A New York Times article explores a new approach to classroom literature and the Catch 22 that it creates. Inspire a love of reading by letting students choose their own books to read and assess? Or ensure a common body of literature and ease the weight of standardized testing by having all students read and analyze the classics together?
Most experts say that teachers do not have to choose between one approach or the other and that they can incorporate the best of both methods: reading some novels as a group while also giving students opportunities to select their own books. But literacy specialists also say that instilling a habit is as important as creating a shared canon.
At one time three-quarters of German television viewers tuned in. Now, when cable channels atomize viewers, more than seven million people still make a ritual of turning off their phones and getting together on Sundays at 8:15 p.m. for an hour and a half to catch the show at home or in bars, some of which, “Tatort” hangouts, receive advance DVDs so fans can pause the action before the killer is unveiled and collectively try to guess who did it.
— New York Times article about the German crime series Tatort, started in 1970 and still widely popular. It’s part of my Sunday evening routine and my favorite way to practice German. Es ist fantastisch.
“Although Wikipedia has prevented anonymous users from creating new articles for several years now, the new flagging system crosses a psychological Rubicon. It will divide Wikipedia’s contributors into two classes — experienced, trusted editors, and everyone else — altering Wikipedia’s implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries.”
New York Times article about the implementation of an editorial review requirement for changes made to the entries about living people.
“We’re fighting against this whole idea that everything people do has to be constantly chronicled. People think that every thought they have, every experience — if it is not captured, it is lost…When it’s off the record, you actually listen to the conversation, not just wait for your turn to speak.”
— Michael Maline in a New York Times article about the rise of offline parties, where guests are not allowed to blog, Tweet, or take pictures of the event. It seems that talking about it is even discouraged. Perhaps ‘offline’ really can exist.
Cleaning out my horribly overloaded inbox led me to unearth two great finds. This photo of the bookshelf of a writer with the initials E.W. The bookshelf of his holiday home is laden with books that, unfortunately for his friends, aren’t up for grabs. The second discovery was this NY Times article Essays about Love and Literary Taste, describing how similarity in favorite authors and books can be the start (or dissimilarity the end) to romance.
“Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed — or misguided — literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast. At least since Dante’s Paolo and Francesca fell in love over tales of Lancelot, literary taste has been a good shorthand for gauging compatibility.”
I was so pleased to hear Bill Cunningham’s recent On the Street audio slide show featuring the latest It item: the cardigan. As a staple in my wardrobe, it’s great to hear I’ve been ahead of the fashion curve. Cunningham, the New York Time’s candid photographer of street fashion, provides commentary that describes the evolution of the trend and its numerous manifestations. “It’s right back to where Chanel started. She took women out of the Edwardian, overdressed like hothouse orchids, and put them into everyday weeds, as you might say…It’s the modern woman stepping out of the decorative bondage of fashion and yet still looking attractive.” Oh, and there’s a nice jazzy intro for each of his reports.
A recent New York Times article by Penelope Green looked at the continuing art of letter writing. On customized stationery, to be precise. The effort of writing a sincere letter of gratitude and sending it punctually conjures a bit of nostalgia. Like any one-sided act, this could be quite demoralizing when unrequited. Nevertheless, the beauty of the gesture remains.
“…what are still called ‘social papers’ are thriving, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the prevailing digital culture…Stationery aficionados say the cost is worth it: for the feel of the artisan’s hand — cutting the die, sliding the tissue into the envelope, feeding the printing press — married to the effort of one’s own hand”
For several months now, the New York Times has been featuring the life stories of unique New Yorkers in the video collection One in 8 Million. From Alexandra Elman, the Blind Wine Taster, to Joel Karp, the Corner Druggist, these stories are anything but typical. They reflect the charm and character of the ‘average’ person on the street through first-person narratives and stunning black and white photographs.
This PBS interview with the producers of One in 8 Million gives added depth to the work behind the production.
Sunday morning reading the New York Times. I read this one aloud:
Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud by Verlyn Klinkenborg
“Reading aloud recaptures the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes a part of the body, which is why there is always a curious tenderness, almost an erotic quality, in those 18th- and 19th-century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud in mixed company. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading.”