31 May 2006

Recommended Summer Reading For Young People

If the young people in your life need a list of books to get started reading over the summer, Just Read, Florida! has a Recommended Reading list. The list is broken down into three categories: elementary school, middle school, and high school. Interestingly, there are fewer recommendations for high school (18 books) than for elementary (20) and middle school (28). Via Rebecca's Pocket.

30 May 2006

The Poetry Foundation

Anyone who's interested in poetry, no matter how little or how much you know about the subject, will find something of interest at The Poetry Foundation. There's a lot to read at this site, including the following: · features on poets, poetry, reading guides, and more · audio clips of poets reading their work, interviews with poets, and more · a list of recommended books · web resources for poetry, including a list of recommended blogs · a searchable database of poems (by category, title, first line, and more) There is much more, including a news roundup about matters poetical that includes items that are truly wide-ranging: from "Britney Spears slams husband in verse" to the death of Gilbert Sorrentino.

29 May 2006

The Dialect Translator

Drop by The Dialectizer if you want to have some fun entering text and seeing it translated into different ways of speaking (e.g. Cockney, jive, Elmer Fudd). You can enter some text at random or you can ask it to translate a web page. I entered this web page; here are some of the translations of the first paragraph of yesterday's entry. My original version:
The annual round-up of nominations for summer reading has begun. I always like to know what other people are reading, so I enjoy these articles.
The Jive Version:
De annual round-up uh nominashuns fo' summa' readin' gots begun. 'S coo', bro. ah' always likes t'know whut oda' sucka's is readin', so's I enjoy dese articles.
The Elmer Fudd Version:
De annuaw wound-up of nominations fow summew weading has begun, uh-hah-hah-hah. I awways wike to know what othew peopwe awe weading, so I enjoy these awticwes. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit!
The Hacker Version:
teh annua lrpound-iup 0f nominati0ns ofr summr read1ng 4hs begn!!!!!! OLOLOL i always lIk3 to knows what othEr LasMeRz rae read1ng, so i ejoy tehse arrticl3ds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~~ THEIR IS 4 RATIO DONT RIPE ME OFGF becauz 1 will haXOr u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Swedish Chef Version:
Zee unnooel ruoond-up ooff numeeneshuns fur soommer reedeeng hes begoon. Bork bork bork! I elveys leeke-a tu knoo vhet oozeer peuple-a ere-a reedeeng, su I injuy zeese-a erteecles. Um gesh dee bork, bork!
You can also get gift items (e.g. T-shirts, caps, mugs, and so forth) that say "Fry Mah Hide!! Fry Mah Hide!!" Check out the selection at their CafePress shop.
Thanks to Bernadette Wagner for the link!

28 May 2006

Summer Reading Lists

The annual round-up of nominations for summer reading has begun. I always like to know what other people are reading, so I enjoy these articles. Slate Magazine has asked some authors what they would take to the beach; the answers can be found in "My Favourite Beach Book". Over at Reading Matters, kim bofo has tackled this question too. In addition to her list of beach reads, she also has a post that lists some summer reading challenges, some of which raise money for charity and some of which are done just for fun. I won't be taking part in any challenges, but I do find there are certain books or types of books that I read every summer. Here's a list of books that are my summer reads: · Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran · all the Harry Potter books · whatever mystery series happens to be catching my attention; this year I'm re-reading all of Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourne mysteries in preparation for the new book that's coming out in September · any of the Dave Robichaux books by James Lee Burke · like kim, anything by Maeve Binchy · anything by Amy Tan · a few children's books, always including the Olivia ones (here's an interview with Ian Falconer about the newest one that's forthcoming in June: Olivia Forms A Band) · Remembrance of Things Past · any of the books by the endlessly entertaining Miss Manners · Kim by Rudyard Kipling My summer books are generally those I've read all ready. All of those listed above I've read over and over (except for Proust, which I've only read once—and then I re-read a bit every summer). But every now and again I find a book for the summer that I've never seen before. The other day at our library I stumbled across Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors by Lizzie Colllingham. This is one I'm glad I picked up.

27 May 2006

Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database

The Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database is an intriguing concept. According to the site, it "is an annotated bibliography of prose, poetry, film, video and art which was developed . . . for use in health/pre-health and liberal arts settings." The authors featured include Louisa May Alcott, Isabel Allende, Emile Zola, and many more. The entry on Louisa May Alcott outlines the work where she's written about medical matters (she worked at a hospital during the Civil War and wrote about the experiences). There is also a link to the online text. After summarising her work, the entry puts it in context, explaining that she was part of a hotly debated experiment that saw women caring for soldiers. Some people felt that women shouldn't be doing this as they would spend too much time fainting or flirting to be good workers. There's a lot to browse through on this site, and it highlights a part of literature that I had not previously thought to consider. Via Apothecary's Drawer.

26 May 2006

The English-American Dictionary

The English-American Dictionary is a website that provides those of us on this side of the ocean with an understanding of slang and idiom from the U.K. Chris Rae, the owner of the site, says, "As a Scot who has spent some time in the USA on holiday lately, I have discovered a bewildering array of words which are in common use on our side of the pond and invariably mean nothing at all or something exceedingly rude on the other side. I once noted down about fifteen of them and that afternoon formulated them into this dictionary." From there, and with the help of others, the dictionary grew and grew. He has the definitions categorised into numerous categories, including clothing, sports, insults, appliances, sex, and more. There are also links explaining the currency, the geography (such as what countries comprise the United Kingdom), and Cockney rhyming slang. I enjoyed this site. Prolonged reading of British novels meant that I'd figured out many of these words on my own, but it's good to finally know what "twee" means. Via Bonzer Web Sites of the Week.

25 May 2006

Staying On Top of Slang

The Urban Dictionary is a dictionary of current slang with definitions submitted by readers. Here are a couple of samples: · "Yupster: a hipster with a professional job who seeks to climb the corporate ladder but remains true to indie musical tastes, lives in a hipster neighborhood, and likely has a hipster hairstyle." · "K'dian: a Canadian." Because the entries are submitted by readers, they're uneven, but it's still worth a look. Note: there are a fair number of scatological and sexual entries, so consider yourself warned if this is an issue for you. Via Internet Scout Project Weblog.

24 May 2006

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are You?

If you'd like to find out which female literary character you most resemble, now's your chance—take the Which Classic Female Literary Character Are You? quiz (via BookLust). Here's my result:
Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?
You're Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte!

23 May 2006

Warriors In the Battle Against Jargon

Here's a fun site if you are feeling like reading about crusades against the abuse of language: BuzzWhack: The Buzzword Compliant Dictionary This site plays host to a number of dubious words (along with their definition). Here's today's sample: "microwaiting: The time spent in front of the employee break room microwave while your lunch heats up. Regularly occurs a few minutes before noon and is generally not reported as a part of the lunch hour." You can search their dictionary, subscribe to the "Buzzword of the Day," nominate a word for inclusion in the dictionary, or read their "Whack of the Week"—the featured media release or website with incomprehensible language. Warning: the Whack of the Week entries can be almost painful to read. Via Internet Scout Project Weblog.

22 May 2006

For Fans of Comics

The Lambiek Comiclopedia is a great site for anyone remotely interested in comics. Lambiek is a European comics shop that has been in existence for 37 years; they have also published two comic encyclopedias and other books on comics. This link is to their web presence. The site has listings for a mind-boggling number of comic creators. There are brief bios of the creators and samples of their work. There are links to the Comics Code, to newspaper comics, magazine comics, Disney artists, erotic comics, underground comics (e.g. the Freak Brothers), webcomics, and more. There's also a link to the Lambiek store online where you can buy not only books, but also posters and artwork. Via Eldorado County Library: What's Hot On the Internet This Week.

21 May 2006

Spoofs on Seuss

Dr. Seuss is almost too easy to parody, but if you're feeling in the mood to read some variations on Green Eggs and Ham or One Fish, Two Fish, check out The Dr. Seuss Parody Page. Here you can find such gems as the following: · Freudian Analysis of Cat In The Hat · Dr. Seuss's Inferno · Dr. Seuss Meets Babylon 5 · If Dr. Seuss Wrote Technical Manuals Via growabrain.

20 May 2006

A Mini-Rant

Does anyone else in the world hate the use of infantile words that is becoming so common? I'm talking about the lamentable popularity of words with "ie" endings: words like "veggies" or "goodies" (ick). I've steeled myself to smile politely when someone uses these words in conversation ("Let's make sure we have a tray of goodies!") but I refuse to use them myself. When I'm in a restaurant I can't bring myself to ask for a "veggie burger." I have learned to keep my cantankerous reaction to these specific words to myself, but in the last three days I've heard three new (to me) examples of this appalling use of language. First, I heard someone refer to "appies"—and it took me a while to figure out that they were referring to "appetizers." Next, I heard a radio announcer refer to "bevvies." This time it didn't take me quite as long to realise that she was refering to "beverages." Then, God help me, I was reading a web site about outdoor cooking and I saw a reference to "the barbie." With the help of the next sentence I was able to figure out that this meant "the barbecue." I wanted to go and rip up a small shrub. Leaving aside the fact that I need to consider my blood pressure, I have noticed that all the examples I'm talking about refer to some aspect of food. What does it mean that we appear to not be able to discuss food without using some sort of affected baby talk? There. I've taken a deep breath, and I feel a little better now. But what on earth will the next three days bring?

19 May 2006

Good Page on Mark Twain

Here's a good site for fans of Mark Twain: Mark Twain: A Look At the Life and Works of Samuel Clemens. The site has a daily quotation by Twain, a Twain timeline and biography, a bibliography, games, and links. This is also the site that contains the only known footage of Mark Twain (which was shot by Thomas Edison). Via growabrain.

18 May 2006

A Site On Egyption Hieroglyphics

If you're at all interested in Egyption hieroglyphics, you might like to check out Hieroglyphics!: A Guide and Web Directory to Egyptian Writing. The web page has something for various levels of interest, from children's to academic. The site contains "essays introducing Egyptian hieroglyphs, essays on Champollion and the Rosetta stone, dozens of on-line self-teaching programs, a half-dozen "translators," Hieroglyphic fonts, software, and so forth." Via Ancient LIbrary.

17 May 2006

Bumper Stickers For Librarians

Here's a site for the librarian in your life: Bumper Stickers for Librarians. A few sample bumper stickers: · "Librarians Know the Answers... Do you Know the Questions?" · "Explore strange new worlds... visit the library." · "May the source be with you!" · "Librarians have high shelf esteem!"

16 May 2006

Three Questions With Three Answers Each

Here's a meme that I found a while back. No one's tagged me, but I'll provide my answers anyway just because I like this sort of thing! Name 3 books you liked, titles which start with A, B, C (one per letter). · A Stained White Radiance (James Lee Burke) · Bleak House (Charles Dickens) · Crow Lake (Mary Lawson) Name 3 authors you like whose names (given or surname) start with A, B, and C (one per letter): · Austen, Jane · Burke, James Lee · Chaucer, Geoffrey Name 3 books on your "To Read" list with titles starting with A, B, C (one per letter): · A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) · Barrelhouse Kings (Barry Callaghan) · Can You Forgive Her? (Anthony Trollope) Via The Blog Jar.

15 May 2006

Online Exhibition of Illustrations From Medieval Books

Here's a nice site to visit: The Medieval Bookshelf: From Romance to Astronomy. This is an online exhibition of some of the material that had been featured at the J. Paul Getty Museum earlier this year. There are samples here of illustrations taken from non-religious medieval books (e.g. The Consolation of Philosophy, The Romance of the Rose). There are seven illustrations shown—enough to give some good examples and to leave the viewer wanting more. Via Plep.

14 May 2006

Beowulf Resource Page

Here's a web page that works well as an introduction to the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. The page has links to the text of Beowulf and links to background information about Anglo-Saxon culture (including archaeology and language). There's also a link to a graphic novel based on the poem.

13 May 2006

For Shakespeare Fans

If you're looking to buy a gift for the Shakespeare fan in your life, you could always try Shakespeare Gifts. You can choose Shakespeare fridge magnets, After Shakespeare mints, a Shakespeare doll, a Shakespeare Insult mug, a Shakespeare pocket mirror (with an appropriate Shakespearean quotation on the cover), and more. The site also offers items featuring other authors (such as Poe, Austen, Tolstoy, Woolf, Joyce, and others). There is merchandise available in categories other than literature as well, such as art, music, history, religion, and more. The site is a branch of the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. Via growabrain.

12 May 2006

Good Resource for Historical Mysteries

For those who like historical mysteries, here's a site to check out: the Historical Mystery Homepage. This site lists author, title, year published, year in which the novel is set, and location of the action (e.g. England, United States). You can search alphabetically by author or you can search by period. The site is broken down into the following categories: · ancient world · medieval · renaissance · Regency/Georgian · Victorian · 1900-1919 mysteries · 1920's mysteries · 1930's mysteries · 1940's mysteries · postwar mysteries There are also some fantasy/historical mysteries and some good links to the historical backgrounds of the different time periods. Via Gaslight Electronic Text and Discussion Site.

11 May 2006

More About Fairy Tales

I've discovered a site where, with a little help, you can create your own fairy tale. The Proppian Fairy Tale Generator allows you to tick off the elements of the traditional tale that you want included in yours, and then it randomly generates one for you. Some of the possible elements include trickery, departure, hero's reaction, receipt of a magical agent, rescue, difficult task, and solution. Here's a sample generated fairy tale:

He grabbed the stone from my hand and began to inquire about its origin. The man smelled my skin and laughed. "You smell like fresh meat," he said. "You smell like you expect to be killed and eaten alive. What kind of boy would run around this fog like that?" "Let me go then," I said. After I took the needle from its place, I pryed my father's bones from the floor and put them in my satchel. It looked like an ordinary onion, with a brown papery peel, a smooth, lined, slightly yellowed outer layer. I turned it over and over in my hands, wondering how this vegetable could be of any help to me. "Its juices make all who consume it unable to tell a falsehood for a short period of time. Feed this to one from whom you must extract important and true information from. Use it wisely," the old woman advised. I cupped the onion in my hands as if it were a fragile ornament that would shatter into millions of tiny magical pieces of it were dropped. I knew this powerful bulb would aid me on my journey. As I closed my eyes I could hear my father's voice guide me along the hidden pathways of the mountain unbeknownst to boys who sit and watch the sun rise and fall in their beds. A foreigner stopped me on my rise toward the mountaintop. He had one eye and loose skin that folded around his body like paper cloth. Laid before him was a set of colored tablets and sticks. "Stay for a game," he said to me. "After you win your game with me I'll let you go on your way." I watched as the folds of his skin began to swallow him alive under the sadness of defeat.

Via The Generator Blog.

10 May 2006

Great Resource For Fairy Tales

Here's a site for lovers of fairy tales: The SurLaLune Fairy Tale Site. This site is a very thorough introduction to fairy tales. There is an introduction to the study of fairy tales, links to resources/online discussions about Disney and fairy tales, 44 annotated tales, tales from other countries, and more. I re-read "Beauty and the Beast" and was surprised to find how much more complex it was than the version I remembered from my childhood. You can also buy material from the site's CafePress shop: greeting cards, T-shirts, and more. Via growabrain.

09 May 2006

Histories of Imaginary Places

I love history, and I also enjoy sorting my way through the chronologies of series that I read. So I was interested to find the page of Edgar Governo, Historian of Things That Never Were. He and many others have put together histories and timelines of fictional worlds. A large number of these are fantasy and science fiction, but you can also find the chronologies of such characters as Nero Wolfe, Lord Peter Wimsey, Albert Campion, Gulliver, James Bond, and Anne Shirley. In addition to the fictional worlds found in books and comics, there are links to television, movies, and games. Via Apothecary's Drawer.

08 May 2006

Further Thoughts On A Reading List

A while back I blogged about Dave Pollard's How To Save the World reading list. As I was visiting Dave's blog today, I see that he has some further thoughts about his list. Readers have pointed out to him that very few women authors are represented on his list, and Dave has written an interesting essay in response.

07 May 2006

Unusual Libraries

Unusual Libraries is a website that shows how imaginative it's necessary to be sometimes to get reading material out to people. This site lists some of the different forms of travelling libraries: book boats, book bicycles, book backpacks, camel-drawn libraries, and donkey-drawn libraries. Note to self: never take your libraries for granted again. Via growabrain.

06 May 2006

Shakespearean Insults

If you're ever feeling the need for some creative ways to incorporate Shakespeare into your life, here are two sites that can help you. The Shakespearean Insulter has two kinds of insults. The first are those that are taken from the plays. Some samples of these are "What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way!" (Pericles) or "Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit" (Romeo and Juliet). There are others that appear to have been randomly generated using Shakespearean language. That is also the way the insults are created at The Shakespearean Insult Server, a page which has now been partially retired but where you can still create your own insults (and then send them to someone via E-mail). Here's one such insult: Thou dankish, beetle-headed canker-blossom.

05 May 2006

If You Could Take Only One Book . . .

Here's an article in which 10 Welsh Authors Pick Books For a Long Trip. The authors who were listed for the Welsh Book of the Year Award were asked for their picks; they ranged from Little Women to Tristam Shandy. I have never been able to make myself get through Tristram Shandy, so that wouldn't be my choice, and while I love Little Women, I don't love it enough to make it the one book I would take with me. I'm guessing mine would be Austen's Mansfield Park. Via the Literary Saloon.

04 May 2006

When Book Blurbs Go Bad

Here's an article on the sometimes questionable promotional blurbs we see on books: "This Book Will Change Your Life": The Reckless Art of Book Blurbing Andre Mayer, arts writer for CBC.ca, discusses the over-excited prose currently found in book blurbs and gives a few entertaining examples.

03 May 2006

The Books That Changed Your Life

I've just stumbled across the National Book Foundation's website for the Books That Changed Your Life. The website has a list of National Book Awards winners and finalists who have volunteered what books changed their lives; you can see that list here. The site features readers' contributions, so you could E-mail your list of books (along with the explanation for your pick). Featured here is a book that I managed to miss when it came out in 2002: The Book That Changed My Life, a collection of interviews on this topic with the likes of Cynthia Ozick, E.L. Doctorow, Grace Paley, and others. The number of books that changed my life are too numerous to count. But at least one book by Jane Austen would be in the top 10, probably Sense and Sensibility.

02 May 2006

The Anatomy of A Book

Book lovers everywhere might enjoy A Short Course In Book Anatomy. For anyone who would like to know a little more about the physical composition of the book, this page gives a great overview of it. There's information on binding, book block, book sizes, covers, condition terms, deckle, signatures, and much more. If you've ever wondered about different terms such as folio, quarto, duodecimo, or book club edition, this is the page to turn to. There are also recommendations for books that cover the topics in more depth.

01 May 2006

All Writing Systems Seem To Have A Common Source

Researchers now theorise that all writing systems (including Cyrillic, Sanskrit, and Arabic) are based on reflections of the natural world (e.g. trees, waterways) and architectural details (e.g. outlines of yurts and houses). Writer Roger Highfield reports in further detail in this article in the Telegraph. The researchers will publish a paper on their theory next month in The American Naturalist. Via Rebecca's Pocket.