Tag Archives: NPR

Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

(Sorry about the non-picture tweets.  My internet sucks sometimes. Thanks, Time Warner).

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • the man who walked between the towers book literacy: My FAVORITE children’s book to share with my high schoolers.
  • ricardo nuila’s dog bites: Can someone explain to me what this means?
  • short films on petticoat discipline: Is this a weird porn search or do these actually exist as manners classes?
  • spell to make him have a bowel movement while cheating with another woman: HOLY COW.  I’m a little scared of this search.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • bowel movements like brownie batter: I get all kinds of weird bowel movement search terms.  This one has taken the cake (pun intended).  How could you ever eat brownies again?
  • i hate it when people are like do you have a bathroom: This person just hates dinner parties.
  • pacific crest trail nude: Cheryl Strayed inspired this one, no doubt.

Book News:


Exactly What Is The Allure of The Used Bookstore?

Before I start this, I want you to know that I’m eating alone in the biggest Panera that I’ve ever seen.  To alleviate any of my feelings of weird awkwardness, I chose a seat right next to the “Employees Only” door and behind a barrier wall that blocks off the annoying couple talking about baby monitors and running shoes, and my macaroni and cheese.  There is, however, a large man in a ball cap and Bill Cosby sweater eating with his wife that makes eye contact with me approximately every three minutes.  OH NO, a couple in yoga pants (yes, both people in yoga pants even the male) just came to sit directly opposite me.  If this isn’t the pure euphoria my anxiety needed then I don’t know what else I can do to heighten it.  I am writing in the midst of a bear attack.  The man has a very high voice, as if he’s talking a lot of Maroon 5 songs.

I could spend this whole blog talking about the people surrounding me on all sides.

It’s a war.

But I won’t, I will keep on subject.  This was just your warning.

Venn Diagram Example

Every time I’m home in “the big city,” I hit up at least one of my three favorite used bookstores: Edward McKay Used Books & More, Reader’s Corner and The Village Library.  They each definitely have their own appeal, but there’s something innate at the core of all three because all used bookstores have the same nature, they are after all a categorized new species.  I think it’s partly the smell, a taste of odd ownership, postcards and pre-hipster-era sepia photos, business calling cards, stained carpeting, and the stackage of bookage.  That’s the closest I can get to the “similar” part of the venn diagram.

Reader’s Corner Free Shelves

The Reader’s Corner is my favorite just because the inside feels like a wool sweater and they give books away for FREE, but you have to usually stand in the rain in order to find a good one.  It’s just a superstition I have.  Their FREE books are left under an awning on the whole front wall of the bookstore, on rickety wooden shelves.  They also have a collection of “Reading Is Sexy” bumper stickers next to the cash register, one of which my car, Prince Frederick III, dawns proudly.  These bumper stickers would be even more hilarious if you knew the goons who owned this bookstore.  I think that a clutch of old men operate and own the bookstore.  I’ve only ever seen the same old man behind the register, who embodies what I imagine the guys behind “Car Talk” on NPR must look like.  His face matches their voices, even though he doesn’t sound like them. He also has old cronies around the register with their spectacles hanging down their bulbous noses chatting away with him about the weather, the latest Lady Gaga outfit change, or the newspaper headlines.

You know that commercial where all the old men hang out at McDonalds and check out the old ladies?  That’s Reader’s Corner, except they’re not at all interested in the ladies hanging around the joint.

Bookshelves @ Reader’s Corner

They also know a hellofalot about books.  I can ask them about any book, even the most rare, or the ugliest and largest of textbooks and they will know within three minutes if they have that book available.  And the key to this is that there’s no organization in that place.  They just haphazard the books around, a brain hurricane, books laying in the rubble, or personal space of other books.   The books are categorized by genre, but other than that, you just have to search and find.  It’s basically a Black Ops mission every time you go because you have to pull books from the shelves to see the price or read the blurbs, or just find what might be peeking behind them because all the gems are hidden, obviously.

My favorite poster at Reader's Corner

My favorite poster at Reader’s Corner

This takes me to Edward McCay Used Books & More which is…a chain.  You can sigh now. However, it’s the BEST.CHAIN.EVER. The books are stacked in old milk crates, the handled cardboard trays that your bananas come in off the truck, and somehow, I get a faint whiff of potatoes from the bottom shelves so I have to infer that potato sacks sat in the toughest crates at the bottom of the book pyramid.  That might just be a strange “off the farm” used book smell though.  This is my favorite place to actually find the books I want.  Their authors are by last name and the shelves are all labeled extensively down to “Mystery Thriller” V. “Mystery Fantasy” V. “Mystery Mystery.”

My feet at Ed McKay's

My feet at Ed McKay’s (See what I mean about the carpeting?)

Ed McKay’s is basically a huge warehouse of crates filled with books.  It smells like someone’s attic, and the carpet stains could live in a horror movie.  I love it so much because each section smells different.  The “Dramas” that haven’t been touched in decades (only by college students who don’t want to pay the astronomical price of books from the campus bookstores) smell of dust and washed and dried crumpled paper.  Leave something in your pocket through the wash/dry cycle and smell it afterwards and you will know exactly what the “Drama” and “Poetry” sections smell like.  The “Young Adult” section smells like need and slick plastic.  The “Contemporary Fiction” section smells like cat dander and expensive coffee.  The “Romance” section smells like sweaty lipstick and my most favorite smell of the sections, “Biography” which smells of inspiration, longing and fresh out of the package pantyhose.

Book Bargain

Book Bargain

I don’t make these things up.  BUT, Mental Floss studies them.

Book Nerves

Book Nerves

The spirit of Ed McKay’s is also why I like it there.  They let you sell your books in for trade money so I’m constantly doing that with my non-keepers.  The staff there are tattooed, dyed, pierced, and all dropped into a dryer bin of flannels.  They wear large rings that cover most of their middle knuckle, which throws the customer off from their delicate yet brilliant nail color of the neon or just plain black fashion.  Sometimes they look and sound like they’re going to a funeral and other times they’re wearing comic book tights and whistling.  I’ve smelled them too, but I won’t go into that.  I just have a strong nose.  They have hair colors that I would love to try, but would probably be fired, and they must have a stock pile of beanies in a back closet somewhere that occasionally infects the entire staff with lice.  This isn’t to say that I don’t like them, they’re always friendly, always really welcoming, and I wouldn’t want to buy books from anyone else than the “others.”  Because I’m an “other” and I prefer to talk books with “others.” You know, people that society has deemed “too much” or “too delicate” or “too fine” for most of its activities.  There’s a “muchness” about “otherness” that I like.  I used to think I was just a closet nerd and preferred to be alone, but then I started calling myself “mysterious” like a want advertisement and then I finally just admitted, I’m an “other.”

image

Ed McKay Shelving

We’re our own species too, which is why we hang out in scarves and toting messenger bags in used bookstores.

My last favorite should be everyone’s favorite.  If you read this blog, you better be regularly hitting up your local library.  The Village isn’t the closest library to me, but it’s the biggest, so I go there.  It has its own elevator and its own coffee shop.  RIDICULOUS. Plus, they carry every Mary Roach book that exists and they let me hide all of Ted Hughes’ poetry collections because I’m still angry with him about Plath.  There’s a cozy seating area, the children’s giant room always has paintings and a large, tissue paper version of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”  To this day, I plan on asking for that hungry caterpillar for my child’s room when I become a woman who actually believes she has those instincts and owns one of those countdown clocks.  For now, I’ll just continue to be selfish.

Village Drop Off

Village Drop Off

The best part about The Village is that its on the ritzy part of town so wearing sweatpants into the library is a thrill.  It’s like going to church in ripped jeans.  The bobbed hair cuts and gold button suits stare you up and down.  How dare you step into their marble book room.  MWAHA. It’s always worth it to aggravate the authorities.

What are some of your favorite used bookstores and more importantly, what do they smell like?  I want to know what I’m missing here in other states so when I retire, at 297, I can take a used bookstore road trip and write a book. I’m probably using you at this moment, but no really, I want to know what you think.


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • i’ve always imagined heaven to be a kind of library: You and me both, googler.
  • burying book in the wall ai weiwei: This is a history lesson I must google to get…now.
  • johnny depp high school girlfriend: Yep, you got my blog.  OW OW! It’s filled with useless facts like this.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • correct clothes for teaching: This was me for the entire summer of 2012. I hope I had something for you to look at.  Look on Pinterest or the blogosphere.
  • living bamboo maze: I hope this maze can be found somewhere near me so MAU and I can go.
  • poem anis mojgani she covers her body with tea cups: I haven’t heard of this one, but now I’m really interested.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • see me in a supermarket: What section can I find you in? I prefer the cheeses, or the canned vegetables.  I get nervous when people flick fruit.
  • poem test compared to bowel movement: …. whaaaa??
  • minecraft pub interior: I love when I get super nerdy search terms like this.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • huffington post is pissing me off: Is it the fact that they block Huff Post in my school system because the advertisements are a bit risqué, or is it something else entirely?
  • fake car wash receipt: Sometimes I have to think back to when and where I would be writing about something like this.  Did I tell you guys that I was scared to death of the car wash when I was little, and now I go to the car wash when I need to relax.

Book News:


Classroom Discoveries | Alan Turing, Literacy Training, Graphic Poetry by Julian Peters, & Children’s Books

Comic by Buttersafe @ Imgur (I guarantee some of my students wrote something like this on their list).

Time for a story: The Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Joseph Bathanti, came to speak to my 9th grade English class last semester.  He’s actually leprechaunish, not in the way that he wears green and giggles behind trees, but in the way that he has the gifts of words hugged in his pockets.  Bathanti has done a lot of work in NC prisons, getting inmates to learn the art of creative writing, and I can only assume, with that, journaling.  He is probably one of my favorite speakers to ever enter my classroom and I appreciated him so much because he actually cared what my student’s answers were.  He asked them to write three things that they wished for themselves in the world and encouraged me to participate.  For a day, it was good just to feel like a student in my classroom, starring at my Smartboard in the diagonal rows, cramped into the tight desk, only one side open, and feeling the slight breath of the students behind me.   What I wrote was that I hope my future students are read to as children, not because they’ll be better writers and readers for me, but because my mother reading stories to me is one of the best memories that I have as a child.  My mom would scoot me into bed and pretend to sardine me in as she tucked the blanket under me like she was folding dough.  To this day as a twenty-five year old woman, I still request that my mother read a Christmas story to me on Christmas Eve.

I have no children so I can’t make an informed answer to this, but I can imagine that reading to your children is one of the best things to experience as a parent.  A child’s forehead is huddled below your chin, and you open the first page and they point one tiny finger to their favorite part of the picture.  My brother and nephew have a song for when a book has “crazy art” and my nephew will start singing, “Craaaaazzzyyyyyy art, crazzzzyyyyy art.”

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Illustration

So this week in class, I’m reading a children’s book to my students.   Instead of having them focus all their brain power on what they’re reading and not on what I want them to do with that reading, I’m going to read The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and they’re going to create Bloom’s Taxonomy questions.  (I found out about this story in Literacy Training this week called Keys to Literacy – LOVE IT).  We will then talk about morality vs. legality and when and where they don’t match or do match.  It’s the discussion and the writing that I want my students to learn, not the reading.  However, this is one of my new favorite children’s books.   It’s a story of a man who walks a tightrope between two towers.  It’s just a sweet story with skies of illustrations and lends really well to that structure standard for ninth graders (RL5) because the author really does well with placing the pictures strategically as well as the paragraphs.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Illustration

“We’re starting from the bottom, now we’re here” in Drake’s words.  I think in education sometimes we focus so hard on how hard the student focus should be.  Our students should be learning calculus in second grade so they can compete with the rest of the world, only to find out that aliens were born with calculus imbedded into their antennas and so we’re further behind than we ever expected.  BAH!  I’m just not sure how much I agree with the push towards so much information at each age.  The books that I read in upper grades are being dropped lower and lower until the students won’t be able to handle the content on a maturity level.  With that being said, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers brings big concepts in a small books.  It goes with the phrase, “good things come in small packages.”

I do want to say that this book can open a great history lesson at any level, elementary math lesson and obviously any grade English lesson.  Sometimes, it’s the text that can be simple and lovely, and the lesson is complicated.   The children’s book will open our discussion on morality and legality and the differences between the two.  The evaluating question of the unit will be, “How are moral and legal wrongs different, and did Philipe do anything morally wrong, why or why not?”  There’s a good morality lesson on SAS Curriculum Pathways that I’ll be using for my students to create their own definition of morality so that they can adequately judge the story.  I would tweak this lesson before using it for any teachers that want to get on SAS.

The next thing that I really want to talk about is using podcasts in your classroom.  I haven’t actually used podcasts that often other than 3 Minute Fiction on NPR and listening to Neil Gaiman read.  However, today I was listening to Radio Lab and the show was called, “Of Man and Myth.”  They had this really awesome discussion of Alan Turing who was arrested in England for public indecency in 1952 and was forced to take large doses of estrogen to “cure his homosexuality.”  However, this is not what he should be remembered for AT ALL.  This man actually helped decode German ciphers for the British government during WWII.  He was the first man to decode the ciphers (he used a machine) and therefore an integral part of the allies trump over Germany.

Alan Turing @ The Inquirer (.net)

Alan Turing

I was shocked that this fascinating mathematician was known mostly for his homosexuality rather than his influence in winning the World War for the allies.  This is an aspect of WWII that my students may never know and a person that has an interesting biography for class discussions during a unit on WWII.  In 9th grade, we read Night by Elie Wiesel.  It makes memories of the horror of the Holocaust on every read through.  I show them the clips from Band of Brothers of the moment when American soldiers happen on the concentration camps.  I show them clips of Elie Wiesel speaking and we read all kinds of informational texts about the World War.   The thing that we don’t do is look specifically at people other than Elie Wiesel.   I fear that my students may think that there were more survivors than there were.  Maybe they don’t listen hard enough when Oprah says that Auschwitz was more than 15 miles large.  Using this twenty-minute segment from Radio Lab, my students won’t be just discussing aspects of WWII, but this man was arrested for being homosexual just seven years after WWII.  We just got through this mass genocide on specific groups of people, and yet the people who helped end that injustice were still unable to have equality in their own country.  SHOCKING. The truly disturbing thing about this whole story is that Turing ended up killing himself due to his unhappiness after the arrest and estrogen treatments.  This story just adds more deaths over a lack of empathy, lack of kindness, and pure ignorance.

Read a letter from Alan Turing signed “Yours in Distress” about his legacy here. 

Julian Peters Comics SO AWESOME

Lastly, Amy @ Lucy’s Football (and a writer for Insatiable Book Sluts) sent me a link to this SUPER COOL artist’s website.  Seriously, I’m dying.  If this isn’t the coolest thing to use with Persepolis or Maus, I’m just not sure what is.  For every teacher that was told they can’t teach graphic novels because they’re not actually literature, then teach graphic poetry from Julian Peters Comics.  It’s great for any English/History lesson.  You can teach modernism with her J. Alfred Prufrock, or Southern Gothic with Annabel Lee, or have students read the poems and then analyze the graphic novel (graphic poem) which is great for RL7.  Teachers could have them create their own graphic novel of the poem.  They could have to include historical elements, elements of that period of writing, humor, figurative language, characteristics of characters, theme through images.  I just adore Julian Peters’ art and I love that it can be transformed into the classroom.  Obsessed with the wrinkles in Prufrock’s forehead as their shaped like eastern rivers which always make me think of sadness.  They way that they flow down America and probably have a stone throw of history in each curve.  The “women talking of Michelangelo” have their hair in tight curls, wrapped in rags the night before, and they shove their palms up in speech as if they’re always asking for a handout.  Yes, Julian Peters, you’re my hero.

YAY! Share your plans with me as they come to you because I’m always looking for collaborations with other teachers.  This competitive pay in NC isn’t going to stop me from sharing, and learnin’ these beautiful little pieces of future that we teach.


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • summer page breaks: As opposed to winter page breaks?
  • black slug rice paddy: I cant determine if this is a “bowel movement joke” or just a really disgusting search term.
  • eleanor and park books and bowel movements: Someone actually googled my review.  Love this.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday (Memorial Day Weekend Lateness)

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • how would you describe amy gerstler’s poem “hymn to the neck”: A poem of opposites about that luxurious lump of body shaped like a cylinder but evolved from an ostrich, how we wish we were peacocks.
  • wwjd bracelet rainbow: They don’t sell these anymore.  I know this because I broke mine and it was my “Gay Pride WWJD” and I guess the Family Christian Store chain decided they also knew it was prideful and took it off the market.  LAMESAUCE.
  • tommy mcglaun: I know Tommy googled this while he wore hipster glasses and put on Asheville hipster hiking-shoes.

Book News:


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