Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday movie madness (Wednesday edition) and is the Internet making us stupid? (FB to blog)

Monday Movie Madness, *Wednesday edition.* After 3 jam-packed days at PALA (PA library conference), today was filled with laundry, learning about Skype, grocery shopping and paying bills. 

So, to round it out, I spent 93 minutes sitting in a dark theater. I went to see "Enough Said," which made me laugh and cry and laugh some more. B, don't know if you will like it, as there were awkward moments, but you might. In the theater, we were all shouting at the screen, which is one of the wonderful things about going to the movies with a bunch of strangers in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. 


So...after a weekend at PALA where everything internet was touted as all wonderful and the wave of the future and YOU MUST JOIN, it was refreshing to listen to the following debate show on Q with Jian Ghomeshi. So far, it's 50/50, as to whether the internet makes you smarter or dumber. 

I loved hearing from the twentysomething father who has taken his family back to 1986, complete with "hockey hair," as described by Jian.

Q debate special: Is the internet making us smarter or stupider? 


EXHAUSTED. The end. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Agreeing with Neil Gaiman...on libraries.

This is fascinating. I knew there were studies saying fiction made you more empathic, and I know avid readers who are jerks, so I was wondering about that.

But this is about innovation. Apparently, in China, they were missing out on innovation. (Really?) And they did a study. Well, I'll let Neil tell it:

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It's simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Yeah. Stretching your imagination helps you innovate.

Read the rest here. It's good stuff. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Agreeing with Roger Sutton...

This was going to be a comment on Read Roger. There's a study out there about "literary literature" being better for you than "popular fiction." But my comment got too wordy and I lost my nerve. But I'll post it here:

Studies are interesting animals. There is one out there that two cups of hot chocolate will fight dementia. Oh, and another one that fish oil actually ISN'T good for brain health. Well, I'm not going to start on two cups of hot chocolate a day (I think my cardiologist and waistline would protest) and I'm not going to stop taking fish oil, which does other wonderful things.

I used to think that reading made you a better person, but I have discovered that it only makes you a more interesting person to other people who read.

When I was a girl, I had a teacher who clucked her teeth that I read lots of Nancy Drew. She thought I should read harder books. But the reading that I did then? Was for escape. To get me out of my life. I actually remember some of the Nancy Drew plots MORE than some of the "literary fiction" that won awards. And I did read other books. I enjoyed BOTH Nancy Drew and Newbery Award Winning books. When I was a children's librarian, I always told parents, (especially the ones who thought Junior should be reading Anna Karenina at age 8), "Children read two levels below their reading level for recreational reading. And you WANT them to read recreationally, because it's the only way they will stay readers for the rest of their lives."

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Stolen (and slightly embellished) from my FB postings. This is a safer place to keep them...

The New York Times has published an article, saying that branch libraries could be our refuge from the next storm.

Of course I love this idea, as a librarian. But it makes *a lot* of sense. More disasters will come. A personal story: when a power outage wiped out a lot of houses near the Barnes & Noble where I worked in Virginia, the bookstore was teeming with people coming in from the cold. This was before wifi was something people even knew about. But we had chairs, coffee, and books, and our heat was working.

From the article: "The New York Review of Books, apropos the closing of neighborhood libraries in London, libraries are 'the only thing left on the high street that doesn’t want either your soul or your wallet.'"


Thinking of other "power" readers as I plow through a book I never thought I'd consider reading after the disaster that was Eat Pray Love: Elizabeth Gilbert's novel is GOOD. Maybe she should stick to fiction? LAF, Babelbabe, are you/have you read it? I'm halfway through. Of course, my father and I could discuss it b/c he'd read the book review. (My father is like the character Tom in the movie "Metropolitan," who only reads book reviews.)

The title is forgettable though. I had to just google it to get the link, below:

Oooh, but this link describes her research, which is what I'm interested in.  

And b/c I can't shut up about a book that could still disappoint me b/c I'm only halfway through, I'd like to point out that Eliz Gilbert has been publishing for 20 years!! So when she was "given" the book proposal money to go do Eat Pray Love, people in publishing knew she had the chops. If you haven't read EPL, I recommend ONLY reading the Italian part (Eat) b/c it really is lovely. 

(Which is why I hated the book in the end, b/c the Pray and Love parts were hideous, in my humble humble opinion.)