Monthly Archives: July 2008

Oscar’s Disrobing

“…being a writer is about as difficult as taking off a t-shirt.”

From Nick Green‘s “Bathtime Parable” — a thoroughly charming reverie on how the shirt-shedding of a toddler is like writing.


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Buggy Queen of Hearts

Alice and Carroll lovers have got to see this. (Via Morning News.)

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The Tale of One Bad Tommy

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Asimov’s Foundation Series Headed for the Big Screen?

According to New York Mag’s Vulture Blog, yes.  Writes contributor Ehren Gresehover,  “Now we know what you might be saying. Spaceships and ray guns are cooler than elves and hobbits. But trust us. We were clutching our Asimov close to our chest during our formative years, weeping bitter tears into our pillow while we watched the comparatively cooler fantasy nerds get all the girls.”

So what about the girls who also read these books during their formative years?  What are we?  Pimply chopped liver?

But anyway, do check out the post where they compare LOTR to the Foundation series.  Of course the former is high, high, high fantasy while the latter is quintessential science fiction, but I think the Asimov would be a cool film series, myself.

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The Magic Suit

When Cary and Eva Marie walk from the train into La Salle Street station the next morning, he’s wearing a purloined red-cap’s outfit, open at the neck and showing a triangle of snowy-white undershirt. She has the same white triangle peeping from under the jacket of her dark suit, which rather matches the suit James Mason wore the night before. But here are two little white triangles who spent the night together on the train. There might be an opportunity here in Chicago for a shower, you itch, but it looks like he chooses merely to loosen his shirt and have a quick shave, with Eva Marie’s minuscule razor. His suit was temporarily stuffed into her luggage while he made his exit from the train in disguise. Has it suffered? Has it hell. It looks like a million bucks; his shirt still blazes out. But now comes the suit’s greatest trial, the crop-dusting scene at ‘Prairie Stop’.

Cary Grant’s Suit | Granta 94: On the Road Again | Magazine | Granta

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Again, What is Reading Really?

Children like Nadia lie at the heart of a passionate debate about just what it means to read in the digital age. The discussion is playing out among educational policy makers and reading experts around the world, and within groups like the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.

As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.

But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.

Literacy Debate – Online, R U Really Reading? – Series – NYTimes.com

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Eoin Colfer’s Fairies, Fiends and Flatulence!

From the Bank Street Bookstore website:

Saturday, August 2 at 7pm at Bank Street

Eoin Colfer’s Live Show

Artemis Fowl – Fairies, Fiends and Flatulence!

Join hysterically funny and utterly brilliant No. 1 bestselling author, Eoin Colfer, on an adrenaline-fuelled exposé of teenage criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl. This hilarious one-man show is a must for all Artemis Fowl fans and their families. Think fairy. Think again!

Eoin Colfer will be signing books after the show.

Call for reservations – (212) 678-1654.

I’ll be there as I live literally around the corner. Let me know if you will be too.

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Thurber, Fairy Tales, and Language

My own Thurber love is “The 13 Clocks” (illustrated by Marc Simont; New York Review Children’s Collection: $14.95, all ages), an eccentric children’s story that took apart and lovingly reconstructed the fairy tale long before William Steig wrote “Shrek” or William Goldman penned “The Princess Bride.” For years, I gave away copies of a flimsy Dell/Yearling paperback edition that I had bought in bulk. But now, the New York Review Children’s Collection, publishers of a number of fabulous books that had ignominiously fallen out of print, has reissued “The 13 Clocks” in a beautiful hardcover version. It is, if not identical to, then at least reminiscent of the original 1950 Simon & Schuster edition I have. In his introduction to the new edition, Gaiman, himself a writer for impassioned followers of many stripes, calls it “probably the best book in the world.”

Sonja Bolle lovingly recollects this wonderful, wonderful book in her Los Angeles Times Wordplay column: Thurber’s world of wonders. I took adore this book. I turned it into a play for one of my very first classes (long ago at another school). Thank you, NYR Children’s Collection, for making it available again. ( I also love Thurber’s other fairy tales for children and discuss some of them in my CLNE talk on literary fairy tales.)

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Tomi Ungerer

Yes!!!  About time.

Art – Tomi Ungerer – Return of the Renegade Children’s Author – NYTimes.com

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Visiting Literary Worlds

The conference will not be solely lecture-based, according to Howard. Instead, participants will take take part in a virtual book discussion, and take field trips into literature-based locations that have been created in Second Life. Participants may find themselves in an Edgar Allen Poe poem, visiting a “secret garden” or learning about gothic literature in an authentically spooky Gothic mansion. “They may even fall down a rabbit hole!” notes Howard. The conference will also feature one or more authors who have used virtual worlds to create, refine or promote their works. The day will conclude with a panel discussion including experts from a number of disciplines, and a social event. (From LISNews)

Sounds like a Jasper Fforde novel, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I played around a bit with Second Life and was not that impressed; I found it pricey, a memory hog, and even a bit tedious. So I’m not jumping to do this conference. I think I’ll stick with the old-fashioned way of entering such worlds — via my imagination. However, one of you may feel differently; if so, more information is here.

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