What I’ve got is not writer’s block, but it’s impeding me all the same. Writer’s block is that dread affliction that causes a writer to sit down to work on their work-in-progress, or to begin it, if all they have is the title, the concept, and perhaps an outline…but when they put fingers to keys, they’re stymied. The words won’t come.Continue Reading
An online newsletter I subscribe to contains queries from journalists, book authors, broadcasters, and others who seek input for articles, books, broadcast/podcast shows, and other media. Lately there has been a rash of queries seeking suggestions for gifts for people of varous demographis—by age, by occupation, by avocation. These articles the queries are for suggest gifts for people in their 20s, 40s, retirement age, pregnant women, new graduates, sports lovers, wine lovers….and of course, gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Valentines Day and Christmas. Sometimes these queries are specifically looking for books; other times the queries are more open-ended—any classification of gifts will do.Continue Reading
In a world that’s ever more digital, a group of students at Yale have protested over the school library’s plan to relocate a trove of books from the Bass Library, bringing the library’s holdings down from 150,000 books to just 40,000.Continue Reading
While I’m not discrediting the internet as a fabulous source of information, let’s not overlook books…and not just as a source for supplying answers to specific questions, but for generally informing us.Continue Reading
The first time was quite a few years ago. A fellow writer showed me a manuscript he had written and was getting ready to submit to an editor. I noticed a number of typos and other errors right off the bat and asked him wasn’t he going to clean up his misspellings, punctuational goofs, and other errors before sending it in. “That’s what editors are for,” he replied blithely.Continue Reading
Of course, some kids get discouraged and will give up when a book is full of “big words,” but others will look up the meaning in an online dictionary or try to figure out the meaning from context.
Even simple words can stump some kids. I remember being baffled by the meaning of “gingerbread house.” I could read it all right, but what did it mean? What was gingerbread? Was it a loaf of bread that tasted like ginger ale? I was also stumped trying to read the word “discipline,” which I saw as being pronounced “dih-SKIP-line.” I knew the word “discipline” and its meaning perfectly well, but I didn’t recognize it when I encountered it in MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS.
The other day, something reminded me of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, and specifically of what had been my favorite chapter in my childhood, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” To my delight, I was able to find the chapter online and read it voraciously. But I was amazed by the complexity of the language. This was a book for KIDS? Even at my current—and admittedly advanced—age and proficient reading ability, I was stumped by a few of the words. WTH is a “weir”? I had to stop and look it up, to learn it is a type of low dam.
How ever had I first read this book in elementary school? Even given that I had been an advanced reader from age six, what about the millions of kids who had read and enjoyed THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS over so many decades? The book is a classic.
I had to conclude that easy reading and age-appropriate vocabulary are not the be-all and the end-all. Kids—at least, kids who enjoy reading and aren’t lazy about looking up the meaning if they can’t divine it out of context—can still enjoy a book even if it has “big words.”
Got a gift-giving occasion coming up—a birthday or anniversary, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, graduation, or maybe you’re looking for something healthier than candy to put in your kids’ Easter baskets?
How about a book?Continue Reading
April is National Poetry Month. Have you read any poetry lately?
Have you written any?Continue Reading
April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring the frustration of rainy days, when your outdoor plans get squelched. That tennis game, boating excursion, work in your garden, or walk around the neighborhood are gone with the raindrops. What to do?
Read a book!Continue Reading
Time was when almost all kids’ books taught a moral or a lesson. They weren’t written to be read just for entertainment. There was some kind of take-away.Continue Reading