Archive for the 'literature' Category



Sherman Alexie’s recent take on Facebook.



Socks with the opening text of Beowulf? I may just have to knit these one day.


Two totally unrelated bits of news

pa194129markers.jpgLate last month, Knitting Dragonflies ran a contest on her blog, and I was a lucky winner. My prize? These very excellent stitch markers. They arrived in the mail a week and a half ago, so I’m a little late with my thank-you, but they are a welcome—and useful—addition to my knitting notions box! Thank you!

This next news of item is of interest to word nerds and comedians alike. Apparently, there’s a new OED in the works. It’s the OEDILF: the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form. Its stated goal is “to write at least one limerick for each and every meaning of each and every word in the English language.”

The organizers are looking for contributors to this project. So if you want to participate in a great literary undertaking, are fond of limericks, and don’t feel like slogging through early English literature, well, this may be just the thing for you! (An added bonus: you don’t have to be insane!)


Comfort food

Today’s Booking through Thursday:

Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.

What do you read?

(Funny that this turns up on Booking through Thursday just days after I posted about my blog-birthday contest, which has a similar “what would you pick when you can choose only a few things?” theme.)

For comfort reading, I would probably turn to The Fellowship of the Ring trilogy, which I’ve read a gazillion times. It’s a black-and-white world with no moral ambiguity. The good guys get to be heroes, and the bad guys get their just desserts. It’s a feel-good, happy ending. Well, until you get to the part where Frodo is miserable and still in pain years after the ring is destroyed. Maybe I’d just stop with the scourging of the Shire.

This reading would, of course, be accompanied by my favorite nonliterary comfort food: instant macaroni-and-cheese (yes, with the packet of cheese powder)–eaten straight out of the pot. (Because I know I’m going to eat all of it anyway, so why dirty up another dish that needs to be cleaned, right?)


For the "People suck" files

I just read this article in The New York Times about this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal (the uber-prestigious award for children’s literature), Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky. A big controversy is brewing about one work in this book. From the NYT article:

The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

Apparently, many librarians find the inclusion of this word appalling enough to ban the book from their shelves. Excuse me? Librarians? Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to champion the spread of knowledge and literature and all that other stuff? In banned-book cases, I general expect the people throwing hissy fits over this sort of thing to be outraged parents. But in this case, it seems that several librarians are deciding on their own–not because they’re being pressured by parents or school boards–to ban the book.

One of these librarians interviewed for the article said that he didn’t want teachers to have to explain the word. Um, hello? That’s what teachers do–they teach. Oh wait, I’m sorry–I was confused. These days most teachers just make their students memorize stuff in preparation for cookie-cutter standardized tests, right? (Sigh.) Would the world come to an end if we actually expected–and encouraged–teachers and students to engage each other in the classroom? And trusted them enough to do this without micromanaging the whole process?

Another librarian banned the book so she wouldn’t get angry phone calls from parents. Oh, great–so she’s caving before anyone has actually complained. That bothers me tremendously.

We’re not talking about porn or obscenity. This book is targeted to pre-adolescents. At that age, they’re growing up and learning about their bodies–and they need to learn what the parts are. I’m not talking about giving an extended sex-ed lesson in a book for ten-year-olds. This is the “official,” clinical term for a body part. Good grief.

/end rant

(The title of the post is what my husband said when I told him about the article.)