JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: discussion, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 17 of 17
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: discussion in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
I had an odd moment yesterday when reading a couple of posts on a national listserv. Someone had originally asked for ideas on improving a library service. The poster finished the inquiry with the phrase "All ideas are welcome". However, when someone replied with an idea, the original poster stated that she very much disagreed with the idea. It was a jarring realization for me - perhaps all ideas were not welcome.
It struck me that this is the kind of reply that shuts down ideas, that says thanks for the input- but not really. If I had an idea to contribute, would my opinion be welcomed....or disrespected? I definitely felt a strong urge to keep my ideas to myself on this issue. Who needs to be put in their place after four months or forty years in the business?
This is by no means the first time I have seen this behavior. You name the issue in librarianship and you know a few people are going to wade in, say their piece (on any and all sides of an issue), lob a few bombs and shut down discussion. Others shy away from saying anything lest they be branded a less-than-true believer or flaming the fan of disagreement even further. The bomber has accomplished something that, in most cases, I hope they didn't mean to do - they have effectively shut down discourse.
The townhall of listservs, groups, online discussions and comments seems to be more and more a place where one gets to state their opinion and then re-state and re-state it and re-state it. Each time a particular topic comes up that someone disagrees with vehemently, he or she feels duty-bound to wade in and state for the record just how wrong-headed the idea, approach or opinion is. Reasoned discourse devolves into "This is my opinion and if you don't like it, bite it." or "I have the research, so shaddup." or "Lots of people feel/think/believe the same way I do, which proves me correct."
We all have strongly held opinions - both personal and professional. We would be less than human if we didn't. And what a boring world if we all believed exactly the same thing! It strikes me that innovation would simply stop if we didn't have the constant give-and-take of divergent opinions to push us to new solutions and heights.
How we express our opinions dictates whether we will brook no disagreement or are willing to evolve, change and learn from the discourse engendered by our expressions and inquiries. When I work with students, respect and reasoned discourse is the guide by which we agree to disagree. Once we hit the work world, spats and tantrums must be left behind. Learning to elevate opinion and conversation into a respectful space takes patience, wisdom and smarts.
While I certainly own to being less than perfect in expressing my opinions and honoring those of other people, perhaps there are a few ways we might all navigate better when asking for input and honoring what we receive. Let's think of it as bringing some civility to our professional-level discourse - welcoming, listening to and absorbing divergent viewpoints without disrespecting opinions or ideas that are diametrically opposed to our own.
Strangely or not so much so, I am guided by the best set of book discussion guidelines ever. The CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center in Madison WI) developed these to help people speak and listen actively and intelligently. Book discussion committees that use these guidelines have an amazing experience when discussing books.
So let's look at these and see if there are ways we can use some of these suggestions to do a better job of respecting each other while expressing our firmly held beliefs. Try substituting the word "issue" for "book" in the Guidelines and see what we get:
Make positive comments first. Try to express what you liked about the book (issue) and why. (e.g. "The illustrations are a perfect match for the story because....")
After everyone has had the opportunity to say what they appreciated about the book, you may talk about difficulties you had with a particular aspect of the book (issue). Try to express difficulties as questions, rather than declarative judgments on the book (issue) as a whole. (e.g. "Would Max's dinner really have still been warm?" rather than "That would never happen.")
Avoid recapping the story or booktalking the book (issue). There is not time for a summary.
Refrain from relating personal anecdotes. The discussion must focus on the book (issue) at hand.
Try to compare the book (issue) with others on the discussion list, rather than other books by the same author or other books in your experience.
All perspectives and vocabularies are correct. There is no "right" answer or single correct response.
Listen openly to what is said, rather than who says it.
Respond to the comments of others, rather than merely waiting for an opportunity to share your comments.
Talk with each other, rather than to the discussion facilitator.
Comment to the group as a whole, rather than to someone seated near you.
Sometimes, it's also ok to accept an idea or opinion without responding to state a disagreement. Our opinion isn't changed but no response also honors the fact that the other person has a right to theirs. Learning to express our views with an eye towards engendering discussion often involves phrases like, "While I appreciate what you are saying, I wonder whether..." or "I hear what you're saying, but my hesitation lies in....". It opens up communication and creates a safe space to express and share.
I wonder if we might commit to be more open, less combative and elevate our discussions with each other? Can we honor the ideas others share while tactfully expressing our own and even learning to moderate our opinions based on what we hear? Can we put down our arms and learn to disagree in a collegial way? As Eli Mina, the ALA Council parliamentarian, suggests in Council when tempers begin to flare and back-and-forthing detours councilors from the larger issues of working towards solutions: Let us return to the balcony in this discussion rather than staying on the floor. I wonder if we can do this more?
Yesterday, I saw a link to an article (source: Dear Author) that really got me thinking. Brenna Clarke Gray, a teacher, wrote an article for Huffington Post calling for readers to stop apologizing for reading what they like. I love what she has to say on the matter:
You should not apologize for what you like to read. The person you are apologizing to can only fit into one of three categories:
1. He or she shares your joy. 2. He or she doesn’t give a good goddamn. 3. He or she thinks less of you for what you read in which case don’t apologize to that person because he or she is clearly a douchebag who doesn’t deserve your obeisance.
Number 1 requires no apology. Number 2 requires no apology. Number 3 neither requires nor deserves! an apology.
So what, then, do you do when someone you respect or even admire, mocks your choice of reading material? The first time I really felt bad about what I read was in my 9th grade lit class. We had a list of required reading for the semester, and in addition, we were to read additional books of our choice. See that last bit? Of our choice. At that time, I devoured Harlequins, fantasy, and sci-fi. That’s it. That’s pretty much all I read. Back then, I read even more voraciously than I do now. I didn’t have a 60+ hour a week job, no puppies, no ponies, no responsibilities. I lived for my mid-week trip to the local bookstores with my mom, where I would snap up the latest releases from my favorite authors. I was looking forward to that class, because I loved to read, and I figured it would be an easy A.
Imagine my surprise when the teacher showed distain for my book selections. She wrote condescending little notes at the top of my papers that I shouldn’t waste my time reading such tripe. I was embarrassed. Then I was pissed. I read more books than 99% of the population, and this lady was going to make fun of what I read? I am a person who tries to avoid confrontations, and back when I was younger, I was so shy that I rarely spoke in class. So after stewing about those nasty notes, I decided to alter my choice of reading material. Good-bye, tame Harlequins, I would not be reading you for this class. Hello, John Norman, you naughty creator of GOR. You , I will read. And Sharon Green? Hello, Terrilian series and Jalav, Amazon Warrior series. Yes, I will read you, too, because I know that the teacher will hate you all. (She did, but I still got an A)
I was fortunate that my mom encouraged my reading, and she didn’t really care what I read. This made it even more puzzling that a stranger would feel the need to show disapproval of what I read. I thought that the goal of the class was to encourage reading. My bad.
Today, I don’t care what people think of my choice of books. If they think that I am wasting my time reading about zombies or unicorns or fluffy pink bunnies, whatever. Those are not the people I choose to spend my time or energy on. I continually strive to make new connections with people who enjoy reading, without passing judgment, and those are the people I will try to form friendships with.
Has anybody ever made fun of what you read? What did you do about it?
I am hard at work on Act 1 of a new story that I am jokingly calling SHARKS.
I have roughly plotted out the story for Acts 1-3, and am now getting serious about Act 1, using two strategies:
Lists Help Me Plot
Creating lists is a helpful way for me to explore possible scenes and remind myself what needs to be included. My first list is a rough idea of the scenes that need to be included in the first act.
I need a scene that:
captures interest, while introducing the setting and main characters, A and B
sets up a minor conflict, a sort of running gag
A meets C and the result is joining a club
set up another subplot, one with parents
Club goes on outing which reveals a global danger to A
A and B try to warn someone about the danger, but are rebuffed
A and B are determined to save the world, even if the world doesn’t want to be saved
Does this list seem unfocused and boring to you? It does to me. But it’s a start. These ARE the scenes that I need, but I need to inject conflict and put more at stake in each one. And listing is a help here, too.
Scene 1: Introduce A and B and the outcome is that they don’t like each other.
A good opening strategy is to introduce two characters with a minor conflict that creates a distance between them. I know these guys must work together closely, which means they can’t get along smoothly, there must be conflict. OK. What sort of conflict? For me, that can depend greatly on setting. So, I create a list of possible settings; the general setting is Seattle and Puget Sound, but I need to know a specific setting for a scene, which is grounded in a particular place with particular actions.
On a ferry
Bike rental shop
Discussions with Myself Help Me Plot
Which brings me to the second strategy, and that is a discussion with myself about these options. Some of this is internal, but some of it is actually typing the conversation with myself. How do I know what I think until I write it?
Here’s an example of what I might write to myself:
I’m thinking the coffee shop is a good idea. A comes in and B is working there.
Immediate questions: How old is A? Is this a MG or a YA? If a MG, can he be wondering around on his own and ordering 5 cups of coffee? Teen, yes. 12 yo? Not so sure. This story isn’t YA, though, so it needs to be definitely MG. So the coffee shop must be very close to his grandparent’s house. And he’ll need a steady income, an allowance or something, or he can’t buy that much coffee.
If I use the coffee shop for the opening scene, it is 3 blocks from A’s grandparent’s house; he gets a generous allowance from his parents (Dad is Dr., mom is ambassador, so they can afford this). His first week in the Seattle area, it is plausible for him to become so enamored with coffee that he orders five cups in one morning; that also set up conflict with grandparents for later because he will be wide awake all night. The time change from his move, combined with caffeine could heat things up. I like this possible cause-effect relationship between scenes.
On the other hand, do I want school scenes or not? If so, I need to introduce it early: which is more important to the overall story, a coffee shop or a school yard. Can I reuse the coffee obsession later and have the coffee shop come back? Maybe the “club” meeting can take place in
Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth. On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion, or offer a solution.
If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth. They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.
Today’s topic is: Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?
This is something I struggle with all the time! Deadlines! They stress me out! I find it amusing that even though I hate being under pressure and having to meet deadlines, it is such a huge part of my book hobby. That just doesn’t seem right, now, does it?
Here’s how I deal with those deadlines, which can dangle over my head like the Sword of Damocles. I have a daily planner just for blogging. I have tried to keep one online with Google Calendar, but I just can’t seem to make a virtual calendar work for me. I mark down the dates of firm deadlines, and then I keep a sheet, updated weekly on Saturday, of looming deadlines. Interview post dates don’t stress me out like review commitments. I love reading author responses to my interview questions, and have a lot of fun with these posts, so they are easier to deal with.
Now reading and reviewing can cause a lot of apprehension. I try not to make many firm commitments for book reviews. When I am feeling pressured, I don’t enjoy reading as much. I don’t enjoy blogging as much. I can’t find my blogging mojo, and during those times, there are fewer reviews on the site. Maybe Real Life is intruding, and I just don’t have the time or the attention span to write that review. That’s never a good thing, so I keep my schedule for book reviews more flexible and fluid.
My biggest piece of advice to new bloggers: don’t over commit. Blogging will quickly become a chore, and you won’t have fun doing it. If you don’t have fun doing it, you will quickly stop blogging altogether. Work out a schedule that works for you. I work long hours to pay the bills, so reviewing and blogging activities happen mainly on the weekend. I squeeze in as much reading as I can after work during the week, but some nights I am so tired that I actually fall asleep with a book propped up in my hands. This tends to scare to crap out of me when I drop the book I was reading when I doze off. Oops!
Set realistic goals for yourself, too. I tend to be to a bit overly optimistic with how many books I can read in a month, but by posting a projected reading list at the start of each month, I feel that I at least have a plan to work with, and I work better with a plan. I don’t beat myself up when I can’t get everything read, but at least I have a goal to work toward. So setting goals for yourself that are realistic, and not over committing will keep your blog a more enjoyable activity. If you lose the mojo, take a break. Step away from your blog. Take a deep breath. This is supposed to be fun!
How do you manage your deadlines? Leave links and share.
A ThrillerFest panel last week tackled this question: “Can a thriller be both exciting and smart?” Participants included authors Linwood Barclay, Joseph Finder, Kathleen George, Andrew Gross, Andrew Pyper and Matt Richtel. David Liss moderated the panel.
During the discussion, the participants picked Dennis LeHane‘s Shutter Island, Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness, and William Landay‘s upcoming Defending Jacob as their favorite smart thrillers.
Below, we’ve included five tips for writing smart thrillers from the discussion.
Tonight, the Walls and Bridges Festival will end with a discussion event at FIAF entitled “The Original Copy: Borrowed Voices and Stolen Stories.” Chris Lehmann of Bookforum will moderate a panel of four authors which include Yannick Haenel, Laurent Nunez, Victoria Patterson, and Siva Vaidhyanathan.
Here’s more about the event: “It’ll tackle the topic of the tension inherent in borrowing (a plot, a style, or the entire library of written works) for one’s own use. It features French authors never before accessible to American audiences who are experimenting in their fiction, plus Americans Victoria Patterson and Siva Vaidhyanathan.”
Admission normally costs $15, but the organizers have a special offer for GalleyCat readers. Email email@example.com with GALLEYCAT in the subject and get in for free.
We all know how important the summer months can be for students. With little stimulation or opportunity, they can lose more than 3 months' progress during the time they are away from school. Today's post will share resources and information on how you can use these last few weeks to impact summer learning.
I'll begin with a wonderful list of articles, websites, and research from the the State Library of Alaska. You will find familiar names like Dr. Richard Allington and Steve Kreshan and a few new ones there.
Here are a few more tools for supporting and encouraging students to read during the summer:
Connect with your local library and other organizations that may be promoting reading with school aged children in your community (booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles are on board). Find out what they are doing and publicize those activities and resources with students and families. My own local library, Huntsville/Madison County Public Library (AL), is offering an End of the Year Summer Reading Party!
Make reading a social event. Give your students a few extra minutes every day to talk about what they are reading. Use colorful, florescent index cards or post its and create a cool "What's HOT?" bulletin board.
Blog or text with your students about what you and they are reading (and viewing) this summer. You'll need parent permission, but even a core group can make a difference. I know that you want to be "away" for a while just like the students do but a small investment can yield big dividends. Set a few guidelines such as how often to post and encourage the online conversation to weave between story lines and characters and what your students are doing during their summer vacation. You might even see some text to self and text to world connections and squeeze in a bit of authentic writing practice!
Get Families Involved
Families may not understand what can be lost during the summer without reading and writing. Be sure you share with them a few bits of information and some encouraging resources. Check out Summer Reading to help moms and dads, grandparents, and caregivers tap into the joy, expl
Add a Comment
The trailer for book 2 is done. Be warned however, if you're currently still working your way through book 1, there are some minor spoilers here.
Otherwise, enjoy (Double Click to see in full size on youtube)
On another note, I'll be appearing on a segment of The Annie and Burl show this coming Saturday night! The show starts at 10:00 EST, and I should be popping up around 10:15. I'll be discussing the book and whatever else the cool table wants to toss my way. If you're bored, listen in!
This will have to be short because I have to leave soon to go watch a rugby game, but the language we use to describe we did or did not like about books has always fascinated me. Hand-selling requires a bookseller to ask a customer leading questions, and depending on those questions (and the person you are asking) you’ll either get very concise or very vague responses. Often “What do you like to read?” would earn a categorical response like “Fiction” or “Mystery” or “Political titles” without any additional information, which allows you to take the customer to the right section but not much more. When faced with a question designed to seek more answers “What kind of fiction/mystery/whatever?” people often are unable to explain.
“I read everything,” they’ll say.
Or, “Anything but those cat books. I hate those cat books.”
Doesn’t exactly narrow down the field to make hand selling a little easier. Sure, I can pick up a few of my favorites and start the song and dance, but upon reading the back or hearing my schpeel (spelling?) the customer would respond, “Oh, that’s not me.” Or “I don’t read those books.”
Customers, to me at least, seemed to have a very clear definition of what they didn’t like, but were often unable to express what they did because the concept itself was so broad. It really isn’t a fair question. What they liked in one book they may not find interesting in another. Or they may not use the vocabulary to describe their needs enough to feel comfortable discussing their thoughts.
For the longest time before the rise of book clubs and reader blogs (which have seemed to help a little), it seemed like people got out of high school English and completely lost the skills necessary to express why one book worked and one didn’t. Setting, description, narration, dialogue, tone, their mood while reading it: all things that affect the reader’s relationship with the words on the page and yet I have generations of readers who can’t pinpoint what made them feel they way they did about a title or genre.
And again, genre is a very broad term. When it came to helping people find something new, I would often ask them what they last read and liked. Once I had an answer I could then slowly draw information out of them that I would need to steer them towards another title, “A lot of readers really love the way that history is threaded throughout that storyline, would you like something like that?”
We all have our triggers, things that do and do not work for us, but figuring out what those are and being able to express why is hard. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to be judged or because we’re not reading that closely to pinpoint or it really depends on the book, but whatever it is, it makes the process of hand selling a book that much harder. Because I’ve had many a customer caught up in my excitement over a title, only to have them turned off by a description or word.
The language of books—of how we discuss them—is a fascinating thing, and I’m interested in how it changes and grows with each book we read. I’ve been following Educating Alice’s experiment in teaching her class to discuss their reading through blogs. It is so fascinating to see what these kids pick out in their books as good description or bad, and how they talk about their likes and dislikes. If you’ve got a few hours to kill, I would check these out and if you’re familiar with the books being discussed then leave a message (the kids would love to hear what you have to say). If you’ve only got a few minutes, just drop a note here.
Because I would love to know what you talk about when you talk about books.
*Yeah, I know. Raymond Carver called and he wants his title back.
I am going to post discussion questions throughout the day and I encourage you to share your opinion. But before we officially start I’d like to propose a challenge. How may puns can you find in Alice in Wonderland? For example, on page 84 the following conversation takes place:
“Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Alice asked.
“We call him Tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock Turtle angrily. “Really you are very dull.”
Get it? Tortoise, taught us, mwahaha. Okay, so go searching. List all the puns you find in the comment section and at the end of the day we will see who has the sharpest eyes (and wit!). Perhaps there will be a prize involved…
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (another great cult classic like Alice) the answer to “the great question… of Life, the Universe and Everything is…forty two.” The better question of course, is what the great question is. The great computer Deep Thought says, “So once you know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.” (more…)
Just in case you haven’t had a chance to start reading Joseph Conrad’sThe Secret Agentwe thought we would give you a little teaser. Below is the first page. Be sure to check back on May 24th for our discussion as part of our Oxford World’s Classics Book Club.
Mr. Verloc, going out in the morning, left his shop nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. (more…)
To get you all excited about June’s Book Club pick, Tess of The D’Urbervilles, I decided to excerpt the first page. An important revelation is made that affects Tess throughout the whole book. So stop procrastinating and go read!
On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line.
I’m emotional. I sob in movies. Even bad movies like Boiler Room. Remember that one? It came out in like 1999 or 2000 and starred Giovanni Ribisi. There was a scene in which Ribisi’s character has an emotional break down in front of his father while reminiscing about a childhood biking accident. I sobbed like a baby and I didn’t even like the movie! So you can just imagine my reaction to the end of Tess of The D’Urbervilles. (more…)