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Well, it does make me feel icky
OK. So, now I have read the book, and I can kind of see the point of those who don't want it on their YA library shelves.
The book is "This One Summer," and it's by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, two cousins. It's a graphic novel.
The school district in Henning, Minn., banned the book recently. A parent complained, the administration agreed with the complaint and the book was gone.
In the world of librarians, this is offensive. A single parent should not have the power to censor an entire library. The selection of books should be left to professionals who, one assumes, don't have the agendas of individual parents. There are other contentions, but those are the main ones.
I agree with those basic ideas.
I wanted to read "This One Summer," though, to let it stand in my mind on its own merit.
Two observations about it: It is boring. I mean the other side of boring, and I'm not a kid. And, it made me feel icky. I think my teenage self would have read it and felt icky.
So, if my teenage granddaughters (it is aimed a girl readership) asked me about reading "This One Summer," I'd probably recommend they pass it by in favor of something that would not make them feel icky, too. In fact, I'd probably be embarassed if asked to recommend this book to them. Not like I'd feel at passing along a copy of something by the Brontes.
I subscribe to a daily blog sent out by Retraction Watch.
RW is a service that tracks, as the name suggests, retractions and corrections published in scientific and professional journals.
When I first ran across RW, I thought: Wow. How can there be enough retractions to publish a daily list?
Turns out there are way more than you'd have thought.
In fact, there are so many it's kind of depressing to realize how many scientists and researchers just make stuff up and then get it published in unsuspecting publications.
But, the pressure is on now more than ever for researchers to publish or perish. And the amount of money involved is less and less.
Unfortunately, scientists are just as human as the rest of us and just as prone to serve their own selfish interests.
A whirlwind flop
The New Day wasn't born dead. Just almost.
It was a new daily newspaper launched in Great Britain. It was available in print only. It launched 10 weeks ago. It died this week.
Lots of other newspapers are dying. They're just taking a lot longer.
For the same reason The New Day wasn't destined to live beyond a couple of months: Nobody gets their news that way anymore. Well, some do, but fewer and fewer, and they are grayer and grayer and, thus, less and less likely to buy products that appear in the ads that pay the bills for newspaper publishers.
The American-Statesman is clearly sputtering, for example. Only a desperate group of Texas newsies would quit covering Friday Night Football and Saturday Night Football to save money. Alas, there went the A-S, following The New Day, only with a publishing empire that can't imagine just going quietly into that good night.
There will be no New Day for print newspapers.
The New Day stated the obvious.
Gaming the systerm
The results of this experiment seem intuitive, if you know anything about boys.
The test was conducted in a small set of third-grade classrooms in France.
Only a handful of boys and girls were involved. They were asked to read a passage and underline the names of animals. When the kids were told that the test was a reading assessment, the boys did worse than the girls. When the kids were told it was a contest or game, the boys did better than the girls.
The conclusion: Boys beat girls at reading -- if the exercise is called a game.
I'm not surprised. Boys, from the time they are little bitty, are challenged to this or that competition. They learn early on to play the game and try to win.
That seems to be true not just in America, but in France, as well. And maybe that's just a universal situation.
I don't know, but I do know that this competitive spirit serves boys either well or ill, depending on how you see them in the workplace, marriage and retirement.
A truly great book if ...
My son and daughter-in-law had their first and probably only child last July, and for the first many months they didn't expect him to sleep through the night.
Then, a few months ago, they wondered if they would ever again get a full night's rest themselves. You know how it goes: up and down, up and down.
About that time, I ran across a book called "The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Sleep," and I looked at it and read it and thought, Wow, what a great idea for a book. I bought it and gave it to them.
I guess it didn't do much good because a couple of weeks ago, they actually bought the services of a professional child counselor to tell them how to get the boy to sleep through the night. (They don't ask their grandparents because, well, we only raised seven children between us, and most of them learned to sleep through the night before they were 10 months of age.)
Mark O'Connell, who writes for The New York Times Sunday magazine, is not quite so stubborn. He got the book for his child, and, voila!, it worked.
I think it will work for your child, too.
It will have you nodding off right with them at bedtime.
Heroes vs. Action Heroes
They're still reading
Maybe no bias
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