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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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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: 7 Facts You Didn't Know About The Author

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: 7 Facts You Didn't Know About The Author | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
By Margaret Bristol for Bookish Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, wrote more than 60 children’s books, many of which became must-haves for every kid’s library before his death in 1991.

 

 

 

__________

I'll be darned. Of the "7 Facts You Didn't Know" I didn't know any!

 

Though not a particular fan of wishing dead people a happy birthday, I'm certainly happy Theodor Suess Geisel had a birthday nevertheless.

 

 

 ~http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

 

 

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7 Lessons Celebrities Can Learn From The Berenstain Bears

7 Lessons Celebrities Can Learn From The Berenstain Bears | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
By Margaret Bristol for Bookish: Generations of readers have been mourning the death of prolific children’s author Jan Berenstain last Friday.

 

 

 

 

__________

Yes, Jan Berenstain has passed away. Alas. Her passing is of course a loss. Fortunately, the Berenstain Bears will live on. 

 

I love this simple straight-forward "we can learn good lessons from reading" article. Even those we tend to give too much attention to have much to learn that might make them better role models rather than adored for the amount of chagrin they might bring to those who actually care more important things than being rich and famous for no particularly significant contribution to much of anything.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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7 Surprisingly Optimistic Books

7 Surprisingly Optimistic Books | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
That's what optimism is, after all: a belief that your life is going to work out for the best. However sad or challenging an experience might feel in the moment, there is a benefit to be gained.

 

 

 

 

__________

I recall on more than a few occasions, when a student would build up the courage to ask THE question.

 

"Why do we always have to read such depressing books?"

 

At that time, the sophomore reading list dripped with titles such as "Too Kill A Mockingbird," "A Separate Peace," "Cyrano de Bergerac," and "Lord of the Flies" among other "optional titles." 

 

It was a tough question to answer in some ways. I used to refer to true optimism as being in the eyes of Atticus Finch's ability to know the challenge while still being able to fight, even a losing battle, having hope that the good fight may lead to others. Cyrano's character integrity, in spite of his ego issues, Holden, Huck, Candide, so many characters find themselves confronted by experiences that challenge their innocent brand of fairy tale optimism by simply smacking them in the face with the realities, often admittedly quite amplified, that the status quo is too often strongly influenced by those who are more vicious than virtuous and those who are more foolish than wise. It is the true optimists who find courage to strive for improvement. But, of course, they must first come to realize the call, the challenge, the obstacles that impede the kinds of progress towards a better tomorrow, before they can feel that sense of obligation to "do the right thing."

 

But, nevertheless, this lesson is often missed or "learned the hard way." A bitter pill to swallow if one is to "get better."

 

It is rarely a result of the fairy-tale rose-colored glasses versions of optimism that frequently rely upon little more than passive hope or perhaps worse, social pressure to "stop being so pessimistic. We're Number One, If you don't like it leave" kind's of advise from those who think it's good enough for them regardless of how it might be for their neighbors.

 

As an educator, working with the "sometimes we must swallow the bitter pill of reality" metaphor that I generally promote, I sometimes DO ASK the question as to the proper dosage for those pills. A steady stream of "downer" stories, in spite of their heroic protagonists, can be more discouraging than encouraging for some, perhaps many.

 

When transitioning from all is always butterflies and rainbows to it's not always good out there but you can survive, you can even be virtuous in the midst of evil; wise in the midst of folly, there is that transition period. There is that passage from innocence and unknowning to experienced and aware. It may not be the time to overdose on bitter pills. Maybe a little taste of winners and successes and conversions of those characters who were "not so good" as realistic models of the joys and rewards of doing the right thing ought to be tossed into the literary pharmacy.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

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A bear-hug farewell to Jan Berenstain, cocreator of the Bear family

A bear-hug farewell to Jan Berenstain, cocreator of the Bear family | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Jan Berenstain, whose personality and art merged in the wise and gentle Mama Bear of the cartoon clan that she and her husband created, died at Doylestown Hospital on Friday of a stroke. She was 88.

 

 

 

__________

There are some books and book series that just have their own special places in our hearts. I loved the Berenstain Bears books as a parent and even as a high school creative writing teacher. The artwork, the wonderful situations and storylines just seemed unique enough, sometimes funny in different sorts of ways than more traditional children's books.

 

I know, there are some who have concerns that the father figure was a bit of  weak model. I don't know. Maybe, Maybe not. But, I do know the joy of reading these stories, absorbing the wonderful illustrations, and hearing my high school students fondly reminisce about their fondness for these stories. 

 

And, somehow I can't help but think that those sometimes sentimental, but always fond recollections of the joys of reading are nice seeds to plant and nice memories to harvest. And, for teachers, nice opportunities to take students who may have lost the love along the way back to pleasant memories.

 

Thanks Jan Berenstain. You made a lasting difference in many a young and not-so-young heart.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Oprah On Jimmy Kimmel: 'Book Club Fight Club' And Other Hilarious New Oprah Shows (VIDEO)

Oprah On Jimmy Kimmel: 'Book Club Fight Club' And Other Hilarious New Oprah Shows (VIDEO) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Oprah and Jimmy Kimmel teamed up for an incredible series of sketches on Kimmel's post-Oscar show Sunday night.

 

 

 

_________

Do NOT teach "To Kill A Mockingbird" again before watching Oprah go ballistic!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Should We Still Be Using The Term 'Ethnic Literature'?

Should We Still Be Using The Term 'Ethnic Literature'? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
There's nothing wrong with the term "ethnic literature" in its original intentions, but I am interested in what happens beyond the marketing of "ethnic literature." Reading ethnic writers reflects a greater trend towards an openness to world...

 

 

 

__________

The wildly odd examples used by those opposed to political correctness have never deterred me from being concerned about the impact of traditional references that carry sexist or racist or ageist or other connotations of inferiority. "Firefighters" is a perfectly acceptable improvement on the older "firemen" as "peace officer" is a clear improvement on the older "policeman." In both professions, women have served and sacrificed as admirably as men in such honorable professions as these. 

 

As we move forward, such improvements do offer more social, economic, and political equality across previously, sometimes intentionally, sometimes inadvertently excluded citizens. 

 

The term "Foreign Language Department" is becoming "World Language Department" in many schools. Here in California, few languages are "foreign." And, we certainly have advantages in terms of great varieties of food, music, celebrations of various cultures and many other advantages that come along with diversity.

 

So as society makes efforts to progress, through attention to previous slights and unexamined default terminologies, we ought to always be open to moving forward with our terminology as society comes to recognitions that previously acceptable (or at least unquestioned) terms do disservice and that such terms can be replaced by terms that are more respectful.

 

There was a time when "Negroes" was the respectful term among those who cared about such things. But, it was later replaced by "Blacks" and later by "African-Americans." Similarly, "Orientals" was replaced by "Asians" which is appropriately giving way to "Koreans," "Japanese," "Chinese," etc. in recognition that there are many cultures and traditions that distinguish one group from the other and words like "Asians" tends to  imply that it's okay to not care to be able to tell one group from the other.

 

This article may be asking us to take another look at the evolution of how we speak of the writings of people not 100% of white protestant background, or whatever it is that is the distinction we once made when we realized that there is a disservice to much great literature when we restrict our reading lists to "the dead white guys canon" with an occasional lip service to authors of different colors, cultures or genitalia. 

 

We began addressing this injustice decades ago and courses in Women's Lit, African-American Lit, Hispanic Lit, began popping up in attempts to rectify the situation. Umbrella terms such as Ethnic Lit came into being. And the "Dead White Guys" had to share the stage. And, I say "Hurrah!" "Hurrah for any change that broadens the understandings of fellow classmates of other backgrounds." "Hurrah for making attempts beyond lip service to making students of other backgrounds feel welcome." "Hurrah for erasing color lines and cultural lines among friendships at school!"

 

So what does this article bring to the evolutionary process? It reminds us that changes that were once important improvements in how we addressed previously unaddressed injustices, may themselves age and be in need of revisting. Maybe the benefit of the term "Ethnic Literature" is wearing thin and contrary to its original intent, has begun to have a limiting affect that needs to be addressed. 

 

However, unlike the recent decisions by the good people of Tuscan to ban the authors taught in Ethnic Studies classes and thereby to eliminate the need to have "Ethnic Literature" classes, it just may be time to replace or drop the term "Ethnic Literature" in favor of courses that do represent the broader cross cultural literary treasures without the connotations of "that other group" of writers somehow being "other."

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Day Jobs: How Famous Authors Made Ends Meet

Day Jobs: How Famous Authors Made Ends Meet | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

WAIT! DON'T READ THE ARTICLE FIRST

 

This is sort of fun. Want to try guessing before checking out this slide show for the answers?

 

Do you know what these famous authors did BEFORE they made their living writing?

 

J D Salinger

Kurt Vonnegut

T S Eliot

Douglas Adams'

James Joyce

Stephen King

Robert Frost

Harper Lee'

William Faulkner

 

_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  

 

Want a hint? Among the following are all the right answers plus two that are not true for any of the authors. Can you match them up?

 

Worked as a circus clown

Changed light bulbs filaments in a factory

Was as a hotel security guard

Was as a postmaster at a school

Sold magazines door to door

Was the entertainment director on a luxury liner

Worked on the Colonial and Foreign Accounts desk at a bank

Was a professional singer

Managed a Saab dealership

 

 

As I gave it a shot missing more than I guessed correctly, I couldn't help but think about the inspiration this article might provide, not just to kids with dreams of being published, but with all kids with dreams, any dreams.

 

I wondered if kids sometimes take a long time coming to the realization that there is a difference between dreams and fantasies. Dreams can come true; fantasies may be less likely.

 

A great lesson to be learned is that we all have the power to improve the odds of fantasties becoming dreams and of dreams becoming realities. 

 

I used to have one of those black background with white letters "Wait to be seated" sort of signs in my room where I'd put inspirational sayings up for a week or so before changing them.

 

Two of my favorites...

 

"Those who are thirsty should not sit on a rock in the middle of a field hoping that a cow will back up to them."

 

"There are quicker ways to get to the top of an oak tree than sitting on an acorn."

 

 I suspect that these authors neither sat on said rock or said acorn. Wonder how they managed to get from such "other work" to having their dreams come true. 

 

Perhaps something for all students with hopes and dreams to think about.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

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Regency Delight ~Jane Austen, etc.~: The Lines of Literature Paraphrase Challenge

Regency Delight ~Jane Austen, etc.~: The Lines of Literature Paraphrase Challenge | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

___________

I sure have mixed feelings about this one. The default response of course is to be annoyed by the underlying implication that dumbing down  the eloquent to the mono-syllabic, can be interesting and even amusing. And, I'm even a bit disappointed in the example used because it completely loses the satirical implication that this is strategy for women on the hunt can employ rather than a suggestion that wealth makes one needy.

 

However, there is a seed of interest in the concept. neverthe less. I'd still like to see the exercise expanded to include a bit of a debate over the advantages and disadvantages of the original and the revised. Perhaps that might even lead to a conversation about the beauty one can come to appreciate in the well crafted sentence.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Insane art formed by carving books with surgical tools

Insane art formed by carving books with surgical tools | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.

 

 

 

__________

Wouldn't this be a cool logo for my GoogleLitTrips.com project?

 

But there are others in this collection of carved book sculptures and they are incredible to say the least. 

 

 

-  -  -  -  -  -  -

 

I had to snicker just a bit when I saw this website.

 

A couple of weeks ago I caught a bit of teasing for creating an iPhone charging station out of a book. "How could someone who loves books as much as you do desecrate one?" was the running taunt. My defense which was strong or weak in the ears of those who heard it was that I thought (and still do) that it was an incredibly cool concept because rather than seeing a jumble of charging cables on public display, my daily view was books, books, books beautifully arranged promoting books in the eyes of passersby rather than white wires.

 

I jokingly suggested that the sacrifice of one book to promote reading probably was counterbalanced by the tree I'd saved everytime I bought a new book for my iPad. 

 

But all kidding aside, I get it. There's a sacredness to books and history records too many book burnings to ignore the larger implications of book destruction.

 

But, this morning, in my meanderings I discovered this site. And, all I can say is that there is a beauty in books discovered here that transends any criticism of desecration. I wish I had one of these to passby everyday in my life of loving literature.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

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Jonathan Jarc's comment, February 22, 2012 12:24 PM
So beautiful. I just want to stare at these for hours...
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LIT LISTS

LIT LISTS | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

__________

Lottsa People Love Lists, that's for sure. Here's an interesting collection of Lit Lists. 

 

I like that the lists are not organized by genre but by, well... "things" one might be interested in. Or, perhaps, I might suggest to my students, things you might not know you're interested in, but might be intrigued by...

 

Besides being lists, this list of lists, might be the seed of some interesting ideas for promoting interest in reading beyond one's current areas of interest. What if students were given an opportunity to brainstorm just the titles of lists they'd like to see and then invited to brainstorm those lists?

 

Women explorers perhaps, unlikely heroes maybe, head spinners possibly, left-handed authors perchance, how about athletes who are heroes off the field? or stories about characters who beats the odds? Who knows what they might come up with?

 

Among the lists in this list of lists...

Five of the best books on jazz

Top ten siblings stories

Ten of the best bankers in literature

Tess Gerritsen's five favorite thrillers

Ten top science fictional bars

Ten of the greatest kisses in literature

Ten literary lessons in love

Five top true love stories

Ten of the best bouts of insomnia in literature

Top ten literary frenemies

Dylan Ratigan's six favorite books

Five notable books about predictions

 

In thinking about this as a potential concept for a classroom activity, I think I'd attempt to subtly corral the possibilities to lists that encourage interest in reading rather than lists the promote the kinds of negative feelings reluctant readers already have about reading. I wouldn't want lists like...

Books I hated

Dumb stories my teacher made us read

Books that cure insomnia

 

But, this is a delicate balance between preempting self-discouraging lists and the auto-discouraging impact of actually saying something like, "Let's make all positive lists. NO LISTS THAT ___________"

 

This might be done by including some sort of student generated "marketing" of the books on their list followed by opportunities for students to read a book from a list of their choice and make a short 3 minute or less public endorsement for that book. This could be in class presentations or online reviews in a class blog, a personal or group wiki or even in one of the many online reading sites such as Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/) or similar sites such as those listed on the book-clubs-online site:

http://www.book-clubs-resource.com/online/.

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No Facebook in office!

No Facebook in office! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
9GAG is the easiest way to have fun!...

 

 

 

 

__________

I came across this site today. I really can't endorse it as it has a high juvenile silliness quotient as well as a noticible questionable and inappropriate quotient, but this particular page struck a note.

 

Let's stop pretending that the world of reading is not moving into its future. It has and will and some conversations about why that isn't good are of fading interest.

 

There are more important issues relating to the trajectory of both reading and technology. 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Why books and movies are better the second time

By Natalie WolchoverLife's Little Mysteries 
New research reveals why people like to reread books, re-watch movies and generally repeat the same experiences over and over again.

  

""Because re-experiencing offers a way to look at oneself through the same lens but with different eyes, it offers many therapeutic benefits," Russell wrote in an email. "So long as one is actively conscious of the re-experience (and it's not a passive, uncontrollable addiction), it can offer many self-reflexive opportunities."

 

__________

 I used to tell my students it was impossible to read the same book twice. This, of course, was met with near shock and adamant denial, particularly among the avid readers in the room. I'd let the noise continue, smiling at the energy of those who loudly shouted that they'd read this book or that book "many times!" While, those who knew you couldn't re-read a book if you'd never read a book in the first place. And, don't be fooled it's remarkable how many high school students have gotten themselves through to high school without actually ever having read a book, "unless Dr. Suess counts" as one of my students once confessed. But that's another story isn't it?

 

Anyway, once the fury of the avid died down, I'd calmly inquire as though it was some sort of contest to be won, who thought they'd re-read the same book more times than anyone else in the class. Claims of "I've read ______ at least 100 times!"

 

"Oh really? Is that true or are you exaggerating?

 

"Well, I don't know how many times but I'll bet it was at least 10 times!"

 

"Okay, I know it's hard to remember exactly how many times it might have been, but trying to be realistic, or at least close, anyone know that they've read a book more than 10 times?"

 

It was always interesting to witness the enthusiasm of the avid readers. And, equally interesting to watch the non-readers' eyes as the lights went on as they came to the realization that they were perhaps not so much the norm as they had thought they were. 

 

But, to relieve them (slightly) I casually invited them back into the conversation by broadening the question to include re-watching movies. The seed had been planted with books and watered with movies, and everyone now at least felt welcome in the conversation. 

 

After awhile...

 

"Why?" I'd ask.

 

(Paraphrasing the near universal response)

"Because it's so good! Duh!"

 

"Yes, but the second time, you already know how it will turn out don't you?"

 

(Again, paraphrasing the near universal response)

"Because I always saw stuff the second time that I missed the first time."

 

"Is that WHY you re-read or re-watched it a second time?"

 

Okay... enough dialogue...

 

Lights would begin to twinkle above more and more students' heads as they realized their motive was simply to re-enjoy the story rather than to actually anticipate "seeing stuff they missed."

 

Within a short time, the realization spread throughout the room, "Ah! well I guess it is the same book or movie, but since I missed so much the first time, it's sort of like reading a different book isn't it?"

 

It never took long to get them to connect the experience of re-reading a book to the illusion that the sun appears to go around the earth as evidenced by sunrises and sunsets. It's really quite the opposite. As it is actually the earth that goes around the sun, so it is that it is not the book or movie that changes, it is we who change between readings. 

 

To educators this is not a great "Ah Ha! moment." But, to many students it is eye opening and intriguing to "feel" the realization that as they live they change; as they see they see more; as they see more they understand more; as they understand more they see that their physical growth is far less dramatic than their mental growth. 

 

And this realization tends to lead them to giving themselves permission to start opening new doors with much more eagerness than ever before because now they were more often "looking for meaning" in not only books and movies, but also in their day to day life experiences.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Journalists' way

"But what is the difference between literature and journalism?
Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all"

Oscar Wilde

 

 

__________

There was a time when I was more attracted to a well turned "bon mot" than I am today. Too often, as seems to be the case in this instance, cleverness trumps actual thought provoking insight. And when the cleverness is entertaining, it may well distract us from questioning the veracity of the comment itself leaving us to pass on the clever, not realizing that we may be passing on the shallow and unquestioned comment's content. Seems a bit dangerous to me.

It's like politicians who rely upon populisitic quips to gain favor, playing to the superficial delight of an ill informed audience while perhaps accomplishing a less respectable attempt to decietfully pass off disinformation.

Yes, there is a seed of truth in Wilde's bon mot, but that is what makes this clever remark dangerous. How many will laugh at the cleverness not really understanding that it is they who are being criticized, not journalism or literature?

 

Having taught a Satire class for decades, I came to the conclusion that one shortcoming of satire is that those who need it don't get it and those who get it don't need it.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Pew Survey: Does Technology Effect Young People's Brains Positively Or Negatively?

Pew Survey: Does Technology Effect Young People's Brains Positively Or Negatively? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is a good chance young people growing up in today's always-wired world will eventually become bright, nimble decision makers - if they don't wind up intellectual lightweights unable to concentrate long enough to chew over a good book."

 

 

__________

While I make no bones about being a rather enthusiastic fan of the possibilities of new technologies, this report clearly exposes  a "possible" elephant in the room that I've been concerned about for quite awhile.

 

I'm old enough to remember how microwave ovens were going to give us more time to read and to do other things that would improve our lives because we'd have to devote less time to hunting and foraging and cooking.

 

The possibilitiy was certainly there; but of course, they also provided the possibility to slip deeper into existing wasting of the additional time they provided. There is not an inherent default that when given more time we'll use that time any more wisely than we used our time prior to the new technology's impact on our lives.

 

Technologies such as Twitter and similar popular technologies, are used by some as superb crowdsourcing tools and by others as fixes for their addiction to drivel. 

 

We can choose to watch the News Hour or E! TV.

 

It really isn't the technology that is to blame so much as it is the mashup between those who know that drivel sells and those who line up to buy drivel.

 

It is not a new phenomenon. 

 

Those who do have the stamina "to concentrate long enough to chew over a good book" may well remember Aldous Huxley's Soma-holidays that somehow became not holidays, but the norm where essentially perpetual holidays were taken by the masses from responsibility and caring.

 

This is problematic in a world where complex issues require complex solutions and a disturbing percentage of the citizenry spends too little time questioning or taking responsibility for seeking any solution beyond promised quick fixes that far too often do not seem to fix.

 

I found this quote from the article particularly worrisome,...  

 

"In contrast, the ability to read one thing and think hard about it for hours will not be of no consequence, but it will be of far less consequence for most people," Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft Inc's top researcher and one of the survey's respondents, said in comments carried in the Pew report." 

 

 Really? It'll be okay? Really?

 

I just don't think so! My take is that now more than ever we should be using the benefits of new technologies to read more not less of the greatest articulations of the human condition so that in complex times with complex problems we will be up to the task of being more able to match our understandings, opinions, and actions to the task of facing the complex responsibilities of a complex world.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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A Writer's Journey Through Oz

Aussies proudly read more books per capita than anywhere in the world. Despite this impressive statistic, Australia is aiming to fill its literacy gaps and extend the rewards of reading to every citizen.

 

 

 

__________

In reference to my previous post, I went on and on trying to suggest what this article captures with the simple sentence, "Words can surprise us with their potential to ignite courage and optimism."

 

That's why writers write. But there has to be a need for courage and optimism in order to exemplify the need to ignite that courage and optimism. 

 

If we do not see the problem then we can not envision the challenge to be part of the solution.

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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14 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books - Mental Floss

14 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books - Mental Floss | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
14 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books

Some authors like to wink at those in the know by appearing in the movies based on their books. Keep your eyes peeled for these writer cameos the next time you’re enjoying one of their movies.

 

 

 

__________

I dunno, stories like this just make me happy! 

 

That's all!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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With each pizza delivered in Spain, books for the Colombian needy

With each pizza delivered in Spain, books for the Colombian needy | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The Books for Colombia effort recently used pizza deliveries in Spain to get books to the needy in Colombia.

 

 

 

 

__________

An interesting take on the old fashioned book drive. There is a clear tendency for corporations to want to participate in programs aimed at social good. More and more companies are recognizing the value in such good works not only in the actual good work being done and certainly also for their own reputations, but also it turns out that many are coming to realize that the workforce and work environments are much improved as employees tend to take pride in knowing that the companies they work for are also involved in doing good. Thus, they are happier workers and the character of the workplace improved with that pride.

 

What are the chances that your students might organize a "book drive" that includes a "subsidized" element from hometown shop owners and companies? Whether the beneficiaries are local or distant, there just may be a contagious pride that spreads among students and local businesses.

 

And, of course, spreading the words of books is always a win for the beneficiaries of such noble efforts.

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr.Morris Lessmore (2011)...

 

__________

Just in case you missed this when I posted it a month ago. How proud we can all be that this beautiful movie won an Oscar last night!

 

Re-enjoy it!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries

How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Artist John Locke is converting obsolete Manhattan phone booths into mini libraries. Now if only people would stop stealing his entire book collection.

 

 

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The other day I scooped an article about Brazil's book vending machines. Cool idea. Here's another.

 

Just turn all those empty pay phone thingys into libraries, hoping that people will take and return or replace with another title.

 

It's interesting that sometimes the concept seems to work and others is doesn't because people take but do not return or replace and sometimes they even take the shelves. 

 

It is sad but true that there are those who appreciate a good idea and encourage and there are those who do not appreciate a good idea and take advantage or destroy.

 

But, I like the idea nevertheless. Sort of like I liked Mother Teresa's work with the poor. She knew the power of fighting a battle she had no hope of winning. But, there were and are small, worthwhile victories in the effort nevertheless. 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Merced high school students to wage 'Battle of the Books' - Local - MercedSun-Star.com

Merced high school students to wage 'Battle of the Books' - Local - MercedSun-Star.com | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Ruth Saldivar, a senior at Merced High, is interested in one day studying criminal psychology. So she was intrigued by one of the titles in this year's Battle of the Books among the five high schools in the Merced Union High School District.

 

 

 

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BRAVO! Bravo to any school exploring ways to enhance reading engagement!

 

What's your school doing "extra" to promote the love? What's one more thing your school and community might do to even go further?

 

Heck! If a little town like Gilroy, California can create an internationally recognized Garlic Festival, it's worth a shot isn't it?

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Name your price vending machine sells books

Name your price vending machine sells books | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
If there is one thing I have learned, books, especially textbooks in higher learning institutions, do fetch a handsome price if they are brand new, which explains the rather thriving second hand market.

 

 

 

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Now here's an idea! What if all college campuses had a few of these around? And, what if someone organized a way for today's sophomores could sell their freshmen texts and get a cut of the sale? Everyone would win LOCALLY.

 

I don't know if it would really work, but I just have to love anyone willing to think of another way to encourage reading, any reading!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Travel Fiction: Eight Books That Make Us Want To Travel

Travel Fiction: Eight Books That Make Us Want To Travel | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
You wake up one morning and there it is: Spring sunshine, pushing us over the crest of Winter, opening up the possibilities of the year. And like mice sniffing our way out of hibernation, our first thought is always: where shall we go now?

 

 

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First... several of the books in this article are certain to be considered by many to be "off limits" for integration into any classroom. This is particularly true in these times when societies seem more divided and less tolerant of others' opinions of what is and what is not appropriate in classrooms.

 

That said, I've scooped this article nevertheless for a couple of reasons. First travel fiction is metaphor. Winding up in other places (or reading about characters who wind up in other places) puts us in contact with other ideas and other ways of seeing not only the rest of the world, but of seeing our own corners of that world with new eyes and minds.

 

My GoogleLitTrips.com project has always been anchored at the metaphorical harbor where literal journeys meet life journeys; where existing experiences and understandings absorb and are changed by new experiences.

 

Whether we are sitting in Plato's Cave not really quite "getting what's going on before our very eyes" or ensconced on our couches watching Star Trek reruns, we are less knowing than those who have left the cave and/or gone "where no man has gone before" or as StarTrek: The Next Generation rephrased it, "where no ONE has gone before," we think and understand more when we think about things we've not thought about before or in ways we've not thought about them before.

 

But, as I mentioned, these are not necessarily the titles that one might often find in classrooms. This got me thinking about the need for educators to have perhaps at least two reading lives; one being the "teachable readings" another being the wonderful books we read that are however, probably outside the "allowable" parameters as established by school boards and various community norms deemed appropriate for "children." You know, those great books that happen to include sprinklings of the "f," "n," "c," "d," or "v"-words that, like trump-cards automatically overshadow in some minds any possibility for value.

 

And, I'm actually okay with this dilemma. I am not particularly receptive to other parents telling me were the line for appropriate parenting of my children is, and I don't really believe that teachers should feel too comfortable imposing their own  determinations of what is or is not good reading for their students' parents to accept.

 

But that is the grand dilemma. If literature takes not merely our bodies but also our minds on journeys into areas beyond our existing experiences and understandings, then by definition it requires us to be willing to risk going "where we have not gone before" and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that there is risk and danger in such treks. 

 

If we take the responsibility of helping our students to explore areas of the human condition beyond their existing experiences we also must accept the responsibility for taking great care in making certain that we are also careful to consider the "downside risks" as perceived by their parent that are associated with any experience into the unknown. 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Learning to Love Airport Lit

Learning to Love Airport Lit | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Great literature has its place, but it’s not on a plane or in an airport.

 

 

 

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This article quickly takes a turn I had not expected. It builds a case for reading "JunkLit" and against reading "GreatLit."

 

And yet serendipitiously, it did stimulate thoughts that have swirled in the back of my educator mind for awhile. I have too often seen well-intended teachers drip scorn upon a students' enthusiasm for reading because the student happened to be enthusiastic about "JunkLit." Typically, the student, too hurt or too embarrassed or too gracious to say anything, betrays his or her true thoughts with a facial expression that reveals the sting. 

 

I've always felt that there is an art to to expanding our students' enthusiasm for reading to higher and deeper levels of reading engagement that does not have to rely upon expressing distain for the their existing enthusiasm for "less high and more shallow levels of reading engagement. It's a delicate balancing act to be certain.

 

And yet... the author argues FOR the value of moving from the higher and deeper levels to the lower and shallower levels of reading engagement. At first a resprehensible thought. But, perhaps it is worth contemplating that reading snobbery may have a downside.

 

I'm not certain that I buy her articulation of that downside, but as an educator, I did pause to wonder if by my self-imposed restriction to "not waste my time with 'that JunkLit'  (or similarly, that 'JunkTV,' or those 'JunkWebsites,' or those 'JunkSocialNetworks,'....) that like it or not, I might be inadvertently distancing myself from truly understanding "where their zones of proximal development" actually are. And, thereby also inadvertently doing nothing to counter their less sophisticated tendency to perceive my enthusiasm for the benefits of higher and deeper intellectual stimulation as irrelevant in the "real" world as they are at the moment prepared to perceive it. 

 

 

 - - - - - - - - -

Yet at the same time... when I got to the following quote, I was dismayed at how the author could in the same paragraph drip scorn upon books that purport to suggest advise we ought to recognize as worth taking without question as she herself shows no indcation that there may be those of us who have some doubts about the advise she offers. It may be the experience of having read more "GreatLit" that might have provided her with a means of actually realizing that practicing compassion might be exactly what she might want to do when stranded in Cincinnati ...

 

"Don’t even think of tackling titles like “The Power of Kindness” or “Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill.” You will have failed to develop your better self the moment you are afflicted by the power of unkind strangers bearing Elite Status Membership, shoving you aside in their skilled race to a new boarding gate. I’m all for compassion, but it’s not what you want to practice when you’re stranded in Cincinnati."

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Much Ado About Nothing ~ Hip-Hop Animation by Flocabulary ~ Presented by READ magazine

This video was produced as part of READ magazine's "Much Ado About Nothing" social media theater LIVE performance on Facebook, April 26-28, 2011. READ magazi...

 

 

 

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So many cool thoughts generated by this video!

 

1. Just in case you think YouTube is worthless. Catch up!

 

2. Research shows that when students attempt to take information that came primarily through one media /sense and then repackage it to come through another media/ (sense as in this repackaging of "text" into visual and audio formats, that the repackaging requires active synthesis.

 

3. Although this video has very high production values because it was created by professionals with budgets, it is always almost shocking how much technical talent most students have today. 

 

4. If my students do this sort of project, aren't I essentially "dumbing down" the classics?

 

Only if we dumb down our expectations for the quality of their content.

 

5.  When reading is more about universal themes that can be connected to elements of students' contemporary world that they care about than about fear of failing or belief that passing a test, then engagement soars. 

 

6. And worse, by the way, when reading is perceived as being a dreaded task for which passing or failing a test is the primary "incentive" like it or not, then is there not some possibility that we're planting the seeds of the weeds that ruin the wonders of the garden of reading that Voltaire would have us cultivate?

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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The Future of the Book Is the Stream

The Future of the Book Is the Stream | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Cloud storage is paving the way for books that are sold not by title, but by time.

 

 

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Well, I'm not so sure this is as good an idea as the article's author makes it out to be. But, of course I don't read many books that aren't potentially worth a second look. When I think about my relationship with my books, paper or digital, I'm always reminded of The Velveteen Rabbit. You know the story about the stuffed rabbit that over the years becomes worn with love? That "love patina" that can't be described because it's curled pages, flowing with marginalia, highlighted and post.it'ed with scribbles and reminders of most moving or thought provoking passages.

 

Yeah, even my digital books are treasures. I love the ease of color-coding my highlights, writing all the marginalia, having bookmarks so I can jump to favorite passages.

 

I've even taken to listening to a lot of audiobooks. I miss the ability to highlight and keep marginalia, but they have a couple of advantages paper and digital text don't have that also make them "keepers."

 

I hate yardwork unless I'm distracted, and listening to an audio book while doing the yardwork is multi-tasking at its best for me. I rarely have time to sit down for a good six-hour read, but I can do six hours of yardwork and get through an entire book. AND, for whatever reason, my tendency to "reread" a favorite book in audio format is several times more frequent than it is with paper or digital text. 

 

Of course, I'm one of those people who never sold a college text book either. But, I'm a book keeper myself. Because even if I never get around to reading them again, I still like being near my old friends.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~


Via nickcarman, Lisa A.F. Barefield
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