NOTE: Students are to pick TWO of the final four posts - 1. Anthropomorphic Animals, 2. The Adult's Inner Child. 3. Junot Diaz (and a guy named Neil), and 4. David Almond or Dodie Smith. Comments should be posted no later than Weds. May 3. If you were habitually late with blog posts (i.e. need a little extra credit), I strongly suggest doing all four.
Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the combined
reading and viewing linked or noted below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to
additionally respond to other student reactions.
DAVID ALMOND. Read and excerpt from The Fire-eaters HERE & Raven Summer HERE. Then read an interview HERE.
THE FIRE-EATERS by David Almond: "He crouched in front of me. His skin glistened. I caught the smoky sweaty
scent of him. I caught the sour smell of the river flowing darkly
nearby. I looked into the black center of his eyes. "There is a box here, bonny," he told me. He slid a casket to my feet. "Open it," he said. I did nothing. "Open it, Bobby," he whispered. With
trembling fingers, I opened it. Inside were needles and pins and
fishhooks and skewers and knives and scissors, some of them all rusted,
some of them all bright. "Take out something awful," he said. "Take out the thing that you think should make the most pain." I stared into his eyes, so deep and dark. "Do it, Bobby," he said. I took out a silver skewer, as long as my forearm. It had a Saracen's head as a handle. The point was needle-sharp. He shuddered. "Well chosen, Bobby."" Click heading to read the rest of the excerpt.
RAVEN SUMMER by David Almond: "It starts and ends with the knife. I find it in the garden. I'm with Max
Woods. We're messing about, digging for treasure, like we did when we
were little kids. As always there's nothing but stones and roots and
dust and worms. Then there it is, just below the surface, a knife with a
wooden handle in a leather sheath. I lever it out of the earth. The
curved blade's all tarnished, the handle's filthy, the sheath's
blackened and stiff and starting to rot away." Click heading to read the rest of the excerpt.
"[I Capture the Castle] has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met." – J. K. Rowling
I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith: "I
write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the
rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's
blanket and the tea cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and
there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part
of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that
sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring. I
wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen house. Though even that
isn't a very good poem. I have decided my poetry is so bad that I
mustn't write any more of it." Click heading to read the rest of the excerpt.
WELCOME CASSANDRA by Chloe Schama: "DO YOU EVER worry that you’ve read it all—not
all of it, of course, but all the books that prompt that
flashlight-under-the-covers, can’t-stop-till-I’m-done, giddy glee? The
fear strikes me sometimes, when I’m scanning bookstore tables piled high
with novels set in Brooklyn or Forks, Washington, or skimming through
the lesser works of my literary loves." Click heading to read the rest of the article.
"Ashamed of reading YA? The fault lies not in our stars but in our stores" by Alexandra Petri: "Ah, the arbitrary divisions of bookstores. Now it’s “Young Adult” and “Serious Fiction for Older Adults” and “Romance” and “Science Fiction.” In Dickens’s day, “Books About Winsome Orphans” and “Books About Prostitutes With Hearts of Gold” stood where “Teen Paranormal Romance” and “YA But Specifically YA About Finding Yourself” (a category I actually saw at a Barnes & Noble recently) stand today. I’m sure they evoked about equal measures of sneering. (Dickens was especially gifted and managed to get his book stocked on both shelves, guaranteeing that "Oliver Twist" would be a platinum-level bestseller.)" Click heading to read the rest of the article.
"Can 35 Million Book Buyers be Wrong? Yes." by Harold Bloom: "Taking arms against Harry Potter, at this moment, is to emulate Hamlet taking arms against a sea of troubles. By opposing the sea, you won't end it. The Harry Potter epiphenomenon will go on, doubtless for some time, as J. R. R. Tolkien did, and then wane." Click heading to read to open PDF and read the rest of the essay.