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1. Loft Workshop in Minneapolis

If you are in or near Minneapolis, please come see my workshop on Interiority: Exploring a Character’s Inner Life. This topic is always on my mind. I find myself constantly commenting on interiority (thoughts, feelings, emotions) in client manuscripts. There isn’t a protagonist out there, in my humble opinion, that couldn’t stand to be developed more fully from the inside out.

This is an in-depth three-hour workshop where we’ll really dive into my favorite fiction craft topic. I hope to arm you with some inspiration and knowledge so that you can dive into your protagonist more confidently and deepen your own craft as a fiction writer.

The Loft is still taking registrations and you can find more information here. I’d love to see you on July 23rd.

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2. IBBY Review: Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson and Karen George

Freddie and the Fairy, written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Karen George (Macmillan Children's Books, 2015) - IBBY Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities

I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities

Every two … Continue reading ...

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3. Certain Songs #570: Guns N’ Roses – “Get in The Ring”

Guns Use Your Illusion II Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

Back in 1977, The Clash were offended that CBS released “Remote Control” as a single and responded with “Complete Control,” one of the greatest lyrics ever written about the need for artistic freedom, combined one of the most ferocious performances ever put to vinyl.

Both the music and lyrics perfectly complemented each other, and the combination resulted in a song that is an undisputed classic, full stop.

A dozen or so years later, Guns N’ Roses were offended at how they were being portrayed by various music writers and responded with “Get in The Ring,” which features one of the worst, most petulant lyrics ever written. Like a Donald Trump speech put to music.

But the music!! Not as amazing as “Complete Control,” duh, but for sheer power and utter momentum, it’s almost impossible to top full steam ahead power that “Get in the Ring” has achieved by the time it gets to its best lyric:

You may not like our integrity, yeah
We built a world out of anarchy
Oh yeah!

Of course, that’s after Axl’s rant, which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I love as much as I do. At the time, it struck me as just stupid, but as the band ramps up the music around it, now it seems funny. And getting funnier every year.

And that goes for all of you punks in the press that want to start shit by printin’ lies instead of the things we said.
That means you Andy Secher at Hit Parader, Circus magazine
Mick Wall at Kerrang, Bob Guccione Jr. at SPIN
What you pissed off ’cause your dad gets more pussy than you?
Fuck you! suck my fuckin’ dick!
You be rippin’ off the fuckin’ kids while they be payin’ their hard earned money to read about the bands they want to know about.
Printin’ lies, startin’ controversy.
You want to antagonize me? antagonize me motherfucker!
Get in the ring motherfucker!
And I’ll kick your bitchy little ass!
Punk!!

Of course, Guccione, who — unknown to Axl, I’m guessing — was an amateur boxer, responded and accepted the challenge. And of course, nothing ever happened.

I mean, except for this song, which climaxed with boxing noises and an announcer saying “And in this corner, weighing in at 850 pounds, Guns N’ Roses” as the band — and overdubbed fake crowd — chanting “Get in the ring” over and over and over as Slash kicked the song ever higher.

Of course, now that announcer would have to say: “And in this corner, weighing in at 850 pounds, W. Axl Rose!!” See what I did there?

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #570: Guns N’ Roses – “Get in The Ring” appeared first on Booksquare.

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4. Press Release Fun: Touring with Richard Peck

RichardPeck

Photo credit Sonya Sones (who, coincidentally, did my author photo as well)

As I mentioned in my 2016 Day of Dialog round-up, Richard Peck was the kickoff speaker this year, just before Book Expo.  I was moderating the middle grade fiction panel that morning, so I got to hang out with Richard in the green room a little before the event.  Now I’ve met him in the past, but very briefly indeed (I think I moderated a table for him at a different Book Expo event years ago).  A little more recently I posted on this blog about the fact that actress Lena Dunham has a Fair Weather tattoo.  I was assured by Richard’s editor later that she sent Lena a signed copy of Fair Weather after reading my post.

In any case, long story short, Richard by all rights shouldn’t have remembered me.  The man meets hundreds of librarians monthly, and yet if he’d forgotten my face he faked it with aplomb.  “You reviewed my pocket square!” he declared, and indeed that does sound like me.  Story checks out.

When you listen to Richard speak, it’s not talking.  It’s not speechifying.  It’s pure oratory, in crisp, clean perfection.  It makes you long for a time when students were taught public speaking as an artform.  And now, you lucky ducks, you have a chance to hear him firsthand.  You see, Richard has a new book out.  The details, should you be interested, are:

THE BEST MAN by Richard Peck (on sale September 20th; Ages 9-12; $16.99)

BestMan

When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man–Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story, and a wonderful story it is. In Archer’s sweetly naïve but observant voice, his life through elementary school is recounted: the outspoken, ever-loyal friends he makes, the teachers who blunder or inspire, and the family members who serve as his role models. From one exhilarating, unexpected episode to another, Archer’s story rolls along as he puzzles over the people in his life and the kind of person he wants to become . . . and manages to help his uncle become his best self as well.

And since Richard’s on tour for this book, you can see him yourself.  I don’t often post tour dates here, but I do make the occasional exception.  And Richard is worth seeing.

The dates:

Monday, September 19th – DENVER, CO

6 PM

Tattered Cover

2526 E Colfax Ave

Denver, CO 80206

 

Thursday, September 29th – BELLINGHAM, WA

4 PM

Village Books

1200 11th St

Bellingham, WA 98225

 

Friday, September 30th – SEATTLE, WA

Time to Be Announced

Secret Garden Bookshop

2214 NW Market St, Seattle

WA 98107

 

Sunday, October 2nd – DANVILLE, CA

11 AM

Rakestraw Books

3 Railroad Ave

Danville, CA 94526

 

Tuesday, October 4th – PLEASANTON, CA

Time to be Announced

Towne Center Books

555 Main St

Pleasanton, CA 94566

 

Wednesday, October 5th – SAN JOSE, CA

3 PM

Hicklebees

1378 Lincoln Ave

San Jose, CA 95125

 

Tuesday, October 18th – NAPERVILLE, IL

7 pm

Andersons

123 W Jefferson Ave

Naperville, IL 60540

 

Wednesday, October 19th –NORTHBROOK, IL

Time to be Announced

Book Bin

1151 Church St

Northbrook, IL 60062

 

Thursday, October 20th – CHICAGO, IL

7 PM

The Book Stall

811 Elm St

Winnetka, IL 60093

 

Friday, November 4th – Raleigh, NC

7 PM

Quail Ridge Books

4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27609

Author Bio:

Richard Peck has won almost every children’s fiction award, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Newbery Medal, the Scott O’Dell Award, and the Edgar, and he has twice been nominated for a National Book Award. He was the first children’s author ever to have been awarded a National Humanities Medal. He lives in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5. Monday Poetry Stretch - Septercet

Today's form comes from the mind of Jane Yolen. A septercet is her newly invented form, a modified tercet. An actual tercet is composed of three lines of poetry, forming a stanza or a complete poem, though this one also has a line syllabic count of seven.

Here's an example.

Human Work

“The wild can be human work.”—Helen Macdonald

The wild can be human work
If we reset the balance,
Keeping our thumbs off the scales.

If we bring back, return things,
Not just take it all away,
The wild can be human work.

Restoration is hard graft,
Almost more than creation,
Which is why God needed rest.

But we humans dare not rest
Till we’re done with restoring:
Eagles in their high aeries,

Whales singing in their sea lanes.
Wolves commandeering forests.
All the wild come home again.

©2016 Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.


Cool, isn't it? I love syllable counting, so this should be fun. I hope you'll join me in writing a septercet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

And thanks to Jane for sending this and allowing me to share it with you!

0 Comments on Monday Poetry Stretch - Septercet as of 6/20/2016 11:56:00 AM
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6. Certain Songs #571: Guns N’ Roses – “Breakdown”

Guns Use Your Illusion II Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

Out of all of the ridiculous epics that either graced (or ruined, depending on your opinion) the Illusion twins, the piano-driven “Breakdown” is easily my favorite.

For one thing, it’s got one of most sublime musical passages in all of their music. It’s about 1:20 in, and Axl has already sung the first verse, Izzy & Slash have slammed in with some power chords, and the whole song comes to a near halt for a second, before a gorgeous jumble of drums, pianos and guitars weave in and out of each other for just a couple of measures until a Matt Sorum snare slam kicks the song into gear.

After that, Dizzy Reed’s piano and by a modified Bo Diddley beat in and out of the stop-time choruses power “Breakdown” musically, and Axl is singing reflective lyrics in his wistful voice.

When I look around
Everybody always brings me down
Well is it them or me
Well I just can’t see
But there ain’t no peace to found
But if someone really cared
Well they’d take the time to spare
A moment to try and understand
Another one’s despair
Remember in this game we call life
That no one said it’s fair

Slash weighs in after the first chorus with a tremendous solo, and again at the end, when “Breakdown” kicks into its highest gear, climaxing with Axl quoting/stealing/appropriating Clevon Little’s monologue from Vanishing Point.

Ah, Vanishing Point, a film that holds a weird place in my personal film history. It came out in 1971, but there was no way I saw it before 1974 or 1975. But I know I saw it in the theaters, so it maybe have been a revival.

All I remember about it is this: it had a weird structure — starting near the end (which gave it its name — there was a DJ played by the Sheriff in Blazing Saddles, and it was the first time I ever saw boobs in a movie. Or any screen, I guess. One of the characters was a girl riding a motorcycle in the nude, because I guess that’s what happened in the Southwest in 1971?

Anyways, I always like to imagine that the reason that Axl chose to monolog from Vanishing Point not because he felt it said something about heroism or freedom, but because it was the first time he saw boobs in a movie, too!

Probably not, though.

Oh, and one more thing: two things I discovered while researching all of the Guns N’ Roses posts: One: they have a lot of fan-made videos for the songs that didn’t have proper videos, nearly all repurposing clips from their proper videos.

And two: the comments section of Guns N’ Roses videos aren’t a place for the faint-hearted.

Fan-made video for “Breakdown”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #571: Guns N’ Roses – “Breakdown” appeared first on Booksquare.

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7. A Mixed Bag of Great Books for Refugee Week

Refugee Week (UK) - logoToday sees the beginning of Refugee Week here in the UK. More than ever we need to be nurturing compassion and empathy in our children so that they grow up able to recognise the toxicity of xenophobia and … Continue reading ...

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8. The Schaller-Cheney Road Show at Weird Fiction Review



The marvelous Weird Fiction Review website has now posted a conversation that Eric Schaller and I had about our books, our magazine The Revelator, the weirdness of New Hampshire, and other topics.

Along with this, WFR has posted Eric's story "Voices Carry" (originally in Shadows & Tall Trees) and my story "The Lake" (originally in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet).

So if you're curious about us or our writings (or just utterly bored), Weird Fiction Review is a great place to start.

0 Comments on The Schaller-Cheney Road Show at Weird Fiction Review as of 6/21/2016 11:34:00 AM
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9. Tru & Nelle: A Behind-the-Scenes Mini Documentary

TruNelleGreg Neri.  Now there’s a guy with range.  If he isn’t writing a picture book bio of Johnny Cash he’s doing a middle grade novel on inner city cowboys or a graphic novel on Chicago’s South Side.  Some authors fall into predictable patterns.  Not Greg.  I honestly never know what the man’s going to come up with next.  So when I heard that his next novel was a middle grade about the real-life friendship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee, it just kinda made crazy sense.

Greg actually visited me here in Evanston a couple months ago with a small group of fellow authors.  Not long after, he touched base and told me that he’d gotten an invitation to speak at the Monroeville courthouse from To Kill a Mockingbird.  When that happened, his friend and filmmaker e.E Charlton-Trujillo (who wrote the amazing Prizefighter En Mi Casa) said the two of them should make a little documentary about his journey there in search of the real places and people behind the book.

Now the video is done and it’s a lot of fun to watch.  And just because you guys are so handsome and clever, I’ll let you have TWO mini-docs for the price of one.  Video #1 is the long version (9.5 minutes).  Video #2 is shorter (5 minutes).

Enjoy!

Interested in chatting with Greg about his books?  Well, if you’re headed to Orlando this week for the Annual Library Conference, he’ll be signing at the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt booth this Saturday at 10am.

Here’s a link where anyone can read more about the book: http://www.gregneri.com/home/#/tru-and-nelle/

Thanks to Greg for the scoop!

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10. Certain Songs #572: Guns N’ Roses – “Pretty Tied Up”

guns pretty tied up Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

My favorite Guns N’ Roses song is subtitled “The Perils of Rock ‘n’ Roll Decadence,” but since someone announces the song as “The pearls of rock ‘n’ roll decadence” at the outset, it’s once again Guns N’ Roses trying to have it both ways.

And given it’s written by my man Izzy Stradlin, its no surprise that “Pretty Tied Up” argues a pretty good case for both pearls of rock ‘n’ roll and the perils of decadence.

Opening with the sound of an electric sitar weaving in and out of an circular riff, “Pretty Tied Up” alternates dreamy, psychedelic verses with a cowbell-driven footstomping chorus straight out of the glam-rock playbook.

Speaking of rock ‘n’ roll decadence, Slash adds his own with the first wah-wah solo that actually worked since the back half of Jimi Hendrix’s second solo on “All Along The Watchtower.”

After that solo, the song halts for a second so that Axl can gather himself to top the BDSM imagery that had dominated the first verse with some true decadence:

Once you made that money it costs more now
It might cost a lot more than you’d think
I just found a million dollars
That someone forgot
It’s days like this that push me over the brink
Cool and stressing

“I just found a million dollars that someone forgot.” I’d call it the first humblebrag, but of course, it’s just a straight-up boast, all the more so because I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was actually true.

After the final chorus, all sorts of madness breaks loose, as they repeat the end of the chorus again and again while Slash overdubs about 15 more wah-wah solos until the fade.

“Pretty Tied Up”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #572: Guns N’ Roses – “Pretty Tied Up” appeared first on Booksquare.

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11. Newbery/Caldecott 2017: The Summer Prediction Edition

Fickle little me. Titles appear. Titles disappear. Many of the books I placed on my Spring 2017 predictions list are gone by June, and what has changed?  Aren’t the books as wonderful now as they were when I originally propped them up?  Of course they are, but I’ve done enough book discussions in the intervening months that I feel as if I’ve a better grasp on what’s a contender.  Not that my track record is by any means perfect.  These are, as ever, just my professional opinion.  And I may have gone a little crazy with the Caldecott predictions this time around . . .

Be sure to check out the 100 Scope Notes post on books that Goodreads readers think have a real shot too.

2017 Caldecott Predictions

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, ill. Yuyi Morales

ThunderBoy

I read this one a long time ago and liked it just fine.  Personally, it wasn’t hitting me in the same way as Yuyi’s previous two books had, but I certainly enjoyed the spirit and energy and sheer love coming off the pages.  Then I talked about it with a bunch of other librarians and when we sat down and looked at those images, one after another, and discussed how one leads to another and how well Yuyi is able to convey familial affection with just the simplest of movements . . . well, I’m sold.  In fact, I may have just been convinced that this is her best book yet.

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

DuIzTak

Unlike many of my honored colleagues, I’m pretty darn neutral on Ellis. As a person she’s sweet as peaches on the vine but her art has never left me feeling warm and snuggly.  Now those of you who know me know that I’ve a weakness for weirdness.  Dark horse medal contenders are my favorites.  All the more reason that I should incline towards this strange, silly, downright odd little tale of bugs speaking their own (very comprehensible) language and the flower that inspires them.  I’ve read this book many times to my own kids and I can honestly say that it’s a perfect combination of luscious, lovely, occasionally terrifying art and kid-friendly storylines.

This House Once by Deborah Freedman

ThisHouseOnce

Dude, I was into Freedman when Scribble came out.  When I saw that book I remember thinking to myself, “This lady’s got something to her.  By gum, she’s going places!”  And yes.  I do actually use phrases like “by gum” in my head.  I’ve also been known to substitute it for “golly”, “gee willikers”, and “well slap my face and call me Bertha.”  But I digress.  I’m still parsing my thoughts on this book, which is both like every Freedman book you’ve ever seen and is vastly different from them all.  Worth thinking about.

Miracle Man by John Hendrix

MiracleMan

I mean, I put it to you. Can a Jesus book win a Caldecott in the 21st century?  Considering that the 1938 Medal Winner, which is to say the very first Caldecott ever given out, went to Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book, I’d say there was a precedent.  This is another wild card, and I don’t envy the Caldecott committee this discussion.  It’s hard to not to be in awe of Hendrix’s typography alone.

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, ill. Beth Krommes

BeforeMorning

Do you do that thing I do where if a person has won a Newbery or Caldecott Medal (not Honor) before then you sort of give them second billing when thinking about future award winners?  I do that all the time, but when you see a book as gorgeous as this one you put all that aside.  In this hot June month, something as lovely, cool, and refreshing as this snowbound wonder book is of infinite relief.  Krommes outdoes herself here, and the emotional beats of the book thump strong.  Is that a phrase?  I’m keeping it in.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, ill. Erin E. Stead

Uncorker

Mmm. Deceptively simple, this one.  Like Krommes, Stead already has a nice and shiny Caldecott Medal under her belt.  I had the pleasure of hearing Cuevas and Stead discussing this book during Day of Dialog at Book Expo this year.  Here’s a fun game: Read the text without looking at the pictures.  You might get an entirely different view of the proceedings.  Stead’s mark is so strong and her images so beautiful that it may contribute heavily to the book’s potential win.  We shall see.

Ideas Are All Around by Philip Stead

IdeasAllAround

Mind you, he has another book out this year (Samson in the Snow) and it wouldn’t surprise me even a hundredth of a jot if he won the Caldecott for that instead.  This is Mr. Stead’s hoity-er toity-er offering.  Beautiful, no question.  But a touch on the esoteric side.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Radiant Child

I have been waiting for this book for approximately five years.  Little, Brown & Co. is sick to death of me asking, “This year?  How ’bout this year?  Is it coming out this year?”  To see the art in person floors you.  Steptoe painted entirely on found wood and the storytelling of Basquiat himself is sublime.  This is one of my top picks, no question at all.  You are in for such a treat when you read it!!!

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

Storyteller1

GAH!!  So good!  So very very very very good.  I’m not going to railroad you with reasons.  Just read my review if you’re curious.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill, ill. Francis Vallejo

jazzday1

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books, as awarded by a clearly BRILLIANT committee *cough cough*.  Vallejo is a first timer here, but you’d never know it from the art.  As I’ve mentioned before, the book doesn’t slot into any categories very easily.  Hopefully the committee will recognize the art for what it is – extraordinary and distinguished.

 They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

TheyAllSawCat

And, the winner.  Done.  Nothing more to see here, folks.

I’m sorry . . . you’ve not seen this one?  Oh.  Well, it’s quite simple.  Wenzel has created the Caldecott winner for 2017.  Don’t know what’s confusing about that.  You’ll understand when you see it for yourself.  I don’t want to call it self-explanatory.  Let’s just say, it’s a bit of a given.

Freedom in Congo Square by Carol Boston Weatherford, ill. R. Gregory Christie

 FreedomCongo

Like Yuyi’s book, it took me a little while to come around to this one.  Christie’s art changes subtly from book to book.  Here, he appears to be channeling the ghost of Jacob Lawrence.  That’s a good thing.  An amazing solution to rendering slavery and its horrors accurately but still in a way that’s friendly to kids on the younger end of the education scale.  After you read this one, you just gotta dance.

2017 Newbery Predictions

My Newbery reads continue to lag vs. my Caldecott reads (picture books are just easier to read quickly!).  Fortunately, I’ve been lucky in what’s crossed my plate.  If the jury would be so good as to consider . . .

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

WildRobot1

A long shot, no question.  Its potential relies entirely on the kinds of readers you’ll find on the Newbery committee this year.  This book requires one to stretch their incredulity from time to time.  If you can do so, the rewards are vast.  Such a good bedtime book.  It would be a joy to see this make the list.

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan

FreedomOverMe

I call this one Simon & Schuster’s Secret Weapon.  But don’t take my word for it.  Read this brief plot description for yourself: “Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.”  Only it’s even better than that.  Bryan is doing something completely new here and the writing is perfect.  Don’t count this one out.  I think it has some real legs.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

RaymieNightingale

It’s good.  Deeply sad (a theme in 2016) but an honest-to-goodness page turner.  I reviewed it here but I’m still parsing it in my mind.  There is a LOT to chew on in these scant little pages.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

WhenGreen1

Poor poetry.  I’ll be your friend.  This is a book where the poems start off sounding pretty rote (this is hardly the first poetry-for-every-season-of-the-year book in the world) but then you get sucked into Fogliano’s writing.  I like the art just fine, but the text is the true star of the show.  You may read my review here if you’re curious.

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm

FullofBeans

Here’s a fun quiz question for you: Has a prequel to a Newbery Honor ever won a Newbery itself?  If this book continues Holm’s winning streak we may get our answer.  Mind you, Holm has never won herself a Newbery Award proper.  This wouldn’t be a bad book to do so.  Just saying.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Pax

We had our Pax push and even a Pax backlash, so at this point I think we’re ahead of the game.  Clearly this book has legs and a LOT of people discussing it.  I think it continues to be one of the strongest contenders.  A book that could only be tossed out on a technicality.

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela Turner, ill. Gareth Hinds

SamuraiRising

YES!  What’s that line from The Princess Bride?  “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”  Not so many giants and monsters in this and the true love . . . well, you could make a case for it.  Otherwise, I think we’re pretty close.  Bloody but upbeat, that’s for sure.  You can read my review of it here.

Wolf’s Hollow by Lauren Wolk

WolfHollow

Originally written as an adult novel, this book was turned into one for kids with very little touches and tweaks.  It’s not an easy read, but it’s a very strong one.  I could see it going head to head with all the other major contenders.  Better go out and read it when you get a chance.  My review is here.

And that’s all she copiously wrote!  What have I missed?  Spill it.  I know there’s a gap in there somewhere a mile wide.

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12. TBR Monday! More Books On My List

Greetings, Book People of Earth! I kind of enjoyed doing that previous post on my TBR pile, so here's another one with a few more recent acquisitions. Comments, opinions, and ancillary recommendations are welcome!Clockwise from Upper Left: Out on... Read the rest of this post

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13. William Grill's THE WOLVES OF CURRUMPAW

Several weeks ago, I was tagged in a Twitter conversation about William Grill's The Wolves of Currumpaw. The title rang a bell but I've not been able to recall why. Since then, I've had a chance to spend time with Grill's book.

Here's the synopsis:

The Wolves of Currumpaw is a beautifully illustrated modern re-telling of Ernest Thompson Seton's epic wilderness drama Lobo, the King of Currumpaw, originally published in 1898. Set in the dying days of the old west, Seton's drama unfolds in the vast planes of New Mexico, at a time when man's relationship with nature was often marked by exploitations and misunderstanding. This is the first graphic adaptation of a massively influential piece of writing by one of the men who went on to form the Boy Scouts of America.
The picture book is due out in the U.S. on July 12, 2016 from Flying Eye Books in London. It came out there in May. As the synopsis indicates, it is about Ernest Thompson Seton (founder of the Boy Scouts of America) and a wolf.

However, when I started to read the book, I was taken aback at two things: the illustrations of Native peoples, and, the absence of them from the text itself.

The first words of the book set its time and place: "The Old West, New Mexico, 1862."

The illustration shows an empty expanse of trees and in the distance, some mountains. New Mexico became a territory of the United States in 1848. By 1851, there were over 1000 US soldiers in the territory.

Later in The Wolves of Currumpaw, we learn that the story itself is set in Clayton, New Mexico, which is located in the northeast corner of the state. That means it was in the area of the country that was the homelands for Plains tribes like the Comanches, Cheyennes, or Kiowas.

The first full sentence in The Wolves of Currumpaw is on page 5:
Half a million wolves once roamed freely across North America, but with the arrival of European settlers the habitats of the animals began to change. 
On the facing page, the text is:
These were the dying days of the old west and the fate of wolves was sealed in it.
See? No mention of Native peoples for whom that area was their homelands. How convenient. Most people, by default, use "settlers" to describe those people. That word is seen, by some, as neutral. Others use "invaders" or "occupiers" or "squatters" to call our attention to the political and imperialism that was going on.

Reading the illustrations on page 5, however, the story is a troubling mix of inaccuracy, stereotyping, and a deeply disturbing image of what is meant to be an Native man on his knees, arms raised as if praying or pleading, in front of three soldiers who have their guns aimed at him. Here's the full page:



Numbering the images left to right, row by row, here's the story I discern and my thoughts on that story, too:

1. The US flag is shown as moving from the East Coast across to the West Coast. That's a graphic depiction of Manifest Destiny. I think white people were using the Santa Fe Trail to move to New Mexico. One problem with that depiction of the movement of white people is that it obscures history and the actual movements of Europeans into the southwest. The Spanish invaders were in the southwest long before the 1800s.

2. A white man in a red coat, and his child, are scoping out the land, deciding where to put their house. We don't know where that house is located, specifically. Somewhere near Clayton, New Mexico, but where? And what is the history of that particular land and who it belonged to at that moment in time? Since this book is, ultimately, about wolves, I guess we're not expected to ask those questions. That is not what the book is about, I imagine people saying. Those who put forth that response think I, and others who raise such questions, have "an agenda" as if they, themselves, don't! They do. Their push back is evidence of their agenda.

3. The white man's home is finished.

4. A white man in a black coat, shaking hands with an Indian man. Why? Did they, just at that moment in the story, meet?! Are they saying hello to each other? We don't know. Because we don't have enough information, I'm using "Indian" to describe the man. If Grill was being tribally specific, he might have told us the man's tribal nation. But again--this book is not about Indians, so, to Grill and those who read it as such, I'm probably asking an annoying question.

5. An Indian man on horse, hunting buffalo.
6. White men with rifles, killing many buffalo.
7. White men proud of how many buffalo they have killed.

The illustration of the man standing on a huge pile of buffalo skulls is based on a famous photograph dated 1892. Here they are, side by side. On the left is the original photograph, housed in the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library. A handwritten note on back says "C.D. 1892 Glueworks, office foot of 1st St., works at Rougeville, Mich."


The handwritten note on back is 1892; Grill's book is set 30 years earlier in a different state. Does it matter? Yes! The wholesale slaughter of buffalo is one of the darkest moments in US history. Consider, for example, what General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote in 1868 to General Sheridan:
"[A]s long as Buffalo are up on the Republican the Indians will go there. I think it would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America there this fall for a Grand Buffalo hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all. Until the Buffalo and consequent[ly] Indians are out [from between] the Roads we will have collisions and trouble" (Smits, 1994). 
Grill's use of the photograph is apparently a set-up for the next image...

8. An Indian man points to buffalo skulls on the ground. We can interpret that to mean he's giving the white man heck for his role in the slaughters. Without a doubt, Native peoples objected to what white people did, but Grill's telling of history is a wreck. What happens in the next few illustrations is deeply disturbing.

9. White men build fence right through Indian tipis. The Indian man appears to be saying "stop" to the white man.
10. The white man and the Indian man fight.
11. The Indian man, on his knees, appears to either pray or plead with three U.S. soldiers as they level their rifles at him.
12. Indians being led away.

It is hard for me to come up with words to describe #11. I wonder how Grill came up with that particular illustration? What did he read? Why did he think an illustration like that ought to be part of the story he tells? Did his editor ask him about it? What did he say?  It is, of course, a brutally violent image. And while that sort of thing did happen, historically, it does strike me as the sort of thing that most people would deem as being inappropriate for seven year old readers (the book is marked as being for children aged 7 - 14 years). But it isn't noted in the review from Publisher's Weekly or from Kirkus either. Did they notice it?

And that last image, of the Indians, being taken away by armed men on horses. That marks the end of Native peoples in Grill's book. The sentence at top of the next (facing) page is:
These were the dying days of the old west and the fate of wolves was sealed in it.
No mention of Native peoples in that sentence, and no reference to Native peoples in the set of illustrations below that sentence either. From there, the story moves to how the white people's livestock is being killed by wolves, and so, the wolves are killed.

In the next dated section (1893) the story shifts to a legendary wolf. There's a reference in the text there:
Old Lobo, or the King, as the natives called him, was the great leader of a notorious pack of grey wolves.
On the next page, Grill gives us names for the wolves (Lobo, Grey Wolf, and Blanca) and white people (Seton, LaLoche, Tannery, and Calone). But, no tribal or personal names.

Overall, we're meant to admire how smart Lobo is, and we're meant to be troubled by what Seton does in his effort to kill Lobo. It is gruesome in parts, and, his use of Lobo's mate (Blanca) as a lure is unsettling. In the end, Lobo dies in captivity. Again, I wonder about the book and its use with young children. The final chapter is about Seton's turning about. Full of regret he becomes a key figure in protecting wolves and other wildlife. In 1902, he founded the Woodcraft Indians.

I truly do not understand the thinking behind this story. It is gratuitous in its violence. If the point is to understand a man's turning point, do we really need page after page about the things he did to try to kill this wolf? Some of it is meant to tell us the wolf was cunning, but the bulk of The Wolves of Currumpaw is about trying to capture that wolf.

That image of the three soldiers with rifles pointed at the Indian man... that, too, is gratuitous. The history is wrong, the story us needlessly violent, and as such, I can't recommend The Wolves of Currumpaw. And I do not understand why Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review. This review feels ragged as I read and re-read it. I may be back to polish it, but my inability to get to a place where I feel it is ready to share is an indicator of how messed up it is.

Works Cited:

Smits, David D. The Frontier Army and the Destruction of the Buffalo: 1865-1883. In The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol 25 #3, Autumn, 1994, pp. 312-338.











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14. Just. One. Book.

Margaret at the blog Throwing Chanclas recently shared the plight of a school in her neighborhood:

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the "check outs" for old books are in the 1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It's an uninviting place. There hasn't been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren't allowed. The last eight years students couldn't even check out books.

But all that is changing now.


Margaret is now collecting books for the library. Let's help out! You can donate books via their Amazon wishlist or by sending books directly to the address below. For more informaion, please email Margaret and visit her blog.

Greenville High School/Indian Valley Academy
Library Project Attn: Margaret Garcia
117 Grand Street
Greenville, CA 95947

If sending during the month of July, when school is closed, please send to:

Library Project/Margaret Garcia
PO Box 585
Greenville, CA 95947

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15. Find the Squid Picture Puzzle

Find the Squid!

You know those pictures where everything looks the same, but you have to find the thing that is different? Well, we’ve got one for you that I drew myself!

Look at this big bunch of eggs and see if you can find the squid hiding in there.

squid egg puzzle

Click the image for a larger view.

Did you find it? Tell us in the Comments what you think of my picture puzzle!

En-Szu

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16. 8 Books for When You Are 8

Recommend me!8 Books for When You Are 8

Eight is great! Hooray for the great year eight! We’ve put together a list of the eight best books to read when you’re eight. From silly to magical, these books are perfect for any eight-year-old. How many of these have you read?8for8

The Year of Billy Miller
Starting second grade is nerve-wracking enough. Now imagine starting it with a big lump from a concussion on your head! Billy Miller can’t seem to catch a break, and that’s just the beginning of the school year. There are lots of ups and downs to his year, and Billy Miller is really nervous — but sometimes the best support comes from where you least expect it.

Where the Sidewalk Ends
These poems range from funny to wild to simply bizarre, and you won’t be able to put this book down! Have you ever wondered how long it takes to eat a whale? What happens when a crocodile goes to the dentist? If you ever wanted to know the answer to these questions — or just love silly stories — you HAVE to read this book. It’s the best!

Ramona Quimby, Age Eight
Of COURSE this book is a must-read for every eight-year-old! For bouncy, loud Ramona, turning eight is yet another great adventure. But with things at home kind of rocky, and Ramona having her own problems with bullies and annoying little kids, year eight is proving to be anything but easy. With her upbeat attitude, though, Ramona is going to show age eight who’s boss!

Amelia Bedelia
Housekeeper Amelia Bedelia means well, but takes every instruction she gets literally — like “dressing” the chicken in tiny clothes! What will happen when the Rogers family, who hire her to clean the house while they’re out for the day, returns to Amelia’s version of completed chores? You’ll have to read this super-silly book to find out!

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
If you’re into magical adventure, the Chronicles of Narnia is a journey you simply can’t miss. Four siblings find themselves mysteriously transported to the magical land of Narnia, where centaurs roam, animals talk, and a terrible spell by the sinister White Witch has left the land in winter for one hundred (!!!) years. But these special children have been brought to Narnia for a reason, and they’re about to discover why . . .

Nate the Great
Nate, a young detective who loves (LOVES) pancakes, is on his biggest case yet: his friend Annie asks him to help her find a missing portrait of her dog, Fang. Sleuthing his way from clue to clue and suspect to suspect, Nate also solves several other mysteries along the way. Now how’s THAT for being a kid detective?

 Matilda
Matilda is a super-genius. Too bad her family is super-terrible, and can’t appreciate her special mind! Thankfully, Matilda finds an ally in her teacher at school, Miss Honey. But even together they are no match for Matilda’s selfish parents and the horrible headmistress Ms. Trunchbull . . . that is, until Matilda discovers her magic power that may just be her ticket to a happily ever after. This modern-day fairy tale is bound to be a book you can’t put down and will want to read over and over again!

The Magic Treehouse
This AWESOME series is one that is perfect to start at age eight (and with 55 books in the series so far, it’ll be a while before you run out of books to read). Jack and Annie are two siblings who discover a magical treehouse that sends them across time and space to solve mysteries and collect clues. From the North Pole to Ancient Egypt, Jack and Annie meet all sorts of fascinating people and creatures and learn amazing things. Extra awesome: It was recently announced that The Magic Treehouse is going to be turned into a live-action movie!

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every eight-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu

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17. Smarty Kiss Puppy Create a Caption

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for Smarty Kiss Puppy!

Grr! This puppy looks like he just woke up from a nap! What would you say he might be thinking?

Smarty-Kiss puppy

Here’s my caption: “I was having the best dream, there were doggy bones everywhere and I could dig all the holes in the yard that I wanted!”

Write YOUR caption in the Comments below!

Megan, STACKS Intern

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18. Picture Books Bios I’d Like to See (Based Entirely on Hark, A Vagrant Comics)

Okay. So now we’re finally getting some interesting picture book biographies on a regular basis.  When I was a kid you had your Helen Keller and your Abraham Lincoln and you were GRATEFUL!  These days, people are interested in celebrating more than just the same ten people over and over again.  Why this year alone I’ve seen some incredibly interesting picture book biographies of comparatively obscure figures.  These include . . .

  • Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley, ill. Jessie Hartland
  • Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson (Ada’s really hot this year)
  • Anything But Ordinary: The True Story of Adelaide Herman, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff, ill. Iacopo Bruno
  • Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff, ill. Hadley Hooper
  • Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky, ill. Isabelle Arsenault
  • Esquivel! Space‐Age Sound Artist by Susan Wood, ill. Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal, ill. Laura Freeman
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, ill. Elizabeth Baddeley
  • The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick, ill. Steven Salerno
  • Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave‐Explorer by Heather Henson, ill. Bryan Collier
  • Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean‐Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
  • Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleigh, ill. Raul Colon
  • To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Vleet & Dr. Kathy Sullivan, ill. Nicole Wong
  • Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super‐Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton, ill. Don Tate
  • The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin, ill. Jez Tuya

And those are just the ones I’ve seen!

It’s encouraging.  And then I wonder – do people need suggestions for more fun biographies?  Because if they do have I got the woman for you!

First off, meet Kate Beaton.  You may only know her from her two Scholastic books, last year’s The Princess and the Pony and this year’s King Baby.  But Kate has been running an online comic site called Hark, A Vagrant! for years.  There are many lovely things about the site, but I’m particularly fond of her brief biographical comics on obscure historical figures.  She’s been doing them for years and once in a while I really do see one turned into a picture book (paging Ada Lovelace . . .).  So in today’s goofy post I’m going to pull out some of Kate’s work in the hopes that maybe there’s an author or illustrator there who’d like to write a picture book biography about someone awesome and relatively unknown.

By the way, you can follow these links to read these comics in a clearer format, if you like.  And I think you can even buy prints of them, if you want.

First up:

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung

KatherineSuiFunCheung

I legitimately had never heard of her.  A badass Asian-American aviatrix heroine?  Um… how is she NOT in a picture book bio?  Because quite frankly we could use a huge uptick in our Asian-American women bios in general.  Particularly if they involve air stunts.

Matthew Henson

hensonsm

Is it weird that there isn’t a really well-known Henson picture book biography out there?  I guess his life wasn’t completely perfect (second family at the North Pole and all) but as African-American explorers go, he’s fantastic.  As it happens, this was the first Hark, A Vagrant! comic I ever read.  I was a fan for life afterwards.

Rosalind Franklin

rosalindsm

She helps to discover DNA!  She doesn’t get credit for it!  This story has everything!

Dr. Sara Josephine Baker

Baker1Baker2

She’s so often just linked to Typhoid Mary, but Ms. Baker did wonders for infant mortality rates and just generally sounds like an amazing woman. And I like how Beaton draws her hair.

Ida B. Wells

IdaBWells

I’m pretty sure we’ve had picture book bios on her before, but the only one I can remember was for older kids.

Mary Seacole

seacolesmall

Again, never heard of her. And as Kate put it regarding Nightingale, “She is no longer my favorite Crimean War nurse.”  This is timely too since as of three days ago there was a report in The Guardian over the huge furor over a statue honoring Seacole’s achievements.  Read it, when you get a chance.  Then write a bio of Seacole.

Harvey Milk

HarveyMilk

Maybe not so obscure thanks to his biopic, but sure as shooting lacking in some significant pic bios.

Of course when all is said and done, Kate should really just make her own picture book biographies.  Or, do a book for older readers of Biographies You Should REALLY Know and Don’t.

Oh, it would work.

Happy writing!

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19. 25 Books from 25 Years: Sam and the Lucky Money

Lee_Low_25th_Anniversary_Poster_2_LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today, we’re celebrating one of our most popular and bestselling titles: Sam and the Lucky Money. We love this book because it accomplishes so many things at once: it teaches about kindness, generosity, and gratitude; it lets readers experience Chinese New Year in New York’s Chinatown; and it teaches readers about special Chinese New Year traditions.

Featured title: Sam and the Lucky Money

Author: Karen Chinn

Sam and the Lucky Money

Illustrators: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Synopsis: Sam is excited to spend the Lucky Money his grandparents gave him for Chinese New Year during a trip to Chinatown, but learns that sometimes it is better to give than to receive.

Awards and honors:

  • Notable Books for a Global Society, International Literacy Association
  • Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)
  • Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award Honoree
  • Pick of the List, American Bookseller’s Association
  • Story Pick, Storytime PBS

Other Editions: Did you know that Sam and the Lucky Money also comes in a Spanish and a Chinese edition?

Sam y el dinero de la suerte

Sam y el dinero de la suerte

Sam and the Lucky Money Chinese edition

Sam and the Lucky Money Chinese Edition

Purchase a copy of Sam and the Lucky Money here.

Resources for teaching with Sam and the Lucky Money:

Other Recommended Picture Books for Teaching About Generosity and Giving:

The Can Man

The Can Man by Laura E. Williams, illus. by Craig Orback

Lend a Hand

Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank, illus. by London Ladd

Have you used Sam and the Lucky Money? Let us know!

Celebrate with us! Check out our 25 Years Anniversary Collection.

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20. “Sex, Death, and the Devil” at RBMS 2016

We are pleased to announce the first of two RBMS 2016 exclusive catalogs. We made an extremely small print edition to distribute at RBMS [inquire!!!] There will be a pdf. available on the Lux Mentis website, but are excited to debut it as a flip catalog [N.B. there is a FullScreen button in the navbar and a .pdf download option].

Contact us with questions or find us at RBMS at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables. #rbms16

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21. 2016 South Asia Book Award

SABA - South Asia Book Award - banner

South Asian Book Award 2016 winnersCongratulations to Mitali Perkins whose wonderful Tiger Boy (Charlesbridge, 2015 / Duckbill Books, 2015) has garnered another award (well, I said it should win plenty in … Continue reading ...

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22. Adventures in Babysitting Would You Rather With Sofia Carson

SOFIA CARSONSofia Carson Answers Our Would You Rather Questions

In the Disney TV movie Adventures in Babysitting, goody two-shoes Jenny (played by Sabrina Carpenter from Girl Meets World) and artsy rebel Lola (played by Sofia Carson from Descendants) accidentally swap phones. As a result of the swap, Lola ends up babysitting for one of Jenny’s clients and getting into BIG trouble. The night turns into a chaotic adventure as Jenny and Lola hunt for one of the kids who snuck away.

Watch my video with Sofia Carson as she answers my Would You Rather questions. Would you rather . . .

sofia carson

Be best friends with Evie from Descendants OR Lola from Adventures in Babysitting?

Be best friends with Prince Charming from Descendants OR Jenny from Adventures in Babysitting?

Be a world-famous photographer OR a straight-A student?

Babysit the worst kids in the world OR owe $1000 in parking tickets?

If you could accidentally switch phones with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?

Do you have any babysitting rules or tips for a first-time babysitter?

JET JURGENSMEYER, NIKKI HAHN, SOFIA CARSON, MALLORY JAMES MAHONEY, SABRINA CARPENTER, MADISON HORCHER

Photo credit (Disney Channel/Ed Araquel)

Adventures in Babysitting airs tonight at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel. Will you be watching? Leave a Comment and answer the Would You Rather questions for yourself!

Sonja

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23. Remember When Cleveland Hated Lebron?

Fresh off the Hollywood-perfect ending of bringing a championship to the long-suffering fans of Cleveland, the praise for Lebron James will certainly hit new levels of genuflection. Without a doubt, it’s a great story.

But if you’re looking for a great sports book to read, don’t overlook the time when James was reviled for the way he originally departed his home region. And look no further than Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of Lebron James. Published in 2011, the book explores Cleveland culture and the author’s own quirky life, in addition to documenting the activities of King James. Funny and insightful and chock full of other celebrities (due to Raab’s longtime work for Esquire), The Whore of Akron is a fun read, regardless of the current thinking about Lebron James.

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24. “Punk is Dead” at RBMS 2016

We are pleased to announce the second of two RBMS 2016 exclusive catalogs. We made an extremely small print edition to distribute at RBMS [inquire!!!] There will be a pdf. available on the Lux Mentis website, but are excited to debut it as a flip catalog [N.B. there is a FullScreen button in the navbar and a .pdf download option].

 

Contact us with questions or find us at RBMS at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables. #rbms16

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25. Certain Songs #569: Guns N’ Roses – “Civil War”

Guns civil war Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

One of the fun parts of doing something like Certain Songs is that I get to finally explain some of my long-held but hardly-expressed theories. Which I have a lot of!!

And here comes one of the most indefensible: not only is Use Your Illusion II the greatest Guns N’ Roses album, it’s the greatest metal album ever made by Americans.

You’ll, of course, note that “Americans” qualifier. Because Led Zeppelin. And maybe even Black Sabbath & Deep Purple. So if you’ll accept that (and that GN’R qualify as “metal”) — and of course there’s no reason you have to — then what’s better?

Some of you might say one of those Metallica albums, and sure, but if I’m going to be honest, everybody else in the universe loves Metallica more than I do. So nope.

And because I was never really into thrash or hair metal, to me, the only competition is Van Halen (which beats Women and Children First on account of what kind of bolt from the blue it truly was), Superunknown and Rocks.

All worthy, and I’ve always loved Rocks beyond measure (and I really shorted Aerosmith in Certain Songs because they were the first band I wrote about and I had no idea how extensive my writing was going to end up being) (so damn straight I’ll get back to them), but I’ve been listening to Use Your Illusion II pretty fucking consistently for the past 25 years.

And “Civil War” sets the template for the rest of the album, which is full of epic songs alternating with blistering rockers. But unlike the epics on Use Your Illusion I, “November Rain” & “Coma,” a song like “Civil War” never felt self-consciously epic, but rather just ended up that way.

Starting with a Cool Hand Luke sample over an acoustic guitar, but driven by a big riff and lord knows how many guitar solos, “Civil War” does the quiet loud quiet thing — featuring Axl alternating his crooning voice and his screeching voice — before settling into its big thesis statement:

And
I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain’t that fresh
I don’t need your civil war

Eventually, driven by Dizzy Reed’s rollicking barrel-house piano, “Civil War” launches into its rave-up coda with Axl repeating the chorus, and its so dense and powerful that it feels like an announcement.

“Attention! While Use Your Illusion I was exactly what you might have expected, we’re going to shift into a whole new gear with Use Your Illusion II!”

And the rest of Use Your Illusion II was the proof.

Which, I realize, is a bit ironic, as “Civil War” was actually the first thing recorded for the Illusion twins, and as such, the only song to feature original drummer Steven Adler, but it just means that they wanted to imbue each disc with its own personality, and “Civil War” was the best way to establish the personality of Use Your Illusion II.

“Civil War”

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