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September 14, 2010

Obama wrote a children's book

Where does he find the time? Obama to publish children's book | Books | guardian.co.uk
The US president's picture book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, is billed as a tribute to 13 "groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped [the] nation". It will be on bookshelves from 16 November, according to an announcement today from its publisher. From the "patriotism" of America's first president George Washington to the "artistry" of Georgia O'Keeffe and the "courage" of baseball player Jackie Robinson, the 40-page book is "an inspiring marriage of words and images, history and story", said Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, whose imprint Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers will release the title later this autumn.

September 04, 2010

Issues of social class in Twilight

Bite Marx -- The Hooded Utilitarian
In this corner, there’s Edward Cullen. Edward is extravagantly cultured, and ridiculously wealthy. He composes classical ballads, writes in an immaculate hand, and buys his sister a Porche as an offhand gift. Like a real product of the upper crust, he lives with his brothers and sisters, who are all also paired up as husbands and wives. His family is, moreover, obsessed with blood, and has amorphous connections to Italy. He’s foreign, exciting, steeped in ancient traditions, and deeply, ludicrously white. He’s the noble prince come to whisk Bella out of her life and into a deliciously decadent life of luxury and romance. Meyer name-drops Darcy and Heathcliff and Romeo, but Edward has at least as much in common with Prince Charming. And in this corner, there’s Jacob Black. Jacob is the opposite of upper-class. An Indian living on reservation land, he transforms simultaneously into a werewolf and a laundry list of invidious racial stereotypes. He’s literally hot-blooded — werewolves have higher than normal temperatures, just as vampires have lower than normal ones. Jacob also has massive self-control issues; whenever he gets angry or upset, he starts to shake violently and then turns into a giant deadly wolf. He’s also hairy, frequently bare-chested, and…good with tools! He also eats a prodigious amount — as opposed to the uber-cultured Edward, who doesn’t eat at all. If Edward is the aristocrat who treats Bella like a delicate queen, Jake is the swarthy, sweaty working-class hero who won’t take no for an answer. Edward will barely allow himself to kiss Bella; Jake, on the other hand, literally overpowers her when he wants a smooch and she’s reluctant. With Edward, Bella always has to be careful; with Jake she gets to be a little bit wild — riding motorcycles, cliff diving, and generally getting in touch with her inner wolf/teen delinquent. If Edward’s the prince whisking away the scullery maid a la Cinderella, Jake is the virile commoner dragging the frigid aristocrat down into the sensual muck a la Titanic.

A bootleg audio recordig of David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" speech at Kenyon College

Listen before it's gone! Monsterbeard A sample from the amazing text:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.
*Thanks, Jeff!*

August 31, 2010

Oakland extending school days by three hours for some middle schools

2 Oakland schools extend school day to 9 hours
School became a full-time job for sixth-graders at two Oakland middle schools where students clocked in on the first day of school Monday at 8 a.m. and headed home at 5 p.m., about three hours later than other students in the district. The new nine-hour school day might sound like an adolescent nightmare, but district officials hope that more time in class will help boost the test scores of students at United for Success Academy and Elmhurst Community Preparatory School, both considered by the state to be among the 188 worst schools in California. But keeping students in class an extra three hours won't come cheap, costing the district up to $2,400 more per school year for each of the 270 or so sixth-graders attending the schools. A nonprofit organization will run the extended program.

August 30, 2010

Better Book Titles

A blog devoted to retitling popular books. Better Book Titles