The Roses in My Carpets
written by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Ronald Himmler
(Holiday House, 1998)
A young Afghan boy shares … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
A young Afghan boy shares … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
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Mom's Choice Awards! Yay! Add a Comment
The definite scribbling out of the word “Home” in … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
Every major news source last week carried news of Andy White’s death at 85. The Guardian’s “Early Beatles Drummer Andy White Dies at 85” represents a typical article title intended to attract readers albeit with misinformation that suggests that a particular two-minute-and-twenty-second episode from his life should be why we remember him.Add a Comment
As the rain outside begins to turn to snow, my mind seems to be slowing down and coming up empty this evening. So I send you elsewhere:
Hello, dear readers! Today I have a mishmash of a post to share with you, so I hope you’ll bear with me. (Ha.)
I have been on a bit of a quest lately to loosen up my technique. If you also struggle with this, know that you are not alone. It takes an enormous amount of practice to get the “quick and effortless” look instead of the “catastrophic disaster” look, so we watercolorists often get very tight and controlled in order to compensate. Of course, there are many different ways to work with watercolor and some artists do the “controlled” thing extremely well, but if you’re looking to loosen up, here are a few techniques I’ve stolen from other artists over the years that I’ve found helpful:
I hope those help someone out there just as they helped me!
In other news, copies of The Story I’ll Tell are here, so I can also do that second giveaway that I promised you several weeks ago.
Leave a comment below if you’d like a chance to win a signed book! I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday.
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One Green Apple tells the story of Farah, who has … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
This is the continuation of the story about the origin of the Germanic word for man. Last week I left off after expressing great doubts about the protoform that connected man and guma and tried to defend the Indo-European girl from an unpronounceable name. As could be expected, in their attempts to discover the origin of man etymologists cast a wide net for words containing m and n.Add a Comment
Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of civilians that awful Friday night. The term terrorism, though once rare, has become tragically common in the twenty-first century.Add a Comment
Today, the international community has its hands full with a host of global challenges; from rising numbers of refugees, international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, to pandemics, cyber-attacks, organized crime, drug trafficking, and others. Where do such global challenges originate? Two primary sources are rogue states like North Korea or Iran and failed states like Afghanistan or Somalia.Display Comments Add a Comment
Neil J. Young traces the interactions among evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons from the 1950s to the present day to recast the story of the emergence of the Religious Right. We sat down with him to find out a bit more about his process researching the book, what role Mormons have in the rise of the Religious Right, and what the Religious Right's relationship with Ronald Reagan was.
The post The origins of the Religions Right: a Q & A with Neil Young appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
Every year, Colleen from Chasing Ray and Guys Lit Wire sets up a special book fair connected to Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C. In Colleen's own words:
Every year, Guys Lit Wire lends its platform to host a book fair for Ballou. Working with librarian Melissa Jackson and her students, we build a wish list of titles they need and then ask the internet to buy a book (or 2) (or more) and send some joy their way. It's quick and it's easy and for book lovers in particular, it's a no-brainer.
We all know that books matter to kids, and we all know why buying books for teens who do not have wide access to them is a smart investment in our world's future. For Ballou, the school fund for book purchases is not large and as a Washington Post article showed earlier this year, the dollars for books in DC often go to wealthier neighborhoods. Also, when they get money schools like Ballou are often not able to purchase the sort of fun or seemingly frivolous titles that teens would really to read.
That is where the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou comes in. We buy the books the kids ask for, plain and simple.
The mailing address is already set-up for checkout and there are nearly 400 books to choose from with a price range that starts under $5. We do hope you will find a book that you want to send to Ballou and help us fill their shelves with the titles these kids want so very much to read.
Here's the wishlist: http://tinyurl.com/BookFairforBallou
Please share the link to the wishlist as well as the link to Colleen's post at GLW via your blogs and social media to help spread the word.
Don't let it stop there. If you know of a library, school, shelter, or hospital that's in great need of books and other items, give back. Rally up your co-workers, patrons, students, and friends, gather donated items (new or gently used), and donate them to your chosen organization or charity. Share your good fortune and good spirits with others.
Azar Nafisi’s The Republic of Imagination is one of those not quite this not quite that sorts of books. By that I mean it is memoir but it isn’t and it is literary criticism but it isn’t. Sometimes it is more one than the other but throughout the personal is blended in with the literary. If you have read Reading Lolita in Tehran you will have an idea of what I mean. Only in this book, Nafisi talks much more in depth about the books.
Nafisi became an American citizen in 2008. I was surprised to learn she attended university in the United States, the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. There she studied literature. She left her job teaching literature in Tehran in 1995 because she no longer felt she could teach it properly without attracting too much attention from the authorities. She remained in Tehran until 1997.
Republic of Imagination was inspired by a question she had from an earnest young Iranian man at a reading she gave in Seattle. He told her that Americans didn’t care about books and literature, that in Iran they cared much more and didn’t she feel she was wasting her time talking to people about literature? Nafisi of course disagreed and this book is her answer.
Nafisi focuses on three American novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Babbit by Sinclair Lewis, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers with an epilogue in which she discusses the work of James Baldwin. She examines what each book says about the American character and mindset and why the book is important still. Into her examination of each of the novels she weaves personal stories about friends, attending university in Oklahoma, Iran. Some of her personal stories fit better with the book under discussion than others but they are all interesting even when there is a disconnect.
The chapter on Huck Finn is by far the longest, taking up nearly half the book. Nafisi is very attached to Huck and Mark Twain but she goes on far too long. Perhaps it is because she used to discuss Twain with a dear friend who died from cancer. Perhaps it is also because at the time she was planning on writing an entire book on Twain and Huckleberry Finn. As interesting as her discussion was, however, I felt myself drifting off about two-thirds of the way through the chapter, wondering what more she could possibly say that she hadn’t already and wishing we could just move on to the next book. Once she does move on, the pace picks up again.
As much as I enjoyed Republic of Imagination, and I did enjoy it very much, I don’t think Nafisi managed to provide a very good response to the Iranian man. If her intent was to prove the importance of literature to Americans, she failed completely. She does succeed in arguing that American literature has some important things to say and that it very often connects directly to real life.
Nafisi is clearly a woman who is passionate about books and literature and wants to share that passion with others. The book often reads like a conversation, though it sometimes veers into lecture. I can imagine sitting in a cafe with her talking books, her leaning forward and eagerly asking, oh what did you think about this part? and drinking way too much coffee in an attempt to keep up with her energy and leaps of thought. Not a bad book, not a great book but a good book, a very enjoyable book that makes you happy to be a reader.
Check out the book trailer for this fantasy adventure for children!
When in the enchanted wood, Emily finds she has a surprising connection with her little dog and all of the other animals. When she discovers she needs to help rid the wood of marauding goblins, she must work with the animals to bring peace back to the woodland realm.
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Hamzat’s Journey is the third book in Frances … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
Theatergoers have been dazzled by the new Broadway hit Hamilton, and not just by its titular lead: the Schuyler women often steal the show. While Alexander Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton provides heart and pathos, her sister Angelica Schuyler Church is sassy, witty, and flirtatious.
The post The flirtatious friendship of Alexander Hamilton and Angelica Church hits Broadway appeared first on OUPblog.Display Comments Add a Comment
I have never read Kim Stanley Robinson before even though I have heard good things about him. Now that I have read Aurora, I know I’ll be reading more.
This is a science fiction story that is often heavy on the science. I don’t mind though because I do enjoy thinking about the consequences of long distance space travel. Even though Aurora takes place several centuries in the future, it is not one of those science fiction stories in which the science is more like magic and solves all our problems. The book is about a generation ship, a ship consisting of ecological biomes and about 2,000 people who were sent out to settle the stars. Humans at the time the ship was sent out had begun having success settling the solar system and believed they were ready to expand further.
After 170 years of traveling to the distant Tau Ceti system, the ship has finally arrived. Of course those arriving were not the ones who volunteered for the trip and a good many on the ship are pissed off that their predecessors chose their lives for them. They have been in what has begun to feel like a prison for a very long time and are ready to leave and settle this supposedly dead moon that has still managed to have water and oxygen.
There is a lot they have to figure out. The days and nights are not equal to Earth days and nights but are much longer. How do they adapt the plants they brought with them to such a day/night cycle? The moon they are to colonize also has a constant wind blowing, not a gentle breeze, but often hard enough to knock people over. They are also beginning to suffer the effects of having such a small genetic pool. Not to mention the systems in the ship itself are showing larger and larger metabolic rifts. But these humans are determined to make a go of it for no other reason than they can’t bear to live on the ship any longer.
But it turns out the planet is not dead after all. One of the landing crew is infected with something after she sinks in some mud and cuts her leg. Soon all of the people who had been on the surface setting up the foundations of the new settlement are sick and dying. The virus is completely alien and no one knows how to stop it. Within a week all 70 of the people who were on the moon are dead. Those on the ship have a decision to make. There are those who want to stay in the Tau Ceti system and try again on another moon. The other half of the population wants to go back to Earth because this colonizing the stars things is a bunch of baloney. In the end half stay and half return to Earth. It is the group that decides to return to Earth that the book follows from here.
It took me a while to warm up to the book but I am glad I stuck with it. The reason it was hard is because the main narrator is the ship’s AI which came into “consciousness” because of one of the crew members. As the ship learns to tell the story of its humans there is much musing over language and how inadequate it is, about metaphors and how imprecise they are, that kind of thing. AIs trying to figure out human language is not all that interesting to me and it felt sometimes like it was just an opportunity for Robinson to do his own musing through the mouthpiece of the ship.
But then something clicked and I can’t say what. And Ship began to grow on me until Ship becomes a full character in its own right. The ship trying to figure things out doesn’t stop. Eventually the ship starts to wonder about what it means to be conscious and of course, by extension, what it means to be human.
There is also a lot in the book about ecosystems and balance, the needs of the many versus the needs of the few, about choices and who gets to make them and what the consequences of choices are and who has to face them. It is also really interesting that a book about settling the stars kind of ends up being against it. Not against exploration per se, but there is the suggestion that because humans evolved on Earth that is the place they are suited to live and no other. Sure, we may eventually create colonies on other planets in our solar system, but in the book even the people living on the colonies have to return to Earth every ten years or so for their mental and physical health. It is a pleasantly subtle and different way to emphasize that Earth is our home and we need to take care of it for all our sakes.
A good and thought-provoking book. Well written and completely plausible. I recommend it to anyone who likes think-y science fiction with actual science in it.
Emojis originated as a way to guide the interpretation of digital texts, to replace some of the clues we get in ordinary speech or writing that help us understand what someone is trying to communicate. In person or over the telephone, facial expression and voice modulation help us get our meaning across; in most forms of writing -- blog posts, stories, even emails -- we have the luxury of expressing ourselves at some length, which hopefully leads to clarity.Display Comments Add a Comment
The selection of emoji by Oxford Dictionaries as its Word of the Year recognises the huge increase in the use of these digital pictograms in electronic communication. While 2015 may have witnessed their proliferation, emoji are not new. They were originally developed in Japan in the 1990s for use by teenagers on their pagers; the word emoji derives from the Japanese e 'picture' + moji 'character, letter'.Display Comments Add a Comment
Winner of the Littel Rebels Award 2013
The cover image for Azzi In Between, showing a little girl clutching her teddy bear as she … Continue reading ...Add a Comment
Novelists are used to their characters getting away from them. Tolstoy once complained that Katyusha Maslova was “dictating” her actions to him as he wrestled with the plot of his last novel, Resurrection. There was a story that after reading Mikhail Sholokhov’s And Quiet Flows the Don, Stalin praised the work but advised the author to “convince” the main character, Melekhov, to stop loafing about and start serving in the Red Army.Add a Comment