March is Women’s History Month! In honor of this 28th anniversary of the event, we have installed a display and browsing shelf that highlights the library collection. The display illustrates the progress that women have made throughout history and across the globe. The books on the browsing shelf showcase different …
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Just for Fun
A while back, our food blogger, Cortney, did a post on Paddington Bear’s favorite… marmalade! At the time she decided to forgo creating a Style by the Book post but I couldn’t resist taking on Paddington’s iconic toggle coat. I added in plenty of marmalade as well! I think Paddington would approve.
Dear Readers of the Wheelock College Library Blog,
Have you ever written a love letter . . . be it a note passed before gym class, a hand-written card picked just for that special someone, or a double-spaced, proofread, edited piece of perfection that expresses your thoughts just so? I believe in the power of mail, particularly the variety on which you put a stamp, but electronic can be equally meaningful. The entries I write here on this blog are my love letters to books; if someone picks up a book I recommended and feels something, my letter would have done its job.
Here listed for you are a few of my favorite epistolary novels, unscientifically chosen and in no particular order.
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: Evil is real and its employees are legion. Wormwood, a younger demon recently under such employ of Lucifer, receives advice from elder demon Screwtape about how to best torment Wormwood’s assigned human. Lewis appeals to readers regardless of their beliefs; the idea of temptation, fall, and redemption are explored on a very human level.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker: Letters also reveal the nature of good and evil in Alice Walker’s classic, though the tormenters in this novel are very much human. Protagonist Celie writes first to God and then to her sister, about pain, sorrow, joy and hard-won triumph. Also available as an e-book!
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira: This contemporary young adult novel begins with a school assignment: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel picks Kurt Cobain because her late sister May loved him. Laurel, inspired by the assignment, keeps writing letters to other famous people gone too soon. Through Laurel’s letters, the reader moves with her from grief to the truth of her experience.
Why we Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman: This book is written in letters, but it is really a book about a box. Min collected all of the items that defined the moments of her relationship with Ed. He dumps her, and so she dumps the box, along with her thoughts about its contents, on Ed’s porch. Though heartbreak is fresh, there is a post script that suggest the hope of a new love.
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary: Also a book about a school assignment, Leigh Botts writes to his favorite author over the course of several years, later keeping a diary of his thoughts rather than sending them. In writing to Mr. Henshaw (both real and imagined), Leigh comes to terms with his parents’ divorce, a school lunch thief, and his own emerging desire to be a writer. Leigh’s voice is pitch- perfect for a little boy, but appeals to anyone who has been forced to write to someone else, only to find him or herself.
These five books are my favorite epistolary stories because they demonstrate how personal storytelling affects not just the reader, but the writer as well. Letters start in one place and end in another; a good story takes the reader along for the ride. These stories show love, lost love, despair, hope. So often the movement from one to the other is not linear, rather the good and the bad are jumbled up together. Clean lines are erased and roughly drawn, not unlike the pencil and eraser markings of a note from a friend.
In my last blog entry, I noted that I would be attempting NaNoWriMo; that is, I would try to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Succinctly put: I failed. Utterly. Miserably. Horribly. Failed.
Week one went well. I wrote 10,000 words. I don’t think that there was much plot, character development, or any setting of which to speak within the 10,000. But oh there were words. When week two rolled in, however, my little boy got sick. Then I got what he had. Then his sister got it. And the thought of sitting down to write became so daunting I began actively avoiding nouns, verbs, a few adjectives, and most adverbs. By week three I was so far in the hole that I wore my shame like a warm hug. And week four? Why do they even have National Novel Writing Month in November anyway? It’s barren, freezing, dark, cold and flu season, and the gateway into winter holiday preparation! Why would I have even wanted to finish?
The grapes of NaNoWriMo are very sour.
Nonetheless, I have 10,000 more words than I had at the beginning of November. That’s something, as the good people of NaNoWriMo are quick to point out. It is better to have written a few words than not to have written at all. And for those like me who don’t always reach the goal on the first try, I give you a bibliography for reflection. The books listed below demonstrate that if at first you don’t succeed (or even on the second, third, fourth, or fifth try), you still might be okay.
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Lloso
3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier ( J C815c)
4. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (J Sp4s)
5. Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
6. Taking Off by Jenny Moss
7. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
8. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
9. Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
10. I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
While of course food is wonderful for eating, it is also a great way to enter the world of science and engage young learners. The Wheelock Library and the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation both have great resources to bring food in to the classroom or science in to the kitchen! Check out these two books available now!
This book is organized around food related questions like “How do sauces thicken?” or topics like “Make your own cheese.” Each topic is followed by an experiment that helps address the subject and answer science questions. Then a number of recipes follow using the food addressed in the experiment. The mix of science plus tasty recipes means you can go to this book for both food, fun, and education!
This book takes the science aspect of food to a new level by answering fun and interesting questions about food, and offering sciences experiments. For example: “Did you know you are being eaten right now by the 300,000 microbes on each dime-sized section of your skin? That you can make the soil in your yard suitable for growing anything? That a field mouse eats its own weight every day, while you eat about one ton of food each year- some one and a quarter million calories?” According to Barnes and Noble, all of the answers can be found in this book!
So bring learning to the kitchen. Have fun, learn, and eat deliciously!