Archive for August, 2009

Thanks to a really nasty summer cold, my brain is still mush and not quite up to working on the review posts I have brewing.

So instead I will link to this very interesting article in the NYTimes:
A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like

And then talk about it:

I think this is a fantastic program, and only wish that I could have had the opportunity to experience a program like this in school. Right up front: I love to read, I come from a family of readers, and I was always in the “smart kid” classes. That being said, I really despised most of the assigned reading I had to do in school, and think it was an utter waste of everyone’s time. Grapes of Wrath? Hated it, and have no desire to read anything else by Steinbeck. Red Badge of Courage? Didn’t like it, and thought it was boring. Billy Budd? REALLY hated it, and would rather scrub bathrooms (a chore I despise) than read Moby Dick. And so on and so forth. In fact, the only required reading I liked was the Shakespeare, but I already liked Shakespeare before I had to start reading it for school, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. That’s it, out of 12 years of school. (I’m skipping college and grad school in this argument, because those are a bit different, but honestly, I hated almost all of the assigned readings there as well.)

Being forced to read a difficult book that may or may not Teach an Important Life Lesson is going to do nothing to make a reluctant reader more receptive to reading–it will only reinforce their opinion that reading is too hard, and that books not worth the time and effort it takes to get through them.

I do think there should be guidance by a teacher, and I do think that there should be expectations that the books become more engaging (or difficult, or challenging, or sophisticated, or however you want to phrase it) as the school year progresses. I do think there should still be (excerpts of) books that all the students read, but that those should not be the bulk of the course readings.

Meg Cabot hits it on the nose:
How to Foster a Hatred For Reading

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The End of the Rainbow

‘Reading Rainbow’ Reaches Its Final Chapter

I loved this show when I was younger. In fact, it’s been on the air for almost as much of my life as I can remember. It did so much to instill a love for reading in children, and the producers did an excellent job of selecting books to highlight on the show. I remember how excited I was to have my own copy of a book that had been featured on the show, and I’m really saddened that it’s not going to be around for me to watch with my hypothetical children.

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I Haz a Cold

i can has  sikc day
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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Computer Help

Some days, I really wish I could hand this out.

From xkcd

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Twilight Twidbits

I’m wearing my Twi-Tour shirt today (which some friends of mine very kindly picked up for me when they were there; picture later as I haven’t found it on The Google yet), and since it’s been a while, here’s a few things I’ve been saving:

They have made US and UK Twilight tie-in versions of Wutherine Heights. The mind boggles.

How Stephenie Meyer got her deal.

And a comic book bio of Stephenie Meyer.

There’s also a Twilight-inspired, um, personal massager but I’m *so* not linking to that. You can find it on your own!

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This film is an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and I adore it. Unlike “Bride & Prejudice,” it’s a more realistic modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen set in India. (But I like B&P as well, make no mistake.)

Sowmiya and Meenu live with their mother and younger sister in their grandfather’s house. The girls’ mother has returned to care for her very ill father, despite having been disinherited years earlier for marrying someone he did not approve of. She’s also trying to get the two older girls married off to good husbands.

Through a misunderstanding, Sowmiya (the older, more serious sister) meets Manohar, an aspiring film director. She is initially embarrassed by his persistent interest in her, but eventually agrees to marry him after he has directed his first film.

Meenu (the impulsive, younger sister) meets Srikanth in a rainstorm, and is literally swept off her feet by his dramatic and romantic gestures. Blinded by her passion, Meenu fails to notice Bala, the somewhat gruff ex-army officer and ex-alcoholic who has a decided soft spot for her.

But then their grandfather dies, and Sowmiya, Meenu, and the rest of their family are ejected from their home. How will they manage to survive in Madras with no money, no home, and no jobs?

If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, or seen Ang Lee’s fabulous film adaptation, you know how the story ends.

There are several videos I like from this movie (and one *extremely* silly one featuring the castle from “Highlander”) but this is probably my favorite:

Despite what the poster (and my tag) say, this isn’t a Bollywood film, since it’s in Tamil rather than Hindi. But since it’s the only Tamil film I’ve ever seen, I’m not making a new tag. And yes, I know Madras is now called Chennai, but the characters in the film still refer to it as Madras, so I have as well.

Source: personal copy

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Quickfire List

In anticipation of the new season of Top Chef starting tonight (and the season finale of Top Chef Masters; I’m torn between Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller), here are some food-related books I’ve enjoyed:

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Heat by Bill Buford
Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica
Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey
Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan
How To Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

And three from my to-read list:
Cooking Dirty by Jason Sheehan
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
The End of Overeating by David Kessler

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Pavlov and the Internet

A really interesting article from Slate: “Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous.”

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Sona wants to be a movie star. She’s played a few bit parts in not-quite-successful movies, but she’s still waiting for her big break, convinced it is just around the corner. Vikram, a recent transplant from Delhi, is taking acting classes as he also pursues his dream of becoming a star. Both are struggling to find their place in the film industry, but they choose to follow very different paths in attaining their goals. The two meet by chance, hit it off, and become friends, which then leads to the inevitable romantic involvement.

When megastar Zaffar Khan unexpectedly drops out of a major movie project, Vikram manages to land the role, due in no small part to Sona. But will this incredible stroke of luck change Vikram for the better or for the worse?

I really enjoyed this movie. Zoya Akhtar, the director, is from a filmi family, so she know the industry inside and out. But this isn’t an exposé of the seamy underbelly of the film world, or a fluffy, exuberant, and over-the-top celebration of Bollywood (for that, be sure to watch the excellent “Om Shanti Om”), but rather the story of two actors trying to get their big break, and how their lives change afterwards. It’s bittersweet and at times a bit idyllic, but overall an excellent movie that I’d recommend to both film buffs and Bollywood fans.

Official website

Source: personal copy

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I giggled really heard while reading this:

Harry Potter and the Year of Gryffindor Lurve by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Hee hee hee. 😀

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