A humble little blog about books, information, and other things that are good to know.

Heat Wave!

Anguilla

Image via Dev Carib.

It’s hot out there.

Here in the Greater Toronto Area, which is not typically known for its hot weather, we’re experiencing temperatures around 32°C, but with a humidex of at least 40°C. And it will be that way for at least three long days.

There are various schools of thought on how to deal with this kind of heat, at least from a reader’s perspective. I’m a fan of cranking the a/c and “thinking cold”; the novel on my nightstand right now takes place in the Arctic. (More on that one in a future post.) But I know there are all kinds of ways to handle the heat. What’s your style?

Whatever you do to beat the heat, let me offer up a selection of summer reads to accompany you while you do it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cover art for Enter Three Witches by Caroline B. Cooney.

Image via Scot’s Blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Author Ray Bradbury, photographed with a black cat.

Image via The Alien Next Door.

The news has just traveled into my corner of the blogosphere: Ray Bradbury has died. I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely sure before this whether he was still living. But it hardly matters, because his writing is undying.

Ray Bradbury believed that whether we burned books didn’t matter; if we failed to read and share them, we might as well be burning them. In tribute to him, science-fiction fans all over the Internet are making plans to return to his short fiction, essays, novels, and poetry as a fitting farewell tribute. That’s not a bad idea. After all, the man himself would have wanted to see his words outlive him, encouraging people to think.

Read the rest of this entry »

I won’t tell you not to read Fifty Shades of Grey and its accompanying sequels, all written by E.L. James. It’s against every grain of my librarian instinct to try to prevent reading, or to shame people over their reading choices. But I can’t keep silent either.

I’m partway through the book – reading it together with a friend – and I feel like there are a few things I have to put out there that have really troubled me as I’ve worked my way through the story. I’m not looking to turn people off the books, but I do hope that anyone who chooses to read them will do so with a bit more critical thought for having heard what I’ve got to say.

Read the rest of this entry »

Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins

Image via National Post.

Today’s episode of Ontario Today on CBC radio featured an interview with Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins, who argues that anti-bullying legislation giving students the right to form gay-straight alliances infringes on freedom of religion. It’s less than fifteen minutes long and well worth listening to, primarily because of the way Collins deals with the question of Catholic doctrinal objections to homosexuality and whether those are at the root of his objection to GSAs.

Because he doesn’t.

It’s a bit of amusing to listen to him straining so hard to avoid the very blatant question, “Is this really about Catholic teachings on sexuality?” It really obviously is. You can’t complain that gay-straight alliances infringe on Catholic religious freedom without calling attention to the fact that Catholicism is very much against homosexuality. But gosh darn it, he sure does try.

In order to skirt the issue of church teaching on homosexuality, Collins essentially invents a made-up world in which the government forces GSAs on schools that don’t want any, while non-LGBT victims of bullying get ignored in favour of the glamorous gay kids. Then he describes what he finds objectionable about that scenario. He’s right. That’s a horrible way to combat bullying . . . but it’s got nothing to do with what is actually being proposed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Teresa Tomeo

Image via Endow Groups.

This morning I was listening to Catholic Answers Live, a thing I sometimes do because I like to see how the religion of my youth is motoring along these days. And a recent episode, called “Parents’ Role in Chastity Education”, gave me real food for thought with these remarks:

Basic cable network MTV’s head of programming David Janollari has stated that his network’s goal is to reach out to twelve-to-thirty-four year olds. And what kind of content does Mr. Janollari think is appropriate for the twelve-year-olds he’s targeting? A graphic sex program, of course. In April MTV recruited Dan Savage, author of the tabloid sex column ‘Savage Love’, to lead the network’s new program Savage U. So I’ll just leave it there. Now you can imagine the content on this show.

Guest host Teresa Tomeo was, in part, quoting an article she’d read somewhere, adding her own commentary along the way. I won’t venture to guess which parts she was reading aloud and which were her comments, because that wouldn’t be fair.  But the language, whoever wrote it, says it all – “graphic sex program”, “tabloid sex column”, and that rather sarcastic “what does Mr. Janorelli think is appropriate?” It’s clearly calling on parents to get really worried about pornographic programming for preteens being broadcast all over the filthy airwaves.

It’s time for a little perspective.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading With Mom

Two children reading with their mother.

Image via About.com.

Today Twitter gave us a hashtag librarians can hardly help but love: #readingwithmom. Who doesn’t have a sweet memory of shared hours spent with the grown-up who lovingly brought them into contact with the beautiful, imaginative, and somehow extra-grown-up world of books? Or of the classic stories that came to life in those treasured moments?

For me, it was about reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with my dad before bed. It created a Tolkien addiction that I still can’t quite get over, even to this day. I even have an Eowyn costume stored away in my closet. (Nerd!) What did you and your parents – or maybe you and your children – read together? Is it still staying with you even to this day?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tag Cloud