Saturday, March 16, 2013

Literary Links: March 16th Edition

The next best thing to actually reading a book.

Philip Roth Discusses Obscenity: On PBS, March 29, Philip Roth, along with other authors and actors, discuss the history of obscenity in 20th century American Literature. I know I will be watching!

Lachrymose Barbarians, or Manly Books That Make Manly Men Cry Like Babies?: Too funny. Come on guys! Admit to the books that make you cry! I know you want to...

CPS tells schools to disregard order to pull graphic novelModern day book banning. I can't believe we are still having this conversation...I mean, really?? It's 2013, for crying out loud!

10 Classic High School Required Books That You Should Reread: How many do you remember hating in high school? Maybe now is the time to give them another shot!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday @ the Forums: March 15th -The Sherlock Holmes Edition

Our weekly round up of what's going on at our Goodreads forum. Our Reader's Choice of Sherlock Holmes is in full swing.

File:Paget holmes.png
Courtesy: Public Domain
Quotable Sherlock & Co. - "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." has been mentioned of course. 

Sherlock (BBC TV Show) - Compare Benedict Cumberbatch's and Martin Freeman's portrayals with the literary detective and his faithful companion. *I know for sure three of the Tators are fans!*

A Scramble in Bohemia - Our Gametator Laura puts your unscrambling talents to the test with this Sherlock themed game.

A Study in Scarlet - Most members if they haven't already read it, are starting where it all began. 

Literary Links: March 15th Edition

The next best thing to reading an actual book.

If Books Were Bands - I always say books should have soundtracks, so when I read Grapes of Wrath now I'm just going to blast The Boss.

Hobbit gambling rights: Warner Bros countersues JRR Tolkien estate - What would Gandolf think?

Darren Shan's top 10 books about outsiders for teenagers - Some surprising choices, but good ones. 

Story Prize Winner 2013 Announced: Claire Vaye Watkins For 'Battleborn' - If you enjoy stories revolving around the American West, this collection might be for you.

Judging 2012 Book Covers: US vs. UK - Another version of who does it better? You be the judge.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tomes For Tots

As a person who loves books and loves to read, I seek to pass on the same passion to my young son who is a toddler.  I have been looking for ways to do this. While I was researching this topic, I came across some statistics about children and literacy which I found to be a little bit alarming.  

Here are some findings and statistics: 

  • of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up on jail or welfare. (
  • 4th grade is the watershed year for reading proficiency.  After that, the child will have a 78% chance of not catching up. (
  • 40% of our nation’s 4th graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. (
  • 28% of 12th grade students never read on their own (
  • Adults with ability to perform challgening and complex reading tasks make $28,000 more per year salary than those who lack basic skills (National Center for Education Statistics) 
  • Kids who read more minutes per day have higher percentile scores on tests. (
  • Families that share in book conversations have a dramatic improvement in family communication. (
  • Out of school reading habits has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than 1 million words of text in a year (One World Literacy Foundation) 
  • Reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by OVER 6 points! (Perspectives on Psychological Science)

I love to read, and I believe it has helped me in life. For example, I just passed 3 different investment licenses this past winter and I noticed in the class that the students who regularly read books, even just for leisure, did better than those who did not. In fact, the key to passing the exams had much more to do with reading comprehension than it did with numbers.    

Being part of Classics Without All the Class, of course fans my enthusiasm for reading, so is it possible a book club for children would do the same for my four year old son? No, I do not anticipate my son sitting in a velvet robe and smoking a pipe while ruminating the Dickensian influence on the Christmas Tradition...not at least until he's 5 anyway...

I'm talking more about simply getting together with his toddler friends to read a book and make it a social event.   I would imagine with the attention span of 3 and 4 year olds, it would be more about play time than reading time, but that would be okay. Karena, our Booktator, has had some wonderful suggestions such as incorporating snacks and crafts into the book group and to make it a theme that coincides with the book itself. For example, if we read “Goodnight Moon”, we can have Moonpies and make a Moon mobile. It would be a time in which we would read the book together, talk about about the book, have snacks, and the kids would probably just start playing at that point.

As part of a semi-regular column here, I would like to keep track of the progress made in putting together a reading group for children. Here are some things I think I would need to do. First, I will have to secure a time and space.  In the beginning I think having the meeting held in a neutral place will be best, then we can discuss having it at a parent’s house. I would have to see if the library staff will be cooperative in allowing me to use one of their rooms.  In securing a time, it will have to be when the library isn’t too busy yet most parents will be available. I notice a lot of parents and grandparents are there after school to pick up their kids, so that may be a good time. Once, this is set I will send out e-vites to the parents of my son’s classmates.  As a class parent, I have their e-mails and regularly keep in touch with them. Then we will all work out what book will be read. I’m wondering if we should do a poll as we do in our book club on Goodreads. 

I would imagine the key to success would be to keep it simple and flexible.  Clearly, this concept is still in its embryonic stages right now. I would love to hear some good feedback and ideas from our followers as we go through this journey together. 

Literary Links: March 14th Edition

The next best thing to reading an actual book.

I Read the Book or Did I? - I am now ready to admit I've done this. Not purposefully, but I've thought I'd read Frankenstein for years. Apparently not!

Staging Shakespeare first Festival video game - First we had news about Edgar the Game now Shakespeare? We are so in!

Gulliver's travels in science and satire - Another way to look at Swift's novel. 

New Book Prize, Folio, To Reward English-language Fiction - The new award is open to all English language books published in England. It will be interesting to see who the first nominees are in 2014.

Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist - Speaking of prizesI have so many books to add to my TBR pile now! Did your favorites make the cut?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Association: Sherlock Holmes - Part 2

March's selection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes inspired bromances last week.  This week we're exploring books about geniuses.

The Time Machine

The Time Traveller from The Time Machine - The man built a working time machine. Automatic genius status, enough said.

Flowers for AlgernonCharlie Gordan from Flowers for Algernon - The heartwarming (and equally heartbreaking) journey of Charlie explores intelligence and its societal function as he undergoes an experimental surgery that takes him from having a below average I.Q. to being a genius. 

The Millennium Trilogy
 Lisbeth Salander from The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/The Girl Who Played with Fire / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) - Prickly, anti-social Lisbeth had a photographic memory and a nose for hacking. The girl with the troubled past was a smarty for sure. 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the SeaCaptain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea- Nemo is a nautical know-it-all, knowing the ocean like the back of his hand (both in its inhabitants as well as how to get around it) as well as having some pretty impressive engineering skills.

Dr Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus -Dr Frankenstein is a student of chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt (yeah, the doctor is Frankenstein, NOT the monster!) He uses galvanism and creates his monster who (unlike in the movies) actually "inherits" his creator's intellect and is a smart cookie himself.

Which other literary geniuses did we miss? Add your selection in the comments!

Literary Links: March 13th Edition

The next best thing to reading an actual book

Celebs Caught Reading  Books are more fun when it's part of a threesome...Care to join? 

Michael Vick Cancels Book Tour  Due to some serious death threats. 

Ten Writers Who Really Loved Cats  The feline seems to go so well with books.

Happy Birthday, Edward Albee  Yesterday was Mr. Albee's birthday.  Let's celebrate with some of his quotes. "I have a fine sense of the ridiculous, but no sense of humor." Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Some of the Worst Sex Scenes in Literature  "Slither, slither, slither, slither went the tongue."  Yeah, that's pretty bad. 

Courtesy: Google Images

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Meet-a-Tator Tuesday: Jared

Part two of our Meet-a-Tator Tuesday. Last week we met Laura, our Gametator and this week we'll meet our newest host, Techtator and resident token guy. Jared is in charge of all things technical (hence the name), from making sure the sites look good to setting up the podcast for posting to making sure the rest of the Tators know how to load things onto the Google Drive. 


Title: Tech-Tator, Podcast Host

Fave books/authors/genre: Non-Fiction, Malcom Gladwell, Ayn Rand

IMPACT BOOK: Atlas Shrugged

Tell us about yourself: I have an eclectic background and have gone from being a Landscaper, Air Force Aerospace Mechanic, UAV Imagery Analyst, and now I find myself working with 3D Mapping software. What I read might be boring to some, but if I have time to read a book I like gaining some insight on a topic I am unfamiliar with.

Twitter/Facebook/etc: @Jared_Fagan

Literary Links: March 12th Edition

The next best thing to reading an actual book.

Rare Footage of Famous Authors - J.D. Salinger, George Orwell, F. Scottt and Zelda Fitzgerald, and more. Feels like watching E! for the Classics.

Trailer for Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" Released - Whedon is well on his way in trying to capture the adulation of  both geeks from the comic book realm as well as the literary world. 

"Russian Lit Wives": On Bravo This Fall - Admit it. You're already intrigued. What was it like being Sophia Tolstoy or Vera Nabokov? 

What Happens When You Like Books More Than Anything Else - So I wasn't the only one to ask for books for Christmas? Yay!

7 Geeky-Cool Translations of "Hamlet" - The LOLspeak makes me want to gauge out my eyes and I'm pretty sure the Bard would have too. 
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public domain

Monday, March 11, 2013

Literary Links: March 11th Edition

The Next Best Thing to Reading an Actual Book

What is America Reading?  See USA's ranking of titles selling at a broad range of retail outlets. It reflects combined sales of titles in print and electronic format.

The Accursed  At age 74, Joyce Carol Oates is still writing. This books features jilted spouses, demons, and likable lunatics. 

Why Japanese Readers Don't Like eBooks  According to this study, 72% of Japanese consumers said they had not tried e-books and did not want to try them. 

A Look at Vampires in the Lemon Grove  Is it possible the reader can feel empathy for the vampire? 

Google Images

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Literary Links: March 10th Edition

The Next Best Thing to Reading an Actual Book

Wait a Cottin' Pickin' Minute!  Stephen King's latest book to be adapted for a smallscreen series.

Feel the Energy, Feel the Life Force  A yoga class for the visually impaired held at a library.

Book Tries for Balanced View on Roosevelt and the Jews  An attempt at a neutral assessment on how Roosevelt responded to the Holocaust. 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  A trip back to where the journey begins...the Yellow Brick Road. 

Google Images