Commonplace Post (14)

I’ve found lots of interesting things this week! Like always, click on an image to go to its site.

Edward Gorey’s Never-Before-Seen Letters and Illustrated Envelopes @ Brain Pickings

When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids:

“It makes no sense to me that a test with the potential for shaping a student’s entire future has so little apparent relevance to adult, real-world functioning. Who decided the kind of questions and their level of difficulty? Using what criteria? To whom did they have to defend their decisions? As subject-matter specialists, how qualified were they to make general judgments about the needs of this state’s children in a future they can’t possibly predict? Who set the pass-fail “cut score”? How?”

Sort of related: Lauren McLaughlin & Scott Westerfeld Take the SAT

Welcome to the Age of Overparenting @ Boston Magazine

Document: The Symbolism Survey:

In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?

My Kindle Made Me A B*tch @ Amused, Bemused and Confused

How Heathcliff got a ‘racelift’ @ The Guardian
Sort of related: Yes, There Are Black People in Your “Hunger Games”: The Strange Case of Rue & Cinna:

I’m a longtime Hunger Games fan and have followed many conversations on the internet concerning the casting of the film. Whenever the conversation comes to Rue there is always (1) person who is surprised to find out Rue is black and (2) another person who is upset that Rue is black. Upset as if they have been tricked or as if something has been stolen from them. Upset as if they now have to reevaluate how they feel about Rue–a character many fans love dearly because of her incredible courage.

Horn Book Fanfare 2011 @ The Horn Book. I’ve read four of the books chosen for the list, which makes me feel super cool.

Callette shawl @ Knitty. It’s based off of a Diana Wynne Jones book!

Follow-up on yesterday’s rant:

I didn’t address it fully (or adequately) in the William Morrow piece I wrote yesterday, but beyond the annoying claims put forth in that letter was this sense that it was written in part to address those who may be receptive to being a book lobbyist sort of reviewer. This galls me. Not the WM letter as much as the growing sense I’ve had that too many erstwhile critics are becoming too close to their clients and that the relationship does not have the necessary “distance” that would benefit both the reviewer and the publisher who wants a firmer gauge on what stories appeal to which audiences. Giveaways by themselves are harmless, but the perception that the review is the “hook” for the giveaway is an insidious one that hints at a possible internal decay of the review infrastructure. Who can trust those who may have lost their critical eye?

Like reading Harry Potter? Take part in our survey @ Pottermore Insider

6 thoughts on “Commonplace Post (14)”

  1. I love the “Black People in Hunger Games” post! The authors hired to play Cinna and Rue look wonderful. I can’t wait to see it. I was a little disappointed because I didn’t picture Katniss as looking like the hired actress but oh well.

    1. I haven’t read the books, but I was under the assumption that Katniss was more Greek-looking? I’m probably not going to see the movie anyway, so it doesn’t really matter, lol. I was just shocked that people felt “tricked” when they found out there were non-white characters in the books. Ugh.

    1. I’m tempted to try doing it myself! Even if that isn’t my favorite DWJ book. I wonder if there’s Chrestomanci-related knitting patterns out there?

  2. The Heathcliff and Hunger Games articles were very interesting. It didn’t take me long after the casting announcements to get sick of people whining about the choices. I think it’s awful that people were/are making a stink about the casting of Cinna and Rue, just because it doesn’t match up with what was in their heads – especially when what was in their heads was not according to what was in the book. I think Jennifer Lawrence, the actress who was cast as Katniss, is very good – I saw her in the movie Winter’s Bone – so I look forward to seeing her play Katniss.

    1. Yup! And it’s especially silly since Cinna/Rue apparently weren’t overly described anyway, which means they could technically looks like anyone and it’d be “correct.”

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