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1. Trace Balla’s Time to Shine

Up-and-comer author illustrator, Trace Balla, has quickly hit the scene with the recent success of ‘Rivertime‘, being both shortlisted in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards, and winning this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Her work stems from a background in art therapy, animations and community involvement, with […]

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2. Review of the Day: The Case for Loving by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

CaseLoving1The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
By Selina Alko
Illustrated by Sean Qualls
Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0545478533
Ages 4-7
On shelves now.

When the Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that same-sex couples could marry in all fifty states, I found myself, like many parents of young children, in the position of trying to explain the ramifications to my offspring. Newly turned four, my daughter needed a bit of context. After all, as far as she was concerned gay people had always had the right to marry so what exactly was the big deal here? In times of change, my back up tends to be children’s books that discuss similar, but not identical, situations. And what book do I own that covers a court case involving the legality of people marrying? Why, none other than The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by creative couple Selina Alko and Sean Qualls. It’s almost too perfect that the book has come out the same year as this momentous court decision. Discussing the legal process, as well as the prejudices of the time, the book offers to parents like myself not just a window to the past, but a way of discussing present and future court cases that involve the personal lives of everyday people. Really, when you take all that into consideration, the fact that the book is also an amazing testament to the power of love itself . . . well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

In 1958 Richard Loving, a white man, fell in love with Mildred Jeter, a black/Native American woman. Residents of Virginia, they could not marry in their home state so they did so in Washington D.C. instead. Then they turned right around and went home to Virginia. Not long after they were interrupted in the night by a police invasion. They were charged with “unlawful cohabitation” and were told in no uncertain terms that if they were going to continue living together then they needed to leave Virginia. They did, but they also hired lawyers to plead their case. By 1967 the Lovings made it all the way to The Supreme Court where their lawyers read a prepared statement from Richard. It said, “Tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.” In a unanimous ruling, the laws restricting such marriages were struck down. The couple returned to Virginia, found a new house, and lived “happily (and legally) ever after.” An Author’s Note about her marriage to Sean Qualls (she is white and he is black) as well as a note about the art, Sources, and Suggestions for Further Reading appear at the end of the book.

CaseLoving2“How do you sue someone?” Here’s a challenge. Explain the concept of suing the government to a four-year-old brain. To do so, you may have to explain a lot of connected concepts along the way. What is a lawyer? And a court? And, for that matter, why are the laws (and cops) sometimes wrong? So when I pick up a book like The Case for Loving as a parent, I’m desperately hoping on some level that the authors have figured out how to break down these complex questions into something small children can understand and possibly even accept. In the case of this book, the legal process is explained as simply as possible. “They wanted to return to Virginia for good, so they hired lawyers to help fight for what was right.” And then later, “It was time to take the Loving case all the way to The Supreme Court.” Now the book doesn’t explain what The Supreme Court was necessarily, and that’s where the art comes in. Much of the heavy lifting is done by the illustrations, which show the judges sitting in a row, allowing parents like myself the chance to explain their role. Here you will not find a deep explanation of the legal process, but at least it shows a process and allows you to fill in the gaps for the young and curious.

It was very interesting to me to see how Alko and Qualls handled the art in this book. I’ve often noticed that editors like to choose Sean as an artist when they want an illustrator that can offset some of the darker aspects of a work. For example, take Margarita Engle’s magnificently sordid Pura Belpre Medal winner The Poet Slave of Cuba. A tale of torture, gore, and hope, Qualls’ art managed to represent the darkness with a lighter touch, while never taking away from the important story at hand. In The Case for Loving he has scaled the story down a bit and given it a simpler edge. His characters are a bit broader and more cartoonlike than those in, say, Dizzy. This is due in part to Alko’s contributions. As they say in their “About the Art” section at the back of the book, Alko’s art is all about bold colors and Sean’s is about subtle layers of color and texture. Together, they alleviate the tension in different scenes. Moments that could be particularly frightening, as when the police burst into the Lovings’ bedroom to arrest them, are cast instead as simply dramatic. I noticed too that characters were much smaller in this book than they tend to be in Sean’s others. It was interesting to note the moments when that illustrators made the faces of Richard and Virginia large. The page early in the book where Richard and Mildred look at one another over the book’s gutter pairs well with the page later in the book where their faces appear on posters behind bars against the words “Unlawful Cohabitation”. But aside from those two double spreads the family is small, often seen just outside their different respective homes. It seemed to be important to Qualls and Alko to show them as a family unit as often as possible.

CaseLoving3Few books are perfect, and Loving has its off-kilter moments from time to time. For example, it describes darker skin tones in terms of food. That’s not a crime, of course, but you rarely hear white skin described as “white as aged cheese” or “the color of creamy mayonnaise” so why is dark colored skin always edible? In this book Mildred is “a creamy caramel” and she lives where people ranged from “the color of chamomile tea” to darker shades. A side issue has arisen concerning Mildred’s identification as Native American and whether or not the original case made more of her African-American roots because it would build a stronger case in court. This is a far bigger issue than a picture book could hope to encompass, though I would be interested in a middle grade or young adult nonfiction book on the topic that went into the subject in a little more depth.

Recently I read my kid another nonfiction picture book chronicling injustice called Drum Dream Girl by the aforementioned Margarita Engle. In that book a young girl isn’t allowed to drum because of her gender. My daughter was absolutely flabbergasted by the notion. When I read her The Case for Loving she was similarly baffled. And when, someday, someone writes a book about the landmark decision made by The Supreme Court to allow gay couples to wed, so too will some future child be just as floored by what seems completely normal to them. Until then, this is certainly a book written and published at just the right time. Informative and heartfelt all at once, it works beyond the immediate need. Context is not an easy thing to come by when we discuss complex subjects with our kids. It takes a book like this to give us the words we so desperately need. Many thanks then for that.

On shelves now.

Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Misc: Don’t forget to check out this incident that occurred involving this book and W. Kamau Bell’s treatment at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café.


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3. The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival is back!

There has never been a better time to visit the beautiful and unique city of Bath! The Festival runs from Friday 25 September – Sunday 4 October 2015.

Julia Donaldson, Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson,
Michael Rosen, Judith Kerr, Francesca Simon, Axel Scheffler,
Frank Cottrell Boyce, Floella Benjamin, Julian Clary,
Helen Skelton, Sam & Mark, Andy Day
and new Waterstones 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate
Chris Riddell

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival, the largest dedicated children’s book festival in the UK, is now in its 9th spectacular year.  This is a festival bursting at the seams with vibrant activity for children of all ages, their families and friends.

Bath Festivals brings leading international performers, writers and thinkers to Bath every year to inspire, entertain and challenge audiences of all ages and artistic tastes.  The festivals champion diversity and collaboration, open people's minds, and showcase the work of both established and up-and-coming performers, all in the special setting that is Bath: a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. 

The full programmeis available to view online at www.bathfestivals.org.uk

Have fun!

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4. DESIGNER - rachael jane harrison

Rachael Jane Harrison is a designer and fashion blogger (koko luxe) based in Devon in the UK. Rachael currently works as a freelance surface designer and is focusing on her passion for pattern. She has sold prints though several studios and one of her favourite commissions was designing for fashion retailer Warehouse. She is available for sales and licensing and can be found online here.

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5. It's Now July

Oh me, oh my! It’s now July!
The months are flying fast.
The summer days, with sun and haze,
Will soon be in the past.

The calendar cannot defer
To what we may desire,
That time would pause a bit because
The days too quick expire.

So we must take each day and make
The effort to embrace it,
Before July is kissed goodbye
And August does replace it.

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6. Growing Healthy Readers and Eaters @ the Library

The time has finally arrived for summer reading, that magical time of year most youth services librarians simultaneously long for and dread. Planning and preparation begins months before the first child registers for the summer reading program (SRP) and I’m sure the last thing librarians want to do is add another task to their long summer reading to do list. Despite this ever-growing list, I encourage you to think about how you can incorporate nutritional literacy and free summer meals into your SRP planning list!

Last week kicked off the Grafton-Midview Public Library’s summer reading program as well as our free summer lunch program. This will be the second year the library has participated as a meal site in the free summer lunch program, serving free lunches to children eighteen years and younger Monday through Friday throughout our eight weeks of summer reading. The program is made possible by partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County who are participants in the Kids Café program sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. We have some special additions this year, including two outreach lunch sites staffed by library associates, an entire crew of summer lunch volunteers, and a vegetable and herb garden!

Vegetable Garden (photo by guest blogger) Herb Garden (photo by guest blogger)

The summer lunches have been a wonderful way to reach out to our community in new ways, build new partnerships, increase summer reading program participation and introduce various library services to new patrons as well as regular visitors. The library garden has also proven to be a great resource for our children’s librarians, Ms. Abby and Ms. Katie, to incorporate nutrition education into their summer storytimes as an extension of the nutrition information provided during the free lunches. I’m always surprised by the wealth of new faces and increased interaction I see at the children’s desk during SRP and the lunch program seems to have only increased the traffic in the children’s department since last summer.

There are plenty of great resources available for families and libraries interested in the how and why of free summer lunch programs. For starters visit the USDA Summer Food Service Program site, nokidhungry.org, feedingamerica.org, and Lunchatthelibrary.org, a great site put together by the California Library Association and the California Summer Meal Coalition. You can also encourage families in search of a free summer meal to download the free Range app, which not only helps locate the nearest free meal site but also the nearest public library. If patrons do not have smartphones or devices, librarians can always download Range to a library-owned tablet and allow families to use the app in-house to find the nearest meal.

Librarians can utilize summer lunch programs and library gardens not only through programming but as fun opportunities to promote library collections. Below are some awesome food-related materials great for children and tweens.

  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009-2013.This graphic novel series depicting a lunch lady who is a secret crime fighter is a perfect choice for chapter-book readers!
  • Whoopty-Whoop by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Asian Man/Fun Fun Records, 2014. With high-energy songs like “All I Eat is Pizza” and “ I Like Cake” this album is sure to be a wiggle inducing addition to any food focused program for little kids and big kids.
  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller; Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Schwartz & Wade Books. 2013. Sophie’s new best friend is a squash, so what will she do when her friend begins to get squishy and spotty?
  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy. Workman Publishing Company. 1999. A classic non-fiction book that is full of great gardening tips and ideas for adults to share with children.
  • Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear; Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Tundra Books, 2014. A beautifully illustrated picture book about a girl named Julia and her friend Simca and their adventures in French cooking.

For more garden ideas, check out the new summer 2015 edition of Children & Libraries from ALSC. It has a stellar article from Sandy Kallunki, A Bumper Crop of Ideas, highlighting many awesome programs that can stem from library gardens. I hope that you will be inspired to plant a garden of your own and perhaps even add “become a summer meal site” to your SRP 2016 planning!


Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Our guest blogger today is Nicole Lee Martin. Nicole is a member of the Public Awareness Committee and the ALSC Valuation & Assessment Task Force. She is currently transitioning from her position as Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library, OH to Children’s Librarian at Rocky River Public Library, OH. You can reach her at nicole.binx@gmail.com.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Growing Healthy Readers and Eaters @ the Library appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. The Cabinet of Earths, written by Anne Nesbet, 258 pp, RL 4

The Cabinet of Earths, debut novel from Anne Nesbet stands out above recent fantasy novels I have read for the creation of main character, twelve year old Maya. For me, Maya can take a place at the table with strong girl characters in fantasy novels alongside Hazel, hero of Anne Ursu's beautiful Breadcrumbs. At the head of this table is Lyra Belacqua, the fearless, complex, heartbreaking

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8. कहानी का जन्म

story by monica gupta (2) story monica gupta

कहानी का जन्म… बात सन 92 की है जब कहानी लिखी और  सांध्य टाईम्स  के दफ्तर जाकर  कहानी दे आई . (उन दिनों नेट नही हुआ करता था और लेखकों का पूरा फोकस सांध्य दैनिक और राष्ट्रीय समाचार पत्र पत्रिकाओं पर ही होता था क्योकि भारी मात्रा में उसे ही पढा जाता था तो मैं बता रही थी कि कहानी लिखी और सांध्य टाईमस के दफ्तर में दे आई.  उसी शाम वो कहानी प्रकाशित भी हो गई. इससे लेखनी को बेहद बल मिला और लेखनी लगातार चलती रही. बहुत लोग चाह्ते हैं कि आज कुछ लिखा और वो राष्ट्रीय पत्र पत्रिका में छप जाए. बेशल सोशल मीडिया बहुत बलवान हो गया है और लेखन को दिखाने का बहुत अच्छा माध्यम भी है पर अगर शुरुआत लोकल स्तर पर हो और धीरे धीरे अपनी कमियों को देख कर उपर उठते जाए तो बहुत अच्छा होगा …


The post कहानी का जन्म appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9. भविष्यकर्ता

cartoon kaam wali bai by monica gupta

भविष्यकर्ता -ये हैं हमारी भविष्यकर्ता !!इनका नाम है मिस टेक … भविष्यवाणी में साढे सात साल का लम्बा अनुभव है … ना जाने कितनी तरह की अलग अलग किताबें इन्होने पढ रखी हैं पर एक बात से ये भी सहमत है कि बेशक हम कितने भी बडे ज्योतिष क्यो न बन जाए पर एक बात आज भी पता नही लग असकते कि काम वाले बाई आज काम पर आऐगी या नही

The post भविष्यकर्ता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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10. Happy Fourth of July! Giveaway winner.

Hi everyone!
Moving day finally arrived this past weekend–one long day that has, thus far, lasted 96 hours (and counting). While everything is moved, my living space is boxish. The cats are not thrilled with all the booms and bangs of neighborhood fireworks, which, strangely, go off all day and night. For a state that has made fireworks illegal, there are a lot of fireworks going off.

Moving is never much fun, but I was fortunate to have hired a company that sent two energetic, polite, and very professional movers. Anyone interested in another’s cannot-fit-into-new-home stuff, a yard sale is . . . wait, I have a garage now . . . a garage sale will be held near the end of August. By then, I should have most of the boxes opened and sorted. Until then, the cats are enjoy climbing the stacked boxes and furniture and tromping in the empty boxes. Lucky cats.

Baby Girl (grey) and Theo (white) enjoy the familiarity of the bedroom.

Baby Girl (grey) and Theo (white) enjoy the familiarity of the bedroom.

Those who made a move after 15 years in one place will understand my current living situation. Those who have not, the pictures should help.

One side of living room.

One side of living room.

Kitchen:  big metal square is a built-in fridge (doesn't work).

Kitchen: big metal square is a built-in fridge (doesn’t work).

New Refrigerator:  ice maker not hooked-up, but still dispenses ice.

New Refrigerator: ice maker not hooked-up, but still dispenses ice.

The house was built in the 1940’s and has plaster walls, not drywall. All new to me and proving to be a challenge. “Just where is that stud?” Love the backyard, which is divided into 1/3rd front and 2/3rds back (fenced in), with the entire yard privacy fenced. Molly, a nine-year-old rescue dog, will be moving in once I have a living room. She loves the fenced in portion. The rescue yard does not have grass, so this was new for her.

Anytime you move into an older home, all sorts of problems seem to surface. This has led to some Bad News/Good News:  Basement leaks/but getting water-proofed. Bathroom is a mess. Last owner actually used double-sided table (Scotch tape) to keep shower wall attached to the wall. It didn’t work. Good news is the bathroom is being made over next week. Old tub out, walk-in shower in. Everything will be changed except the toilet (already new). A built-in oven across from the new fridge (doesn’t work), is getting pulled next week and a pantry built in that space. I even got to start a garden. Nothin fancy this year: tomatoes, peppers, radishes, carrots, and lettuce.

Reviews will be back on track after the July 4th holiday. I have a new writing room.

My new "writing room."

My new “writing room.”

This has been a rough year for me and book reviews have suffered for it. Things are going to turn around. I know it.  Enjoy the weekend’s activities, the food, festivities, family, and friends, and stay safe. See you after the 4th.

Oh, congratulations to Julie Harms Moen! Julie won the Guardian Herds tote bag and all the goodies inside it.

Filed under: Special Event Tagged: bathroom makeovers, boxes-upon-boxes, giveaway winner, moving day, old houses, rescue dogs

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11. Hollow Heart review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Viola Di Grado's dead-girl-talking novel, Hollow Heart, just out from Europa Editions.

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12. Artist of the Day: Sarah Mazzetti

Discover the work of Sarah Mazzetti, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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13. TEXTILES - marimekko

Today I wanted to post a colourful summery print as we experience a heatwave hear in the UK. Prints don't come much bolder and more colourful than those at Marimekko where you will currently find Sitruunapuu, which i believe translates from Finnish as Citrus. This watercolour pattern was designed by Aino-Maiha Metsola and features on fabrics, ceramics, bedding, kitchen textiles, paper napkins

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14. The Scarlet Rider by Lucy Sussex. Ticonderoga Pulications, 2015

Mel, an unemployed young woman not long out of university, is offered a job by a small press dedicated to women writers, especially women crime writers. They need her to do some research for them. They have a wonderful Victorian mystery novel set on the goldfields and first published as a serial in a small local newspaper. The problem is that the book was published anonymously. The publishers believe the author was a woman, but can't be sure and if the novel wasn't written by a woman, they can't publish it. It's up to Mel to find out, using the public library, old police files and her aunt's expertise in history and genealogy. While following the trail of the mysterious novelist, Mel must handle a lot of personal and family problems, not to mention some strange dreams and the uncomfortable feeling that she's being haunted, perhaps even possessed...

I read this book when it was first published by Tor, back in the 1990s. The original edition didn't do all that well, I believe, for reasons unconnected with its quality. Not in the US, anyway, though it received a Ditmar Award here. Apparently, it was hard to place on bookshop shelves, due to being cross-genre - fantasy, history and mystery.

There's a definite feel of reality about the research, not surprising with the author's academic background. It's slightly dated, of course, because while there is still plenty of research done by reading primary - physical - documents, there is also a lot you can do online, not available at the time when the novel was written. Also, Mel would have been spared a number of troubles if mobile phones had been as common in the 1990s as they are now.

 But this is not a story that can be updated much; it would lose a lot of the suspense and drama if Mel could simply Google something or pull out her mobile phone to make an emergency call instead of having to find a phone booth and the right change. It makes me think of Josephine Tey's Daughter Of Time, published back in the 50s, when the hero solves a mystery from his hospital bed, with some help from a researcher - in the 21st century, Inspector Grant would probably be carrying on with his paperwork with a borrowed laptop or iPad, but could also Google information about Richard III -  if he even bothered to do something not work related. 

It's great to see this wonderful novel back in print, and well done to Ticonderoga for not only publishing it, but giving it a much better cover than the Tor original. I can only hope that there will be an ebook edition at some stage, making it available around the world, but meanwhile, you can buy it from the publisher, Ticonderoga Publications, here or, if you're in Australia, ask your local bookshop to order it.

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15. Reading Roundup: June 2015

By the Numbers
Teen: 13
Tween: 7
Children: 4

Review Copies: 11
Library: 11

Teen: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Riffing on both Rapunzel and the Princess and the Pea, this story about a frustrated, sheltered, and naive girl becoming a self-reliant young woman caught me hard. I just had to hang there through the slow start.
Tween: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
This story of a grandfather who's discovered the fountain of youth and a granddaughter who's discovering science, and the way they both learn to accept that life is about change, tugged at my heart with its humor and emotional honesty.
Children: Locomotive by Brian Floca
Do you know a history-and-trains-obsessed kid? They will eat this up.

Because I Want To Awards
Precious Cinnamon Roll: Sebastian in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The younger brother of the love interest, Sebastian is also a little boy who adores mermaids, and gets enormous flack for this love from his father and the town, but never lets that daunt him from dressing up as the princess of the sea. Ockler places no labels on him, other than "loves mermaids," and it's a beautiful thing.
Brains Not Brawn: The Doublecross by Jackson Pearce
A lot of books overtly express that value, but this one really lays it down by showing how Hale's intelligence and ability to coordinate a team stands him in much better stead in spycraft than being able to run a mile.

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16. Really handicapped

Really handicapped

आज एक महिला बता रही थी कि वो handicapped हो गई है… अरे !!!  फिर  मैने ध्यान उसे देखते हुए पूछा अरे   कहां से, कब और कैसे. तुमने तो बताया भी नही …  इस पर उसने मुझे ही पागल करार देते हुए कहा कि अरी पगली वो वाला handicapped नही बल्कि दूसरे वाला !!!दूसरे वाला मतलब ??? तब उसने बताया कि जहाँ उसने नया घर बनाया है वहां मोबाईल नेट वर्क नही है इसलिए बिना नेट के handicap बराबर ही है. हे भगवान !!

Really handicapped….. वही कुछ दिन पहले एक जानकार भी नई कालोनी मे शिफ्ट हुए हैं. वहां जाने के लिए अभी सडक नही बनी है. एक दिन वो हमारे घर आए और बोले कि भई हम तो  handicapped हो गए है. हमने सोचा कि पता नही कैसे हो गए वो handicapped क्योकि देखने से तो लग नही रहे थे.. तब उन्होने हंसते हुए बताया कि असल में, सडक नही बनी है ना दस मिनट के रास्ते में आधा घंटा लग जाता है इसलिए … हे भगवान !!

मैं उसकी  मानसिकता पर मुस्कुरा दी.  वैसे सच ही है हम बहुत अपाहिज हो चले है. आखों के सामने अन्याय होते हुए देख कर भी अंधे बन जाते हैं. कही से सच्चाई का स्वर उठे तो हम बहरे बन जाते हैं . अक्सर ईमानदारी का साथ देने के मामलो मे हमारी बोलती बंद हो जाती है. ओफ्फ.. नेट न चले और सडक न बनी हो तो भी  handicapped बहुत ही handicapped

Really  handicapped


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17. July Reading

Can you believe it’s July already? I can’t. I was just getting used to June, just starting to feel like I was in the June groove, and now it’s time to move on. I am not ready. Can we turn the calendar back to June 15th please? That should be enough for me to get my fill of June and then when July 1st rolls around again I will be ready. Not going to happen you say? Where’s Marty McFly or the TARDIS when you need them?

Well, let’s barrel into July then. What will the month hold for reading? I get a 3-day holiday weekend coming up for Independence Day. Groovy, some extra reading time.

Even though I have been (mostly) good about keeping my library hold requests down to a manageable number, two books I have been looking forward to reading that have long waiting lines have, of course, both arrived for me at once. I now have to either a) rush through The Buried Giant and Get in Trouble in three weeks, or b) choose one to focus on and not worry about the other and get in line for it again if I run out of time. Choice “b” seems the most likely one I will go with which means Ishiguro’s Buried Giant will get my attention first. I am looking forward to it.

Carried over from last month, I am still reading Elif Shafak’s The Architect’s Apprentice. I am enjoying it much more than I was before even though I am making my way through it rather slowly.

In June I began reading Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and The Martian by Andy Weir. Two very different books and I am enjoying each of them quite a lot. James manages to be funny and ironic and ominous and can he ever write! I know people make fun of his long sentences but I get so involved in the reading I don’t even notice the length of the sentences. I do notice sometimes the paragraphs are very long, but that is only when I am nearing my train stop or the end of my lunch break and I am looking for a place to stop reading. And The Martian, is it ever a funny book. The book itself isn’t funny I guess, there is nothing very funny about being left for dead on Mars, the character, Mark Watney is funny; humor as survival tool. Weir, I must say, does a most excellent job of writing about complex science in such a way that is compelling and interesting and makes me feel smart.

I have a review copy of a new book called Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor on its way to me. The Emily in question is Emily Dickinson. It’s a novel from Penguin Random House and they are kindly going to provide a second copy for a giveaway. Something to look forward to!

I will also begin reading Elizabeth Bishop this month. I’m still reading Keats letters and biography and poetry but he will get a bit less attention as I start to focus on Bishop. Much as I wanted to like Keats, it seems I like the idea of Keats more than the actuality; enjoy his letters more than his poetry. Not that his poetry isn’t very good, it is, at least some of it because there is quite a bit of mediocre stuff he wrote to/for friends that makes me wonder why I decided to read the collected rather than the selected. Hindsight and all that. But even the really good Keats poetry left me with mixed feelings. I mean, I appreciate it and sometimes I have a wow moment, but it generally doesn’t give me poetry stomach (the stomach flutters I get when I read a poem I really connect with). We’ll see how it goes with Bishop. I have her collected as well as her letters to work my way through over the coming months.

Without a doubt there will be other books that pop up through the month, there always are! The unexpected is all part of the fun.

Filed under: Books, In Progress Tagged: Andy Weir, Elif Shafak, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, John Keats, Nuala O'Connor

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18. Books from Finland closes shop

       More than a month ago I mentioned they were pulling the plug on the wonderful Books from Finland site -- keeping it only as an archive -- and now they've gone and done it: here's the final post.
       Yes, after: "almost 10,000 printed pages and 1,500 posts" they've decided it's no longer worth adding content, so they're calling it a day. Very disappointing.

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19. लेखों का संसार

Article in champak by Monica guptaPhotograph (131)champak story  monica guptaलेखों का संसार

बेशक आज नेट का जमाना है हर एक चीज क्लिक करके सोशल मीडिया पर डाली जा सकती है जिस करोडों लोग एक ही पल में देख सकते हैं पर आज से 20- 25  साल पहले ऐसा नही था.

एक कहानी या लेख लिखने के बाद पत्र के माध्यम से सम्पर्क करना पडता था. कुछ जाने माने हाउस अकसर जवाब भी देते थे पर कई बार भेजा गया पत्र कही गुम होकर रह जाता था न ही वापिस आता था और न ही प्रकाशित होता था.

जानी मानी बाल पत्रिका जैसे “चंपक” में लेख या अन्य कोई भी सामग्री छपना बेहद गर्व की बात होती थी.

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20. July Words without Borders

       The July issue of Words without Borders, now available online, features: 'Emerging German Writers', with a bonus batch of: 'Burundi: Writing from the State of Sleep'.

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21. Director John Tiffany Talks about New Harry Potter Play

In an exclusive interview with Scotland Now, director John Tiffany talks about his early acquaintance with J.K. Rowling and his decision to work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Tiffany is the former assistant director of the National Theatre of Scotland and has worked on several productions.

I first met Jo years ago when we didn’t know who each other was. I had just started at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and now and again I would see a woman with a pram writing in longhand in the cafe. She’d write in Nicholson’s, The Elephant House and the Traverse cafe.

We knew each other to nod at. I’d be having meetings with writers and actors and I’d see her. Eventually we’d say hello to each other and a year later – bam!.

Rowling was writing her novels, and now, 20 years later, Tiffany will be directing her play. Apparently, it was a decision that he weighed heavily.  With Scotland Now, Tiffany says:

It was my three nephews and my colleague Vicki Featherstone’s two kids who said to me, ‘You have to do this’ when I first spoke to them about it.

They were instrumental. Those stories sparked something amazing in them that will never leave them. Particularly the reading of the books. People get very emotional when they talk about Jo and her books, because a lot of kids learned to read, or think they learned to read, because of Harry Potter.

While John Tiffany says that he read the Harry Potter books as an adult, he knows that they have had a profound effect on a generation.  He also remembers that they were some of the first children’s books that adults had no shame in reading in public.

In the interview, Tiffany also talks about his hopes for the play’s eventual world tour.

To learn more from John Tiffany, see here.

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22. DESIGNER - studio lilla form

Cathy Westrell Nordström is a designer from Stockholm, Sweden who designs under the label Studio Lilla Form. Cathy had been working as a graphic designer for ten years when she stumbled across Elizabeth Olwen´s surface pattern design class on Skillshare and recently won a competition where Elizabeth had set the task to create a full collection of 6-8 patterns and spot graphics. Cathy then

0 Comments on DESIGNER - studio lilla form as of 7/2/2015 3:48:00 AM
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23. Digital India Weak

Digital India Weak /week ???

Digital India  week by  monica gupta   Digital India Weak / week ??               बेशक देशवासी Digital India week  को लेकर बेहद उत्साहित हैं सब कुछ नेट से जुड जाएगा और आराम ही आराम होगा … पर मूल भूत समस्या का क्या करें समस्या है नेट का न चलना या नेट का बेहद धीरे चलना !!!  तभी तो आज  Digital India week ???मनाए  या Digital India Weak !!!


PHOTOS: Digital India Week: PM Narendra Modis 15 point dream | The Indian Express

“I dream of a digital India where 1.2 billion connected Indians drive innovation.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of a digital India where knowledge is strength and empowers people.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of digital India where quality healthcare reaches right upto the remotest areas through e-health care.” (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

“I dream of digital India where cyber security becomes an integral part of national security.”

“I dream of digital India where there is mobile and e-banking for financial inclusion.”

“I dream of digital India where e-commerce drives entrepreneurship.”

“I dream of digital India where the world looks to India for the next big idea.”

“I dream of digital India where netizens are empowered citizens.” See more…

‘M-Governance (Mobile, Not Modi),’ Quips PM at Digital India Push: 10 Facts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the Digital India Week. See more…

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24. Writing in ... Africa

       In Vanguard Ikenna Asomba reports on the Nigerian Breweries/Farafina 2015 Literary Evening held last weekend, where Adichie, Wainaina worry over dearth of literary works in African languages.
       Good to see the topic and concern at least be addressed this prominently; one hopes it'll inspire some of the participants (and others, too).

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25. बाल कहानी-मणि

story by monica guptaबाल कहानी -मणि

मणि छ्ठी क्लास में पढने वाली बेहद चुलबुली और शरारती लडकी है. वो भी बडे होकर कुछ बनना चाह्ती है. कभी सोचती है पत्रकार बन जाऊ कभी सोच में आता है कि टीचर बन जाऊ तो कभी पुलिस अधिकारी पर आखिर में क्या होता है और क्या बनने की सोचती है … इसी का ताना बाना है कहानी मणि में …

ये कहानी नेशनल बुक ट्रस्ट की पत्रिका पाठक मंच बुलेटिन में प्रकाशित हुई थी …

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