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1. Boomerang Book Bites: Girl At War by Sara Novic

Sara Novic’s writing is incredible and she completely shattered me a quarter of the way into the book. She also structures her story perfectly jumping backward and forward from the war in 1991 to ten years later and its lasting aftereffects. This is a coming-of-age story which happens far too early. It is about how […]

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2. Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015

In the United States everything is planned very long in advance, while in Europe one can sometimes read about a conference that will be held a mere three months later. By that time all the travel money available to an American academic will have been spent a millennium ago. In the United States, we have visions rather than short-range plans.

The post Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Can your diet make you feel depressed?

I am often asked whether eating particular foods can enhance mood and treat the symptoms of depression. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. In contrast, our mood can be easily depressed by our diet. Why? For adults, the brain responds primarily to deficits, not surpluses, in the diet.

The post Can your diet make you feel depressed? appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. What is ‘Zen’ diplomacy? From Chinese monk to ambassador

In 1654, a Chinese monk arrived in Japan. His name was Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), a Zen master who claimed to have inherited the authentic dharma transmission—the passing of the Buddha’s teaching from teacher to student—from the Linji (Rinzai) sect in China. This claim gave him tremendous authority in China, as without it a Zen teacher cannot be considered for leading a Zen community. Considering the long history of interactions between China and Japan, Chinese monks arriving in Japan with teachings, scriptures, relics and such were very common, and were welcomed by Japanese monks and rulers.

The post What is ‘Zen’ diplomacy? From Chinese monk to ambassador appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. The House of Paper

cover artI really hate to admit that when I am out and about commenting on blogs and the book under discussion sounds appealing and I leave a comment saying I will have to read the book it generally doesn’t go much further than me putting the book on a list and forgetting about it completely until I come across the book again on someone else’s blog and say how good it sounds and I will have to read it and round and round it goes.

I had heard of The House of Paper by Carlos María Dominguez before, I can’t say where because it was so long ago. So when Emily at Books the Universe and Everything blogged about it recently there was a faint ripple in my memory. In this instance, however, instead of adding it to a list, I actually requested it from the library! What prompted me to do so? Well, it seemed like a bookish book and it is a novella and I hoped it would help me get out of my fiction slump.

The book arrived last week on Thursday and it was all I could do to keep from gobbling it down in one big gulp! It asks to be gobbled. It asks to be read slowly and savored. I managed something in between.

This lovely novella is a story for bookworms. It begins with the death of Bluma Lennon, professor, who, in 1998, bought a secondhand copy of Emily Dickinson’s poems in Soho and began reading them as she was walking down the street. She was on the second poem when she was hit and killed by a car. How obvious it is then that

Books change people’s destinies. Some have read The Tiger of Malaysia and become professors of literature in remote universities. Demian converted tens of thousands of young men to Eastern philosophy, Hemingway made sportsmen of them, Alexandre Dumas complicated the lives of thousands of women, quite a few of whom were saved from suicide by cookbooks. Bluma was their victim.

And only a funeral filled with literature professors could produce an argument over a phrase one of Bluma’s colleagues said in her eulogy:

so there are a million car bumpers loose on the streets of the city which can show you just what a good noun is capable of.

The narrator of our story, a professor stepping in to take over Bluma’s classes, is also using her office. One day not long after her death, our narrator receives a package addressed to Bluma. It appears to be a book and since professors are often sent books by publishers, he didn’t think much about opening it. It is indeed a book but it is not from a publisher.

The book is a broken-spined old copy of The Shadow-Line by Joseph Conrad. It is covered with grey grit and dust our narrator determines is cement. On the flyleaf is an inscription in Bluma’s handwriting to a man named Carlos. There is reference to a conference in Monterrey and the date June 8, 1996.

Intrigued, our narrator sets out to discover who Carlos is so he can return the book and let him know of Bluma’s death. The mystery takes him to Uruguay where he eventually learns the strange story of Carlos Brauer. I will not tell you the mystery, only that this story that began with such charm and humor turns dark as it examines the downside of a life obsessed with books.

The story is a mirror and a warning to bookworms everywhere. To add to the pleasure of this book, interspersed throughout the story are strange and delightful illustrations by Peter Sís. I highly recommend you do what I did and get yourself copy of this book right away. Don’t put it on a list, just get it and read it. It is only 103 pages long and you will be very happy that you took my advice.


Filed under: Books, Reviews Tagged: Carlos Maria Dominguez

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6. The Salem Witch Trial judges: “persons of the best prudence”?

On 27 May 1692, Sir William Phips, the newly appointed royal governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, appointed nine of the colony’s leading magistrates to serve as judges for the newly created Court of Oyer and Terminer. When Phips sailed into Boston from London on 14 May, there were already 38 people in jail for witchcraft, and the accusations and arrests were growing daily.

The post The Salem Witch Trial judges: “persons of the best prudence”? appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Prisons built to expel

Every few months, a new report announces the breakdown of the British immigration system. In January, the Committee of Public Accounts issued a searing review of the Home Office’s migration policy. Three months earlier, the National Audit Office released a near-identical critique.

The post Prisons built to expel appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Review: Girl At War by Sara Nović

This book has been compared to two of my favourite novels of recent years; The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, so I had to read it straight away. Firstly the comparison is completely justified while at the same time telling a completely different kind of story to those two wonderful […]

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9. LumberJanes and Purgatory

cover artNo, LumberJanes has nothing to do with purgatory, I’ll tell you a bit about that later.

LumberJanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis is a fun graphic novel that brings together teenage girls and camp and adventure. The five girls each has her own special talent whether it be archery or math or puzzles, that she is able to use in their adventure to solve a mystery.

In the end the mystery doesn’t get completely solved, only partially, and we are left with a cliffhanger, which is fine because since this is volume one I presume there is going to be a continuation of the story in volume two. Only thing is, there is no volume two published yet so I’ll have to wait. More than the mystery though is the friendship between the five girls. They are in the adventure together and they work through the obstacles and problem-solving as friends not as individuals competing against each other. There is a section of the story that is very much a play off of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark where it would have been easy to split the group apart but instead we see them stick together, hat and all.

The book is broken up into chapters and each chapter begins with a badge —Up All Night Badge for example — and a page from the LumberJanes field manual talking about the badge and what is required for a LumberJane to acquire it. It should be no surprise that the plot of the chapter takes the adventure along a route that has something to do with the badge.

It’s all in good fun. A fast, easy read with an entertaining story and great artwork, it’s girl power on an every day sort of level. None of the girls are extraordinary nor are their adventures presented as something unusual. In fact, when they find themselves at the nearby boys’ camp, the boys offer them fresh-baked cookies and tea and there is no indication at all that this might somehow be not what boy campers would, should, or could enjoy doing. Check it out for a little afternoon entertainment and then hand it off to a tween/teen girl to enjoy.

Purgatory

Purgatory is deceptively pretty

Purgatory is deceptively pretty

I am not a LumberJane but I do enjoy a good bike adventure. Bookman was a good sport and took a ride with me today. We went to Purgatory Park. Purgatory has a creek too called Purgatory Creek. It is not a picnic and ballpark park but a wild-ish green patch in the midst of the outer suburbs. It is a trail around wetlands and the creek through trees and generally very nice and woodsy.

I was thinking Purgatory was a pretty pleasant place until we hit the hills. The hills are not big and long but short and steep. One in particular I struggled to get up and wished I had one more gear as I was pedaling as hard as I could and barely moving. I realized after I made it to the top that it might have been a good opportunity to practice standing up and pedaling. By the time I realized this it was too late and it turned out to be our last really hard hill. Oh well. Next time.

All in all, the trip to Purgatory and back was 41.7 miles/67km. Not too shabby.


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10. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

In the first chapter of The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough, a baby boy is visited by the manifestation of Love. Appearing as a man in a fine gray suit, Love gives the boy a steady heart and these words: "Have courage." The next night, the manifestation of Death visits a baby girl across town and marks the child with a tear and whispered warnings. The first chapter is set in 1920; the next chapter skips forward to 1937, when the players are seventeen years old and the Game officially begins.

Told in third person, the book shuttles between the perspectives of the players - Flora, an African-American aviatrix who tends to planes during the day and sings jazz music at her uncle's club at night, and Henry, a scholarship student who lives with his best friend's well-to-do family - and the game runners - Death, a cynical feminine presence who would give Once Upon a Time's Queen Regina a run for her money, and Love, a masculine presence who believes in the transformative power of love. Other characters who come into play include Henry's best friend Ethan, Ethan's little sister Annabel, Ethan's cousin Helen, Flora's grandmother, Flora's uncle, and others at the jazz club. The third-person narrative permits the readers to know more about the characters, the events, and the overall big picture than the main players, who are unaware of their part in the Game. Revelations and connections lead to some tense page turns, especially as the story ramps up to the climax.

Death is a master manipulator, cunning and some would say cruel as she finds a way to get close to Henry and use him as a pawn. Meanwhile, Love is determined and hopeful, and his side story is something that made me want to give Brockenbrough a very strong high-five. The world would be a better place if all people were open-minded and optimistic and true to themselves.

The contrast between Death and Love is stark, but what's even more interesting is what they have in common. Consider, if you will, what they want; what they seek; what they are willing to sacrifice; and what they refuse to give up. It's eye-opening and tear-jerking and thought-provoking and other hyphenated things. If you are an emotional reader, you should probably have a box of Kleenex nearby. Also, perhaps you should sit in a comfy chair so you can grip the arm of it and/or curl up in a ball when necessary.

The writing throughout the novel is thoughtful. Every scene offers a complete picture of the setting and the people present. For example:

"Do you ever wonder," Helen said, walking down the stairs towards him, "if flowers feel pain when someone cuts them?" She lifted one from the basket. "Does it look like it suffered?"

"Oh, Helen," Mrs. Thorne said, "what a curious thing to say. I'm sure Henry has thought no such thing."

It was true. But, he realized, he would not be able to look at a flower again without wondering whether it had suffered, or whether anyone had cared.
- Page 94

The word "someday" is introduced early in the book as something important to the characters, and it leads to an impactful song that I wish we could hear.

If you liked The Game of Love and Death, you should check out The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Read the original book, then see the classic film. The book was written by Josephine Leslie, but she used a pseudonym: R.A. Dick. The book also inspired a TV series, a sitcom. You should also read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is directly narrated by Death, who is omniscient and genderless and more of an observer than a manipulator. Set on the European homefront during World War II, you'll need Kleenex to handle the tears you'll shed while reading that book, too.

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11. Hot Dogs, get your Hot Dogs

Galactic Hot Dogs, that is! Cosmoe’s Weiner Getaway is the first book in a three part series written by Max Brallier and published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

The book has taken off on Funbrain.com, a popular gaming website for children that has been a launch pad for some of the biggest blockbuster hits in children’s book publishing. Jeff Kinney’s ever popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid got its start there as a free book in 2004 and now has over 150 million copies in print.

Other titles such as Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series, Lincoln Pierce’s Big Nate and Brandon Mull’s best-selling fantasy series The Beyonders all of gaining wider audiences due to their popularity on Funbrain and its sister site Poptropica.

Galactic Hot Dogs seems to be destined for the same success. More than six million children have read the book on Funbrain since its debut in the fall of 2013 when individual chapters were posted. What sets this apart is that more than a million children have played the story-based Galactic Hot Dogs game that went live on Poptropica two months ago. Like many books that are popular on the site, it appeals to 8- to 12-year-olds who appreciate its kooky hero, Cosmoe, and its humorous, comic-strip-style illustrations.

Recently, multiplatform books with online gaming components have become essential tools in the children’s book publishing industry. They are clearly seeking to reach young readers who are migrating to digital and mobile reading. Sixty-seven percent of children between the ages of 2 and 13 read e-books, according to a report released in January by Digital Book World and PlayCollective, up from 54 percent in 2012.

While many fear that sites such as Poptropica and Funbrain might detract from reading time, authors and publishers clearly seem to think differently. Some publishers have found that interactive games can increase print sales rather than erode them. Scholastic’s multiplatform game and book series, 39 Clues, which started in 2008, has more than 17 million copies in print.

Clearly there is core audience for this new books to gaming crossover market and they are buying the print books. I think this is definitely the next “big” thing in the children’s digital world.

Allison Santos

ALSC Digital Task Force

Director, Princeton Children’s Book Festival

Princeton Public Library, NJGalactic Hot Dogs

The post Hot Dogs, get your Hot Dogs appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Review: Preparation For The Next Life by Atticus Lish

This is one of those books that immediately after you start reading you know you are in the hands of a wonderful writer. Atticus Lish has delivered a delicately savage critique on post-9/11 America and the so-called American Dream in a beautiful love story of an illegal immigrant and an American soldier recently returned from […]

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13. Good Thing I Am Not Made of Sugar

Day two of a long three-day holiday weekend. The weather is a mixed bag of sun, clouds and rain. It just wouldn’t be right to have three beautiful days in a row. At least it isn’t snowing!

Gardening

spiderwort

spiderwort

I am a morning person and if I had my choice I would wake up with the sun every day. I love the long days of summer. At the moment the sun comes up around 5:35 and as the light filters into the bedroom my eyes fly open. It doesn’t matter that I get up at 5 for work during the week, sleeping in on weekends when the sun is up so early is impossible. But instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to shower, I get to wake up slowly and stretch and lounge a bit and languorously get up and wander into the kitchen where Bookman has already been up for a few minutes and is brewing coffee and starting to make breakfast. All this and it is barely 6:00!

Over breakfast and the weather forecast Bookman and I discussed the order of the day, stay home and garden and cook or go for a long bike ride? Since the day promised light rain throughout, we decided today would be a good day to stay home. Bookman began his wizarding (he is not a witch, he is a kitchen wizard) by putting pinto beans on to cook so he can make vegan sausages one of which will be used to slice up for the pizza he is making the crust for today too. And then there are the energy bars he is making for biking. Who needs Clif Bars when you can make your own nutritious granola bars with real food and no white sugar. We add coconut and chocolate chips and change up a few different kinds of seed like flax, pepitas, and sunflower.

I did a few around the house chores and then we got suited up to go outside. It had not yet started raining. We gathered our gloves and tools and the seeds we intended to plant and walked outside and it immediately began raining! At first it was a few sprinkles and then it was a light rain heavy enough to chase us back inside. We changed our clothes and puttered around indoors and couldn’t bear it any longer. Back into our gardening togs and out into the light rain. Since neither Bookman nor I are wicked witches or made of sugar, we did not melt (such a relief because sometimes you just never know).

We planted flax seeds, planted three different kinds of sunflowers we had sprouted so the squirrels didn’t dig up the seeds (lemon queen, Russian, and arikara). We also planted the basil we had sprouted in pots in our little greenhouse. Oh, and okra, we planted seeds for that where the garlic was supposed to be growing.

Kind of pretty mystery bug

Kind of pretty mystery bug

The garlic is the first garden fail of the year. Only two cloves came up. Most of the rest I found mushy and heaved up beneath the winter mulch. We didn’t plant them deep enough for what turned out to be a warm winter with quite a lot of freezing and thawing. And I was so looking forward to garlic scapes again this year. Guess I will have to wait another year.

By this time we had gotten a bit damp so we came back indoors and changed out of our gardening gear and had some lunch. It was still raining after lunch with no chance of it clearing up. I was restless and grumpy over not being able to be outdoors. Bookman took pity and humored me. We put our gardening gear back on and went out to garden in the light rain.

We turned over the groundcover clover in an arm of the veggie bed and planted zucchini, lemon squash and strawberry spinach. The squash does not taste like lemons but are yellow round things about the size of a lemon, maybe a bit larger. The spinach isn’t really spinach at all but one of those green leafies that like the heat of summer and you can substitute for spinach. The strawberry comes from the strawberry red flowers is gets that look kind of like strawberries but I think look more raspberry-like, at least in the photos. The flowers are edible too. I have not grown this before so it will be a fun experiment. I decided to grow this instead of the malabar spinach I grew last summer that is a vining plant and requires trellising. The strawberry spinach is tall and bushy.

We also planted seeds for cantaloupe, variety Minnesota midget. These softball-sized melons that grow on a compact vine and in a shorter growing season than your big full-size cantaloupe. I have grown these for a couple of years now and love them. They are the perfect size for two people and they are as sweet and tasty as their bigger cousins.

Do I need to say that gardening in the rain is a muddy affair? My wellies were designed for such delights! My

geese with babies

geese with babies

gloves, my gardening pants and the sleeves of the light windbreaker I was wearing are caked in mud. So are Bookman’s gloves and jeans and shoes (he does not have wellies in spite of my encouragement for him to get some).

While we were out gardening in the rain, our neighbor walked through her yard on the way to her car and I can’t imagine what she must have thought about the two crazy people who live next door to her. She didn’t say a word, probably too afraid to.

Not much blooming at the moment. I did notice the lemon thyme I bought at the plant sale a couple weeks ago has a few tiny pink flowers on it. The spiderwort is beginning to flower and the wild geraniums in the garden are going to town. Walter is covered in little bean-sized crabapples and it looks like it will be a big year for Bossy, the green cooking apple too. I can’t tell yet what Bee the Honeycrisp apple is going to do. The tree is still pretty young so I don’t expect anything really. I wouldn’t mind a surprise though!

Biking

Theodore Wirth Park trail

Theodore Wirth Park trail

Bookman had to work on Saturday so I once again ventured out alone on Astrid to do some exploring. I found two trails I had not been on before and oh, are they gorgeous! I took a couple of photos so you can see what a marvelous bike city I live in. And the trails were a little hilly too. Not big hills, but a few long, not very steep inclines and a couple small rollers, enough for a bit of a workout and some panting and a few whees! when I got to go downhill.

While out I saw lots of birds, a few I didn’t know what they were. There were geese too with their fuzzy babies. I got hissed at as I rode by. I also saw a deer! She crossed the bike path about ten feet/3 m in front of me and then stood next to the path until I was about six feet/2 m away before she bounded into the woods. It was so amazing!

The weather was cool and cloudy and rained lightly a couple times but I rode between the raindrops and didn’t

Luce Line Regional Trail

Luce Line Regional Trail

get wet. It was a perfect day for a ride. When all was said and done I had gone 43.8 miles/70.5 km in three hours and ten minutes, three hours and 37 minutes if you count my rest breaks and stops to look at a map when I couldn’t find the connecting trails or when the trail would suddenly disappear at a street intersection. Not bad, eh?

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain in the afternoon so Bookman and I will be out early for a long ride. We are going to try and see if we can reach Purgatory. Seriously. There is a park off a spur of the trail I rode last week called Purgatory. This amuses me immensely. I’ll be sure to let you know what Purgatory is like!


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14. Philosophie sans frontières

"East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet." Well, no. Kipling got it wrong. The East and the West have been meeting for a long time. For most of the last few hundred years, the traffic has been mainly one way. The West has had a major impact on the East. India felt the full force of British imperialism with the British East India Company and the British Raj.

The post Philosophie sans frontières appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage

Today, the people of Ireland will vote in a Referendum to decide whether to include the following new wording in their Constitution: 'Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.' This may happen despite the fact that Ireland has a Constitution grounded in Catholic values. Indeed, abortion in Ireland is still constitutionally prohibited. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993, and the option to divorce has only been available since 1995.

The post The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Poetry Friday: Someday from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

You are the moon
And I am the sea
Wherever you are
You've got pull over me

The whole of the sky
Wants to keep us apart
The distance is wearing
A hole in my heart

Someday your moonlight
Will blanket my skin
Someday my waves
Will pull all of you in

Someday I promise
The moon and the sea
Will be together
Forever you and me.

- from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

This song is written by one of the main characters in the novel, and performed as a duet by the two protagonists.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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17. Parkinson’s disease: the flip side of the coin

The human brain might be perceived as an organ with two main strategic tasks: goal-directed motor behavior, and mental functioning in order to work out that goal. These two main functions have two prototypical diseases: Alzheimer disease, in case of mental function, and Parkinson’s disease, with motor function. Following its inception as an entity, Parkinson’s disease (PD) was long perceived to be a purely motor disorder with unimpaired mental functions.

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18. Review: Jandamarra by Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton

Jandamarra, written by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Terry Denton (Allen & Unwin, 2013)

 

Jandamarra
written by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Terry Denton
(Allen & Unwin, 2013)

 

Presented in a quasi-graphic-novel format, Jandamarra is a picture … Continue reading ...

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19. Review: Ahmed and the Feather Girl by Jane Ray

Ahmed and the Feather Girl, by Jane Ray (Janetta Otter-Barry Books, Frances Lincoln, 2010/Paperback 2014)

Ahmed and the Feather Girl
by Jane Ray
(Janetta Otter-Barry Books, Frances Lincoln, 2010/Paperback 2014)

‘There was once a little orphan boy with big … Continue reading ...

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20. Do we choose what we believe?

Descartes divided the mind up into two faculties: intellect and will. The intellect gathers up data from the world and presents the mind with various potential beliefs that it might endorse; the will then chooses which of them to endorse. We can look at the evidence for or against a particular belief, but the final choice about what to believe remains a matter of choice. This raises the question of the 'ethics of belief,' the title of an essay by the mathematician William K. Clifford, in which he argued that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.'

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21. Resonance

book coverWanting to start a new book and nervous about it being fiction, I went for some nonfiction instead. I picked up a little book I bought at the Twin Cities Book Festival back in October last year, The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination by Carl Phillips. The book is part of a series put out by local indie publisher Graywolf that focuses on the “art of craft and criticism” according to the series description.

After reading the first chapter I am really impressed and excited and all kinds of happy. I did not know who Carl Phillips was. It turns out he is a poet. His thesis for the book is that restlessness is key to imagination and that imagination must take risks in order to create art. To forward his argument, Phillips analyzes poems. So far the poems he has chosen have been amazing from Louise Bogan to Shakespeare to W.S. Merwin.

In the first chapter Phillips talks about our need to create and make and he suggests this need is a result of our awareness of our mortality as well as wanting answers:

I think it’s largely the conundrum of being human that makes us keep making. I think it has something to do with revision — how, not only is the world in constant revision, but each of us is, as well. Each new experience at some level becomes a part of that lens through which we see — as in understand — the world we pass through.

Even though we keep revising, we are unable to find definite solutions. It is the tension between wanting closure and never being able to truly have it that creates what he calls resonance in a poem. If a poem has resonance, Phillips considers it successful. He understands resonance is frustrating for a reader. We want answers. We want experience to be translated for us. But what a good poem does is

transform experience so that our assumption about a given experience can be disturbed and, accordingly, our thinking about that experience might be at once made more complicated, deeper, richer.

Poetry is not meant to make readers feel better but to help us understand human experience in a way that leads to wisdom instead of the shallowness of simply feeling good.

It is a thought -provoking chapter and I fear I have not adequately conveyed Phillips’ argument. Perhaps as I continue through the book and tell you more about it I will get better at relaying the drift of his thoughts. I am eagerly looking forward to reading more of this little gem and it is making me excited about the other books in the series of which I have one other. Stay tuned!


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22. Where was Christopher Columbus really from?

Of the many controversies surrounding the life and legacy of Christopher Columbus, who died on this day 510 years ago, one of the most intriguing but least discussed questions is his true country of origin. For reasons lost in time, Columbus has been identified with unquestioned consistency as an Italian of humble beginnings from the Republic of Genoa. Yet in over 536 existing pages of his letters and documents, not once does the famous explorer claim to have come from Genoa.

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23. Film & Books: Pixar’s Inside Out

From l-r, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy, and Anger help run Riley's brain

From l-r, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy, and Anger help run Riley’s brain

American audiences won’t get to see Disney/Pixar’s latest film Inside Out until June 19th, but the film recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The resulting outpouring of affection for the film from critics and those lucky enough to view it hints to librarians that we may have another summer of children devoted to a specific movie on our hands!

For those who haven’t yet seen the trailer, Inside Out takes an anthropomorphic look at our emotions. The protagonist, a pre-teen girl named Riley, experiences a personality shift when Joy and Sadness (voiced by Amy Poehler and Phyllis from the Office!) get trapped outside of Riley’s brain’s Command Center, leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust to take over her personality (perhaps this happens to all teenagers?)

Brave Horace by Holly Keller helps children accept their fears.

Brave Horace by Holly Keller helps children accept their fears.

At my library, we tend not to purchase books based on movies or tv shows. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, and we’ve broken it many times before, but though they’ve been in my carts, I haven’t yet purchased any titles related to this upcoming movie. Instead, knowing ahead of time how popular we expect Inside Out to be has allowed us to start to pull together a list of children’s picture books that deal with the same sort of emotions focused on in the film. Books like When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry and Stuck with the Blooz help children explore those conflicting emotions that it can be difficult to talk about, and as a great bonus, we already own them, so we don’t have to buy new books right at the end of our fiscal year!

What are your favorite emotion books for kids? Are you ask excited about Inside Out as I am?

 

The post Film & Books: Pixar’s Inside Out appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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24. Dragons, Library Holds, and Biking

cover artI finally finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin yesterday. I am glad it is finally over. I’m not going to do a full write-up of it because it is the fifth book in a series and frankly, I found it full of bloat and, while better than book four, still not great. In fact, I am not certain I will read the Winds of Winter when it finally comes out. Of course if people I trust read it and tell me how good it is I will probably cave in and read it, but otherwise, I’m burnt out. The thing has become so fragmented with a gazillion different storylines going on that it feels out of control and out of focus.

So there.

I know you have been wondering about my library hold situation and the resolution I made at the beginning of the year to keep my hold requests down to no more than five at a time. I had been doing so well and feeling so proud of myself. I got cocky. And of course I slipped.

Currently I have only one book checked out from the library, Lumberjanes, and one waiting for me to pick up, The House of Paper. But then there are eight hold requests. Only eight though, that’s not bad, right? One of them will be coming up to my turn very soon, When Mystical Creatures Attack! by Kathleen Founds. The rest I have a little wait for – I am 120 in line for The Buried Giant by Ishiguro but only third in line for Molecular Red by McKenzie Wark. There is a good time spread between the two. Granted the rest of my requests I am twenty-something in line, but still they won’t all arrive at once (Hahahaha!). So even though I went over my self-imposed five hold requests limit it isn’t terrible, not like when I had close to twenty hold requests out at once, right? And it’s not like I’ve gone completely crazy with new hold requests. I’m still in control. Yes, yes I am. I am absolutely certain of it. Yup. In complete control.

On a side note, I went on my first group bike ride last night. It is a women-only ride that leaves from a nearby bike shop. I was nervous, let me tell you. The route was to be rolling hills and since it is a no-drop ride (the group stops and waits for those falling behind) I was terrified I would be the one everyone was stopping to wait for. Since I had never ridden with other people before I had no idea how my fitness level would compare. Turns out I didn’t have a thing to worry about. My fitness level is just fine and I am not too bad on hills.

There were ten of us and I had a blast. Most of us had not gone on this particular group ride before so no one really knew anyone which meant no one got left out socially. And because of the hills I got to practice shifting on Astrid, something I haven’t done much of because I haven’t had to. And I discovered a lovely sound, the sound of a group of strong women on bikes coming up to a stoplight and all of us clipping out (unlocking our shoes from the pedals) and then clipping back in when we start again. I don’t know why I like the sound so much but I do. Maybe it’s because I am making it too as part of a group. At any rate, I will be riding out again next Wednesday so chances are good that unless the weather is bad and the ride gets cancelled, I will not be posting on Wednesday nights through the end of summer. I’ve got a bike to ride!


Filed under: biking, Books, Library Tagged: Dance with Dragons, Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

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25. This is London





The Royal Horticultural Society's annual flower show held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea is almost over for another year. We didn't go this time, but we enjoyed the coverage on TV. Yesterday one of the presenters remarked on the huge numbers of visitors despite the inclement weather.  I had to smile because earlier in the day I was leafing through "This is London" by M. Sasek and come across this picture; 










This is London

But don't worry, most of the time it looks like this; 


The Tower of London


St. Paul's Cathedral 

The Houses of Parliament

The book features many other famous buildings, but my favourite illustrations are of the people - like this one of The Guards.



or this group of school children



City Gents


A Chelsea Pensioner


I also like the glimpses of 'old London'

like this famous shop ~

and these Elizabethan houses in High Holborn

Covent Garden Market



The New York Times Book Review, October 18, 1959, perfectly sums up this quirky book.

There are not many words in Miroslav Sasek's This is London, but those few are most memorable...

The colour is magnificent and uninhibited, the draughtsmanship brilliant but unobtrusive (one gradually realizes that these bold, stylized drawings are minutely accurate as well as true in general impression). The humour is characteristic and pervasive but always subordinate. The jokes are all pointed. Miroslav Sasek has drawn the visitor's London from foggy arrival to rainy departure. His book is a series of impressions, unrelated, one would think, but they add up to a remarkably complete picture of the modern city. The words and pictures are closely integrated; each has it terse style and humour.







M. Sasek ~ Universe Publishing ~ Originally Published in 1959 ~ New Updated Version 2004 


find it HERE

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