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'Social Fiction' Brings Characters to Life via Facebook and Twitter

'Social Fiction' Brings Characters to Life via Facebook and Twitter | On books and writing | Scoop.it

Via The Digital Rocking Chair
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Deborah Banker's curator insight, August 28, 2013 5:30 PM

Not quite sure what to think about this one.

Lisa Belfield's curator insight, August 28, 2013 11:45 PM

Great idea for classroom novel study!

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The 25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers

The 25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers | On books and writing | Scoop.it
It's an interesting relationship that book lovers have with the Internet: most would rather read a physical book than something on an iPad or Kindle, and even though an Amazon purchase is just two ...

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List, Media Fourways
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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 6, 2013 11:07 AM

My birthday falls at the end of August. I used to joke about my annual present being the official letter from my district informing me that I was to "get off my butt and get back to work." I'd say it as though it was a bummer.

 

But, truthfully I was always excited by the prospect of at least a dozen or more great ideas I'd come up with that I couldn't wait to try out with my kids. I knonw, referring to my high school students as "my kids" is not the professional terminology. But, they were my kids.

 

It was my extension of the "in parentus locus" responsibilities associated with caring about them. I took those responsibilities seriously. So seriously that when I walked out the door for the last time after nearly 40 years, I actually still regretted the two times I had actually sent a kid to the office for behavior problems that I had failed to find a way to deal with that was effective and at the same time a win-win from the kid's point of view as well as from mine.

 

But, we all know the pressures involved in the job; essay correcting, unreasonable parents, teen angst and egos, policy police, budgetary tug-o-wars, and the natural complications of such a multi-layered hierarchy of decision making whose final word is influenced so much by lay persons with little actual knowledge of the best practices and pedagogies that may or may not be what is the best practice or pedagogy for indivdual students.

 

I have no doubt that these sorts of elements of any job exist. Like most important work, it can be very hard, exhausting, and often frustrating at times.

 

And, we've all seen a veteran or two who have been defeated by these challenges and who have had their original enthusiasm and optimism sucked out of them to the point where the mechanisms they employ to deal with these challenges have become thick fortresses of insulation leaving students and colleagues with little to see of that teacher's original vim, vigor, and caring about both the subject matter and the students.

 

I discovered somewhere along the line that it is important to refresh that caring; to find ways to remember why we became educators. 

 

I came to think of the process as marinating in my love of literature or taking time to go to a literary spa of sorts whether I'd know I'd walk out of that "spa" feeling refreshed and invigorated. Sometimes that "spa" was a real location. A weekend at the Slyvia Beach Hotel (http://www.sylviabeachhotel.com) in Nye Beach, Oregon. Ah! An Oregon hotel on the ocean where every inch and moment is dedicated to book lovers. 

 

In reality, it did not take many "spa" experiences to remind me of my love of reading great literature. But, if one or two a year left me so refreshed, why not 10 or 20 or heck, why not 187 or so as in why not refresh every morning?

 

So I began getting up in time to spend a leisurely 30 minutes or so exploring a story or two at one of the many virtual spas on the internet where book lovers gather to share their love of literature. 

 

Sometimes I'd head off to TED TALKS (http://www.ted.com) and watch an inspiring talk about topics in all areas and remind myself that there was a time in my own youth when I too, like my own students hadn't yet discovered an interest in "this or that other curricular area." And, I'd remember some teacher who had found a way to make a previously "boring" subject fascinating. It might have been Mr. Tinling's geometry class, Ms Alexander's history class, Mr. Muńoz's Civics class. And, like these and other great teachers and like the great TED Talk speakers I would get a daily dose of love of teaching. 

 

How could I get to school and not want to be that kind of a teacher for "my kids"? 

 

It didn't eliminate the challenges. But it kept them in their proper perspective. And, remembering how much I'd come to love literature and how much I owe to those teachers who shared their love of literature in ways that even the reluctant might find unavoidably captivating proved to be just the daily dose I needed to remind me  that caring about "my kids" was the key to keeping the challenges associated with being an educator to be remembered in perspective. 

 

Take a quick look at these websites for literature lovers and think of them as virtual "daily spa treatments" where you just can't help but head off to another day with your kids as refreshed and enthusiastic as they hope all of their teachers will be that day.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

"Google Lit Trips" is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

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The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors | On books and writing | Scoop.it
Why Tolstoy is 11.6% better than Shakespeare.

"Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work," Jennifer Egan once said. Th
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31 Most Invaluable Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors

31 Most Invaluable Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors | On books and writing | Scoop.it
Many avid readers are also avid writers. It only makes sense that someone who loves the beauty of language would want to make a craft of it.
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Dan Brown calls Manila 'gates of hell' in novel

Dan Brown calls Manila 'gates of hell' in novel | On books and writing | Scoop.it
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines, amid being cited as one of the paradises in the world, shows its other side in Dan Brown’s much anticipated and now bestselling new novel.  (RT @Zeroblade: http://t.co/zbokW3iA7Y...
Colette Ski's insight:

Dan Brown's perspective on Manila's gritty side in his new novel. 

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Seven Writing Habits of Amazing Writers

Seven Writing Habits of Amazing Writers | On books and writing | Scoop.it
ronniescandyshoppe: eatcakey: 1. Stephen King. In his book On Writing, King says that he writes 10 pages a day without fail, even on holidays.
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Finding Oneself Through Literature « The Dish

Finding Oneself Through Literature « The Dish | On books and writing | Scoop.it

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List, Media Fourways
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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, August 11, 2013 11:41 AM

So, yeah, I like the video, but ironically, it's a video that relies upon a rather idealistic and romantic view of literary reading education. This is not to say that it doesn't provide much to consider in terms of teaching with passion and from the heart.

 

But, it's the text commentary below that video that I'm more interested in noting here. There is something about our attempt to justify literary reading by indicating it's pragmatic social value; in this case the argument, with which I have no complaints, that literary reading teaches critical thinking and by extension is good for society, that isn't enough or should I say clear enough.

 

Truthfully, literary reading is in many senses a very personal journey and when well-done with the guidance of an expert literary reading educator, an even more enriching personal journey into one's unique places in both the personal and social fabric of understanding. 

 

Exploring one's personal place in the complexities of life through exploring the individual journeys of those fictitious characters in literature who represent the universal diversity of humankind connects the journeys of the many by personalizing them into personal connections for each individual reader.

 

Perhaps that critical thinking benefit of literary reading works because as individual readers contemplate their own motives and associated behaviors within stories expressing the wide diversity of human motives and their associated behaviors that both include and go beyond those of individual reader,s those readers might well come to understand reasons to revisit and revise their individual care lists.

 

And, perhaps it is THAT sort of personalization of critical thinking (aka introspection) that provides the potential for great benefit to all.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 "Google Lit Trips" is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

 

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Does Great Literature Make Us Better?

Does Great Literature Make Us Better? | On books and writing | Scoop.it

The view that literary fiction educates and civilizes its readers is widespread, and unproven."


Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, June 2, 2013 11:58 AM

If you teach literature you must read this article. 

 

Really! You may not like it. But it presents a question and an argument worthy of deep consideration.

 

And in what might be a bit of a surprise, I have to admit that I am in agreement with much of what is presented.

 

There is little evidence that there is a direct link between reading great literature and its civilizing impact on humanity.

 

IF THE QUESTION IS "Does great literature make us better?

 

However, IF THE QUESTION IS "Can great literature make us better?" then there is tremendous evidence of its ability to inspire, even in the long-term, our decisions and actions in the  presence of life's many ethical challenges. 

 

And even using the word "our" in the preceding sentence is a bit of a misleading and simplistic over-generalization. More accurately perhaps would be the replacing of the words "...our decisions and actions in the  presence of life's many ethical challenges..." with "...many people's decisions and actions in the  presence of life's many ethical challenges.." as it might be more accurate to suggest that some people do benefit from reading great literature while others do not.

 

And, to be even more accurate, it might be better to suggest replacing "...many people's decisions and actions in the presence of life's many ethical challenges..." with "...many people's decisions and actions in the presence of many of life's ethical challenges..." because even for the most dedicated bibliophile, none of us would suggest that reading great literature is a panacea-like preventative inoculation. 

 

There are simply too many variables that influence our decisions and actions in the face of life's ethical challenges to assign any universal conclusions. There is a world of difference between the question "DOES ____ make us better?" and "CAN _____ make us better?"

 

Personally, I'm convinced that literature and great art and spiritual beliefs and scientific discoveries and superstitions and wealth and poverty all have the potential for influencing our actions in the face of life's ethical challenges. And, that potential influence can actually influence people to sometimes make better ethical choices and sometimes make worse ethical choices. 

 

There are as some quite literate people believe and other quite literate people reject, many paths. No two of us take the same life journey. Nor are our decisions and actions influenced in exactly the same ways when we do share bits and pieces of our life's journeys. 

 

All of this is not to say that literature can not be defended if it can not be supported by evidence that it DOES make us better. But, I'm willing to bet that in representing the most articulate expressions of humanity's great questions, regardless of the original cultural, religious, social, economic or other circumstances influencing its creation, most have a universal common core of the very questions that CAN lead to influencing humane behaviors for many.

 

And for that reason, I can't help but believe that storytellers have always held an important "go to" place in every cultural in every age. 

 

The warning though at the end of the article, is well worth heeding...

_____

 

"I have never been persuaded by arguments purporting to show that literature is an arbitrary category that functions merely as a badge of membership in an elite. There is such a thing as aesthetic merit, or more likely, aesthetic merits, complicated as they may be to articulate or impute to any given work."

 

"But it’s hard to avoid the thought that there is something in the anti-elitist’s worry. Many who enjoy the hard-won pleasures of literature are not content to reap aesthetic rewards from their reading; they want to insist that the effort makes them more morally enlightened as well. And that’s just what we don’t know yet."

_____

 

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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A Manifesto for Children's Literature; or, Reading Harold as a ...

A Manifesto for Children's Literature; or, Reading Harold as a ... | On books and writing | Scoop.it
It thus a literature for an audience whose tastes, reading ability, socio-economic status, hobbies, health, culture, interests, gender, home life, and race varies widely. Children's literature is literature for an unknowable, ...

Via Klara Charlton
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Klara Charlton's curator insight, May 2, 2013 8:00 PM

This is very good!  I recommend reading this article!  It delineates all of the things I have ever thought about Children's Lit, and I wish more people thought about these things in general.

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#055: How to Read a Non-Fiction Book [Podcast]

#055: How to Read a Non-Fiction Book [Podcast] | On books and writing | Scoop.it
We all know that reading is vital. But how do you approach your reading? In this episode, I share 10 practices to improve your experience.
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The Reconstructionists

The Reconstructionists | On books and writing | Scoop.it
A yearlong illustrated celebration of remarkable women who shaped the world and our place in it.
Colette Ski's insight:

Patti Smith on "the book" . 

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