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‘Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,’ so wrote the other bard, Shakespeare.
Scotland’s bard, Robert Burns, has had a surfeit of biographical attention: upwards of three hundred biographical treatments, and as if many of these were not fanciful enough hundreds of novels, short stories, theatrical, television, and film treatments that often strain well beyond credulity.
Burns has been pursued beyond (or properly in) the grave in even more extreme ways. His remains have been disinterred twice, the second time so that his skull might be examined for the purposes of phrenology. In death he has been bothered again very recently in the run up to Scotland’s referendum in October 2014. Would Burns have been a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ voter, a Nationalist or a Unionist, was often posed and answered across media outlets.
This de-historicised Burns, someone who never actually had any kind of political vote in life, who had no access to nationalist, or indeed, unionist ideology, in the modern senses is nothing new. During World War I, the minute book of the Dumfries Volunteer Militia, in which Burns had enlisted in 1795 in the face of threatened French invasion, was rediscovered. It was published in 1919 by William Will of the London Burns Club with a rather emotional introduction claiming that the minute-book’s records showing Burns’s impeccable conduct as a militiaman was proof of the poet’s sound British patriotism and how he might be compared to the many brave British soldiers who had just taken on the Kaiser. In response, those who had been recently constructing a pacifist Burns spluttered with indignation. Wasn’t the Scottish Bard the man who had written ‘Why Shouldna Poor Folk Mowe [make love]’ during the 1790s:
When Princes and Prelates and het-headed zealots
All Europe hae set in a lowe [noisy turmoil]
The poor man lies down, nor envies a crown,
And comforts himself with a mowe.
This is an increasingly obscene song, an anti-war text saying, ‘a plague on all your houses’ (to paraphrase the other bard again): the poor should choose love, and not war – the latter being the result of much more shameful shenanigans by their supposed lords and masters.
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An’ foolish notion
The problem is that Burns would be dizzy with the multifarious contradictoriness of it all if he could truly emerge from the grave and attempt to see himself as others have seen him. Ultimately, what we have with Burns is the man who may or may not have been Scotland’s greatest poet, but who is certainly Scotland’s greatest song-writer (with the production of twice as many songs as poems) — the nearest Scotland has, a bit cheesy though the comparison is, to Lennon and McCartney. These songs and poems express indeed many different ideas, moods, emotions, and characters. They sympathise with radically different viewpoints (for instance, Burns can write empathetically on occasion about both Mary Queen of Scots (Catholic Stuart tyrant) and the Covenanters (Calvinist fanatics, according to their respective detractors)). Burns’s work is both his living achievement and the real remains over which we ought to pore. In the end there is no real Burns, but instead a fictional one and the important fictions are of his making.
Image Credit: Scottish Highlands by Gustave Doré (1875). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
by We Need Diverse Books The We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest
We Need Diverse Books (“WNDB”) is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. WNDB is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.
WNDB is proud to announce that Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, has acquired publication rights to the Middle Grade WNDB Anthology, working title “Stories For All Of Us.” Ellen Oh, President of WNDB, will edit the anthology, which will have a January 2017 release date. Contributing authors include: Kwame Alexander, Sherman Alexie, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Pena, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Rachel Renee Russell, and Jacqueline Woodson.
The anthology will be in memory of Walter Dean Myers and it will be inspired by his quote: “Once I began to read, I began to exist.” Every new story contribution to this anthology will be by a diverse author.
WNDB is proud to announce that the anthology will have one story reserved for a previously unpublished diverse author. WNDB will fill that slot via a short story contest. The winner will be included in the anthology and will receive a payment of $1000 US.
Entries will be accepted after 9:00AM EST on April 27th until 5:00PM EST on May 8th, 2015. Any submission made prior to or after the entry period will not be considered.
Entry is free.
Submissions will not be returned.
All applicants must include a 75 word bio and headshot.
Winner will be announced on June 15, 2015.
Short Story Rules
All submissions (short story or illustrated story) must be in English and never before published in any medium, print or digital.
All submissions must also be appropriate for a middle grade audience, ages 8 to 12.
If your submission is illustrated, it must be in a graphic novel format, but no longer than 10 pages.
Illustrations must be submitted electronically. Do NOT mail hard copy submissions to WNDB. They will not be reviewed, nor will they be returned.
Open to diverse writers from all diverse backgrounds (as defined above). Applicants must include this information in their bio.
Open to diverse writers who have not been published in a traditional print fiction book format, including self-pubbed, independents, small and medium publishing houses, in all genres whether for the children’s or adult market.
EXCEPTION – Short story publication credit in a magazine, literary journal, or periodical will not disqualify the applicant.
First prize winner will receive an award of $1000 plus their entry will be published as part of the WNDB Anthology to be released by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books in January 2017.
Two runner-up winners will receive honorable mentions and awards of $250 each.
Any submissions sent in before the entry period will be deleted, the email address flagged, and the author automatically disqualified.
Who can apply?
We recognize anyone from a diverse background, including but not limited to, LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities currently marginalized in North America.
What should the story be about?
It can be about anything as long as it relates to the prompt “Once I began to read, I began to exist” and a diverse experience. The story must also be appropriate for a middle grade audience, ages 8 to 12.
What about a submission in verse?
We accept submissions in free verse only.
What about entries that are a combo of both text and graphics? For example, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid format? Are they acceptable?
Do the winners get free copies of the book? How many?
The winner will receive 1 copy of the Anthology when it is published.
Are joint authors for a project okay?
As long as both authors are diverse as defined above. Joint authors will share any prizes given by WNDB.
Is non-fiction acceptable?
Does having a mental illness qualify as having a diverse background?
WNDB recognizes mental illness as a disability and therefore part of our definition of diversity.
What genres are eligible? Fantasy, historical, contemporary, etc?
Submission can be of any genre as long as it is MG (middle-grade).
My self-published book is no longer in print/on the market. Does this disqualify me as an author?
If we can search your name and find a published book online anywhere, you will be disqualified.
Does the exception for a short story publication credit extend to a credit in an anthology series?
The exception only applies to short story credit in a magazine, literary journal, or periodical.
If I’m white am I disqualified?
If you self-identify as a diverse person from one of the definitions stated above, you are still eligible.
If I’m disqualified for this anthology, will I remain eligible for for future opportunities?
We cannot say at this time.
Do authors have to be over 18?
Parental consent will be required upon signing of contract if the winning author is under the age of 18.
What if I’m already published in a language other than English?
Previously published authors in any language are not eligible. The only exception is if the published work is a short story credit in a magazine, literary journal, or periodical.
Can international authors apply?
As long as your submitted work is in English and you are not a previously published author.
What if I have a question not covered in this FAQ?
You can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. While we can’t answer every email personally, we will post any new and relevant questions directly to this FAQ.
Yogjakarta, sebagai sebuah Kota Pelajar selalu menghadirkan berbagai tempat dan budaya yang menarik. Sebagai kota pelajar, kota ini dihuni oleh berbagai suku bangsa yang datang dari hampir seluruh wilayah Indonesia. Hal inilah yang melatarbelakangi Yogjakarta sebagai salah satu ikon pendidikan di Indonesia. Ramainya siswa maupun mahasiswa yang datang ke Yogyakarta memberikan nilai tersendiri bagi budaya dan gaya hidup masyarakat Yogjakarta.
Selain sebgai kota pelajar,Yogjakarta sejak dahulu memang sudah dikenal sebagai kota budaya yang mewariskan banyak peninggalan-peninggalan sejarah serta adat istiadat kesultanan keraton.
Di Yogyakarta masih terdapat banyak bangunan-bangunan bersejarah yang masih berdiri tegak dan masih berfungsi dengan baik. Tidak hanya itu, sebagian dari bangunan-bangunan bersejarah tersebut digunakan dan dimanfaatkan sebagai kantor-kantor oleh pemerintah daerah Yogyakarta.Hingga sekarang, bangunan-bangunan tersebut tetap terawat dan tampak masih kokoh.
Ikon Yogjakarta adalah Malioboro dan tugu, selain itu paris atau Pantai Parangtritis juga adalah salah satu ikon pariwisata di kota ini.
Malioboro memiliki daya tarik tersendiri bagi para wisatawan karena tempat ini menawarkan keunikan yang sulit anda temukan di tempat lain.
Yogyakarta sebagai kota pelajar, merupakan kota yang tidak terlalu mahal dalam arti anda bisa makan dan menginap dengan biaya yang murah.
Jika anda ingin berwisata ke yogyakarta dengan biaya murah, maka anda harus memiliki beberapa pengetahuan seputar Yogyakarta.Baik itu tempat makan, penginapan, transportasi, dan berbagai hal yang bisa menghemat budget anda.
Usahakan untuk selalu tiba di tempat tujuan anda pada siang hari, dimana transportasi bukanlah kendala berarti pada siang hari. Pada malam hari biasanya transportasi akan menjadi lebih mahal dan sulit.
Untuk menuju ke daerah daerah yang tidak terlalu jauh, anda bisa memanfaatkan ojek atau becak untuk mengantarkan anda menuju tempat yang akan anda tuju. Sedangkan jika anda ingin kepergian ke tempat yang lebih jauh, cobalah menggunakan BusTrans Jogja yang ongkosnya relatif sangat murah.
Setelah anda berada di penginapan, di sana anda bisa menyewa kendaraan roda dua yang rata-rata harga sewa per harinya sekitar Rp.50.000. Dengan begitu anda bisa pergi ke mana pun yang anda inginkan dengan berbekal Peta Wisata yang bisa anda dapatkan di beberapa tempat seperti di Pusat Informasi Wisata di Jalan Malioboro, atau di Mirota Batik Jalan Malioboro.
Sosrowijayan adalah sebuah jalan yang ada di lingkungan Malioboro, tempat ini banyak memiliki hotel atau penginapan yang bertarif murah. Mulai dari 70 ribu hingga 100 ribu permalam. Tidak hanya penginapan di sosrowijayan, sebenarnya anda juga bisa mencari penginapan atau guest house yang berada di beberapa tempat misalnya di dekat Malioboro atau di dekat Alun-Alun Kidul.
Jika anda berwisata ke Yogjakarta berame-rame, maka Guest House adalah pilihan tepat. Harga sewa Guest House perhari sekitar Rp. 600.000. Namun jika anda datang sendiri atau berdua, maka penginapan di Sosrowijayan adalah pilihan tepat.
Kuliner di sekitar Malioboro atau di sepanjang Jalan Malioboro bukankah kuliner yang berharga murah. Setiap orang yang makan di warung kaki lima sepanjang jalan ini harus menyiapkan uang dua kali lipat atau tiga kali lipat dibandingkan dengan warung-warung yang ada di gang-gang Malioboro atau di sekitaran Malioboro. Jadi untuk makan, anda bisa mencoba mendatangi warung-warung kecil atau angkringan yang menawarkan harga makanan relatif lebih murah.
the fact that since flickr isn't posting the images directly as it used to up to a few months ago, make complicated being uploading, here, there, to facebook, and whatever... i'm seriously thinking about stop uploading my stuff. the truth is that in flickr for instance, people usually watches my images about a hundred times on the first couple of days, but only a few favs and almost noone coments. and here in blogger there seems to be more traffic but noone leaves any coments, so I guess i'm just posting for some russian/american bots which visit the site and sometimes leave some spam message i obviously don't publish. here's a screen capture, it's making me think if taking this long to post is really worth...
anyway, hope you enjoy these small drawings, some are from last night, a couple from a few days ago and the pencil one is from last year i think.
Today’s picture book is an import. Peter Carnavas’Jessica’s Box was initially published in Australia back in 2008, but Kane Miller will bring it to U.S. shelves in March.
When we first meet Jessica, her mind is racing. It’s “too busy for sleep. Her thoughts were already with tomorrow.” And that’s because tomorrow will be her first day of school, and she’s eager to make new friends. When she shows up, she brings with her a big cardboard box. By lunchtime, though her box is neglected at first, curious children gather ’round, and Jessica reaches into her box to pull out a stuffed toy bear. The reaction Jessica wants isn’t exactly the one she’s met with: Some students laugh at her, and others ignore her. The next day, Jessica brings cupcakes. Needless to say, the treats are met with enthusiasm, but they’re consumed and forgotten. “Not even a thank you?” Jessica wonders.
Jessica keeps trying, yet she reaches the point of mild despair: “She just wanted to disappear.” So, she puts the box on her head one day. And a boy approaches and befriends her; he thinks she’s playing hide-and-seek. Later at home, when she tells her family she’s finally made a friend, her Grandpa says, “You must have had something very special in your box today.” Jessica smiles and responds, “I did.” (I read this at a bookstore story time yesterday—the story really seemed to get everyone’s attention—and found myself asking the children, “what was in her box?” “Her head,” one child said, which made me laugh.)
I love this sweet, but never saccharine, tale. Jessica’s family at home is warm and loving, yet they never coddle or overprotect her, letting her come to realizations about friendship on her own. In one particularly lovely spread, it was “Dad’s turn to talk to Jessica that night,” and the next illustration shows them outside together (Jessica on his shoulders), just looking into the sky: “They didn’t say very much.” Sometimes silence is best.
And, as you can see from the illustrations (which are somewhat reminiscent to me of the artwork of Ole Könnecke), rendered with a sunny, warm palette, Jessica is in a wheelchair. Yet the story isn’t some huge “issue” story about her having to overcome her disability or some such. Her lack of friends has nothing to do, in fact, with that, and never once does her wheelchair come up in conversation. I suppose one could argue that is why she’s nervous about school, but many children do, indeed, get apprehensive about the first day, wheelchair or not.
This one’s a gentle story, quiet and wise. It’s a keeper.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.
* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *
1) I forced this song I heard this week on all my music-lovin’ friends, because I immediately fell in love with it (and only listened to it about seven HUNDRED times).
3) I don’t normally re-watch TV shows, but we re-watched season two of House of Cards, because season three will be here soon. And it’s so good. And on my second watch, I saw all new things to appreciate about the direction of and writing and acting in this show.
Lombok memiliki kultur budaya yang tidak jauh berbeda dengan budaya yang kita temui di Bali. Sejarah telah menunjukkan bahwa Lombok dan Bali memiliki beberapa kesamaan dan kemiripan.
Salah satu budaya unik yang dimiliki oleh masyarakat Lombok adalah kawin culik. Kawin culik atau biasa dikenal dengan kawin curi yaitu pernikahan yang akan dilangsungkan dengan cara mencuri mempelai wanita terlebih dahulu.
Budaya ini sudah mengakar dan masih berlangsung hingga saat ini. Keunikan budaya ini sudah banyak di bukukan dan cukup terkenal.
Adat kawin culik
Tidak hanya itu, jika seseorang yang ingin menikah, namun tidak menculik calon mempelainya maka hal tersebut dianggap tabu dan bahkan tidak diterima oleh beberapa masyarakat Lombok. Para orang tua gadis yang sudah siap menikah biasanya lebih suka apabila anak gadis mereka diculik daripada diminta dengan cara baik-baik seperti proses melamar yang sering kita temukan di beberapa pulau lain di Indonesia.
Upacara adat, sanksi adat, dan berbagai peraturan-peraturan yang tertulis dan tidak tertulis harus ditaati oleh Penculik ataupun yang akan diculik. Setiap perbuatan mengandung juga beberapa konsekuensi sehingga hal tersebut bisa menjadi sebuah tolak ukur keunikan sebuah budaya.
Keberanian atau kejantanan adalah faktor yang paling dibutuhkan untuk menculik atau mencuri seorang gadis yang siap diajak menikah. Dengan menculik, maka calon mempelai laki-laki dianggap sudah siap dan cukup jantan untuk menikah. Itulah sebabnya mengapa orang tua sang gadis lebih suka apabila anaknya diculik sebelum melakukan prosesi pernikahan.
Beberapa konsekuensi yang akan diterima oleh si penculik apabila mereka gagal diantaranya adalah sanksi adat yang berupa denda dan beberapa sanksi lainnya. Tidak hanya itu, proses menculik pun tidak sederhana melainkan memiliki beberapa aturan.
Setelah sang gadis dicuri atau diculik, biasanya sang gadis akan dititipkan terlebih dahulu di keluarga terdekat mempelai pria selama satu malam lamanya. Setelah itu, keesokan harinya barulah keluarga sang mempelai pria menghubungi keluarga si gadis untuk mengabarkan bahwa anak gadis mereka telah diculik.
barulah kemudian kedua belah pihak membicarakan berbagai hal seperti upacara pernikahan, seserahan, dan beberapa hal penting yang berkaitan dengan upacara adat nantinya.
Peraturan kawin culik
Dalam penculikan ini, tidak boleh ada unsur paksaan dari sang mempelai pria kepada gadis. Apabila terjadi paksaan atau ancaman maka hal tersebut bisa menimbulkan beberapa masalah dan menyebabkan jatuhnya sanksi.
Oleh sebab itu, bisa dikatakan bahwa kawin culik adalah adat istiadat yang dilakukan oleh calon mempelai pria dan seorang gadis yang berdasarkan rasa suka sama suka.
Proses penculikan sendiri tidak selalu berjalan mulus dan berhasil. Adakalanya penculikan tersebut gagal karena ketahuan atau gagal karena di dahului oleh pesaing. Kegagalan-kegagalan tersebut harus ditanggung oleh si penculik dengan menerima sanksi adat dari ketua adat kampung asal si gadis.
There’s this belief among writers that hidden inside us is all the stuff
we need to write.
Maybe we're born with this stuff, or maybe we get it
from our teachers or parents, or by reading the work of other writers, but we
have it and only have to dig deep enough to find it.
Of course, we still need to learn how to write.
We still need to read lots of books and write lots of words.
The world has watched as ISIS (ISIL, the “Islamic State”) has moved from being a small but extreme section of the Syrian opposition to a powerful organization in control of a large swath of Iraq and Syria. Even President Obama recently admitted that the US was surprised by the success of ISIS in that region. Why have they been so successful, and why now?
Political Scientist Robert A. Pape and undergraduate research associate Sarah Morell, both from the University of Chicago, share their thoughts.
ISIS has been successful for four primary reasons. First, the group has tapped into the marginalization of the Sunni population in Iraq to gain territory and local support. Second, ISIS fighters are battle-hardened strategists fighting against an unmotivated Iraqi army. Third, the group exploits natural resources to fund their operations. And fourth, ISIS has utilized a brilliant social media strategy to recruit fighters and increase their international recognition. One of the important aspects cutting across these four elements is the unification of anti-American populations across Iraq and Syria — remnants of the Saddam regime, Iraqi civilians driven to militant behavior during the US occupation, transnational jihadists, and the tribes who were hung out to dry following the withdrawal of US forces in 2011.
The Sunni population’s hatred of the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad has allowed ISIS to quickly overtake huge swaths of Iraqi Sunni territory. The Iraq parliamentary elections in 2010 were a critical moment in this story. The Iraqiyya coalition, led by Ayad Allawi, won support of the Sunni population to win the plurality of seats in Iraq’s parliament. Maliki’s party came second by a slim two-seat margin. Despite Allawi’s electoral victory, Maliki and his Shia coalition — backed by the United States — succeeded in forming a government with Maliki as Prime Minister.
In the months following the election, Maliki targeted Sunni leaders in an effort to consolidate Shia domination of Baghdad. Many of these were the same Sunni leaders successfully mobilized by US forces during the occupation — in an operation that became known as the Anbar Awakening — to cripple al-Qa’ida in Iraq strongholds within the Sunni population. When the US withdrew, they directed the aid to the Maliki government with the expectation that Maliki would distribute it fairly. Instead, the day after the US forces withdrew in December 2011, Iraq’s Judicial Council issued an arrest warrant for Iraqi Vice President Hashimi, a key Sunni leader. Arrests of Sunni leaders and their staffs continued, sparking widespread Sunni protests in Anbar province. When ISIS — a Sunni extremist group — rolled into Iraq, many in the Sunni population cooperated, viewing the group as the lesser of two evils.
The second element in the ISIS success story is their military strategy. Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent four years as a prisoner in the Bucca Camp before assuming control of AQI (ISIS’s predecessor) in 2010. He seized upon the opportunity of the Syrian civil war to fuel a resurgence of the group. As a result, today’s ISIS militants are battle-hardened through their Syrian experience fighting moderate rebels. The Washington Post has described Baghdadi as “a shrewd strategist, a prolific fundraiser, and a ruthless killer.”
In Iraq, ISIS has adopted “an operational form that allows decentralized commanders to use their experienced fighters against the weakest points of its foes,” writes Robert Farley in The National Interest. “At the same time, the center retains enough operational control to conduct medium-to-long term planning on how to allocate forces, logistics, and reinforcements.” Their strategy — hitting their adversaries at their weakest points while avoiding fights they cannot win — has created a narrative of momentum that increases the group’s morale and prestige.
ISIS has also carved out a territory in Iraq that Shia and Kurdish forces will not fight and die to retake, an argument articulated by Kenneth Pollack at Brookings. ISIS has not tried to take Baghdad because they know they would lose; Shia forces would be motivated to expend blood and treasure to defeat ISIS on their home turf. Some experts believe the Kurds, likewise, are unlikely to commit forces to retake Sunni territory. This mentality also plays into the catastrophic performance of the Iraqi Security Forces at Mosul, forces composed disproportionately of Kurds and Sunni Arabs; when confronted with Sunni militants, these soldiers “were never going to fight to the death for Maliki and against Sunni militants looking to stop him,” writes Pollack.
Third, ISIS has also been able to seize key natural resources in Syria to fund their operations, probably making them one of the wealthiest terror groups in history. ISIS is in control of 60% of Syria’s oil assets, including the Al Omar, Tanak, and Shadadi oil fields. According to the US Treasury, the group’s oil sales are pulling in about $1 million a day. This enables ISIS to increasingly become “a hybrid organization, on the model of Hezbollah,” writes Steve Coll in The New Yorker — “part terrorist network, part guerrilla army, part proto-state.”
Finally, ISIS has developed a sophisticated social media campaign to “recruit, radicalize, and raise funds,” according to J. M. Berger in The Atlantic. The piece details ISIS’s Arabic-language Twitter app called The Dawn of Glad Tidings, advertised as a way to keep up on the latest news about the group. On the day ISIS marched into Mosul, the app sent almost 40,000 tweets. The group has displayed a lighter side to the militants, such as videos showing young children breaking their Ramadan fast with ISIS fighters. These strategies “project strength and promote engagement online” while also romanticizing their fight, attracting new recruits from around the world and inspiring lone wolf attacks.
Since June 2014, the United Sates has pursued a policy of offshore balancing — over-the-horizon air and naval power, Special Forces, and empowerment of local allies — to contain and undermine ISIS. The crucial local groups are the Sunni tribes. These leaders were responsible for the near-collapse of AQI during the Anbar Awakening, and could well be able to defeat ISIS in the future.
This is part two of a series of articles discussing ISIS. Part one is by Hanin Ghaddar, Lebanese journalist and editor. Part two is by Shadi Hamid, fellow at the Brookings Institution. Part three is by Charles Kurzman, Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Headline image credit: Coalition airstrike on ISIL position in Kobane on 22 October 2014. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
My Librarian is a Camel:
how books are brought to children around the world
By Margriet Ruurs
Boyds Mills Press. 2015
I went into my local
public library and borrowed a copy of this book.
In My Librarian is a
Camel, author Margriet
Ruurs contacted librarians around the world and asked them to share their
stories about their efforts to connect books with
At Russia Beyond the Headlines Julia Shevelkina reports that: 'Russian bookstores are using movie style trailers to grab people's attention and promote interest in reading', in Bringing a touch of Hollywood sparkle to Russian bookstores.
'Sparkle' may be a bit of an exaggeration, but see for yourself: several examples are on offer.
When Crabs Cross the Sand written by Sharon Katz Cooper and illustrated by me is just out from Capstone/picture window books. The color looks amazing! I really like the printing and design on this one.
Glorious samples just in!
The crabs are fascinating to study. There was a great documentary on National Geographic about them.
In Monday's post on POV, Kitty mentioned one of my favorite books Bright Lights Big City which is famously written in the second person
"You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head."
Kitty asked "I've often wondered if McInerney had to really sell the 2nd person, because some people have a knee-jerk reaction to it, or did his writing sell it for him?"
I'll opine that the writing is what carries this book. Using 2nd person POV was a device to bring the reader along with the narrator, in the closest narrative proximity possible. There is no "you and I" here, certainly no "they" there is only "us."
Long time blog reader Julie Weathers gave me a new favorite phrase on Monday too: "Holy rolling armadillos."
That pretty much had us all in stitches here in the office.
And I really liked Colin Smith's list of questions about how to figure out which POV suits the story:
* How emotionally intense is the story? How closely do I want the reader to feel what the MC feels?
* How important is it that the reader is as surprised by plot developments as the MC?
* Do I want the reader to have a broader perspective of the story than the MC? Perhaps there are multiple plot threads with minor characters that your MC isn't aware of, but play into the main plot.
* What's the focus of your story: solving a mystery step-by-step, knowing the solution to the mystery and seeing how your MC solves it (like Columbo), the hunt for a bad guy, or the unraveling of a deadly scheme? I think you can use pretty much any POV for these scenarios, but some favor particular POVs more than others (e.g., Columbo-style is probably best as 3rd Omniscient; the step-by-step would be 1st or 3rd Limited like Harry Potter).
On Wednesday's blog post on characters' names, oh-so-useful Felix Buttonweezer (I think there are at least two spellings on that floating around!) reappeared.This was immediate license for all the blog commenters to further build his backstory.We're going to need a Buttonweezer Bible here before too long.
This week I paid my annual AAR dues which may seem like a small thing, but I remember when I wasn't an AAR member and how much I wanted to join as soon as I could. For those of you who aren't familiar with AAR, it's the literary and dramatic agents professional group. There's a Canon of Ethics which members agree to abide by, and a minimum standard for associate and full membership.
Some very reputable agents elect not to belong to AAR, but I'm very happy to fork over my dues and count myself among those who do.
I can't believe next week is the last week in January! Time is just flying by...even without those flying cars or personal jetpacks that I'm still hoping for!
by Victoria Aveyard
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.
Yesterday I went to a schooling academy show with Pixie. Both Elsa and I took turns riding her, and Pixie did really well. I didn’t care what ribbons she got, I just wanted to see if she would behavior her sometimes sassy self in the crowded, cold venue where these shows are held. If she had walked a bit better I would have been ecstatic – as it was, I was pretty darn pleased with her performance. The weather even cooperated and it was a balmy (for January) 38 degrees! Still chilly when you’re hanging out all day in an unheated barn, but so much better than the last time I went!
I was gone all day long, and by the time I got back home, I just wanted to veg out. I did finish a book, but I didn’t feel like doing anything else, so I didn’t! And I didn’t even feel guilty about it. So, posting might be a little slow here next week.
How was your week?
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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.
New Arrivals at the Café:
Brave Men Die Part 2
Non-stop Till Tokyo
The Long Ride Home
Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Murder of Crows (Library)
Eye of the Falcon
Match 3 Quest – This is a HUGE time suck, but I made a deal with myself – I can play as long as I want, as long as I am riding the exercise bike while I’m playing. Any other time, 10 minute limit (Yes, I even set a timer) I hope I’m addicted to this game for a long time, because I am pedaling the calories away almost every time I play it!
A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!
Author photos. We all have them - hi-res, 300 DPI, colour for preference, smile optional - for a whole range of things. It's one of the first things a new author is asked when they sign the contract: 'Have you got a photo we can use...?' So you might scurry around your hard drive or your camera, looking for something vaguely professional looking. Maybe you'll actually find one. Perhaps you're the kind of person who has an author photo taken every year, so you have a selection that you can send off. but I think it's more likely you won't even have one. Or if you do have one, it's from ten years ago,when the world of publishing seemed so bright and shiny. None of this matters to the harsh world of editors and Sales People. They're probably just after something bright and energetic to put on the AI sheet.
Dorian wondered why the school bookings weren't coming in like they used to...
At a party I attended recently, some of my fellow writers started discussing author photos. Did it matter if you didn't look exactly like the photo any more? Should it be a recent picture? How old can a picture be? Do I look better now or then? If you use your best photo are you just setting yourself up for disappointment when people meet you and discover you are not the suave\attractive\young version they expected?
I got very lucky with my photos - I happened to have had some taken in 2008 (well before I got my first book deal) and I happened to have paid for the copyright to use them where and when I wanted to. Without planning to, I ended up with a selection of pictures I could use on my website, on Twitter - anywhere, really. And those photos have stood me in good stead because I have used them a lot. The trouble is that they are seven years old and I've...well, I've changed a bit since then. The example mentioned at the party I went to cited a photo that was thirty years out of date. So my question to you is: Does it really matter if your author photo is old? How often should you get a new one? As authors, are we getting unfairly judged by our covers?
Tamsyn Murray's new book, Completely Cassidy: Accidental Genius is out on 1st March 2015(Usborne)Add a Comment
There are thirty-one short stories in this L.M. Montgomery collection. There are some great stories within this collection. There are some not-so-great stories within this collection. The quality definitely varies story to story. But if you already love L.M. Montgomery, it's well worth reading. If you're never read her, however, this may not be the best introduction. True, you'd probably find something to like, to enjoy, maybe even love. But would it persuade you to seek out EVERYTHING she's ever written because she's oh-so-amazing?! Probably not. It's good to keep in mind that these short stories were published several years before her novels. (Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908).
You’ve seen the commercials. There’s a woman with limpity blahsville hair. Her shoulders, schlumpy. Her eyes, rolled. She blows a puff of air upward from her lower lip and ruffles her scruffy bangs–the universal breath of disgust. Then, some product whooshes onto the screen. It’s a bottle of glamorous, sexy-smelling hope for hair. Ms. Lackluster snatches the wunderproduct, suds it through her sorry locks and voila! Cue the fans to blow a mane so magnificent as to make Fabio throw in the towel.
What if there was a “product” that could do the same–give shine, volume and manageability–to your writing? Good news! There is. It’s called Critique Group.
Here’s how this amazing product works:
Shine. Nothing will give your writing that dazzling sheen you desire like a robust critique. Your group can help you snip those dry, split ends created by worn or useless verbiage, identify stronger verbs and methodically polish your work.
Volume. Receiving regular feedback on your work helps to fuel your momentum, which hopefully, results in higher word counts and more pages than you may have accumulated as a solo act. So luxurious!
Manageability. Critique groups, regardless of how you arrange them, typically come with a schedule for sharing your work. Knowing you have these deadlines can help you plan, set goals and make the whole writing process more aimful instead of aimless.
You say you don’t have a critique group of your very own? Instead of pulling out your hair, let’s find you a group ASAP.
Consider these ideas for either starting or connecting with an established group:
Use social media. Let Facebook friends or Twitter followers know you’d like to join or start a group.
Visit discussion boards and search “critique groups” to see who’s seeking. For example, you could start with the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and explore the Resources section.
Talk with your local children’s librarian or a writing instructor at your local community college about your desire to form a group. You may learn about others who have expressed the same. If there’s a public bulletin board at the library or community college, post a “Want Ad” there.
Go to writing conferences or take writing classes and do a little friendly snooping to find out about the groups of your fellow attendees. Who knows, they may be hoping to add a new member.
Ask other writing friends for ideas. Ask how they decided between joining a face-to-face or online group (and the advantages/disadvantages of each), how their group is structured and if they know of a group with an opening. If your friend is groupless, ask about starting a new group of your own.
If you’re already in a group and have more ideas, tips for how to structure or improve a critique group, please share.
Wishing you gorgeous “hair” days ahead!
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. ~ Madeleine L’Engle
I call myself a moral philosopher. However, I sometimes worry that I might actually be an immoral philosopher. I worry that there might be something morally wrong with making the arguments I make. Let me explain.
When it comes to preventing poverty related deaths, it is almost universally agreed that Peter Singer is one of the good guys. His landmark 1971 article, “Famine, Affluence and Morality” (FAM), not only launched a rich new area of philosophical discussion, but also led to millions in donations to famine relief. In the month after Singer restated the argument from FAM in a piece in the New York Times, UNICEF and OXFAM claimed to have received about $660, 000 more than they usually took in from the phone numbers given in the piece. His organisation, “The Life You Can Save”, used to keep a running estimate of total donations generated. When I last checked the website on 13th February 2012, this figure stood at $62, 741, 848.
Singer argues that the typical person living in an affluent country is morally required to give most of his or her money away to prevent poverty related deaths. To fail to give as much as you can to charities that save children dying of poverty is every bit as bad as walking past a child drowning in a pond because you don’t want to ruin your new shoes. Singer argues that any difference between the child in the pond and the child dying of poverty is morally irrelevant, so failure to help must be morally equivalent. For an approachable version of his argument see Peter Unger, who developed and refined Singer’s arguments in his 1996 book, Living High and Letting Die.
I’ve argued that Singer and Unger are wrong: failing to donate to charity is not equivalent to walking past a drowning child. Morality does – and must – pay attention to features such as distance, personal connection and how many other people are in a position to help. I defend what seems to me to be the commonsense position that while most people are required to give much more than they currently do to charities such as Oxfam, they are not required to give the extreme proportions suggested by Singer and Unger.
So, Singer and Unger are the good guys when it comes to debates on poverty-related death. I’m arguing that Singer and Unger are wrong. I’m arguing against the good guys. Does that make me one of the bad guys? It is true that my own position is that most people are required to give more than they do. But isn’t there still something morally dubious about arguing for weaker moral requirements to save lives? Singer and Unger’s position is clear and easy to understand. It offers a strong call to action that seems to actually work – to make people put their hands in their pockets. Isn’t it wrong to risk jeopardising that given the possibility that people will focus only on the arguments I give against extreme requirements to aid?
On reflection, I don’t think what I do is immoral philosophy. The job of moral philosophers is to help people to decide what to believe about moral issues on the basis of reasoned reflection. Moral philosophers provide arguments and critique the arguments of others. We won’t be able to do this properly if we shy away from attacking some arguments because it is good for people to believe them.
In addition, the Singer/Unger position doesn’t really offer a clear, simple conclusion about what to do. For Singer and Unger, there is a nice simple answer about what morality requires us to do: keep giving until giving more would cost us something more morally significant than the harm we could prevent; in other words, keep giving till you have given most of your money away. However, this doesn’t translate into a simple answer about what we should do, overall. For, on Singer’s view, we might not be rationally required or overall required to do what we are morally required to.
This need to separate moral requirements from overall requirements is a result of the extreme, impersonal view of morality espoused by Singer. The demands of Singer’s morality are so extreme it must sometimes be reasonable to ignore them. A more modest understanding of morality, which takes into account the agent’s special concern with what is near and dear to her, avoids this problem. Its demands are reasonable so cannot be reasonably ignored. Looked at in this way, my position gives a clearer and simpler answer to the question of what we should do in response to global poverty. It tells us both what is morally and rationally required. Providing such an answer surely can’t be immoral philosophy.
Headline image credit: Devil gate, Paris, by PHGCOM (Own work). CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.