Friday, February 25, 2011

Book News: Teacher Protests, Lisa Simpson's Reading List, & Why Borders Went Bankrupt

I'm not going to make a habit of using this blog as a political platform. However, because it's been in the news and because it relates to education (and therefore, reading and books, in my opinion), I want to call attention to the protests going on in Wisconsin. (And Ohio. And Tennessee. And many other states.) As an educator, I feel the bills being presented in state legislatures across the country are decidedly anti-teacher. Consequently, they are also anti-education and anti-student. Teachers are expected to do a difficult job, all while facing a nation full of critics. I love this article, written by educator Shaun Johnson, whose perspective is interesting because of his wife's attending medical school. It discusses the ironies of "grading" educators based on student achievement scores by wondering how this would fly if it were doctors being compensated based on whether or not their patients are successfully "cured."

Also in my "dislike" radar this week (although I have to be fair and say that I have not seen it): the documentary Waiting for Superman, "a deeply personal exploration of the current state of public education in the U.S. and how it is affecting our children" (quote pulled directly from the movie's website). Given that most of the clips I've seen blast public education rather than focus on "exploring" it, I have to question how much of a positive impact the documentary will have on education.

Barnes & Noble announced this week that it will begin selling self-published e-books. According to book news blog Galleycat, the bookseller conducted its first training class on using the self-publishing software PubIt! in its Santa Monica location on Thursday night.

In fun book news this week (somehow I missed this, but Galleycat mentioned it last week), there is now a Lisa Simpson Book Club Tumblr blog. The bookworm cartoon character (who I've even likened myself to) discusses her favorite reads, all mentioned in previous episodes of The Simpsons.

One update on previously mentioned news: A former Borders employee offered six reasons why he believes the bookseller went bankrupt, via Galleycat. One thing he mentions? Their focus on selling music rather than books.

Also, a book making lots of news this week (I've seen it mentioned at least twice in the past two days): Poser: my life in twenty-three yoga poses by Claire Dederer. NPR interviewed Dederer last weekend about the book, then when my Bookmarks Magazine arrived earlier in the week, they had also reviewed it. Bookmarks states that the book is not really a yoga book, or a how-to book, but a personal memoir that is " actually a book about life." Since I LOVE yoga and memoirs I can't wait to pick up this book.

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