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1. Sex Criminals

Earlier today I had a thought. I know right, such a rare occurrence! The thought was about something I should mention tonight that would transition so nicely with the graphic novel I just finished reading. Since I had this thought at work I was going to send myself an email reminder. Do you ever do that? Send yourself emails or texts to remind you to do stuff? But I got busy at the circulation desk and the email to myself never got sent.

Now I’ve been trying to remember for the last hour what it was I wanted to write and I can only remember that I wanted to remember something. It’s like when you tie a string around your finger and then forget why you did it. Oh well.

The Pulitzers were announced today though. I am so out of it I didn’t even know it was that time of year. Anthony Doerr won for All the Light We Cannot See. Gregory Pardlo won for poetry. I have never heard his name before. Someone “new” to investigate sometime.

coverThe Pulitzers do not make a nice transition to the graphic novel, Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. It is told from Suzie’s point of view and in a way is a kind of coming-of-age story. When Suzie is a teen and pleasures herself for the first time she learns that when she orgasms time stops. Eventually it wears off and time starts moving again. At first she thinks this is something that happens to everyone but no one is willing to talk to her about it and none of the books at the library mention it. When she is a few years older and has sex for the first time she learns what she was beginning to suspect, it is just her.

Until she meets Jon. Suzie is a librarian and her library is going to be foreclosed on by the bank. She is throwing a fundraising party to try to save the library and Jon shows up at the party, saves her from a loser dude trying to pick up on her, and then makes her fall in love with him by quoting extensively from Lolita, Suzie’s favorite book.

Well, it turns out when Jon has an orgasm he can stop time too. Then we get some flashbacks of Jon’s story. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the book, we’ve been getting flashforwards of Suzie and Jon robbing a bank and the whole thing not going well. Eventually all the timelines catch up and the whole sex criminals title makes sense.

I know it sounds kind of weird. Okay, so it is weird. But it’s good too. The art is great and the story is definitely different. And it is not a raunchy sex book. But it’s definitely adult content, not something you want to give your thirteen-year-old niece or nephew for a birthday present. And probably not something you want to give grandma for Christmas unless you have a really cool grandma. It’s fun and silly. There is one panel when Suzie and Jon are laying in bed together saying “Sylvia Poggioli” over and over very slowly. And then Jon comments that Susan Stamberg has a sexier voice. Now if you live in the US and listen to National Public Radio this is one fantastic joke. I am never going to be able to hear either of them on radio again without giggling. And did I mention Suzie is a librarian? Not one of those sexy, shirt unbuttoned down to here and skirt cut up to there librarians, but a normal human being kind of librarian.

I put myself in line at the library for volume two, which was just published this year. I’m something like number 44 in line. Volume One ends with a sort of cliffhanger so I hope I don’t have to wait so very long for my turn to come round.


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2. Six features of hip hop poetry

In Rhyme’s Challenge: Poetry, Hip Hop, and Contemporary Rhyming Challenge, I argue that hip hop has influenced a new generation of American poets. This influence continues to grow stronger and more prominent. For instance, the current issue of Poetry excerpts poems and essays from the recently published anthology, The BreakBeat Poets, edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall.

The post Six features of hip hop poetry appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Earth Day: A reading list

To celebrate Earth Day on 22 April, we have created a reading list of books, journals, and online resources that explore environmental protection, environmental ethics, and other environmental sciences. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States. Since then, it has grown to include more than 192 countries and the Earth Day Network coordinate global events that demonstrate support for environmental protection. If you think we have missed any books, journals, or online resources in our reading list, please do let us know in the comments below.

The post Earth Day: A reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Gardening Season Begins!

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

The weather during the week was sunny, dry and warm. Oh, and windy. The wind makes my allergies very bad so it’s best to just skip over the misery to the beautiful warm, sunny and non-windy days that were Friday and Saturday. They could not have been more perfect. Unfortunately I had to spend most of my day indoors working on Friday, but the evening was mild and relaxing.

Saturday I had work to do. The forecast for Sunday was rain off and on all day. Gardening had to happen this weekend and it had to happen on Saturday. Bookman was at work so he missed out on all the fun. I spent two glorious hours outdoors. I began in the front garden removing leaves and cutting back the remains of last year’s perennials and grasses. I had decided last year that I want to use my tall native grasses to make baskets. I don’t have a huge prairie so they would have to be small or take a year or two to make one of size. No problem. I found out how to do this: cut grasses before they flower, place in a warm area to dry. When the time came last summer to cut back some of the grass to dry I couldn’t bear the idea. I know, it’s grass, it would grow back, but it’s so pretty waving in the breeze. So I decided I didn’t mind some fluffy grass seedheads in the mix and I would let nature take its course and when the grass dried naturally I’d cut it back to use.

When the time came to cut the dry grass I thought, oh it looks so pretty I can’t cut it back yet. I’ll wait until just before it snows. Snow came late but the cold didn’t and who wants to be out cutting back grass when it’s 25F/-4C outside? Spring, I’ll do it in spring.

And as I was cutting back the grass yesterday I understood why it gets cut when it is green. It is fresh and clean, unbroken and unbent. In spring it has been flattened by snow, has leaves and dirt in it. It is no good for baskets, only good for mulch and compost. Lesson learned. So this summer I will try cutting a little from a few clumps of grass and drying it and seeing how that goes.

I must have some new neighbors down the street from me because as I was working a child of about eight I had never seen before was riding his bike up and down the street all by himself. He seemed to be having a good time, zooming along and sometimes singing to himself. Finally his curiosity got the best of him and he stopped and asked me what I was doing. I explained I was clearing away the leaves and dead twigs so the new flowers could grow. He didn’t know what to say to that but sat there on his bike watching me for a bit before he asked if I was “helping the house.” I understood his question to mean was I being paid by the people who live in the house to do this work. I told him no, that I live in the house. His response was “oh” and then he zoomed off down the sidewalk and didn’t come by again. Did I scare him or have I been placed in the “crazy lady” box?

I got one big bed cleared. There is another large bed and a couple smaller ones yet to do. Almost all of these plants are natives and they don’t need much attention at all in order to thrive and do their thing. Unless there is something newly planted in one of the beds, my policy tends to be one of benign neglect. No one took care of them on the prairie, they don’t really need me to take much care of them now.

I was happy to see the gooseberry I planted last year is leafing out and the black currant, which I fretted

beginning ramp patch

beginning ramp patch

over all winter because it looked like nothing more than a stick in the snow, is covered in new leaves too. And, hooray, the ramps came back! Ramps are wild leeks, native to woodlands in Minnesota. I planted a couple last spring and they went dormant a few weeks after that. To see them tall and leafy now makes me very happy. Hopefully in a couple of years I will have a patch large enough I can start harvesting some for an early spring treat.

In the vegetable garden in the backyard I prepped the polyculture bed for planting. I had covered it in leaf mulch for the winter and with the wind most of the leaves had blown away. So I broke up the top of the soil pulled out a few weeds that had sprouted, turned some of the leaves under — found some earthworms yay! I also cut back all the dead stalks from the perennial sunflower that lives next to the polyculture bed. When Bookman came home in the evening we planted the bed with a lettuce variety mix, cosmic purple carrots, red beets and golden beets, parsnips and purple radish. Then we covered it with row cover fabric and weighed down the corners. Since it was going to rain, we didn’t water it.

It did rain a little overnight, not much though. And today it rained only once for about twenty minutes. It was too wet to do any digging but Bookman and I got out in the garden for a little while. We worked on breaking up some old concrete and used it to mark out more paths through the garden. At one point Bookman failed to remember he was swinging a sledge hammer while standing beneath a clothesline rope. He swung the hammer, it hit the rope and bounced back and gave him a glancing blow to the head. I didn’t see it happen, only heard the cursing after the fact.

Bookman is ok. He has a small cut on his forehead, a bruise and a marble-sized lump. But we decided he needed to be done gardening for the day. After a long afternoon rest, however, he did take a few minutes to help me plant sunflower seeds in pots. We have to start the sunflowers so the squirrels don’t dig up the seeds.

But it isn’t squirrels I am worried about this year. The mild winter we had allowed the rabbit population to embiggen and we’ve had several rabbits foraging through the garden over the last few weeks. There was nothing growing except weeds and greening grass so I didn’t think much about it. Until yesterday when I walked around the garden checking on all my shrubs. Bush cherries looking good, black raspberry fantastic, winterberries made it, blackberry not sure, huckleberry — hey where did the huckleberry go? Eaten down to a nub. And it is a good thing I already decided to give up on the blueberries because the rabbits had eaten those too! Nonetheless I was a bit miffed.

My nextdoor neighbor has a large shade tree in the backyard and has told us there is a hawk nesting in its upper branches. I can see a nest but I have not seen the hawk. Is it bad of me to hope the hawk takes care of the rabbit problem? There were three large rabbits. In the last few days I have only seen one. I have not seen any rabbit remains though so maybe the rabbits have just become more cautious? Whatever the case, I now have to take extra precautions and protect against both squirrels and rabbits. Not pleased about that!


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5. Crazy Horse and Custer

Fifteen years ago, not long after publishing Anthology of Modern American Poetry with Oxford, I began to receive the typical mix of complimentary and complaining letters. In the latter category, faculty members wanted to know why a favorite poem or poet was left out and some poets who were not included wrote pointed letters to let me know they weren’t happy with the fact. But one poet, William Heyen, took a different approach.

The post Crazy Horse and Custer appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Learning country music in the digital age

Recently reading through the Notes and Discographies section of Greil Marcus’s book Mystery Train (first published in 1975), I was struck by Marcus’s meticulousness when it came to recommending records.

The post Learning country music in the digital age appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Wittgenstein and natural religion

In the philosophy of religion ‘Wittgensteinianism’ is a distinctive position whose outlines are more or less unanimously agreed by both its defenders and detractors. By invoking a variety of concepts to which Wittgenstein gave currency – language games, forms of life, groundless believing, depth grammar, world pictures – the defenders aim to defuse rationalistic criticisms of religion by showing them to be, in the strict sense, impertinent.

The post Wittgenstein and natural religion appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Getting to know Brian Muir

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. This week, we are excited to bring you an interview with Brian Muir, an Online Marketing Assistant on our Direct Marketing team in New York. Brian has been working at the Oxford University Press since March 2014.

The post Getting to know Brian Muir appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Darwin’s “gastric flatus”

When Charles Darwin died at age 73 on this day 133 years ago, his physicians decided that he had succumbed to “degeneration of the heart and greater vessels,” a disorder we now call “generalized arteriosclerosis.” Few would argue with this diagnosis, given Darwin’s failing memory, and his recurrent episodes of “swimming of the head,” “pain in the heart”, and “irregular pulse” during the decade or so before he died.

The post Darwin’s “gastric flatus” appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. The long history of World War II

World War Two was the most devastating conflict in recorded human history. It was both global in extent and total in character. It has understandably left a long and dark shadow across the decades. Yet it is three generations since hostilities formally ended in 1945 and the conflict is now a lived memory for only a few. And this growing distance in time has allowed historians to think differently about how to describe it, how to explain its course, and what subjects to focus on when considering the wartime experience.

The post The long history of World War II appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Window


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12. Publishing the Oxford Medical Handbooks: an interview with Elizabeth Reeve

Many medical students are familiar with the "cheese and onion," but not the person responsible for the series. We caught up with Oxford Medical Handbooks' Senior Commissioning Editor, Liz Reeve, to find out about her role in producing Oxford's market leading series.

The post Publishing the Oxford Medical Handbooks: an interview with Elizabeth Reeve appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Living with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is widely thought to be a disease of immune dysfunction, whereby the immune system becomes activated to attack components of the nerves in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. New information about environmental factors and lifestyle are giving persons with MS and their health care providers new tools...

The post Living with multiple sclerosis appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Vermeer-related lecture in Boston

LauraJSnyder

Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing
Laura Snyder
1 Session: Wednesday, April 8, 7:00–8:30pm
location: The Arnold Arboretum of Havard Univerity, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130, Hunnewell Building

Fee $5 member, $10 nonmember Students: Email to register for free.

from the The Arnold Arboretum of Havard Univerity website:
“See for yourself!” was the clarion call of the 1600s. Scientists peered at nature through microscopes and telescopes, making the discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and anatomy that ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses, mirrors, and camera obscuras, creating extraordinarily detailed paintings of flowers and insects, and scenes filled with realistic effects of light, shadow, and color. By extending the reach of sight the new optical instruments prompted the realization that there is more than meets the eye. But they also raised questions about how we see and what it means to see. In answering these questions, scientists and artists in Delft changed how we perceive the world. Author of The Philosophical Breakfast Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, Laura Snyder returns to the Arboretum to share her latest book, Eye of the Beholder, in which she pairs painter with natural philosopher to explain the revelatory ways of seeing in the 17th century.

Fee $5 member, $10 nonmember Students: Email to register for free.

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15. Five lessons from ancient Athens

There's a lot we can learn from ancient Athens. The Greek city-state, best recognized as the first democracy in the world, is thought to have laid the foundation for modern political and philosophical theory, providing a model of government that has endured albeit in revised form. Needless to say, the uniqueness of its political institutions shaped many of its economic principles and practices, many of which are still recognizable in current systems of government.

The post Five lessons from ancient Athens appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Nostalgia and the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards

The country music tradition in the United States might be characterized as a nostalgic one. To varying degrees since the emergence of recorded country music in the early 1920s, country songs and songwriters have expressed longing for the seemingly simpler times of their childhoods—or even their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods. In many ways, one might read country music’s occasional obsession with all things past and gone as an extension of the nineteenth-century plantation song, popularized by Pittsburgh native Stephen Collins Foster, whose “Old Folks at Home” (1851) and “My Old Kentucky Home” (1853) depicted freed slaves longing for the simpler times of their plantation youths.

The post Nostalgia and the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Can marijuana prevent memory decline?

Can smoking marijuana prevent the memory loss associated with normal aging or Alzheimer’s disease? This is a question that I have been investigating for the past ten years. The concept of medical marijuana is not a new one. A Chinese pharmacy book, written about 2737 BCE, was probably the first to mention its use as a medicine for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria, constipation, and (ironically) absent-mindedness.

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18. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”

Ingreadients

  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

The post Putting it all together appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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19. Noah's Ark and other recent finds!

I hope you enjoy this quick preview. If you would like to ask a question or need further information about any of the featured books, please click on the 'email me' link in the right-hand column.

Noah's Ark published by Valentine & Sons undated but c1921.  All kinds of well known and not so well known creatures are depicted including a Quadda, Caracal, Puma, Ounce, Phalanger, Ratel, Albatross, Secretary bird, Cavy, Cassowary, Margay, Ichneumon, Mangue, Sasyure and so on.
Strangely, none of the animals are in pairs.

Find it HERE



Cinderella Toy Theatre / Panorama Book illustrated by Eulalie.  Stand the book on a flat surface and clip the covers together to see the story unfold before your eyes. The first act begins as soon as you open the cover...

Find it HERE








Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp published by Faber & Faber, London 1981.  The story of Aladdin and his lamp brought to life with amazing full colour illustrations by the brilliant Errol le Cain.


Find it HERE









The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley published by Macmillan Books in 1977. The story begins in the Anglican Church of Saint John, Worthlethorpe where Sampson the cat and Arthur the mouse live a quiet and happy life. Sampson has listened to so many sermons about the meek being blessed that he has grown quite docile and treats Arthur just like his brother. Although enjoying Sampson's company Arthur is a little lonely and with the approval of the parson invites the rest of the town's mice population to move to the church. It's agreed that in exchange for a little cheese, the mice will do a few odd jobs, like polishing the congregation's shoes and picking up the confetti after weddings...

Find it HERE



The Amazing Adventures of Two Boots written by Ross Lyntonwith illustrations by Brenda Sheldon published by Collins in 1948. An imaginative tale of two boots who discover they can walk about by themselves. The boots are in great demand by all sorts of people, from message boys to policemen, but one person is too wily for them. This is the owner of a circus; a cruel man called Boiler Brown, who manages to catch the boots and force them to perform in his show.

Find it HERE



Mr. Happy at the Seaside - A Mr. Men Word Book by Roger Hargreaves produced by Thurman Publishing in 1979.  Our son grew up with the Mr. Men books so this holds lots of happy memories for us.

Find it HERE


Three of the ever popular Little Grey Rabbit Books

Find them HERE



Gobbliwinks of Nonsense Land written by Leslie M Oyler with illustrations by Savile Lumley published by The Shoe Lane Publishing Company undated but c1927. Pamela and Hugh are playing in the garden when they notice a sign pointing to Nonsense Land.  Pamela finds it very funny because nurse is always telling her to stop talking nonsense!  The children follow the sign and it’s not long before they find three more signs pointing the way to Absurd Nonsense, Stuff and Nonsense and Utter Nonsense...

Find it HERE






We've been enjoying lots of lovely spring sunshine over the last few days. The blackbirds are busy feeding their new brood, and the butterflies are basking on the rockery. Spring has definitely arrived in this part of England. I hope you are all enjoying some nice weather whatever the season.



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20. My Books

7 books of monica guptaमेरे द्वारा लिखी गई 7 किताबों के आवरण (कवर पेज)

The post My Books appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. Now I Can Catch Up

This morning when I sat down to breakfast Bookman asked whether I had heard Eduardo Galeano had died. Yesterday I said, and Günter Grass too. Bookman commented that we have several fat Galeano novels on our bookshelves. I know, I replied, I’ve always meant to read him. Well now you can finally catch up, Bookman quipped.

Indeed I can. I can catch up on Grass too whom I have also meant to read and haven’t managed.

When authors are alive and writing it is hard to keep up with them sometimes. I mean, they are only writing one book at a time but we are reading all sorts of books all the time. And much as I wanted to read Margaret Atwood’s short story collection that came out last autumn, I still haven’t managed it. It’s lovely little hardcover self sits on my reading table, waiting. In the meantime I have heard she is publishing a novel this autumn. It kind of stresses me out a little. Thank the book gods I am not a huge have-to-read-everything fan of Joyce Carol Oates.

I am sad both Grass and Galeano have died and I look forward to the day I finally read their work and, perhaps, catch up on all of it. It is easier when an author you want to read but have not yet read dies. You can be sad but you can’t really be OMG I’m such a huge fan sad. When authors I do love die it is much harder. I am very sad there will be no more books whether or not I have yet read them all. But weird things happen.

Like when Adrienne Rich died in 2012. I had read all of her published books both poetry and nonfiction. She had just published a new collection of poetry about a year before her death. I had begun reading it, slowly, savoring, taking a long time about it. And then she died. And I stopped reading the book. It is still sitting on my night table. I haven’t picked it up since. It is her last book and when it’s done, it’s done. Sure, there might be some additional poems and nonfiction writing collected up but it won’t be quite the same. I can’t bring myself to finish the book.

Something similar happened when Octavia Butler died so suddenly. I had just discovered her a few years prior and was happily cruising through her newer books and looking forward to reading everything she has published. Then she died. The only book of hers I have read since then is an older collection of short stories. I can’t bring myself to read all the other books because, you know, when I have read them there won’t be any new ones and so nothing to anticipate. At least right now I still have the anticipation of the ones I have not read.

I know it is silly. But I bet all of us readers have some kind something or other that is silly. So now I can catch up on Galeano and Grass. One day I will finish the final poetry book of Adrienne Rich and the remainder of Butler’s books too. Probably.


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22. Your Favorite Cartoon Characters Just Got Fat (Gallery)

The obesity epidemic takes its toll on cartoon characters in a new book and exhibition.

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23. The Oxford Etymologist gets down to brass tacks and tries to hit the nail on the head

I have always been interested in linguistic heavy metal. In the literature on English phrases, two “metal idioms” have attracted special attention: dead as a doornail and to get (come) down to brass tacks. The latter phrase has fared especially well; in recent years, several unexpected early examples of it have been unearthed.

The post The Oxford Etymologist gets down to brass tacks and tries to hit the nail on the head appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Greece vs. the Eurozone

The new Greek government that took office in January 2015 made a commitment during the election campaign that Greece would stay in the Eurozone. At the same time, it also declared that Greece’s relations with its European partners would be put on a new footing. This did not materialize. The Greek government accepted the continuation of the existing agreement with its lenders, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank. This was the only way of ensuring Greece would not run out of funding.

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25. Capital flight from Africa and financing for development in the post-2015 era

The more money you make, the more you lose. That is the story of Africa over the past two decades. Indeed, along with the impressive record of economic growth acceleration spurred by booming primary commodity exports, Africa continent has experienced a parallel explosion of capital flight.

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