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Olympic Games Art Contest 1912 - 1948

Olympic Games Art Contest 1912 - 1948 | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"Art Competitions were held at the Olympics 1912 to 1948. The winners of the competitions were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals, similar to the winners of the athletic competitions.
The events were inspired by Pierre de Coubertin, who wished to meld the competitions in sports with competitions in the arts. The art competions were dropped from the Olympic program because of the difficulty of determining the amateur status of the artists."

 

 

 

__________

I love it when I discover how little I know about areas where I have a deep involvement. And then I wonder how little I know in areas about which I have spent much less time learning.

 

I never knew that it used to be possible to compete in the Olympics in Literature. Not only that, but there were multiple categories including dramatic works, Epic Works, "all Kinds," and lyrics.

 

Though a quick Google Search reveals several sites verifying this information, the most complete list of categories and winners I was able to find was on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_competitions_at_the_Olympic_Games

And, to add to my surprise, other non-literary Olympics competitions were held in such diverse fields as Architecture, Sculpture, Paintings and Graphic Art, Music, and get this... Aeronautics and Alpinism.

 

 

It's just a bit amusing that the Olympic Arts Competitions were dropped because "of the difficulty of determining the amateur status of the artists."

 

Maybe I'm an old fogey, but I still remember when there was an attempt to ensure that the Olympic ATHLETIC competition was limited to amateurs. Ha! I realize that there was little success in ensuring amateur athletic status, but there was something pure in the intent. But, then politics on the global scale became a pressure point on award counts and those Russian "Reds" were hauling in the gold and silver and bronze at record rates so questioning their athletes' amateur status became the cover issue for explaining why the "reds" kept doing much better than the "red, whites, and blues." Of course, it's all a mute point today as amateur status really isn't "spoken of" much given what everybody knows about what it takes to be good enough to compete at the Olympic level. 

 

Perhaps then it's time to bring the arts back to the Olympics. Hey! Here's an idea... why not run the Olympics sort of like the Miss America contest where there is an attempt to require the beauty queens to prove they also have intelligent opinions and/or "other" talents?

 

Maybe a Jeopardy-like pre-competition in the qualifying rounds and then a grand Jeopardy match .... oh forget it. That's probably silly.

 

I was a bit happy to see that the Brits threw in quite a significant homage to their literary history in their opening ceremonies. 

 

Keep the faith Brits! 

 

To honor the Brits' love of competive literature, here's an oldie but a goodie.

 

Monty Python's Novel Writing as a spectator sport.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPZ5CY9KoM

 

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com  ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
An Educator's Reading List of Contemporary Literature, Literacy, and Reading Issues. Visit us at http://www.GoogleLitTrips.org
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Important Google Lit Trip UPDATE

Important Google Lit Trip UPDATE | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

35 Google Lit Trips updated in May of 2015. If you use older versions of these Lit Trips please update now.

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

26 May 2015

 

35 Google Lit Trips updated in May of 2015. If you use older versions of these Lit Trips please update now.

 

Yesterday we uploaded newly refreshed and updated Google Lit Trips for Candide | Frankenstein | Are We There Yet? | Hana's Suitcase | The Odyssey (a Greece-Centric Interpretation | The Odyssey (a Mediterranean-Wide Interpretation

 

If you use any versions of the following titles please update them now  at http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com :

 

A Family Apart 

A Small Dog’s Life 

A Walk in London 

Abuela 

Amy’s Travels 

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl 

Big Anthony: His Story 

Brothers in Hope

By the Great Hornspoon

Esperanza Rising 

Fever 1793 

Flotsam

Going Home

Journey to Topaz 

Make Way for Ducklings 

Marching for Freedom

Night

Number the Stars 

Pedro’s Journal 

Riding Freedom 

Sam Patch: Daredevil Jumper 

The Slave Dancer 

The Armadillo From Amarillo 

The Grapes of Wrath 

The Kite Runner

Lost! 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 

Walk Two Moons 

We All Went on Safari

 

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~

Google Lit Trips is brought to you by GLT Global ED, a 501c3 educational nonprofit

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Cindy Riley Klages's curator insight, May 26, 9:36 PM
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

26 May 2015

 

35 Google Lit Trips updated in May of 2015. If you use older versions of these Lit Trips please update now.

 

Yesterday we uploaded newly refreshed and updated Google Lit Trips for Candide | Frankenstein | Are We There Yet? | Hana's Suitcase | The Odyssey (a Greece-Centric Interpretation | The Odyssey (a Mediterranean-Wide Interpretation

 

If you use any versions of the following titles please update them now  at http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com :

 

A Family Apart 

A Small Dog’s Life 

A Walk in London 

Abuela 

Amy’s Travels 

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl 

Big Anthony: His Story 

Brothers in Hope

By the Great Hornspoon

Esperanza Rising 

Fever 1793 

Flotsam

Going Home

Journey to Topaz 

Make Way for Ducklings 

Marching for Freedom

Night

Number the Stars 

Pedro’s Journal 

Riding Freedom 

Sam Patch: Daredevil Jumper 

The Slave Dancer 

The Armadillo From Amarillo 

The Grapes of Wrath 

The Kite Runner

Lost! 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 

Walk Two Moons 

We All Went on Safari

 

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~

Google Lit Trips is brought to you by GLT Global ED, a 501c3 educational nonprofit

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'The pursuit of happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be' (Wired UK)

'The pursuit of happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be' (Wired UK) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Aristotle claimed that "happiness is the meaining and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence." And for good reason.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

May 17, 2015

Teach irony? 

Here's one for you.While looking for an informational reading article to connect to the chapters in Voltaire's Candide that question our conceptions of what it take to make one happy, you know money, power, toys,etc, for the Candide Google Lit Trip refresh, I came across this site. It's a pretty good articulation of a broader spectrum of considerations regarding how we believe we can be happy.

And then I noticed the ad in the upper left corner for the Robb Report. It wasn't coincidence. While searching for an informational reading article just two days ago while working on the refresh for the Lit Trip for Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, I had gone to the Robb Report looking for articles challenging students to think about the 1% vs the 99% question and the public discourse on the fairness or unfairness of unequal distribution of wealth. The Robb Report is always good for "defending" conspicuous consumption.

Well, you know how the internet tracks our "interests" by tracking ads we click. Having visited the Robb Report, ads for the Robb Report seem to be showing up on nearly every website I visit. 

The irony of a Robb Report ad appearing on this page questioning the common notions that more toys, and the more expensive those toys are, equals more happiness is just too ironic not to share.

You won't see this ad on this page yourself because your use of the internet will lead those who figured out how to place ads they think will entice you will place different ads on the page.

So... You just might want to download the image above (https://www.flickr.com/photos/30776705@N04/17755552036/in/dateposted-public/) and file it for your next lesson on irony or juxtaposition, or stealth marketing, or dare I say, data-based decision making?

Here's the URL for the Robb Report (www.Robbreport.com) just in case it occurs to you that a great jigsaw lesson can be built from these two informational reading resources.

BTW...I can't help but wonder if the Robb Report is short for the Robber Baron Report.
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Google Lit Trips is the flagship project of GLT Global ED a 501c3 educational nonprofit.

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23 Lit Trips Updates in Last 4 Days!

23 Lit Trips Updates in Last 4 Days! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

7 MAY 2015: If you use any of the Google Lit Trips above, you'll definitely want to download these very recent updates.

 

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, May 7, 3:41 PM

7 May 2015: If you use any of these Google Lit Trips, you'll definitely want to download these recent updates. More on the way!

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The Armadillo From Amarillo by Lynne Cherry

The Armadillo From Amarillo by Lynne Cherry | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

14 April 2015

Texas Proud to announce the publication of a new Google Lit Trip for The Armadillo From Amarillo by Lynne Cherry today at the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin, Texas..

 

I had the pleasure of co-developing this Lit Trip with Karen Arrington who is also the developer of the Lit Trip for A Walk In London by Salvatore Rubino.

 

It's an adorable story of Sasparillo the Armadillo who wants to know where on earth he is. He travels to several locations in Texas. But, truthfully, this story is out of this world! 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

 

 

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Steinbeck Young Authors :: National Steinbeck Center

Steinbeck Young Authors :: National Steinbeck Center | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, California - Our mission is to tell the
story of John Steinbeck’s rich legacy and to present, create and explore stories of the human
condition.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

10 February 2015

 

It's a two National Steinbeck Center Scoop-it Day!

 

In my previous blog I mentioned that I try to get down to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California a couple of times a year. One of the events I've become a bit of a regular volunteer as a writing coach for is the annual Steinbeck Young Authors Day of Writing. 

 

They are always looking for writing coaches for this event. Thought I'd pass along this information for anyone who might be interested in working with young writers from schools in the area. It's only a couple of hours, and a wonderful opportunity to work with kids, meet the wonderful staff at the Steinbeck Center, and chat with other volunteer coaches all of whom have their own intriguing stories to share.

 

I'll be there. Hope to see some of you as well.

 

And, by the way... If you read my previous blog entry, you'll notice that the Day of Writing is on the Monday following the FREE event celebrating Steinbeck's 130th birthday on Saturday.

 

Now that's a great excuse for a mini-getaway for any Steinbeck fan. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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Featured Google Lit Trips for Black History Month

Featured Google Lit Trips for Black History Month | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

5 February 2014

Five Google Lit Trips of particular interest as we celebrate Black History month.

 

- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

- The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

- Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

- Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

- The Watsons Go To Birmingham -1963 by Christoperh Paul Curtis

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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13 Literary and Book Related Prints and Posters

13 Literary and Book Related Prints and Posters | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Bookish, Literary, and Book Related Prints and Posters for decoration your house, office, library, and walls.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

25 January 2015

 

I enjoy discovering the sites that provide unique ways to promote a love of reading publicly, whether it is on the walls of a classroom, a library, a young person's bedroom, a family's home, in our wardrobe...anywhere we can proclaim a love of reading publicly.

 

There are many pro-reading posters in this collection however, I must admit that the one featured above spoke to me in ways that the others only did at lesser levels.

 

Unlike others that felt a bit too much like adults trying to tell kids what to think is cool, this one "tells a story" that reminds this viewer, at least, that THESE are the REAL REASONS why reading is a good thing.

 

It reminds us that reading is about being an enjoyable way to engage in the discovery of ideas worth thinking about; thinking about what it means to be a caring or uncaring person. Reading provides an enjoyable way of expanding our receptiveness to revisiting our current understandings of what it means to be a humane being. 

 

In some way, the poster captures for me the magic of the overlapping space in the Venn Diagram of Plot and Theme; that sweet spot where the focus on both is perfect for effective teaching of reading and literature. 

 

I've seen teachers who make faces that silently convey the same repulsion that people's faces make when they have smelled something terrible nearby, when they are actually unhappy with a student's excessive interest in books that appear to be heavy on plot but vapid in theme.

 

And, I've seen students who make the same faces when they feel that a teacher is way too focused on "ruining the story" with excessive analysis of structure and theme in books that have plots for which the student has not yet discovered any way to find any interest at all.

 

In the poster above, we see engaged readers. Period. We are not told by what means these particular readers became engaged readers. It may well be because they have been fortunate to have had parents, teachers, librarians, and/or friends who planted and cultivated the seeds of life-long reading spectacularly. But, the poster's first impression for me is its focus on the rewards of engaged reading.

 

We don't know if the comments were stimulated by an unexpected plot turn or by the contemplation of the motives behind that plot turn. What we do know is there are actively engaged minds in every one the the readers. And that's a good thing.

 

So... let me engage in a bit of excessive thematic and structural analysis.

_____

NOTE: Each poster is linked to a web site where the poster is for sale. I mention this not to encourage you to consider purchasing one of the posters, but rather to point out that you will there be able to see a larger version of the poster. In fact, when you get there, click again on the poster for an even larger view.

_____

 

RE: THE TEXT

"What!": I love the punctuation. A question mark might suggest confusion and a lack of understanding of what just happened while the exclamation mark suggests to me that the reader is fully aware of what just happened and is having both an emotional and intellectual moment of contemplative outrage at what just happened.

 

"Hmm...": Another punctuation observation. I love the ellipsis. "Hmmm" is often used to suggest something like, "Hmm, I just want you to know that I heard you, but do not wish to encourage you to think that I agree with you." Or, it is often used to suggest something like, "Hmm, I hadn't thought about it that way before. I'll have to give that some thought." It is the ellipsis that encourages me to wonder what that readers' take on the particular scene actually was. 

 

"Oh!": I've read so much about the exclamation point being considered by so many to be a crutch for weak writers. The advice against using the exclamation mark generally runs along the lines of suggesting that if a writer has to tell the reader to find the writing shocking then the writing itself is weak. There are occasions where I find this advise true and there are occasions when I find this advise well-intended, but over-reaching and stifling to learners. In this case, remembering that the engagement between individual readers and individual stories is very personal, some readers might be shocked by a particular passage while others might said, "Of course. Who didn't see that coming?" The exclamation point in this poster tells me that this is a reader in the midst of total personal immersion and that she has come across something startling TO HER. These are the moments in any story where we are emotionally and/or intellectually startled by the unexpected. And, the unexpected is frequently the point at which our contemplation of the underlying themes might be "peeking" out between the lines.

 

RE: THE IMAGERY...

Body Language: There may be a parent, teacher, librarian or friend nearby, but if so they have been cropped out of the poster. The focus is on the reader's engagement and we know these readers somehow managed to reach the age they have reached and have not, as too many of our students have, abandoned a personal interest in reading.

 

The reader in the upper left corner is reading in the "default preferred" mode. She is sitting up straight and appears to be engaged and "properly attentive." Fine. If that is a way to read and discover the wonders of reading for her. Great. And, by the way, it may be important to note that she may not be simply representing the "traditional" posture of expected reading body language. She also appears to be representing the faction of readers who are perfectly okay with reading on digital devices.

 

The reader in the upper right corner who may be sitting on the floor, or in a bed, or near a campfire, or....., is obviously engaged. I don't know what she is reading, or why she is reading, but I do know she's intensely engaged.The subtlety of her leaning forward and of her fingers to her lips are indications of a sincere engaged attentiveness. 

 

Several of the readers are in positions not universally recognized as being beneficial to attentive reading. Yet each seems to give "some" clear visual indications of being attentively engaged.

JUST SOME ELEMENTS THAT I FOUND WORTH CONTEMPLATING

The standing reader is reading a newspaper. Why is she standing? Maybe she's on the subway, waiting for a bus, or a table at a table with a line out the door. Who knows, but if so, she's choosing to use that time to read.  

 

The reader in the lower right corner is listening to her iPhone. I remember when the default expectation was to not be listening to music while I was reading. Though I always liked reading, I remember an entire collections of surreptitious (read serious guilt causing) ways I'd discovered to disguise the fact that I had music playing while I did my reading homework. 

 

It wasn't until I was in college that I discovered that I had been essentially using music as a sort of white noise, drowning out the conversations leaking into my reading space from other rooms, or the sounds of kids who were still outside playing loudly, or the burping refrigerator noises, and TV sounds distracting me while I tried to concentrate on doing my homework reading. I did come to understand that music without lyrics made for more effective white noise isolation than music with lyrics. By the way, did you notice that the girl with the earbuds happens to be reading sheet music? Now that just might be a deeper engagement in reading if you ask me.

 

BUT what about the reader who is smoking? I'm kind of hoping her "OH!" exclamation is indicating that she's reading an article about the the dangers of smoking that was somehow able to cut past her inherent resistance to being receptive to revisiting her primary focus upon a perception that smoking is a sign of being cool.

 

Who knows?

 

But one thing is for sure, the poster has done a great job of engaging my interest in keeping an open mind about effective reading and literary analysis education.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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Ebooks: a more civilised way of scribbling in the margins?

Ebooks: a more civilised way of scribbling in the margins? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
E-readers are reinventing the ways books are read and annotated, writes James Bridle
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

24 January 2015


In the ongoing squabble between paper-based and digital reading, my position has long been that as long as they read, get out of their way. The consequences of having a society of significant numbers of readers who don't deserves much more of our attention. I realize that even this opinion is fraught with opportunities for counter-argument. Some other time for that.


In spite of the fact that just this week I've read multiple conflicting articles reporting "research" proclaiming that either paper or digital reading "has now been proven" to be ineffective or demonstrably more effective than the other, I do have a clear preference for my iPad's annotation resources. 

 

Again, I know the challenges to the benefits of  annotation and marginalia in SCHOOL OWNED resources. But, we also know the challenges involved in getting students to take and then use external notes. Some do it well; many do not and rather than appreciating the potential value in taking external notes  "if they'd only do it,", they often perceive the tediousness and /or difficulty of taking notes into a blanket cause for not liking reading. 

 

A couple of years ago, I was asked by a friend to make a short video he could show teachers who were just about to begin a school-wide transition to integrating iPads into their lesson planning. 

 

I mention that the video was made a couple of years ago because ebooks (and pedagogies) have evolved since the video was made and are even more versatile today than they were at the time.   

 

I decided to focus upon the benefits of ebooks for note taking and marginalia in order for teachers to create their own "teacher's copy" of a book. Teachers have always had permission to highlight and write marginal notes in paper-based books, but I was interested in proving the extra benefits of doing so in ebooks. 

 

You can view that video here: http://vimeo.com/70404496


I should point out that I purposely did not go deep into all of the advantages of iBook notation possibilities, not wanting to overwhelm those who would be viewing the video with a certain pre-existing anxiety over the learning curve for the iPad transition learning curve (and because what I did cover is already a couple of minutes longer than the requested length). Also, note that my reference to being able to email notes is slightly inaccurate. The entire collection of highlights and notes can not be emailed all at once. Clicking on a particular note will go to the specific page where highlighted passage can be selected and then emailed, texted, tweeted, or sent to Facebook.

 

We who teach know that an annotated teacher's copy of a book we're teaching is far more useful to us than a collection of externally maintained notes. The difference is proximity. Our notes are precisely where we need them to be at precisely the moment we need them.

 

In a sense, the rules against writing in paper-based books are similar to the rules that led many of us to believe that the proper way to punctuate book titles WAS to underline them. That was actually never the "really correct way." The proper way to punctuate book titles had been to put them in italic. The underline rule was a requirement by typing technologies which until computers could not do what typesetting technologies had long been able to do. 

 

Similarly, the don't write in the book rule is a requirement of school funding limitations not of book publishing standards for correct use of books.

 

Finally, do you remember reading The Velveteen Rabbit? If so, at the end of the story, do you remember how we could tell that the Velveteen Rabbit had been loved?

 

If you get my point and haven't read Chris Van Allsburg's Bad Day at Riverbend (yes, I recognize the irony of the fact that the free version of Scoop-it does not allow for proper title formatting) then you should check it out. It's a "pre-loved" book even when it's brand new!

 

Don't get me wrong. I do have a modest collection of autographed books that will otherwise remain in pristine condition as long as I own them.


AFTERWORD

A few thoughts regarding situations where students need to do academic reading of literature without being able to highlight and create marginal notes, and thereby find themselves running the obstacle course and too frequently counterproductive effort required  by taking, managing, and studying from external notes.

 

1. Tell them that if they really like highlighting and writing in margins, they are always allowed to "lose" their book. If it means much to them all they need to do is replace the lost book. 

 

2. Don't make them take external notes! I used to keep packets of the smallest post-its available. They are about an inch and a half square. I'd tell the kids who seemed to not be successful with note-taking to try an experiment. Just jot quick notes on post-its and stick them right on the page where the note is appropriate with just a tiny edge of the non-sticky side hanging over the page edge. Then at least the note and the reason for the note are always in the same place. All I needed was for them to remove the post-its before returning the book. This evolved into kids discovering that they could buy these small post-its in packets with multiple pads of different colors, and thereby they could even color-code their notes. For example, Different colored post-its  make it incredibly easy to visually identify notes relating to different themes being tracked while reading. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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This Doesn’t Sound Like The MLK I Learned About In School

This Doesn’t Sound Like The MLK I Learned About In School | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"If I had to guess, you probably have never heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1967 "The Other America" speech. You're not alone in this either. There's a lot about King that gets left out of textbooks and documentaries."

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 January 2015: An article that led me on an interesting contemplation about Informational Reading

 

Long before the term "middle school" replaced "junior high school" I visited friends in Virginia who happened to have a daughter in junior high school. Being a new teacher, I was asked whether I'd be interested in seeing the daughter's Virginia History text.

 

I was.

 

Having gone to junior high in California, I had never questioned the history books I read when I was taught that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. 

 

The Virginia History text had a different take.

 

First of all the text suggested that there was no Civil War, preferring the term,  "the disturbance between the states." And, not only was there no Civil War, but that the south had won it. The rational? It was the south that had the courage to cease hostilities and thereby it took credit for "saving the union."

 

BTW... It would be many years before I came across the southern explanation that "whatever it was called" it was about states' rights.

 

But, of course, California history texts had their own biases. I was taught that Father Junipero Serra was a hero who helped civilize the Native Americans who were in those days referred to as "indians." (in lower case) Or as Jefferson  put it in the the Declaration of Independence, "the merciless Indian savages."

 (Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/13/declaration-independence-except-indian-savages)

 

I was taught that Columbus discovered America. George Washington never told a lie. General George Custer was an American hero.

 

I was not taught that Custer was an egomaniac, or that Columbus never set foot on what is now the United States and that he was more interested in exploiting than exploring; that he enslaved the native people who had somehow discovered  the new world centuries before Columbus was born. I was not taught that George Washington was a slave owner or that Jefferson had fathered children with one of his slaves.

 

My point is not that I was lied to. My point is not that America is not exactly what it pretends to be or, that America is not a great country. My point is that there are at least three sides to every story.

 

Why three? Why not two or many?

 

There are the lies (or should we refer to them as the elements of "spin" or "cherry picking"?). 

 

There is the story that is told (btw... when was it that I first heard the old adage, "History books are written by the victors?").

 

And, there is the whole story (which is essentially impossible to know and unquestionably impossible to fit into a course syllabus containing so many other historical events that must be covered).

 In my own intellectual development, I don't remember when I first became aware of Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Howard Zinn, Ronald Takaki and others whose existence came into my awareness. There were many others not typically covered in the curricula of the time.


But, I do remember that it was not unusual for many of my contemporaries, myself included, to make a careless jump from believing everything to not believing anything (or at least to believing that the untold stories always trumped the told stories). It is this jump from not questioning what I was taught, past a balanced version of  the truth, to the other end of the spectrum where the "other side of the story became the story I remember and the conclusion that I had been lied to. The fact that I hadn't exactly been lied to, but rather had not been told the entire truth was too subtle for me to appreciate is the danger that concerns me today. 


Okay, I'm old. My recollections reflect a time long gone by.  So what's this all have to do with this article that focuses upon the limited information about Martin Luther King's works that makes it into the typical classroom experience.

Though there have been suggestions that Martin Luther King Jr. may have not been a perfect human being himself (phrased carefully so as to not dismiss such concerns, while sarcastically suggesting that we remember that no one is perfect) my intention is to suggest that what was great about Martin Luther King's existence and his contribution to  American and global history goes so far beyond knowing that he gave a speech that he never referred to as the "I Have a Dream" speech.  

 

In an extremely roundabout way, this brings me to the current controversy over the movie Selma. Much is being made of the possibility that the film does not do justice to the role played by Lyndon Baines Johnson.  The question of whether the story told is "unfair" to LBJ or whether the traditional story gives too much credit to LBJ, mirrors the impossibility of ever telling the entire story. I do have to say, that as a young person just barely emerging from the cocoon of the bliss of youthful ignorance, I remember being nearly entirely focused upon LBJ's failure to take a clear anti-Vietnam war stance and his attempts to defend the escalation of that war.  There was only one side to LBJ in my mind and it did not credit him with much that was admirable. Even, when the civil rights bill was passed, I failed to recognize the risk LBJ took nor the political savvy that he asserted to get the bill passed.  

 

It was nearly 50 years later while collaborating with Elizabeth Partridge on a Google Lit Trip for her as yet unpublished Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary, the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery that I actually "listened with more mature ears" to the speech that LBJ gave on the ocassion of the signing of the voting rights. It was a remarkably eloquent speech and an even more remarkably brave speech for a southern politician to give. But, again in reviewing that very speech while writing this blog, I was also reminded that that the "other side" of the Lyndon Baines Johnson story continues today as being burdened with historical controversies and conspiracy theories. 

 

So, I suppose I ought to get to the point. There is more information than is possible to access on many topics for which our students should practice the more subtle skills of informational reading. Not only ought we to make certain that we provide opportunities for our students to practice their skills for informational reading, but we must also take into consideration that many our students are each in very different places in their own understanding of what constitutes authentic information and that even in the arena of authentic information, there is often conflicting information presented as authentic.

 

In closing, tonight as President Obama delivers his State of the Union and the Republicans offer their response, we will have ample opportunity to see how important it is to practice the particularly subtle skills associated with informational reading.  

~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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The Ethics of Sarcastic Science

The Ethics of Sarcastic Science | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Every year the British Medical Journal publishes an issue of joke science. But years later, those papers are cited as real.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

23 August 2014

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Here's one for the Informational Reading folks. And, it's actually quite informative despite its reliance upon references to intentional "Joke Science" articles as its starting point.

 

"Joke Science" in such satirical venues as The Onion, IS FICTION of course. And, only the densest of readers would miss The Onion's clear signals that nothing it publishes is true. The stories are ludicrous and surrounded by stories that are also ludicrous. And, it would be hard to even imagine that someone would wind up on The Onion site without knowing that it's a modern day Mad Magazine.

 

"In context" the signs are hard to miss that it's just funny stuff intended to amuse us without intention to misinform us. 

 

But, what happens when those amusing stories or stories like them published in any number of "April Fools-type" issues of otherwise serious publications are taken "out of context" and redistributed via social media or gossip or via conspiracy-adamant sharing venues by those who like to share funny things, or those who like to share  ill-informed/misinformed/disinformed "information" they've read with the rest of the world?

 

The  signals that The Onion or "April Fools issues surround their articles with are gone and it becomes more likely that if not read carefully, the reader might easily assume with unquestioned trust that the article originally was published by a reliable source. 

 

No this does not ONLY FOOL THE FOOLS. This article notes that much of this amusing fiction winds up being cited in very serious scholarly work. 

 

Truthfully, I was shocked that I hadn't considered the obviousness of this finding prior to reading this article. Social networking for all of its benefits does also raise the likelihood that information is often quite divorced from its source. and probably more often than not, divorced from an assumption that the information will be read with the same level of intellectual scrutiny as the original article in its original context would be read. And, unlike Wikipedia, where we have come to be cautious about the validity of any article at any time, we also can recognize that Wikipedia itself has instituted practices intended to reduce its content's margin of error. We know enough to warn our students that Wikipedia is NOT original source information and that it should never be relied upon as a sole source of information. Wikipedia continually warns us of this possibility.

 

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:General_disclaimer)

 

Wikipedia also is pro-active in warning us. Anyone who had used  Wikipedia enough has seen header banners on articles warning that the article lacks reliable citation or expresses a bias. 

 

Many people have learned that one quick way to use Wikipedia as a starting point is to search for a subject and then immediately scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of links to the article's referenced sources. In this mode, the Wikipedia article might serve as a useful starting point and possible overview of a subject AND a quick way to find sources that might be likely "go to" sources for more reliable places to dig deeper.

 

But what happens when the bridge between information and all references to its reliability are severed?

 

This is not to say that information received through redistribution severed from its original context is to be assumed unreliable. But, it is safe to say that information received through redistribution severed from its original context ought to be read with caution. 

 

It's quite a bit like that old classroom game called telephone where a story is shared from one student to another who shares what he or she believes he or she heard to another student who... well, you've probably played the game. The last student when asked to share the story aloud to the class generally shares a story with very little, if any, resemblance to the original story.

 

And, this is what happens when the story was only shared among a group that knows the rest of the group.

 

An interesting question might be to brainstorm all of the many possible explanations for why the original story inevitably fails be to be accurately reflected once it goes through the multiple incarnations of its redistribution.

 

I would suggest that poor memory or poor hearing/listening are only the most obvious explanations. It is the less obvious causes that reveal the essential elements of a sophisticated  informational literacy skill set. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
—Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

What's your favorite sentence (anywhere)?

 

Kids quote a lot! Maybe from literature; maybe not. But, they love individual sentences that somehow stick in their minds. And, they use those special sentences repeatedly as a means of expressing "something" that someone else expressed so well in their perception.

 

Where do these sentences come from? A favorite movie, TV character, bumpersticker, poem, song lyric, book, celebrity, teacher, ....

 

Who knows, but wherever a kid is touched by a single sentence, there is a magic worth paying attention to.

 

What if kids were asked to find and document the source for a single sentence that has captured their interest in ways that no other single sentence has captured them?

 

Don't judge the source. Don't judge the kid. Just listen to the honesty even if that honest is actually between the words they share.

 

I'd give it a try just to see what happens.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Support Google Lit Trips for as little as $5... and it's tax-deductible too!

Support Google Lit Trips for as little as $5... and it's tax-deductible too! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

We are 100% volunteer and have delivered over 25,000 Lit Trips supporting reading, literacy, and literature students and educators from more than 140 countries JUST THIS YEAR.

 

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Nonfiction Book App To Eliminate Books, Reading From Reading Experience

Nonfiction Book App To Eliminate Books, Reading From Reading Experience | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"What’s the worst part of reading nonfiction? Is it having to sit through an entire, exhausting book? Is it having to look at words with your eyes? Maybe both of those obstacles leave you daunted. Blinkist is here to help."

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

13 December 2014

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Had to scoop this one. No long commentary, just  two questions that popped into my mind. Maybe you can help me decide...

 

Does this technology enable us to take in more informational reading more efficiently?

OR

Does this technology enable us in ways similar to enabling an alcoholic?

 

I suppose it depends upon the way the user perceives its value.

 

But, I tend to want to not blame technology as much for how it is used as I blame the intentions of the user of the technology.

 

What am I talking about? It's a sort of Alfred Nobel conundrum.

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Here's Why Famous Authors Chose Their Fake Names

Here's Why Famous Authors Chose Their Fake Names | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Writers have chosen pen names over the centuries for reasons almost as varied as the names themselves. (We're looking at you, "Dr. Seuss.")

While some changed their names simply for easie
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 May 2015

 

Great infographic. No surprise that reasons for using pseudonyms drift heavily towards prejudices against women and the dangers of unprotected freedom of speech.

 

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Five more Google Lit Trips UPDATES!

Five more Google Lit Trips UPDATES! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

15 May 2015

 

Today we posted five updated Google Lit Trips including Journey to Topaz, The Kite Runner, Lost! Marching for Freedom and Night

 

This brings the total number of updated Lit Trips to 29 so far this month. 

 

See the complete list of updated Lit Trips at www.GoogleLitTrips.org 

 

IMPORTANT: ALL Google Lit Trips are being updated in anticipation of our imminent transition to our new website.  Older versions may soon not work properly.

 

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~

Google Lit Trips is the flagship project of GLT Global ED, a 501c3 educational nonprofit

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Arts Group Boldly Confronts Segregation In Selma

Arts Group Boldly Confronts Segregation In Selma | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, a spotlight shined on Selma, Alabama, in remembrance of the civil rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that was brutally interrupted by police in 1965. Though the violence of Bloody Sunday catalyzed the successful battle agains...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

29 April 2015

Can we read the headlines that prove there is still more work to be done and do nothing and feel no shame?

 

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"Partaking in the metaphorical march is an organization called  Random Acts of Theatre Company (RATCo) which aims to allow youth from all races and economic backgrounds to express themselves through art. Founded in 2007, it has locations nationwide, with headquarters in Selma. Director Joseph East took an interest in the group after visiting Selma on a history tour, and noticing the impact it had on its members."

_____

Remembering Selma, both for the momentum for change that it caused and for the unfinished business we have not yet created sufficient momentum to successfully address. Young artists create poetry.

 

Do you teach To Kill A Mockingbird"?

Watch this video and walk in this young man's shoes per Atticus Finch's advise. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Things That Must Not Be Forgotten by Michael David Kwan

Things That Must Not Be Forgotten by Michael David Kwan | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

3 April 2015

 

We're proud to announce the publication of our newest Google Lit Trip.This unique Lit Trip for Michael David Kwan’s memoir, Things That Must Not Be Forgotten was developed by the author’s son Nick Kwan.


Nick Kwan blends elements of his father’s book with his own discoveries about his family as he searched for the world his father grew up in as a child in China.

 

“An award-winning memoir that describes the childhood of Kwan, a young boy living in Beijing in the 1930s. Abandoned by his Swiss mother and overwhelmed by his father, Kwan's life is thrown into turmoil when the Japanese invade.”

~ Google Books

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Calendar of Events :: National Steinbeck Center

Calendar of Events :: National Steinbeck Center | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, California - Our mission is to tell the
story of John Steinbeck’s rich legacy and to present, create and explore stories of the human
condition.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

10 February 2015

 

This FREE EVENT might be well worth a visit to the National Steinbeck Center if you're anywhere near Salinas, California.

 

I love the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas California.! Just 90 miles away, I make the trip a couple of times a year. And, like to make a mini-getaway out of it. Steinbeck's childhood home is just a couple of blocks away. And, then a nice drive over to Monterey for a trip down Cannery Row. In fact if planned correctly you can have lunch in the Steinbeck home (except Mondays) and visit the Pacific Biological Laboratary where Steinbeck's buddy Ed Ricketts worked while becoming the model for Doc in Cannery Row and Steinbeck's co-author of the Sea of Cortez.

 

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Texas Sending Man to Death Chamber on Thursday Based on 'Of Mice and Men'

Texas Sending Man to Death Chamber on Thursday Based on 'Of Mice and Men' | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Invoking Lennie as its benchmark, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced rules that fail to protect persons with intellectual disability from execution. Because of these unscientific and fictional standards, Robert Ladd, a man who has an IQ of...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

29 January 2015

Those who teach Of Mice and Men ought to pause right now and bookmark this article.

 

One of the most effective ways to incorporate informational reading and literary reading includes the classroom conversations where the fiction so closely sends messages that reverberate in the real world as is the case in the parallels between John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and the real world parallel expressed in this article . 


 Although the article's author centers his attention upon what he points to as an insult to Steinbeck's intentions and I would not avoid considering that point, I would not let that be the "thesis" focus of the class discussion, but rather have that conversation be one of the "topic sentence" foci of a broader discussion.

 

Did you notice that the author gave no details about either Robert Ladd's crime nor details of the "so-called 'Briseno factors'" upon which the appeals court made their ruling?

 

The broader discussion I might aim for would be the concept of social responsibility and whether or not the mentally disabled, at some definable level, can rightfully be held responsible for their actions.

 

If students are willing or capable of really digging into their initial positions on the fates of Lennie Small and Robert Ladd, I might consider "raising the ante" by having them read this article (http://www.ibtimes.com/who-robert-ladd-mentally-disabled-man-faces-death-penalty-after-texas-court-denies-1798554) that gives details about the gruesomeness of the crime(s) committed by Robert Ladd.

 

This article (http://gawker.com/letters-from-death-row-robert-ladd-texas-inmate-99923-1657957647 ;) includes a letter Ladd wrote from prison regarding the case. I can imagine that students might find reasons supporting both sides of the question in the letter.

Finally, if engagement merits, I'd end the discussion with this article (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/texas-inmate-tied-slayings-set-execution-wednesday-28519993) about another Texas inmate scheduled for execution the day before Ladd, who was given a stay of execution.

.

I suspect there are few readers of Of Mice and Men who do not develop some level of compassion for Lenny even though he is the cause of Curley's wife's death. 

 

I suspect there are few readers of Of Mice and Men who do not develop some level of compassion for Lenny even though he is the cause of Curley's wife's death. I would be intrigued to see if the students justified their positions upon the "deed done," or by their opinions of Curley and/or Curly's wife; or upon any argument that strayed from the central issue of whether or not mentally disabled people can be expected to comprehend their civic responsibilities and act accordingly.

 

Personally, I would try to engage the students in managing their own discussion regarding the fate of Robert Ladd. I'd probably even consider letting them know that I would be refusing to give or even suggest my own thoughts on the matter. And, that I would only ask that they include in their consideration how they might manage to keep the discussion on a civil level; which might be the greatest challenge the students might face.

 

But, being able to be civil while "working on our own development" as responsible citizens is a skill-set that is worth "something" in a society and at a time when the headlines around the globe are overflowing with the dilemmas caused by actions dominated emotional outrage at the actions of those who have the audacity to have differing beliefs, values, and interests.

 

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Books | The Guardian

Books | The Guardian | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Latest books news, comment, reviews and analysis from the Guardian
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

24 January 2014

 

Just a quick note. The Book section of The Guardian has recently become one of my "go to" websites for finding interesting articles for the Reading About Reading blog. 

 

It's a nice mix of "just what the Literature-loving" want and articles that might be of particular interest to those of us who promote life-long reading among our students.

 

Well-worth a bookmark.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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10 TED Talks from authors

10 TED Talks from authors | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
These well-known writers weave beautiful words on the page … and on the stage.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

22 January 2015

 

Like many, I'm spending some time trying to catch all the Oscar nominees for best picture.

 

Over many years, I've only been peripherally interested in the Oscars. But, in 2014 I found myself amazed at the quality of that year's nominees. Remembering Dallas Buyers Club,  12 Years a Slave, Philomena, Nebraska, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, and others, I found the quality of storytelling quite impressive. 

_____

A clarification. The rubric behind this blog post is intentionally focused upon the single criteria of "effective storytelling." In film as in print, I feel comfortable with screenwriters and authors who incorporate "poetic license" in their attempts to create a great storyline.

 

My point here being there's some pretty darned good storytelling going on in film these days. 

 

However, unlike 2014, I've not had the opportunity to see most of this year's nominated films. Counting The Imitation Game which I saw yesterday, I've only seen two of the nominated films; the other being The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have several hours of catching up to do to see the rest before the Oscars.

 

And as an aside to this aside, the same is true in television. I've become quite the Binge Watcher for extremely well-written television series that are finding ways to reach the depths of great novels over the course of a single season. 

_____

 

SO WHAT'S MY POINT?

Whether you pride yourself upon the fact that you have seen them all and are ready for the big night and the current and subsequent conversations regarding those films, OR If you're like me and need to catch up on several hours of theatre time in the short time remaining before the big night, I want to suggest ten videos to add to your viewing experience.

 

Yes TEN more videos. But, before you even think (probably too late already) that I must be some sort of nut case, you might be encouraged to keep reading when I tell you that you can watch all ten videos in less time than it takes to watch two of the nominated films.

 

These TED talks by authors are as riveting as the nominated films, at least to those of us who adore "the word." There is only one over 20  

Four are under 15 minutes.

 

Yes these are videos not text. But they are "original sources" as they come directly from the minds of authors. It's a college course in just a couple of hours. 

 

There won't be a test, but my guess is that the first video by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a good place to start. Absolutely one of the best 19 minutes of my professional career. 

 

Okay, I said that there would not be a test. But, I do have one question. If these ten talks were only available in text format, would you have bothered to read them all?

 

 

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Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

18 January 2014
FEATURED LIT TRIP
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge, tells the story of how ordinary kids helped change history. Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge explores the events at Selma from their point of view, drawing on the vivid recollections of some of those who marched as children.

This was the first Google Lit Trip developed in collaboration with the book’s author. Partridge “appears” in the Lit Trip via special placemarks where she inserts bits of “the stories behind the stories” where she shares some of her insights garnered while researching and writing the story.
 _____
The movie Selma, though controversial, has brought an important historical event back into public discourse. We are proud to include this Google Lit Trip as another look at the events of that march.

 

Can we look at the images of Bloody Sunday so long ago and the headlines today and ignore the unfinished business at hand?

 

Need a reminder? This page gives a brief story about Unarmed people of color killed by police between 1999-2014. How many would you guess were killed in 2014 alone?

 

Count 'em then ask whether the story of the events of Selma deserve a place in your informational reading planning.

 

(http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-2014-1666672349)  

 

  ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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25 Christmas presents for booklovers | Scottish Book Trust

25 Christmas presents for booklovers | Scottish Book Trust | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Christmas? Hanukkah? Three Birthdays? Anniversary? They're all coming up in the last two weeks of December around my house.

 

Even if you're "only celebrating Christmas" here are some totally great literary presents booklovers will love you for!

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

I always love checking out these sites. 

 

How cool would a teacher be wearing gift #19?

 

I so wish gift #12 had crossed my path...so many times in the past! 

 

One of my all time favorite gifts was the Huck Finn version of gift #23 that my daughter and son-in-law gave me a couple of years ago.

 

And what's really cool is each of the 25 suggestions links to a different site bursting with other literary gift ideas.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit.

 

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What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature

What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves."

The question of what reading does for the human soul is an etern
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

Love Literature? You'll LOVE this. The video is great. So many memorable phrases capturing the essence of the value of literature. 

 

A couple of favorites...

"It looks like it’s wasting time, but literature is actually the ultimate time-saver — because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that it would take you years, decades, millennia to try to experience directly."

 

"...they (writers) make us sympathetic to ideas and feelings that are of deep importance but can’t afford airtime in a commercialized, status-conscious, and cynical world."

 

"In the best books, it’s as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves — they find the words to describe the fragile, weird, special experiences of our inner lives… Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves,..."

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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The Librarians - And the Crown of King Arthur - TNT Drama

The Librarians - And the Crown of King Arthur - TNT Drama | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Someone is killing off potential Librarians and it's up to Flynn Carsen and his new Guardian, Colonel Eve Baird, to save the three that are left.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

13 December 2014

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And, if so motivated, while you're at it, you are also quite welcome to support our efforts with a tax-deductible donation of as little as $5.00.

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Oh I LOVE this! Imagine a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and your love of Libraries and Librarians all wrapped up in a brand new TV series.

 

Yes! It's THE LIBRARIANS who will save the world

!

I just caught Season 1 Episode 1 on the TNT Drama / TBS website (http://www.tntdrama.com/shows/the-librarians.html

 

The first two episodes are available to watch. And, it appears as though there are 10 episodes in the series.

 

Within the first 10 minutes I had to hit the pause button on my computer, turn on the TV and set my DVR to automatically record the entire season.

 

It's campy. It's fun. It is poetic license gone wild. And, it is so full of literary allusion that I had to stop counting the literary references I recognized.

 

It may not be as exciting to the absolute purist, but if you have a bit of receptiveness to the concept, it would be worth your while to catch the first episode or two. 

 

Here's what I'm hoping. You know those "crazy" people who adore "anything Star Trek and Star Wars" so much that they can identify any of thousands quotes from these shows. You know, those who can spot, argue, and provide extensive analysis of even the tiniest minutiae? 

I can see that kind of fan base growing for this brand new show. It just drips with literary love.

 

That's where I'm heading. 

 

Any place for recommending this show to your students?

 

 

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