Reading Room Blog
She took the throne as a young and somewhat malleable girl, married for love, and spent the greater part of her reign as the formidable Widow of Windsor. Her children and grandchildren held thrones throughout Europe, and the Age of Victoria was known for both domestic reform and colonial conquest. Her long and fascinating life has been the subject of numerous books, films, and television series.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
These days are brim full of bad news about our economy—businesses closing, people losing their houses, their jobs. If there’s any comfort in a situation like this, it’s in the fact that there’s a big community of sufferers. Here’s a poem by Dana Bisignani, who lives in Indiana, that describes what it feels like to sit through a bankruptcy hearing.
What made Jay Leno crave an audience? What lesson did Steve Forbes learn early and never forget? What influenced Steve Wozniak?
Children’s literature specialist Anita Silvey conducted interviews with these three and over 100 other people in the arts, business, and sciences to discover what inspired and influenced them as children. The result is her new book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book, Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life.”
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
This marks the fourth time we’ve published a poem by David Baker, one of my favorite writers. Baker lives in Granville, Ohio, and teaches at Denison University. He is also the poetry editor for the distinguished Kenyon Review.
Old Man Throwing a Ball
Some books seem to fly under the radar. They don’t garner the big awards or make the bestseller lists, they’re just quietly checked out of libraries over and over again. One of my new favorites in this category is “The Thumb in the Box” by Ken Roberts.
It begins, “This is a story about a fire truck being driven into the ocean and two people taking off their thumbs. Don’t worry, though. Nobody gets hurt.” No self-respecting third grade audience will let you stop reading after that!
On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Caroline Weber of Barnard College and author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, will give a talk on the style icon.
She was one of the world's most famous chefs, but in her long life she had also been a high school basketball player and top secret researcher, as well as making appearances on TV shows ranging from her own myriad cooking series to The Cosby Show to Sesame Street to a beloved parody on Saturday Night Live. She was as much a cultural institution as a culinary artist.
The gold medals get all the attention at the Olympics, but winners of the silver and bronze medals are proud, too. So it goes with children’s book awards as well. Anyone would be thrilled to win the Newbery or Caldecott Medals, but earning an Honor (as the runners-up are called) is nothing to sneeze at.
This year’s honor books – and yes, they earn a silver medal – include one of those fascinating true stories that makes readers say, “how come I never knew that?”
No discussion of twentieth-century science fiction writing can be complete without mention of Isaac Asimov, the biochemistry professor and visionary writer who was responsible for creating the popular characterization of robots and incorporating themes of social science into “hard” science fiction. His most popular works, the Foundation trilogy and the I, Robot series, are considered landmarks of science fiction to this day.