I turned into a teary-eyed sap as I read the New York Times obituary of Newbery Award-winning author E.L. Konigsburg, who died last Friday. Her classic young adult novel, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, is one of my all-time favorites. It’s the reason I swore from the age of 10 that I would move to New York. (I made good on that promise.) It’s the reason I am a certifiable word nerd. I still treasure my childhood copy of the book with my name handwritten on a purple sticker bookplate.
A Manhattan-based version of the greatest youth fantasy (read: a life devoid of parental supervision), From the Mixed Up Files follows Claudia Kincaid and her younger brother Jamie as they flee the suburban doldrums and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is adventure. There is mystery. There are grammar references and vocabulary lessons. It’s loaded with poignant wisdom.
Twelve-year-old Claudia is the kind of character who inspires all the best kinds of troublemaking. Here are a few important lessons I learned from this bold, enterprising runaway. Keep reading »
West Virginia Republican legislator Ryan Canterbury’s bill to make sci-fi a mandatory part of public school required reading just landed him on our Awesome People list.
The idea behind the bill is that making at least some sci-fi required reading would spur interest in math and science, so it’s not like Canterbury’s just a big ol’ sci-fi geek who wants other people to read the things he likes. Reads the bill:
“The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation.
To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students.”
Read more on The Mary Sue…
Forty years after the landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions is still a hotbed of discussion in state legislatures and a target of lawmakers. Outside of these state capitals, talking about abortion is still largely taboo.
Sarah Erdreich is trying to open up a larger discourse about reproductive rights and the next generation of women. Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement tackles the difficult issues of stigma, activism, pop culture and how to talk about abortion as not just a scary political battle but a more nuanced, personal choice for all women.
I had a chance to speak to Erdreich about the book and what she believes are the biggest issues facing the women who came after Roe and the right to choose. Keep reading »
I’ve recently become obsessed with the idea of learning how to read palms. I’m not sure I even believe in it, but I think it would be the best party trick ever. “Oh my, you have an unusually long life line” = the perfect antidote to awkward pauses and boring conversations. This cute little palm reading book should give me a nice overview for my new hobby, and for less than five bucks? Totally worth it. [$4.95, Powell's]
I can endorse sperm as a cure for morning sickness or even as a natural mood booster, but, I’m sorry, I refuse to drink a semen cocktail. We all have to draw the line somewhere and this where I draw mine. I refuse to walk into a bar and order a “Galliano Cum Shot” or a “Slightly Saltier Caviar.”
In the new book Semenology: The Semen Bartender’s Handbook, Paul “Fotie” Photoenhauer, who also wrote Natural Harvest: Collection of Semen Based Recipes, teaches us how to mix selected spirits to enhance the delicate flavors of semen. To quote the Amazon book description:
“Driven by a commitment and passion for the freshly harvested ingredient, Semenology pushes the limits of classic bartending. Semen is often freshly available behind most bar counters and adds a personal touch to any cocktail.”
Since when is semen freshly available behind most bar counters? Never mind. I don’t want to know. This better not become the new mixology trend.[Huffington Post]
There’s been a lot of discussion as of late about Sheryl Sandberg‘s bourgeois and somewhat apolitical version of feminism, Lean In. It seems like everywhere I look, the feminist discourse has been taken over by discussions of the ways in which women hold themselves back at work, how we need more women at the top, why Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won’t call herself a feminist, etc. As a feminist with some serious socialist leanings, I am mildly annoyed by this, but I’m also kind of happy, because it gives me a chance to discuss how and why feminism must go beyond talking about how the most privileged women should be allowed to self-actualize at the highest levels possible, to the issues that concern that vast majority of the female workforce.
As I see it, there are really two issues here: 1.) “Lean In” feminism isn’t feminism in any traditional sense of the word, and 2.) even if we do decide to think collectively (and hence politically) re: women in the workplace, that’s not going nearly far enough. Read more at The Gloss…