Monday Minutiae 02.24.2020

Vocabulary Quiz

Minnesota Hot (adj.): Any temperature above 32 degrees after several days of sub-zero temperatures, + sun.

It’s been a beautiful weekend here in the Twin Cities and when I went for a walk on Saturday afternoon, 40 degrees almost felt like 80. We’re far from being done with winter, but the break from “really” cold sure feels hopeful.

Spelling List

This tweet spoke to me:

Look, I know it’s a U.S. English thing to spell “grey” with an “a”, but it is not wrong to spell it the nicer way. I mean, imagine Captain Picard asking for “Tea. Earl GrAy. Hot.” You simply cannot. Let us have our nice, correct spellings, please. (Unless it means adding in stray “u”s where they’re not needed. That’s just weird.)

Think-Pair-Share

The above header, btw, is NOT what happened before Random Penguin and Barnes & Noble joined forces to create the absurd, “Diverse Editions” books. As in, taking old, “classic” novels, having an AI search the text for any racially descriptive markers of the characters, then putting new covers on any that did not explicitly give a race for primary characters in an effort to make them more inclusive. As if simply changing the color of the character’s skin magically changed their race and identity.

WTAF.

It’s what many have called literary blackface and the idea was so bad, it’s amazing it ever got through several layers of approval. Within 24 hours of announcing this launch, they ditched the project. (Here is another thread from Justina Ireland that breaks it all down well, too.)

Part of their goal, apparently, was to get kids more engaged with the classics and honestly, I don’t understand why their first thought wasn’t to broaden their definition of “classics” to include books that actually feature and were written by authors of color. Look how far publishing hasn’t come.

Literary Canon

So, hey, are you looking to expand your reading to be more inclusive? Do you feel like you just can’t “find” #ownvoices titles?

Please bookmark this fabulous database project by Alaysia Jordan. And share widely.

Auditory Processing

Audio books have become a huge market, which makes me super happy. “Get off of my lawn” folks might still try to argue that “listening” to books is not “reading”, but whatever—I’ll stay off of their lawns if they stay off of mine.

A good reader/narrator (or set of them) can reach your reader soul in different ways than reading the same book in print. Recently, Libro.fm (the rising alternative to Audible, which I’m getting ready to switch to, btw, because does Amazon really need more of my money? No, no it does not) asked on Twitter about listening speeds. In response, Michael Crouch, an audiobook reader said this:

And I know there are many of you out there who listen at fast speeds, but I’m with Crouch, part of the beauty and art of the audiobooks is that narration. Did we ever tell our parents/grandparents/elementary school teachers to “talk faster” when reading stories aloud to us?

I’m not saying I think you’re wrong to listen to a book at faster speed, but I do think some of the artistic beauty of the book is lost by doing so.

Unit Study

Speaking of Michael Crouch, he happened to be one of the narrators for the YA novel I just finished listening to that has sunk into my soul: Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian. It takes place in 1989, among the height of AIDS research activism. It brought forth a rush of memories and new connections for a time where I was aware, but not fully absorbing it all. Stepping out now to re-listen to all the Madonna, re-watch Long Time Companion and finish watching Season 1 of Pose while impatiently waiting for season 2 to get to Netflix.

Currently Reading (audio): Dominicana — Angie Cruz

 Currently Reading (print): Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

Song of the Week:

Well, a Madonna one, of course. Didn’t you just read the last paragraph of my post? 😀

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