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1. Half Past Winter, by Ginger Nielson | Book Review

Half Past Winter is an adorable tale of two bear cubs and their adventure to find winter’s first snow. They grow impatient in their den when no snow comes and decide to explore until they find snow.

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2. 'Why translate ?'

       It's an old piece ("first published in Books from Finland 1/1982") but now available online -- and always an interesting question: translator Herbert Lomas (e.g. Arto Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare) tries to explain: Why translate ?
       Among the questions he tries to answer: "Why this lack of interest ?" (in literature in translation) -- a situation that has perhaps improved since (there seems more intense interest -- even if not yet exactly a widespread one).

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3. Publishing Jobs: Penguin Random House, Zest Books

This week, Penguin Random House is hiring a senior editor of Harmony, as well as a designer for its advertising and promotions department. Zest Books is seeking a marketing and publicity manager, and Trident Media Group is on the hunt for a digital coordinator. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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4. Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of the (Australian) Victorian Premier's Literary Awards: Alan Atkinson's The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation was both the non-fiction category winner, as well as the Victorian Prize for Literature (i.e. overall/grand prize) winner; see, for example, The Australian's report, Alan Atkinson main winner at Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

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5. Review: Quantum & Woody Must Die But Not Just Yet

By Davey Nieves

Quantum & Woody Must Die #1
QWMD 001 COVER HAWTHORNE 195x300 Review: Quantum & Woody Must Die But Not Just Yet

Story : James Asmus (Gambit, Thief of Thieves)

Art: Steve Lieber (Hawkman, Whiteout)

Color: Dave McCaig

Letters: Dave Lanphear

Publisher: Valiant

 

 

 

 

Full disclosure, while I’ve read and enjoyed many of the relaunched Valiant titles like Bloodshot and Harbinger, however I never got around to reading the first Quantum and Woody series. Now curiosity has won me over and I decided to dive right in starting with Quantum and Woody Must Die #1. After belly flopping in the pool I can say Peter Venkman put it best in this classic line “ I’ve worked with better, but not many.”

Quantum and Woody is a weird book but then again that’s what you get when you have two brothers who don’t resemble each other in the least, whose father was downloaded into a goat. The duo also each has a power that complements the other. Woody shoots energy blast from his fingertips while Quantum has the ability to generate force fields. As if this story didn’t need any more stipulations, bracelets they must clang together once every 24hrs or they’ll die also bind them to each other. What truly makes them unique is the under the surface stuff a writer like James Asmus brings out in these characters.

In the opening of the series, readers are eased into their world as the pair seemingly puts a halt to an armored car heist by a team of rough-and-tumble females. This is really the beginning of something bigger as a sinister power-harvesting plot is revealed. Much to the apropos of the characters, they stumble upon the corporation carrying out this plan and destruction ensues.

The best parts of the book have very little to do with the action or the overall plot. Quantum and Woody’s strength is in exposing their faults, which Asmus does by letting us see the pair in a therapy session. Even a visit to a veterinarian becomes this funny segment like something out of morning radio. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the N.W.A references and racial humor in the book but I’m willing to bet I won’t be the only one. A big plus for Q&W newbies like myself or if you’re looking for something new to read; this first issue is very accessible to their world. Even the banter between the brothers never feels like too much of an inside joke.

Steve Lieber’s art seems right for a book like this but sort of feels as though it misses the mark a bit. Just flipping through the pages you can see the Allred like influence on the style, but the necessary blend of zany and lucid never balances enough. This series is meant to be strange and should take more chances with that license going forward and I fully expect that to happen with a Kubert school guy like Lieber on art duties. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention something that really stuck out in the issue. Dave Lanphear’s lettering is standout in the book. Title cards, onomatopoeia, and presentation all function in carrying the narrative along smoothly. While lettering is vital to every comic book, it doesn’t always stand out like in Q&W.

Even with the hiccups, there’s more to enjoy than hate here. Quantum and Woody Must Die #1 is best described as an odd couple written by Arthur Conan Doyle on speed and it has me strongly considering adding it to my own pull list.


 

Follow Dave on twitter @bouncingsoul217 as he spouts random ideas for new businesses.  

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6. 'Revisiting Raja Rao's fiction'

       Kanishk Tharoor's piece on 'Revisiting Raja Rao's fiction', India As Metaphysic ?, is now finally freely accessible at The Caravan.
       The focus is on the recently republished by Penguin India titles -- with Tharoor not equally enthusiastic about all of them: "How to describe the monumental tedium of The Serpent and the Rope ?" he wonders ..... Read the rest of this post

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7. Package design/illustration for a new gourmet ice cream brand...













Package design/illustration for a new gourmet ice cream brand emerging in LA soon…better hope they can airlift their products, if you don’t live within driving distance. 













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8. Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

mehcad brooks Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

When Melissa Benoist was cast as Supergirl last week for the CBS upcoming superhero drama of the same name, I had a feeling the Jimmy Olsen announcement could only be a few days away, given that the auditions for both roles were held pretty closely together.

Like magic, we now have a new Jimmy Olsen! Mehcad Brooks (Desperate Housewives, True Blood) will be playing everyone’s favorite Daily Planet photographer/giant turtle-based superhero. Actually, the latter probably won’t happen sadly, but Brooks will surely have a camera in hand at some point.

The Supergirl iteration of Jimmy is described as “a smart worldly photographer for CatCo, the media company where Kara works. He had previously been working and living in National City for mysterious reasons, and his salt of the earth nature piques Kara’s interest”.

I’m not totally up on my Supergirl lore, but National City doesn’t ring any of my DC Comics bells (other than being the former name of the company). I assume its something created specifically for the new series.

There are a number of roles still to be cast, including: Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw – the Supergirl obsessed director of the Department of Extra-normal Operations, Kara’s CatCo colleague Wynn Schott, and Kara’s sister Alex.

 

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9. The Unknown Unknown – Anna Wilson

At Christmas I was browsing in a bookshop for ideas for a present for my husband, and I came across a pamphlet entitled The Unknown Unknown by Mark Forsyth. I, of course, read it before I gave it to my husband – what is the point of buying books for people for Christmas if you can’t enjoy reading them yourself before wrapping them?

Forsyth’s essay is based on the premise famously set by Donald Rumsfeld, the American Secretary of Defense during George W Bush’s administration. He stated that:

“There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is that say that there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.”

Forsyth goes on to say that this applies perfectly to reading:

“I know that I’ve read Great Expectations: it’s a known known. I know that I haven’t read War and Peace: it is a known unknown to me [. . .] But there are also books that I’ve never heard of; and, because I’ve never heard of them, I’ve no idea that I haven’t read them.”

It was while running workshops in schools last week that I saw that writing, too, is an unknown unknown, because writing is, of course, an exploration, a foray into the unknown: an expedition without a map. We write stories we had no idea existed until we come to write them.

This is particularly true, I feel, when working with children who believe they are not natural storytellers. This might be because they have not had much success in writing stories in school, or because they don’t enjoy writing, or perhaps because they feel hindered by language barriers, for example. They panic at the sight of the blank page: this is where workshops can be so beneficial in unlocking stories, in demystifying the unknown unknown.

Last week I was leading workshops with children of all ages, nationalities and language abilities in schools in Istanbul. We were exploring such ideas as “how to build a character” and “how to get started on a story”. The children all came with a blank sheet of paper, knowing nothing about how they would spend the next 40 minutes. As I waited for everyone to settle down, some children told me that they were not good at stories and that they had no ideas. I told them not to worry and assured them that with a couple of prompts, they would soon be fizzing with stories. But really, I too had no idea what would happen. Maybe the children would go away with their paper still blank. Maybe they would be paralyzed by nerves or fear or a simple lack of vocabulary, as many of them had English as a second, third or even fourth language.

We started one workshop by looking at a collection of random objects I had brought with me, which included, amongst other things, a badger’s skull, a necklace, a set of old keys, an asthma inhaler and an iPhone box. I encouraged the children to choose a couple of objects and think who might own them, what they might do with them, where they might have found them or from whom they might have received them. Within minutes I had children telling me stories about evil mermaids who used the inhaler to make humans breathe underwater so that they could be lured to the mermaids’ cave; people who were drawn into an iPhone app and transported to another world; an old professor who collected skulls and who discovered that one skull, when he touched it, allowed him to travel in time. Soon the children were scribbling away, either having a go at forming sentences or making mind-maps or drawing comic strips of their stories.




Not one single child knew they had those ideas in them before they came to the workshop, just as I have never truly known how any of my books is going to work out until I sit down to write it. I have encountered characters that have reared up from the darkest corners of my imagination and often wondered, ‘Where did youspring from?’ and have found ways of resolving plots that I did not have in mind when I first sat down to write.

Writing is a series of unknown unknowns; it is, as Joseph Conrad says about a blank space on a map, “a white patch for a boy [girl] to dream gloriously over”.

The blank page can of course instill fear, and conjures up that dreaded phrase, “writer’s block”, but for as long as I can see it as that “white patch”, it will continue to hold sway with its magic over me.



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10. FABRICS - minted

After hearing from Kimberly Hall about Minted fabrics I wondered what other designs they might have to offer and picked out a few P&P choices to showcase. Above is a cute design from Phrosné Ras and below stylish leaves by Oscar and Emma. You can see over 400 designs online here.  Above and below : Hannah cloud Above : Erika Firm and below : Cheer up Press. Below : five designs by

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11. Review: Casanova Acedia #1 Mo’ Memories Mo’ Problems

By: Lindsey Morris

casanova 195x300 Review: Casanova Acedia #1 Mo Memories Mo Problems

   Story: Matt Fraction

   Art: Fábio Moon

   Colors: Cris Peter

   Letters: Dustin Harbin

   Publisher: Image Comics

HARK! A new volume of Casanova has begun – the first since 2012 – and with it comes the promise of another harrowing adventure steeped in espionage, intrigue, and boobies from writer Matt Fraction and artist Fábio Moon.

Casanova Quinn (Quentin Cassiday) has been kicking around the comics world since 2006, when he hit the scene as a freelance jack-of-all-trades for any discerning client and/or worldwide spy organization. Since then he has been gainfully employed across timelines and dimensions, doing various jobs for his father’s E.M.P.I.R.E., as well as other things I’m not exactly equipped to explain because come on, this timeline is nuts.

At the beginning of this iteration, Cass is a man with no past and nothing to lose. A stroke of luck finds him employed with an older man in a similar position – acute amnesia. The rest of the story unfolds accordingly, as they hatch a plan to find out all they can about each other. For all of its separation from previous issues, this installment still finds itself planted firmly in the footing of its predecessors. The years since the last volume have apparently had no effect on the creative team, who continue to crank out work that blends seamlessly with the universe they’ve created, while also maintaining enough distance for the new story to grow.

In Acedia #1, the gorgeous pages by Moon come to the forefront of the story immediately. Cass is deranged, covered in blood and stumbling through the streets of Hollywood, California. Lit up in blues and oranges by colorist Cris Peter, this balance of warm and cool colors remains throughout the story, creating a surreal reading experience, and evoking a surprising breadth of moods.

Moon’s art is singular, blending thick and chunky linework into thin silhouettes and shapes that somehow remain elegant and defined, rather than bulky and dull. His style vacillates between great economy of line and incredible detail – always unafraid of using thick swathes of black ink wherever he deems appropriate, and to great success. The backgrounds are natural, replete with the imperfect lines that suggest the absence of a ruler, and perfectly matched to the figures in the foreground.

Character designs remain on point, especially those of the “Grey Men.” A garish pairing of geometric head-pieces and pinstripe suits, the pages with these figures stand out as some of the best in the issue. The fight between Cass and these characters is fast-paced, dynamic, and unforgiving. Rounding out the story is the final panel – an amalgamation of everything listed above. Copious black, varied line widths, and dry brush work together to create an ominous display of what’s to come.

As far as the writing goes, Fraction uses the bulk of the pages to set up the story between Cass and his employer. There are still all the trappings of a Casanova comic – dry humor, sexy encounters, ill-advised “plays on words,” etc. -  and they work as well as ever. A quote by French poet Guillame Apollinaire adds some literary levity to an otherwise straight-forward scene. So, you know, classic Fraction.

Making Acedia even more of a winner, though, is the back-up story featured at the end of the issue. Written by Michael Chabon and drawn by Gabriel Bá, The Metanauts promises to be the perfect accompaniment to its sister-story. Using the same outline as the main storyline, this short features characters both new and old, including a delightfully cynical rock journalist to whom every band is “a bunch of trumped-up corporate bullshit.”

Casanova continues to carve out its path in the comics world, holding steady to the formula that the creative team has been employing for years. “The rules are simple. The gun is always loaded. The safety is always off. The fucker always fires.”

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12. YMA Favorites

When you’re reading this, a lot of us will be heading or preparing to head to Chicago for ALA Midwinter. There are many things to be excited about during Midwinter–meetings, exhibits, seeing friends.

But not a lot actually meets the level of excitement, that the Youth Media Awards. This will be my first YMAs in person! I’m so jazzed. So I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on my favorite winners of past YMAs. Honestly, I could go on for pages and pages about this, but I’ll just do a quick overview because y’all are packing or flying.  My very favorites of the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, and Printz Award Winners:

I know this is everyone’s favorite, but it’s totally mine. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. It won the 1963 Caldecott award. This book was written over 20 years before I was born, but I adored it as a child. I remember asking my mom to read it to me over and over and over again. And it holds up. I use this one in storytimes often, and I’m lucky enough to live near the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi and have seen some of the original art. It’s as gorgeous as you think it is.

The View From Saturday by E.L. Konisburg won the Newbery Medal in 1997. This is one that I was wild about as a child. I was 9 years old when this book came out, and I was part of a program in my school that was similar to the Academic Bowl Team. Well, not entirely similar. But it felt similar. My fourth-grade self resonated with this one DEEPLY. I actually have not read this one as an adult. A part of me is terrified that it won’t hold up. But it will, right? Because Konigsburg? This is the first time in my life I remember being aware that the Newbery medal is something that was actually awarded, and that the seal didn’t just magically appear on books in my school library. I remember my school librarian telling us that this book had won and being very excited because I had read it and loved it so much. Maybe it’s time for a reread?

 

The Printz Award is a little different. It’s a much newer award. The first Printz was awarded in 2000. I wasn’t really aware of the existence of the Printz until college library school, but I quickly became obsessed. I actually wrote my master’s project on the Printz. In doing so, I read many Printz and Printz Honor titles. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, the 2009 winner, is my favorite, and continues to be my favorite Young Adult title of all time. I understand that my approach to this book was different. I was an adult the first time I read it, upon the recommendation of a colleague at my library, unlike the other two titles, which I came to as a child. But this book, like the other two, changed me and stayed with me. Marchetta is now one of my favorite authors. I’m fond of telling friends that if she wrote ingredients lists on the side of cereal boxes, I’d have them shipped over from Australia to read.

That’s the thing I love about award winners, and all books. Remember this when you’re putting award seals on books next week and when you’re teaching classes about the Caldecott and Newbery and when you’re excitedly handing your tweens and teens the Printz Honor book you’ll know they love: these are the books that will stay with them forever. And we get to be a tiny part of that.

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Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with kids ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

The post YMA Favorites appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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13. Our first house

I’ve been thinking all day about what I wanted to write about. Nothing much came to mind. But, as I kissed my handsome man good bye for him to go help somebody move in, I realized I probably haven’t recorded my memories and thoughts about our first house. I started our family blog when my 7-year-old was about 9 months. We bought our first house when I was 7 months pregnant with him. In other words, it wasn’t on the blog, and I probably didn’t write about it in my journal.

So. Here we go. I remember feeling a bit shocked and spoiled that we were buying a house so early in our marriage. We were married August 22, 2006 and closed on our first house August 1, 2007- less than one year later. I did insist that we live in a nice little crumby apartment when we were first married, because “everybody has to have that experience as newlyweds!” And it was lovely. Located on 2nd East in Rexburg, just 2 blocks from campus; 300 square feet on the back of a house. It had a tiny hallway of a kitchen, and the smallest bathroom I’ve seen. The main room was wide open, but we tried to create a little bedroom privacy with the stand alone closet that was provided. It was perfect for us! I remember many nights after I got pregnant being so exhausted that I would go to bed at 7:00 while Brant watched sports. That was the only time we’ve ever had Cable TV because it was provided by our landlords. They were a nice old couple that lived in the main part of the house.

When Brant graduated from BYU-Idaho in May, 2007, he got a job in Idaho Falls. We were encouraged to buy a house because of the first-time home buyers incentive. We didn’t have any money for a down payment. But, we decided instead of throwing our money away to rent, we would buy and start to build equity. Looking back now, it might not have been the best move. But, that might be largely due to the recession and housing slump that hit shortly after we bought.

We drove around the area where Brant would teach, and decided against living there. It was scary, run down and not for us!

My dad wanted us to buy a house over on the West side of Idaho Falls, because he thought it had better resale value. (My parents came to look at a few houses with us. My dad owns many homes, and knew what he was doing… and happens to now be a real estate agent in St. George, UT.) But, we had found the right house for us!

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It was a beautiful little white house with a white picket fence on one side of the yard. 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. A nice living room, small kitchen, and a wood stove. Built on 1/4 acre with a great backyard and big trees, including fruit trees, chokecherry bushes, grapes, strawberries and gooseberries. It also had beautiful pink roses in the front yard.

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I LOVED the kitchen when we first looked at the house! These pictures are from when we were trying to sell the house, and so they don’t show how small it really was. It was perfect when we moved in. But, by the time we moved out, we had three kids and had definitely outgrown the kitchen!

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We LOVED the wood stove. The first winter we lived there, our baby wouldn’t sleep unless he was swaddled pretty tight. But, we were new at burning wood in the stove to heat the house, so it often got SO hot that we had to open many windows to cool it down enough for all of us to sleep. :)

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I won’t go into too many details about the basement remodel. Brant finished the rest of the basement while we lived there. It became a 5 bedroom, 2 bath home. He did a great job! (I think he made a blog about it on our family blog when he finished.) Here are pictures of each of the rooms. Not exactly the way I remember them, since we actually lived in the house. But, There are pictures on our family blog, of us living in the house, because I did blog for most of those years.

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The owners we bought from had a $1000 carpet allowance as part of their selling point. We decided to offer a bit less and take that out. That was a mistake. This is the pictures of the new carpet that we bought, just before we moved out! :( We dealt with the nasty “white” carpet the whole time we lived there. We paid $124,000 for the house, which included closing costs and everything.

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I painted this bedroom a couple months before Caleb was born!

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The day we moved in, like I said, I was 7 months pregnant. The only thing I was allowed to carry was a pillow. ;) Brant moved almost everything by himself, and had help only for the washer and dryer. We didn’t own a couch. I think all we had was our queen sized bed, a glider rocking chair and a few boxes, really. It’s funny how quickly you fill up the space you have though!

All in all. I loved this house. We still own it and rent it out. This summer we had to go through and really clean it and it was so sad to see the way the renters had left it. Disgusting!

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14. DESIGNER - anisa makhoul

Anisa Makhoul graduated from the  Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a degree in Printmaking and went on to form her own clothing label, Makool. During the next 10 years Anisa had her own shop in Portland Oregon where she designed and screen printed clothing and fabric. She also designed for multiple celebrities. After taking time out to have a baby Anisa moved to Amsterdam where she

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15. Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Continuing on my quest to find books for my soon to be nine-year old niece, I read Karen Harrington's Sure Signs of Crazy last week. While I enjoyed the book a lot and recommend it for the over ten crowd, I think I'm going to hold off my girl until she's a wee bit older.

Protagonist Sarah is 12 and new in town. She and her father move around a lot as Sarah's mother was the object of a notorious trial and is now committed to a mental hospital. Her father was also tried but found innocent; he still struggles a decade later to cope and while a loving father, definitely self-medicates with alcohol.

In the course of one summer, Sarah fulfills an English assignment by writing letters to Atticus Finch, crushes on the college boy across the street (we've all been there) and builds up her courage to challenge the family secrets. She's smart and funny and determined which makes for a great protagonist. Most interestingly though, considering her family drama, Sarah is also very easy to identify with and I'm sure many young readers will like her a lot.

For my purposes though, I think the alcohol and the reasons behind her mother's trial, are just too much for my particular nine-year old. At least a year, maybe two and she will be ready. I'll be keeping Sure Signs of Crazy for the future.

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16. Aim Higher: Some Tools For Mid Year Assessments

At the end of this week, the  second marking period will officially come to an end for many of us, and so will the first half of our school year.  This is the… Continue reading

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17. Not a Landscape but...3/5 Art Challenge on PBAA

Okay, so I'll post some work from old to new.  Day 1 - Some work from early in my career.




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18. DESIGNER - kimberly ellen hall

Kimberly Ellen Hall is the designer behind the studio label Nottene (pronounced [nuh-ten-uh]) which a Norwegian word that means nuts. Kimberly studied Textiles at Central St Martins in London, but is now based in Philadelphia. Her clients have included Anthology Magazine, and the Denver Art Museum. Kimberly's latest design is Koselis Glasses which she has made available as a fabric through

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19. If This Had Happened This Week, We Wouldn't Have Been Dancing In The Road

John Rocco has a picture book out called Blizzard that's been getting a lot of attention the last couple of months. It would have been terrific if I read that this past week and could write about it now after the events of the last couple of days here in New England. Yeah, well, that didn't happen.

I did pick up Rocco's earlier book, Blackout, from the library a while back. It would have been terrific if we'd had a power outage this week, a threat that was hanging over our heads this past weekend, and could write about it after reading Blackout. Yeah, well, that didn't happen, either.

But I'm still going to tell you about Blackout because it is beautiful. I am not the only person who thinks so, because it was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2012. It is beautiful looking with a lovely, simple story of people having a great time when the lights go out. That simple story is told without a lot of text, something that doesn't happen as often as you'd think with picture books.

By the way, Rocco also illustrated How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, which happens to be a big hit with a member of my family.

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20. No Tomorrow review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Vivant Denon's small eighteenth century classic (in Lydia Davis' translation), No Tomorrow, which New York Review Books brought out a couple of years ago.

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21. Year of the Sheep calendar….check! My all-time favorite...



Year of the Sheep calendar….check! My all-time favorite holiday. Somehow end of February is a time when I’m actually able to process the previous year & to think about what themes reflect things that actually matter to me in the new year to come. (I think I’m selling them locally, but email me if you insist on having one & are far from Portland - I could stick ‘em on my webstore if there’s a screaming demand?)



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22. Catalogging Consortium

Lots of great titles from lots of great small press publishers in the 2015 Consortium catalog - here are the ones that caught my eye with some catalog copy to describe them:

Three Kinds of Motion: Kerouac, Pollock and the Making of the American Highways by Riley Hanick (Sarabande Books). In 1943, Peggy Guggenheim commissioned a mural from Jackson Pollock to hang in the entryway of her Manhattan townhouse. It was the largest Pollock canvas she would ever own, and four years later she gave it to a small Midwestern institution with no place to put it. When the original scroll of On the Road goes on tour across the country, it lands at the same Iowa museum housing Peggy's Pollock, revitalizing Riley Hanick's adolescent fascination with the author. Alongside these two narrative threads, Hanick revisits Dwight D. Eisenhower's quest to build America's first interstate highway system. When catastrophic rains flood the Iowa highways with their famous allure and history of conquest, they also threaten the museum and its precious mural. In Three Kinds of Motion, his razor-sharp, funny, and intensely vulnerable book-length essay, Hanick moves deftly between his three subjects. He delivers a story with breathtaking ingenuity.

The Shark That Walks on Land....and Other Strange But True Tales of Mysterious Sea Creatures by Michael Bright (Biteback Publishing). When you dive into the sea, do you ever wonder what's down there, beneath you, poised to take an inquisitive bite? Author of Jaws Peter Benchley and film director Steven Spielberg certainly did, for below the waves lies a world we neither see nor understand; an alien world where we are but the briefest of visitors. The Shark that Walks on Land uncovers tales of ancient and modern mariners, with stories of sea serpents, mermaids and mermen, sea dragons, and the true identity of the legendary Kraken. But this book contains more than just a medley of maritime myths and mysteries for marine biologists; it celebrates wonderful discoveries by blending the unknown and the familiar in an entertaining miscellany of facts, figures, and anecdotes about the myriad creatures that inhabit the oceans. Along the way we meet the giants, the most dangerous, the oddballs, and the record breakers; and the shark that really does walk on land!

Enormous Smallness: The Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, Illus by Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion Books). Here E.E.'s life is presented in a way that will make children curious about him and will lead them to play with words and ask plenty of questions as well. Lively and informative, the book also presents some of Cummings's most wonderful poems, integrating them seamlessly into the story to give the reader the music of his voice and a spirited, sensitive introduction to his poetry.

In keeping with the epigraph of the book -- "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are," Matthew Burgess's narrative emphasizes the bravery it takes to follow one's own vision and the encouragement E.E. received to do just that.


Mischief and Malice
by Berthe Amos (Lizzie Skurnick Books).
Set in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the eve of World War II, Mischief and Malice is a brand new work from an iconic figure in young adult literature. Following the death of her Aunt Eveline, fourteen-year old Addie; who we first met in Berthe Amoss's classic Secret Lives; is now living with her Aunt Tooise, Uncle Henry, and her longtime rival cousin, Sandra Lee. A new family has just moved into Addie's former house, including a young girl who is just Addie's age. Meanwhile, Louis, the father of Tom, Addie's lifelong neighbor and best friend, suddenly returns after having disappeared when Tom was a baby. Between school dances, organizing a Christmas play, fretting about her hair, and a blossoming romance with Tom, Addie stumbles upon a mystery buried in the Great Catch All, an ancient giant armoire filled with heirlooms of her family's past, which holds a devastating secret that could destroy Louis and Tom's lives. Once again, Berthe Amoss has created an indelible portrait of a young girl coming of age in prewar New Orleans.

The Astrologer's Daughter by Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing Company). Avicenna Crowe's mother is missing.

The police suspect foul play. Joanne is an astrologer, predicting strangers' futures from their star charts. Maybe one of her clients had a bad reading?

But Avicenna has inherited the gift. Armed with Joanne's journal, she begins her own investigation that leads into the city's dark underworld. The clock is ticking, and as each clue unravels Avicenna finds her life ever more in danger.


The Keeper's Daughter
by Jean-Francois Caron, Translated by Don Wilson (Talonbooks)
. Young Dorothea is appointed by the tourist bureau to direct a documentary film re-enacting life at a lighthouse off Quebec's North Shore in the 1940s and '50s. To obtain material for the film, she is advised to interview an old woman, Rose Brouillard, the daughter of a fisherman who grew up on a nearby island in the St. Lawrence. Rose is finally tracked down in Montreal. She is now old: her memory and grasp of reality are hazy; nevertheless she tells her story and takes Dorothea back to scenes from her childhood. We see fishermen on the docks with their nets, hard-at-work villagers with shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbow, leafy gardens and tree-lined streets, all recreated from Rose's failing memory. The problem is that many of these scenes are invented, not real. Does that matter? Or are the stories we tell more important?

(This one is listed as "Finding Rose" in the catalog but "The Keeper's Daughter" at the publisher and online booksellers - not sure what it really is, though.)

Load Poems Like Guns: Women's Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan compiled & translated by Farzana Marie (Holy Cow! Press). A groundbreaking collection of poetry by eight contemporary Afghan women poets in English translation en face with the original Persian Dari text. These poets live in Herat, the ancient epicenter of literature and the arts.


The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (Gallic Books). Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner.

The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet.

Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

The Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich (Coffee House Press). Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library as a memorial to his mom. Five years later, this simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community has become a movement. Little Free Libraries; freestanding front-yard book exchanges; now number twenty thousand in seventy countries. The Little Free Library Book tells the history of these charming libraries, gathers quirky and poignant firsthand stories from owners, provides a resource guide for how to best use your Little Free Library, and delights readers with color images of the most creative and inspired LFLs around.

Fanny Says by Nickole Brown (BOA Editions, Ltd). In this "unleashed love song" to her late grandmother, Nickole Brown brings her brassy, bawdy, tough-as-new-rope grandmother to life. With hair teased to Jesus, glued-on false eyelashes, and a white Cadillac Eldorado with atomic-red leather seats, Fanny isn't your typical granny in a rocking chair. Instead, think of a character that looks a lot like Eva Gabor in Green Acres, but tinted with a shadow of Sylvia Plath.

Chernobyl Strawberries by Vesna Goldsworthy (Wilmington Square Books). How would you make sense of your life if you thought it might end tomorrow? In this captivating and best-selling memoir, Vesna Goldsworthy tells the story of herself, her family, and her early life in her lost country. There follows marriage, a move to England, and a successful media and academic career, then a cancer diagnosis and its unresolved consequences. A profoundly moving, comic, and original account by a stunning literary talent.

The Surfacing by Cormac James (Bellevue Literary Press). Far from civilization, on the hunt for Sir John Franklins recently lost Northwest Passage expedition, Lieutenant Morgan and his crew find themselves trapped in ever-hardening Arctic ice that threatens to break apart their ship. When Morgan realizes that a stowaway will give birth to his child in the frozen wilderness, he finds new clarity and courage to lead his men across a bleak expanse as shifting, stubborn, and treacherous as human nature itself.

Well Fed, Flat Broke by Emily Wright (Arsenal Pulp Press). This collection of 120 recipes ranges from the simple (perfect scrambled eggs, rice and lentils) to the sublime (Orecchiette with White Beans and Sausage, Mustard-fried Chicken). Chapters are organized by ingredient so that you can easily build a meal from what you have on hand. Well Fed, Flat Broke has flavours to please every palette including Thai, Dutch, Indonesian, and Latin American-inspired recipes such as Kimchi Pancakes, Salvadoran Roast Chicken, and Pantry Kedgeree, reflecting a diverse array of affordable ingredients and products in grocery stores, markets, and delis.

Emily is a working mother and wife who lives with a picky toddler in one of Canada's most expensive cities. She offers readers real-talk about food, strategic shopping tips, sound advice for picky eaters, and suggestions on how to build a well-stocked, yet inexpensive pantry. Cooking every night can be challenging for busy families who are short on time and lean in budget; Emily includes plenty of one-pot dishes to keep everyone healthy, full, and happy.

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23. A little painting.



A little painting.



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24. STATIONERY - lisa deighan

Designer Lisa Deighan has recently added a selection of  A5 notebooks to her Etsy shop. There are fifteen designs in total and they are all made in England and 100% recycled.

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25. Me! A Podcast! And Alley Cats Strike!




Did you know that there is a podcast called the DCOM Podcast, all about the Disney Channel Original Movies (specifically the ones that hosts Eve and Matt remember and are now re-watching and analyzing)? Well, it's true! Why am I mentioning this, you ask?

It just so happens that I wrote the movie Alley Cats Strike for the Disney Channel, and I had a great conversation with Eve about it. It's now available and worth a listen (if, that is, you have any interest in Alley Cats Strike, the old Disney Channel movies, and how many writing decisions get made for different projects, and, very specifically, how I came up with "Delia's shot" towards the end of the film. Or if you're my mom or a relative, of course!).

It was great fun to revisit an project from the past and think about what I might do differently now and, honestly, what still works well. Thanks, Eve, for finding me. And I hope y'all will check out the podcast in general and its tumblr.

0 Comments on Me! A Podcast! And Alley Cats Strike! as of 1/28/2015 8:55:00 PM
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