Top Children’s Lit

Ah – I saw Cheeky Prof do this and it looked fun. Which of the National Education Association’s Top 100 Books for Kids according to parents and teachers (as compared to according to kids) have you read? I’ve read the ones in bold:

Good Book Links

This is about as crazy as the academic year can get, but the good news is that I’ve got my tickets to go see Star Wars, the night after grades are due. In the meantime, there are a couple of items that have been coming through the BookPeople mailing list that I want to make note of: Online book Educating the Net Generation looks like its worth a skim, though I think there can be value in understanding how students interact with technology and yet not having to entirely give in to all of their preferences. There may be a … Continue reading Good Book Links

Public Domain cheat sheet

For reference, there’s a really nice reference sheet on the public domain in the United States available as a pdf at the Cornell Copyright Information Center. I particularly like that, in addition to describing what the relevant term is for different types of works, it spells out what is currently in the public domain for each type of work.

Ode to Cheese

I love how Project Gutenberg doesn’t just archive classics and popular books. They’re also making an effort to save the obscure and niche items, like the recent addition, The Complete Book of Cheese, a 1955 work by Robert Carlton Brown, and a good reference for uses of cheese, trivia about unusual cheeses, and all of your cheese-themed poetry needs. Ode to Cheese God of the country, bless today Thy cheese, For which we give Thee thanks on bended knees. Let them be fat or light, with onions blent, Shallots, brine, pepper, honey; whether scent Of sheep or fields is in … Continue reading Ode to Cheese

In Search of Fun Kid’s Lit

From last weekend’s NYT book review section, Why Teachers Love Depressing Books spoke direrctly to my own childhood reading experiences. Reviewing Welcome to Lizard Motel: Children, Stories, and the Mystery of Making Things Up by Barbara Feinberg, which talks about imagination in children’s literature, it says: Only a reader as attuned to realism as Feinberg could have puzzled out so nuanced a defense of imagination in children’s lives. She sees the memoirlike problem novels as symptoms of ”the drastic fall from grace that the imagination has suffered in popular understanding” and her generation’s insistence on ”making our children wake from … Continue reading In Search of Fun Kid’s Lit


If you read many professional book reviews, you’ll recognize the phenomena described as “reviewese” in this article on the cliches of book reviews. While useful shorthand, things can get out of hand: The “x meets y” construction is an invaluable way of summarising a book whose disparate elements might call for lengthier description. Another is to talk of an author’s progeny — he or she could be the bastard offspring, or bizarre lovechild, conceived in a crack house by the union of Marcel Proust and Jeanette Winterson. Yet another is the culinary image: take Tobias Smollett, stew him in his … Continue reading Reviewese

Stepwise Pittsburgh

There are lots of theme guides to Pittsburgh focusing on bridges, rivers, etc., and I’ve never given them much thought, but this review of The Steps of Pittsburgh actually caught my eye and I’m intrigued. Rivers, railroads, and many of the usual topics of theme guides are pretty easy to spot once you know they’re there, and frankly many cities have these features. But the staircases along the sidewalks and hills of the cities (over 700 of them – and yes, that’s more than San Francisco) are unusual and hidden, and from the images in the article lead to some … Continue reading Stepwise Pittsburgh

New Public Domain Works

Over the holidays, a few sites announced the works which came into the public domain in various countries. In many countries, works by those who died in 1933 are just entering the public domain and you can check Wikipedia’s entry for 1933 for a partial list. (As a side note, I had never looked at their entries for specific years, and they seem quite good.) Lessig passes on in his blog some of the more prominent names entering the public domain in Canada (including Turing, Stalin, and Hank Williams…), while pointing out that in the US it will be 15 … Continue reading New Public Domain Works

Behind “Inside the Book”

I commented last time I posted on Amazon’s “Search the Book” feature, noting that they are in effect making some books’ entire content freely available, if you’re willing to do the work to get it. I closed with saying: Frankly, the more I think about it, the more surprised I am that any publishers went along with this. It turns out that it’s the author’s guild who’s really upset about this. They claim that most contracts do not give the right to publishers to participate in this type of program without the author’s consent, and authors were not consulted. Their … Continue reading Behind “Inside the Book”

Amazon Book Search

I think that Amazon has finally come through with the next on-line bookstore killer app. They’ve extended their book searching to include a “Search Inside the Book” feature which returns books which contain your search phrase somewhere in the text, along with a page image of the page in question and two pages on either side of that page. They only provide the service for selected books who have approved this useage, but it’s a great idea. They’ve been trying to give browsers “flip through the book” capabilities by giving excerpt pages, but for non-fiction, this is the type of … Continue reading Amazon Book Search