessica, her novel, an excerpt, plus a giveaway!
Meet Jessica Spotswood!
Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, and works as a children’s library associate, with...
Our free e-book for March is Ebert’s Best by Roger Ebert. Download your copy here.
Roger Ebert is a name synonymous with the movies. In Ebert’s Bests, he takes readers through the journey of how he became a film critic, from his days at a student-run cinema club to his rise as a television commentator in At the Movies and Siskel & Ebert. Recounting the influence of the French New Wave, his friendships with Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese, as well as travels to Sweden and Rome to visit Ingrid Bergman and Federico Fellini, Ebert never loses sight of film as a key component of our cultural identity. In considering the ethics of film criticism—why we should take all film seriously, without prejudgment or condescension—he argues that film critics ought always to engage in open-minded dialogue with a movie. Extending this to his accompanying selection of “10 Bests,” he reminds us that hearts and minds—and even rankings—are bound to change.
To read more about books by Roger Ebert published by the University of Chicago Press, click here.
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The other day I was lucky enough to get a finished copy of Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle in the mail. This is a book that was high on my TBR list for this spring so I squealed a bit when I opened my package. Thanks so much Katherine Tegen Books and Harper Collins. Here is the synopsis:
On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes.
The first wish is an impossible wish.
The second is a wish she can make come true herself.
And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.
Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be...noticed.
So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.