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1. Mars, Pluto… and beyond

The story of our Solar System is developing into one of the most absorbing – and puzzling – epics of contemporary science. At the heart of it lies one of the greatest questions of all – just how special is our own planet, which teems with life and (this is the difficult bit) which has teemed with life continuously through most of its 4.5 billion year lifetime? Not all of the answers are to be found here on Earth.

The post Mars, Pluto… and beyond appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Mortar Boards...

I've been collecting creative mortar boards I've found around Edinburgh...enjoy!

This one sits in front of what we've dubbed The Lobster Bar (really The Café Royal) because of the lobster on the sign. Both sides of their mortar board are inspired.

Found this one down in Stockbridge.
This one is on Rose Street on my way to school.
This one is inside the Barony - our closest pub.
And finally, this one was in The Esplanade Bar in Porty.
Yes, there is a predominant theme - this is Edinburgh after all!

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3. Shakespeare on screen [infographic]

Since the advent of film and television production, Shakespeare's plays have been adapted, re-imagined, and performed on screen hundreds of times. Although many early Shakespeare adaptations remained faithful to his work, over time writers and directors selected only certain characters, plot lines, conflicts, or themes into their films.

The post Shakespeare on screen [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Biology Week: a reading list

In honour of Biology Week 2015, we have compiled a reading list of biology titles that have helped further the cause through education and research.

The post Biology Week: a reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. My tweets

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6. Five Questions for Emil Sher, author of YOUNG MAN WITH CAMERA

This debut novel by Emil Sher is quite honestly one of the most extraordinary and challenging books I've ever worked on--an incredible example of voice; a narrative that will ask you to think about the interplay between language and images, what you expect from a narrative, what makes a good ending in books and in life. It came over the transom to my colleague Anne Shone of Scholastic Canada, who shared it with me, and is illustrated throughout with richly evocative black-and-white photos. This past week, it was nominated for Canada's Governor General's Award -- their equivalent of the National Book Award. 

Without further ado, Five Questions for Emil:

1. Tell us a little bit about your book. 
At first blush, Young Man with Camera is about bullying. But as T— would likely ask: “What about the second blush?” At its core, I believe this novel is about a lifelong friendship between T— and Sean that is tested in ways that reveal the breadth and depth of their bond. It’s also about a blossoming friendship between T— and a homeless woman named Lucy that is cut short. T— values both relationships, and both are brought into sharp relief at the hands of Ryan, who is not simply a garden-variety bully: he’s a dyed-in-the-wool psychopath. T— has long been in the crosshairs of "Joined at the Hip," his name for Ryan and the minions who have tormented him ever since a kitchen fire accident left him with facial burns. His perch on the margins gives T— a singular perspective that he captures in striking black-and-white photographs. When he bears witness to an assault, camera in hand, he is forced to make some very difficult, life-changing decisions. To keep silent is to bury the truth. To speak out is to put the lives of loved ones at risk. For a young man who hungers for the truth, T— moves forward by being true to himself.

2. If this book had a spirit animal or theme song, what would it be and why?
In a world of tortoises and hares, it’s a tortoise that would feel most at home between the covers of this book. Tortoises often go unnoticed; they slowly make their way beneath the radar, so to speak, with none of the eye-catching speed of a hare. I think T— would feel a kinship with a tortoise. They may not make a move for a long time but you can practically hear their thoughts tumbling inside. And like a tortoise, T— needs a protective shell of his own as he navigates the bruising bumps of life.

And while I don’t know if T— would ever finding himself listening to Stephen Sondheim’s "Send in the Clowns," I do know it would resonate with him. Listen to it once and you would think it’s about a trapeze artist who has lost her timing. But, in fact, she is speaking of a whole other loss altogether that has nothing to do with circuses and clowns. There’s what you hear and then there’s what is actually being said. Just as there’s more than meets the eye in a photograph, this song takes on a very different meaning when placed in a larger context. Context, as T— believes, is a synonym for the larger truth. In that way, "Send in the Clowns" is of a piece with T—‘s world: there’s more to it than meets the ear.

3. Please name and elaborate on at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book. 
It is sometimes said that “Character is plot,” which I believe to be true to the extent that I have long been drawn to stories anchored by compelling, complex characters. But a memorable protagonist doesn’t necessarily mean that the story will engage and keep us connected from start to finish. And so it was with T—, who I took a shining to from the get-go but whose motivations and intentions and reactions and decisions all had to be cracked open and justified and structured so they moved the story forward. One of my favorite photographs in Young Man with Camera (artfully shot by David Wyman) is of a bicycle half-buried in snow. “It makes me think of a story that ends before it’s over,” says T—. “There’s no And then.” No matter how rich and varied characters may be, they need an “And then….”  

4.  What is your favorite scene in the book?
There are three moments in the novel that have stayed with me, and they are all linked to friendship. There is the scene early in the story when Ruby appears from the back of her father’s store with a paper towel she offers to T—. It’s a lovely gesture, made all the lovelier because of the loveless humiliation we know T— has just endured at the hands of Joined at the Hip.

T— is not accustomed to a lot of physical contact, other than being tripped and shoved, which makes what Lucy does all the more meaningful. During the scene where they look at a photograph together — "Girl with Striped Face" — Lucy reaches out and gently touches T— ’s scars, without judgment.

T— and Sean have long shared the same boat. We learn that boat is made from different stuff when T— describes the importance, the necessity of being by his best friend’s side as Sean wades through some very difficult waters: “If there’s something you really don’t want to do, it helps to have someone help you not do it. Not right away. Not for a while. Not until you’re ready.”

5. What are you working on now?
Is it premature to share a working title? Unexpected: a fish-out-of-water story about a seventeen-year-old single father.

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7. Getchyer NaNo On

It’s time to get your NaNoWriMo on. I know, I know, it’s still early and you’re busy with other projects. But it’s out there, lurking, and the best way to succeed is to hit the ground running come November one.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is the annual National Novel Writing Month in which you write a book, start to finish. You can sign up and report your daily totals and, if you reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, you win the right to print a certificate saying you won. For a few bucks, you can even buy the t-shirt that shows the world your writing prowess.

The format of the event is a great exercise for developing writers. The goal is to produce words, 1700 of them a day. I especially like booting that naggy internal editor guy out the door for the entirety of November. It is a freeing feeling to write, write, write without having to perfect every sentence and phrase. You just blast out a book in 30 days. There will be time later to clean up. Besides, it’s only the first draft. It’s you telling you the story. Who knows what crazy paths it’s going to take? NaNoWriMo is all about putting a rough book on paper, not about perfecting it.

I’ve participated in three of them and won last year for the first time. Naturally then, I’m an expert on NaNo. The key is planning. My failed attempts started with a story idea - more of a story beginning. Being a panster at the time, writing from the seat of my pants, I figured I’d work out the details as I went ahead. You know, minor things like plot, characterization, etc. -  they’ll come as the story develops. There’s nothing more frustrating than moving along smoothly only to ground to a halt two weeks into it.

Last year, I spent October debating whether to do it or not. I was in the middle of several projects and didn’t want to start something else. Plus I didn’t have a clue for a story. Finally, a week before November, I sat and kicked around some ideas and managed to come up with something which was surprisingly good. But it was more than just a concept. The secret to success was knowing how it ended. By looking all the way to the end, it’s easier to plan the story to that objective. With the end goal in mind, even a pantser could wear the NaNo shirt in December.

So, now’s the time. Decide if you can commit to a month-long writing marathon. If you can, re-visit some of those story ideas you’ve put on the back burner and figure out how it is going to turn out. Then, either plan if that’s your style, or be ready with the end goal in mind and on November 1st, kick some writing butt. 

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8. एक मुलाकात रविंद्र जैन जी से



Ravinder Jain ( monica Gupta )


एक मुलाकात रविंद्र जैन जी से

Ravinder Jain – Famous Playback Singer

बात बहुत साल पुरानी  है जब  रविंद्र जी से  ज़ी न्यूज चैनल के लिए इंटरव्यू लेते हुए मिलने का सुअवसर मिला… उनसे बहुत सारी बाते पूछी और इंटरव्यू खत्म होने के बाद मैने अपने सबसे पंसदीदा गाने की फरमाईश की जोकि उन्होने सुनाया भी …

गाना था फिल्म अखियों के झरोखों से का …. जाते हुए ये पल छिन्न क्यो जीवन … !!! बेहद बेहद शानदार गाना जो सीधा दिल की गहराईयों मे उतर जाता है … !!

आज आप दुनिया मे नही रहे पर आपका संगीत, आपकी आवाज सदा सदा इस दुनिया में गूंजती रहेगी …

ईश्वर आपकी आत्मा हो शांति दे !!!

Ravinder Jain ( monica Gupta )


The post एक मुलाकात रविंद्र जैन जी से appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9. Kickstart your creative habit

Do you need a little push into kickstarting your creative habit?
Here's a free ebook provided by Sketchbook Skool that can help you!

In this ebook you will find 10 small assignments, designed by Sketchbook Skool Fakulty. The assignments will be fun to do and you might discover a new technique or get new ideas to use in your sketchbook.

It's free! So follow the link below and download your copy of this cool ebook now!

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10. What is Instagram?

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11. Star Wars Reads Day with Star Wars® Epic Yarns

Today is October 10th! What’s the big deal about today, October 10th? Well, October 10th, that’s today, is Star Wars Reads Day, the day to get your young children hooked on Star Wars. Chronicle Books has a wide selection of Star Wars books and games to get you in the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I …

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12. Fever of Animals

I can’t remember if I put my hand up to review Miles Allinson’s Fever of Animals or if it was sent to me because the publisher’s PR team thought it might be up my alley. Either way, I was pleasantly and slightly surprised and confused when it arrived. The winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier’s […]

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13. Press Release Fun: The Launch of Read Quarterly!

Folks, I don’t post a lot of Kickstarter projects here, but this one’s a little different. It’s an idea that’s near and dear to my heart and . . . well, I’ll let the title speak for itself.

Gaiman Kickstarter Video and Colfer Original Fiction Help Launch The Read Quarterly.


Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.08.32 PMThe Read Quarterly (TRQ), the magazine launching in January 2016 to discuss the culture of children’s literature, has today revealed its first issue cover and has announced that the magazine will contain an original four-part Eoin Colfer story, Holy Mary, to be published through the first year.

TRQ have also announced details of how to support the first issue of the magazine via Kickstarter and have revealed that Neil Gaiman has been instrumental in setting up that campaign, even recording a video for them to help push the crowd funding.

Sarah Odedina, one of the founders of the magazine, said “We have had such fantastic support since we announced The Read Quarterly.  We are excited by the Kickstarter campaign as we feel that its energy suits our magazine so perfectly. Support has already been flooding in from such luminaries as authors including Malorie Blackman and Neil Gaiman, publishers Neal Porter and Louis Baum and bookseller Melissa Cox. We look forward to growing our magazine to reflect the energy and drive that is so characteristic of the children’s literary scene around the world”.

To support the Kickstarter please go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/748565480/the-read-quarterly. Pledges for the project start at £20 and you will receive not only Odedina and Manning’s undying gratitude and the joy of supporting the project from the start, but also exclusive prints, bags and original artwork. From publication, the magazine will be stocked in bookshops and there is also a subscription service from issue two onwards.

If you are interested in stocking the magazine, please contact Kate Manning at kate@thereadquarterly.com.

Launching in January 2016, The Read Quarterly will be a forum in which global children’s literature can be discussed and debated. Created by children’s literature enthusiasts, each with a wealth of experience in the publishing industry, Sarah Odedina and Kate Manning, this quarterly magazine will provide an environment in which both writers and readers can share their enthusiasm, introduce new ideas and challenge old ones.

For media inquires, please contact:

Kate Manning




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14. Illustration Challenge #20

Draw something upside down. (I mean the image, not you. Could be you. Could do.) :) Want to share? Upload it to your website and link to it in my comments! (Make sure to say something about it so it doesn't get marked as spam!)

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15. Indonesia/Frankfurt Book Fair

       The Frankfurt Book Fair runs 13 through 18 October.
       Iran has already thrown a hissy-fit and withdrawn from the fair, over Salman Rushdie speaking at the opening press conference -- see, for example, the DeutscheWelle report -- so it's safe to assume they won't be 'guest of honour' at the fair anytime soon -- but Indonesia is this year. At Qantara.de Martin Maria Schwarz writes about this -- suggesting: "the literary scene in Indonesia works differently" -- in Discovering a new world.
       Among the works he mentions (if not by name) is Dewi Lestari's Supernova -- under review at the complete review, as are several other (but not yet enough !) Indonesian titles; see the index of South East Asian Literature under review. In any case: good to see some attention to literature from this area -- and great to see that it's prodded US and European publishers to take a closer look at (and even publish a few ...) titles from the region.

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16. Do East and West Germans still speak a different language?

On 12 September 1990, about ten months after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the foreign ministers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) met with their French, American, British, and Soviet counterparts in Moscow to sign the so-called Two-Plus-Four Treaty.

The post Do East and West Germans still speak a different language? appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Emerging Voices fiction prize

       I missed this announcement earlier this week, with all this week's prize-announcements overshadowed by that big one on Thursday ... but they have announced that The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma, has been awarded this year's inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices prize for African and Middle Eastern fiction (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

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18. Putting Feelings First with Personal Narratives

Beth's recent post inspired me to launch personal narratives by thinking about our feelings first.

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19. Perceiving dignity for World Mental Health Day

Each year in July, I greet a new group of post-doctoral psychiatric trainees ('residents,' 'registrars') for a year's work in our psychiatric outpatient clinic. One of the rewards of being a psychiatric educator is witnessing the professional growth of young clinicians as they mature into seasoned, competent, and humanistic psychiatrists.

The post Perceiving dignity for World Mental Health Day appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Crowd control

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21. Is “Nothing nothings” true?

In a 1929 lecture, Martin Heidegger argued that the following claim is true: Nothing nothings. In German: “Das Nichts nichtet”. Years later Rudolph Carnap ridiculed this statement as the worst sort of meaningless metaphysical nonsense in an essay titled “Overcoming of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language”. But is this positivistic attitude reasonable?

The post Is “Nothing nothings” true? appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Guptill on Reflected Light

In his book "Color in Sketching and Rendering" Arthur Guptill recommends painting simple objects with black watercolor to study the effects of light. 

Start with uniformly colored objects set up in window light. Then, later, you can put the same objects outdoors in the sun "to acquaint you with the vitality of outdoor light."

In this demonstration example, he sets up a simple paperboard box with light coming from the left. One of the first questions to ask is which is the lightest plane (E) and which is the darkest (A and F). You can hold up a piece of cardboard of the same color next to the object and turn it in various angles to the light to see how the tones change to match those of the subject.

Even a single plane can vary a lot in tone. He notes that (a) is darker than (b) because of the falloff of the reflected light coming from the right. 

In this study, Guptill says, "interesting reflected lights have crept into the shadow tone at (A) Note how the inside corner (e) has been sacrificed to express depth and detachment."

After doing a few of these studies, it will be much easier to paint a more complex or dynamic subject, such as a building, a figure, a portrait, or an animal.
From Arthur Guptill's book Color in Sketching and Rendering.
If you like this post, you'll also like:
Arthur Guptill Renders a Window
Guptill's Right and Wrong Methods
Sepia Wash Drawing
Cast Shadow in the Foreground

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23. BEING YOU! Daily Mindfulness For Kids, by Tracy Bryan | Dedicated Review

BEING YOU! Daily Mindfulness For Kids is an interesting exploration of children's mental health.

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24. How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue + an interview with Jess Keating


by Jess Keating (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2015)

Sometimes you meet people on the internet who are instantly your kind of people. And all of a sudden they aren’t a tiny square avatar, but a real friend who sends you ketchup chips from Canada and the best gifs to your email. They support you on this whirling road of publishing, and they make you laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and you wish that Canada and California weren’t so far away.

Let me introduce you to my friend Jess Keating. She’s got great books and she’s a better friend, and I’m so happy to have her here today to celebrate her newest story in the My Life is a Zoo series, How to O

And also, it’s not just me. These guys liked her too . . .

“With her trademark kid-oriented wit and lighthearted touch, Keating leads readers through the daily emotional ups and downs of the typical just-turned-teenager who is trying to juggle hormones, parents, schoolwork, and, most importantly, her friends…A sweet reminder that being middle school girl is about far more than boys and makeup.” –Kirkus, starred review

So: here she is!

Hi Jess!

Hello, my dear Carter! Thank you for having me!

Can you give us some backstory on Ana? Is there any young-Jess-Keating wrapped up in her?

There is definitely a lot of young-me in Ana. I’ve always been an animal nut, and I was raised on Kratt’s Creatures, Crocodile Hunter, and Jane Goodall. Savvy readers might notice that Ana’s middle name is Jane—both she and her mother share this name to honor Dr. Goodall!

As a kid, it was my dream to live in a zoo, surrounded by strange animals. Obviously, my parents thought this would be rather hazardous, so instead they let me decorate my room to look like the rainforest. I even stuck plastic lizards and poison arrow frogs to my walls. Sometimes I even pretended I was David Attenborough, narrating my way through the day with a bad British accent.

Ana is also a giant nerd, who struggles with feeling like an outsider a lot. I think that’s something a lot of us share (particularly as teens and tweens), and I was no exception. It takes guts to share your passions, you know? I think Ana is also a very lucky kid, in that she’s surrounded by intelligent people who challenge her to pursue her dreams. We have that in common too.

Which do you most identify with: having untied shoelaces, missing a snorkel, or not having a clue?

Untied shoelaces!



What’s your ideal writing scenario? Snacks? Tunes?

Yes to snacks! I’m a big fan of popcorn and chocolate chips. Together or separately, really. My awesome agent Kathleen Rushall introduced me to Songza, which I’ve found to be perfect for playing background music while I write. I listen to mainly movie scores and video game soundtracks.

I like to move around a lot as I work, so I have a standing desk that’s really just a wooden crate that props up my laptop. That’s about it! Oh, and Post-It notes. Millions and millions of Post-It notes.

Which came first, these characters or their scenarios?

The characters came first, for sure. I think once you’ve got characters you know well, especially their flaws, it’s really a matter of plunking them down with some challenges and letting them find their way. I’ve always had such a clear picture of Ana, Daz, and Shep, so they seem to run the show. With each book, I have a general idea of a setting I’d like to explore, but I like to give them some freedom in getting there.

But sometimes writing can surprise you! Characters like Sugar and Bella were much quieter in my mind, and getting to know them better as the series continues has been extra fun.

What has been your most favorite scene to write and edit? Just don’t spoil us too much!

I love writing funny scenes, embarrassing scenes, and downright awful ‘fight’ scenes between friends. There’s just so much juicy emotion in these!

My favorite scene to write in OUTFOX revolves around Ana doing a Superman impression. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a scene I’ve wanted to write since the beginning of the series!

Describe Canada in one word.


What gif best describes your feelings for this book’s birthday week?

Ahh, you know how much I love gifs! I have so many feelings, I have to give you two! Publishing a book is a funny thing—it never stops being exciting. With every new book, I feel like Bilbo going on an adventure:

And this week especially, I’m so thankful and humbled that we get to continue Ana’s story in a third book. It takes so many people to get the story in your head on a shelf, and the readers who pick it up are really the reason we do this. So, I have a lot of love for everyone who works so hard to make these books, and those who have been with Ana from the start. Hence, hobbit hugs:

What’s coming next for you?

I like working on several projects at once, so I’ve got lots to keep me busy! My first nonfiction picture book is coming out in February, called PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH. It’s all about challenging the notion that “pink is for girls”, showcasing bizarre, dangerous, and unique pink animals. I’m tickled pink for this one! (Sorry.) This book is part of a new series called “The World of Weird Creatures”, so I’m also working on the next one! I can’t share the title yet, but I’ve definitely never seen anything like it before. Hee!

I’m also deliriously happy to report that we’ve just sold my first picture book biography! SHARK LADY is all about the life of Eugenie Clark, an incredible female scientist who studied—you guessed it—sharks. She is one of the coolest ladies I’ve ever come across, and I’m so excited to share her story!

Thanks again for having me!


The wonderful folks at Sourcebooks Jabberwocky are going to give away a complete set of Jess’s My Life is a Zoo series to a lucky reader! Head here to enter!

Good luck!


About the Author:

Jess Keating is a zoologist and the author of the critically acclaimed How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied. Jess is also the author of the playful nonfiction picture book Pink is for Blobfish (Knopf Children’s, 2016). She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves writing books for adventurous and funny kids. Visit Jess at jesskeating.com.

You can also find her at these places:





(And you’ll be so glad you did.)


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25. NYCC’15: Today is Torsten Day at Stately Beat Manor!

Another year has passed into the record books, and once again, October 10th rolls around. Why should you care? Because, in 2011, Heidi created a new holiday: Torsten Day! While others celebrate Columbus, we will celebrate Torsten Adair, who’s become our regular weekend poster, keeper of the Coming Attractions, and master of the roundup. Torsten has […]

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