Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Music Therapy Exercise

Using this list or your memory, if you're so lucky, create a soundtrack for your life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Curtains by Tom Jokinen

Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training.
Inside scoop on post death rigamarole, including multitude of new options and trends toward green burial. Interesting read by Canadian author who spent six months behind the scenes, hands-on. At 55 1/2, I'm glad to know there are cheaper alternatives for my final purchase. For those who stand on ceremony, Robert Anton Wilson's send off celebration ushers in a cyber-mystic new age of dying. If I had some extra cash, I wouldn't mind investing in an artisan urn from Graton California. Will add links to sites offering such goodies when I have a chance to do a little surfing.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Poetry Therapy II

personally edited version of The Descent of Winter by William Carlos Willams

This sadness of the sea--
waves of lifting and falling mood.

My writings are a sea
full of misspellings and
faulty sentences. Level. Troubled.

There are no perfect waves--

Sunday, October 03, 2010

by the bed

Curtains by tom jokinen; dreaming in chinese by deborah fellows; vamped by david sosnowski; house of many gods by kiana davenport
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.1

Monday, September 27, 2010

GABA and Creativity

Information on readers and writers in collaborative creative experience.
(To be edited for pertinent info at some future date.)

The Road to Oceania - William Gibson & Zero History: Reading had likely been his first drug.


In NYTimes, June 25, 2003, Gibson presents an idea that may have seeded ZERO HISTORY.
Read: "The collection and management of information, at every level, is exponentially empowered by the global nature of the system itself..." I.e., In every moment, our lives shape the world order and in turn are shaped my it.

As our lives become open books, the transparency of our collective lives creates a new relationship to time. Past and future exist simultateneously in the present. Knowing the present, being fully present, allows us to know and thus shape the future albeit in our own small way. Characters in Zero History embody extremes of influence, from the mild-mannered protagonist to the arms trading antagonist and many, many levels in between from FBI to fashionista.

Gibson, roughly: Ideas have lives of their own; the "order flow" wants to happen; we need to move with the flow or get out of its way, as stasis presents potential problems for simultaneous awareness and realization.

All this aside, my favorite line from the book was a one-off reference to the mediocrity of professionalism.
You've just gotta love Gibson for those underlying glimmers of the man behind the magic. Gibson invites us to see not just the man behind the curtain, but the curtain.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Like being in love: Reading

In skimming some of the sites earlier today, it dawned on me. (I love that saying "dawned on me.") Reading is like being in love. As in love, for a short time, we are taken out of ourselves and feel connected with something larger. Whether it's a character, the author, the setting, it's the connection to something that expands while encompassing (a magical word) our being.

Have you fallen in love lately?

random sampling of Google Alerts on query BIBLIOTHERAPY

Ooooo, must re-visit:

http://digitalcommons.library.unlv.edu/lib_articles/23/ (free download/other site charges $30)

A bit off topic but is timely and might be a good resource for bibliotherapy:

Collection of links to pdf documents, many free but others link to pay site (bahumbug) still worth it for the links that deliver:

Interesting "docstoc" articles readable without download or with:

Hello...This is NOT bibliotherapy, this is biblio prophesy: http://residueprojects.com/oracle/biblio-therapy-ladies-with-oracle-cornelius-agrippa.html/

This on the other hand is a step in the right direction. I could see it on my library's web page:


The concept of bibliotherapy is becoming more widespread and socially acceptable as fact:

Focus on biographies and gifted kids:

Alfred Adler Institute:

Prose before prozac & book clubs as thereapy:

Confused idea of bibliotherapy but nice links to reader related sites:

Links to academic papers that probably requries $$, but could probably be found for free with a bit of searching. (Reminder to self to see what's worth digging up and posting.):

Asperger's syndrome recommendation for a book that is a strong case of reading as therapeutic approach:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Anais Nin

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – Anais Nin

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fiction - the best book lists from Flashlight Worthy

Fiction - the best book lists from Flashlight Worthy: "- Looks to be a treasure chest for readers. There 's more than fiction on the site, I just chose the obvious based on my personal preference.

Peter Steinberg and Eric Mueller, who run the site, both love to read very, very much, and explain Flashlight Worthy is equal parts Peter's idea, Eric's coding, the suggestions of the Flashlight Worthy community, and the support of friends and family.

They take suggestions for their lists from the community at large, if you register and have something they agree needs adding.

If this isn't a jumping off place for bibliotherapy, I don't know what is. Well done, boys.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Read?

My fascination with bibliotherapy is rooted in a need for self validation, granted. But there are reasons we value reading of the pleasure variety. My heretofore undocumented intent for this blog is to keep me focused on this idea so that there may come a time when I can put all the pieces together and have something worth sharing.

Tonight (3:51 a.m.), eureka, we read for positive self reinforcement. That, and as an added benefit, we have a better chance of embedding something in our memory if it's in the form of a story. (There's a reason all religious leaders have been excellent storytellers...)

Then again, stories have multiple level impacts, one of which involving affecting our moods aka emotions aka neurotransmitters or brain chemistry. So...in effect, we could alter our mood, or state of mind, by what we are reading, i.e., reading alters our consciousness. Trippy, right?

So, if we tag what we read, not just with subject, author, title, keyword language, but take it to the next level and tag with how the reading made us feel, we would have a huge database equivalent to a literary drugstore of psychotropic and/or homeopathic remedies. (That is, if you are like me in that sometimes you find yourself not in the frame of mind you would like to be inhabiting and would like to lift to a preferable head space.

More on this, and please make suggestions on implementation of the above. The collaborative opportunity is a big part of what would make this work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cory Doctorow's FOR THE WIN and Alex Shakar's THE SAVAGE GIRL

Every now and then, synchronicity strikes and I find myself reading two books that dovetail thematically. Such is the case with For the Win and The Savage Girl. Both novels endeavor to awaken our sensitivities to the out-of-control influences extant in our late stage capitalism.

Doctorow's book is being marketed to young adults and the style and pacing is perfect for his market. Loved the book and the message: Solidarity! but missed a more adult approach to character development. That's where Shakar's book came to the rescue: slower plot development, but we have the opportunity to develop a little insight into the main characters.

Doctorow's book has been published recently and Shakar's in 2001. Both books voice a strong concern for our devolution as a species brought on through our enslavement to consumerism. Doctorow's gamers fight for standards, such as those safeguarded by unions. Shakar talks of a "post-ironic" society where we as consumers no longer exist outside of our "purchasing power" and constantly buy to self identify.

We are each alone unto our credit rating... "But," Shakar says, "hell is not necessarily other people, no, not necessarily; hell is being surrounded by people who share no solidarity, it's like dying of thirst on the bank of a contaminated river."

Why is this we may ask ourselves and Doctorow answers, "It's the stupid questions that have some of the most surprising and interesting answers. Most people never think to ask the stupid questions." And I would add to that the many are not asking for fear of being perceived as stupid because the question IS stupid. But, the stupidity rests in the question, not in the asking which is simply part and parcel of the inconceivable path we are all on that brings us to this "post-ironic" point in time, smug in our knowledge. Because, are we not spoon fed up to the minute news stories from all over the world? Do we not have access to mindboggling POV from diverse media as well as individuals, through social networking? Are we anything if not informed? BUT, can we take the information we receive and translate it into an understanding of the forces around us that governs our lives? There lies the rub.

My bathtub book during this same time frame further supported the theme. (This has been a very, very good week or two of reading.) One of my favorite authors, Aldous Huxley, touched on some of these same subjects in his TIME MUST HAVE A STOP. However, in true form, Huxley leads us to the subject from a more philosophical frame of mind: "...there's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." A principle that is in direct contradiction to his character of rich uncle Eustace who surmises, "So long as one was alive, death didn't exist, except for other people. And when one was dead, nothing existed, not even death. So why bother?"

Little does rich uncle Eustace know that no sooner than the words are uttered than he has a heart attack and dies, primarily from apathy and overindulgence. But this isn't what's of interest, rather Huxley's description of the death experience on pp.125-129, or most of chapter 13.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Serious BookArts Bibliotherapist

One pound for 10 minutes. What a deal! But wait, that's only $12 an hour.
Won't give up my day job to hit the road at these rates.
Still, inspirational...

Friday, May 21, 2010

What is bibliotherapy

What is bibliotherapy What is bibliotherapy?
Compiled and edited by Dr. Hoi F. Cheu
Based on texts by ABAL members: Dr. Joseph Gold (Family Therapist, Professor Emeratis), Dr. Rober Oxlade (Psychiatrist), Dr. Jeanette Romkema (Educator), and Dr. Stephen Bonnycastle (Literary Theorist)
What is "Bibliotherapy"?
A Short Conceptualization - Stephen Bonnycastle, "Bibliotherapy in action: A reader's developing responses." Textual Studies in Canada 13/14 (The Bibliotherapy Issue, 2004), p.1.
A book enters the life of an individual, a deep relation is formed, and the person changes in some significant way as a result of this engagement. Bibliotherapy deals with how and why this happens, and how this process can be put to use in ways which improve our lives as individuals and as social beings.

A Brief History - Jeanette Romkema, "Principles and Practices of Bibliotherapy: A Workshop," presented to the Association for Bibliotherapy and Applied Literature, Royal Military College, Kingston, ON, June 12th, 2004.

Many therapists, educators, health practitioners, artists and other professionals have been practicing a form of bibliotherapy for centuries. Although the origins of "bibliotherapy" may date back to the nineteenth century, a time when the term referred to the use of books in hospitals to calm patients, it is now used to describe a wide range of practices: elementary school teachers using children’s picture books in identity formation, therapists using fiction in personal healing, and palliative caregivers using films to help people explore the fear of death. The term bibliotherapy has been evolving, yet the complexity of the practice has not been fully developed. Practitioners need to hear each others’ definitions of bibliotherapy so that we have a more complete understanding of how this term is being used and can incorporate new elements and concepts.
More Details of the Concept and Its Application - Joseph Gold, from a course on Bibliotherapy to be taught at Laurentian University (written in 2009).
Biliotherapy has been used to describe the reading of literature, in the first instance, and then, as the term became more inclusive, to the activity of writing poetry, journals and letters, in the effort to help people cope with a variety of painful situations. Whether the problem addressed be physical discomfort or disability, emotional conflict or suffering like loss, divorce, or problems arising from social situations in family, work or community, patients have used reading and writing, along with “the talking cure,” to change and improve how they feel and behave. In the clinical setting, these readings have often been prescribed; often they have been introduced by patients themselves.

The theory underpinning such reading and writing is that certain readings, whether poetry, essay or story, when decoded and somatised by the “patient,” can moderate the feelings, opinions and/or the mood of the person transforming words into neural representations in the reader. This is achieved, I hypothesize, (in the absence of widely based scientific research), because the reader interprets the words as information about how the world, as experienced and described by the writer, can be realised in the brain/mind of the reader. The writer’s composition of people, places, relations, politics, etc., must be similar enough to the reader’s to induce him or her to lend their brain to the work of acquisition. At the same time this composition must be different enough to produce a helpful shift in outlook. So it is that writers say they cannot read their own work, until they are changed enough to see it as not identical to their new selves. There must be detachment as well as identification, for judgement, assessment and integration to take place.
The assumptions underlying the hypothesis are based on continual, commonplace observations that humans make from birth. We see how people react to learning all kinds of information, and we see the results such learning produces in the expressions, language and behaviour of the listener or reader. Information produces changes in the receiver him or herself, whose brain and body, unlike a radio or phone, is not unaltered by the news passing through it. Unlike a machine, the human brain and its extended organism is changed by the meaning of the lexicon decoded by that brain. Unless of course the lexicon is in a language unknown to the reading brain.
In human brains the reader’s biochemistry is altered as aspects of the recipient/reader are emotionally changed in the service of adaptation. The information may be of such a nature that action may need to be taken in the interests of safety or well being. For instance, we are aware of listening carefully to reports about weather warnings, epidemics, air raids, in order to protect ourselves and make our plans. We are much less aware that information within storied texts interweaves with our personal narratives in countless areas involving relationships, behaviour and connections in all aspects of our daily lives. How we can read to achieve this connection to the text, to enhance this rich learning experience, is teachable and learnable. The skill that makes this possible can become a habit of thought and feeling, requiring the permission and active engagement of the reader. The first requirement of such teaching is raising the reader’s awareness of this potential.
The changes that arise from new information that is helpful can alter the central and autonomic nervous system producing increased levels of endorphins, increasing hope and expectations, lessening feelings of isolation and self pity, assisting in planning, future thinking, problem solving, activating imagination and therefore creativity, increasing important knowledge of the world and improving self knowledge by means of reflection upon reading. All and any of these may have the benefit of providing relief from repetitive and compulsive cycles of negative thinking, from despair, and from a feeling of cognitive emotional entrapment. New ways of evaluating our acquired data help us review and revise our relationships to others and our environment.

The reports of such reading outcomes are countless. Every book club and every call-in show that asks for testimony of help from books produces innumerable stories about reading and healing. Of course these answers are shaped by the framing of the question. But what if we took the “help” and “healing” out of the question? By far the greatest number of readings of novels, poems, essays, self help books and so on take place outside any framework of what we have been calling "bibliotherapy," and outside any clinical setting. Such internalisation of fiction or fact has the potential to play a large and helpful role in the life of the reader. What takes place in a therapeutic context can happen for every reader when provided with the appropriate materials, the care, the guidance, the coaching, the education as to how to read holistically.
We arrive on earth equipped with a story template developed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. I think it is entirely possible to teach a new level of consciousness to readers regarding their own reading process. It will of course be obvious that this idea has a strong biological bias or tone, and the more we learn about our selves as organisms, the more this tone will be evident. There is a growing body of information on human development and the complexity of thinking and feeling in the formation of our personal identities, as well as knowledge of what hinders healthy development.This growing awareness can now be built into the arts and humanities. Holistic reading is the term I am using for an expanded inclusion into general education of bibliotherapy.

Beyond Reading Literature - Robert Oxlade, a note for the ABAL website, 2004
Bibliotherapy refers to the use of literature as an aid to therapy, particularly for people suffering from psychological trauma or mental illness. In general, however, the term signifies a common thread that we can all, in our different ways, contribute to or benefit from, reading and writing to enhance health, growth, healing and well-being. Bibliotherapy has rapidly evolved in scope and sophistication to become an area of interdisciplinary study and practice. It now links professionals from the world of language, literature and arts with educators, psychologists, and clinical therapists from a wide range of professional backgrounds and focus. It has extended from its original book-reading dialogue therapy to include therapeutic uses of writing. The medium also has expanded from print to include audio-visual aspects of narrative through, for example, film and video.

Some Research Directions - Hoi F. Cheu
Recent achievements in our understanding of neuroplasticity and the ecology of the mind have brought new insights into the concept of bibliotherapy. What Norman Doidge calls "The Culturally Modified Brain" has dissolved a century old nature vs. nurture discourse: "Not only does the brain shape culture, culture shapes the brain (The Brain that Changes Itself, Penguin, 2007, p. 287). We now have scientific observations to demonstrate that cultural activities can change brain structures. This knowledge has significant implications to the study of literature. After decades of cultural construction theories, we can now reunite with the scientists to investigate a biological approach to literature without going against what we know experientially - literature, or complex storytelling in any form, is natural and beneficial to "the symbolic species," as the medical anthropologist Terrance Deacon refers to human beings.
But still we know little about the actual interrelations between storytelling and brain structure. There is much room for new discovery and breakthrough in brain science and medicine. From a "humanities" perspective, the awareness may also imply a necessary enquiry into the application of literature beyond cultural, psychoanalytic, and political criticism. It is time to study more closely how to engage the brain and the process of "literature." We can no longer consider literature to be a form of high art; instead, it is time for literary scholars to look more closely into how the personal and the political, as well as the biological and the technological, aspects of "stories" rewire the brain and rewrite life. And, in turn, how the brain can restructure our cultural landscape through inventing metaphors, articulating feelings, extending connections, and turning neuro-impulses into personal and social transformations. In light of bibliotherapy, literary education is about engaging the process of "literature" as a basic survival resource. By literature, bibliotherapy refers to the storytelling process: a human activity that learns and uses symbolic language to make connections, to make sense, and consequently to create identities and self-consciousness. Literature is an adaptive human behaviour for responding to and coping with change. To conduct a full scale of investigation of literature's benefits and learn how to engage bibliotherapy more effectively, we need a new round of trans-disciplinary conversations among arts and sciences.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

editing T.S. Eliot (poetry therapy)

There will be time to digress,
In the afternoon, the evening,
Malingering moment to moment
Crisis to crisis,
Disturbing universes.
I have wept; I have fasted:
I have wasted time; by time am wasted.
Growing old, growing old:
Singing mermaid songs.
How to begin? Why presume?
Women in Michelangelo's room,
Framed and painted canvas on the wall,
Has it been worthwhile, after all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Joanna Russ's On Strike Against God 1980

"I've lost my awe of the library completely: this vast, defunct megalith over which we little mammals wander, nipping and chewing bits of its skin." p.91

And yet, I wouldn't have been able to read this out-of-print book without interlibrary loan. I appreciate the metaphor by Russ, but I would have to say my awe of libraries remains unblemished.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Narcissism and ambition

"Narcissistic adults are widely thought to be the result of bitter disappointment, of radical disillusionment in the significant others in their infancy. Healthy adults accept their self-limitations (the boundaries and limitations of their selves). They accept disappointments, setbacks, failures, criticism and disillusionment with grace and tolerance. Their self-esteem is constant and positive, not substantially affected by outside events, no matter how severe."
- Perspectives - Vol. 6, No. 1 - A Primer on Narcissism - Page 1 of 3 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger

With Rebecca's Mandalay ambience and Jane Eyre's psychological complexes, Waters' newest novel is good for being derivative. Not as compelling as her trilogy Tipping the Velvet, Affinity and Fingersmith but readable. The jacket describes it as "thrilling" but that stretches it more than a little. Rather than read her, I would recommend the film versions of her trilogy. Very hot.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reader Types in one Reader Response Theory

Six different types of reader (Associative, Investigative, Speculative, Affective, Cognitive and Passive) were apparent from my data, and it appears that an optimal match or fit occurs between specific readers and certain texts. Certain readers were compatible with some texts and not others. The types of reader or identity style indicate the satisfactions a reader may seek from the reading event. In my longitudinal study the readers operated predominantly on one of the six styles consistently. Certain combinations of text and reader exhibited a ‘best-fit’. Where such compatibility exists, the reader is enriched by the encounter and the text is no longer the same text as it was when created by the author; it becomes infused with the life and experience of the reader. Both reader and text change in the process.

The Associative Reader: This reader enjoys a text if it is relevant to their own experience. This reader sees her task being the connection of their past experience with that of the poem. In journal entries of the associative reader the text seems to function prolifically as a ‘stimulus’, the text reminding them of one experience after another. Personal memories are evoked by the text. If the text has a message to communicate which the reader feels to be relevant to the reader’s life, a positive reaction is likely. This reader who associates a text with her own experience rarely finds comprehension a problem. This reader rarely comments on style in initial encounters with the text, because meaning is seen to be of prime importance. In some
respects this reader is similar to the cognitive reader, but an important difference is that the cognitive reader often focuses on social rather than personal significance in the text.

The Investigative Reader: This reader is similar to the speculative reader but differs in certain important respects. Like all good detectives the investigative reader likes to find a solution. This reader generates a number of tentative hypotheses about the meaning of a text, but this reader is not as relaxed as the speculative reader, as he wants to find a solution and bring the text to definite closure. The investigative reader often believes in the existence of one fine, fixed and definite interpretation. Nailing down the author’s views and message is often important. The investigative reader desires coherence in a text and attempts to fit the different parts of the text into a unifying whole. If some parts of the text cannot be reconciled with others, the reading experience becomes less enjoyable and can be frustrating. The investigative reader needs a sufficient degree of indeterminacy (to use Iser’s term) to be fulfilled. A negative reaction arises from too much indeterminacy, where a text ‘can mean anything’ (like ‘The Sick Rose’ by William Blake), or too little indeterminacy, where a single correct meaning is obvious.

The Speculative Reader: The speculative reader is able to adopt a detached viewpoint and set up a range of propositions or hypotheses which can be quickly and easily disregarded in favour of more plausible interpretations. This reader is philosophical and has an outlook that is characterized by more depth than most of the others – she thinks deeply about things. She easily engages in metacognition and rather introspective reflections about her own reflections. The speculative reader enjoys ambiguity and may enjoy obscure and impenetrable works. This reader tolerates confusion, ambiguity and incomprehension. The speculative reader is ‘laid back’ and is unperturbed by texts which do not easily yield up their meanings. The text’s resistance to closure simply increases this reader’s pleasure, and simple or straightforward literary texts are disliked. This reader dislikes texts that are too didactic or simplistic. The speculative reader focuses on meaning rather than form or literary techniques. This reader enjoys profound works that provoke her to consider the nature of the human condition. The focus in journal entries is on blueprint, not stimulus. Only after a text has been interpreted to some degree does this reader make connections between their own life experience and the text.

The Affective Reader: The affective reader judges a poem predominantly on its affective impact. Both in life and in reading this reader focuses on emotions. Feelings and moods are often referred to in journal entries. Any mood is better than no mood at all for this reader. This should not be confused with a text that is about an emotional experience – rather the experience, mood or feeling needs to be generated in this reader for the text to be appreciated. The affective reader believes that a text has been created as a result of an emotional experience on the part of the poet and feels that it should be apprehended through feeling. Understanding the meaning of a text seems to be important as it is a prerequisite for a mood to be evoked. Theme and subject are more important than form, and, as with the speculative reader, texts of profound significance to the human experience are appreciated especially if they make the reader ‘feel’.

The Cognitive Reader: This reader is more detached and less emotionally involved than the affective reader. More than the associative reader this reader enjoys the cognitive challenge of active reading and appreciates texts which require some effort to understand, revelling in the process of constructing meaning rather like the speculative or investigative reader. Like them, this reader tends to focus on content and meaning. The cognitive reader enjoys thinking and takes pride in the ability to use logic, imagination and lateral thinking. The desire for intellectual stimulation results in obvious and immediate poems being disliked. The cognitive reader may be more socially aware than the associative reader, and works are appreciated if they inform issues which have social relevance. A thoughtful, analytical reaction rather than an emotional response tends to be produced. The cognitive reader enjoys the mental process of interpreting poems but appreciates it if the message of the poem has social significance.

The Passive Reader: This reader fails to engage in the active construction of meaning, has a negative attitude to literary reading, and cannot tolerate ambiguity – prefers prose and non-fiction.

The above is from an online version of a lecture
by Mark A. Pike, Ph.D
For anyone following this blog: Ultimately my interpretation of bibliotherapy is that it's what happens when you apply reader-response criticism to any work of fiction/non-fiction, regardless of media or age group. Below are some ideas related to teaching and related applications of bibliotherapy.
Enhancing Response to Literature through Character Analysis. Argues that traditional textbook approaches to teaching literature alienate students from literature. Describes effective alternatives in which students learn interpretive strategies as they analyze and discuss their own important values in life, and then those of characters in a story; and learn to deal with irony. Outlines writing activities that reinforce interpretive strategies and analytical skills students have developed. Proposes that instruction targeted at conceptual change should be designed to consider cognitive development and capitalize on what is known about social development. Discusses: (1) asking students to "step into" and explore the world of the text; and (2) helping students "step out" of the world of the text to consider it analytically. Includes providing opportunities to (1) improvise, (2) examine specific speeches in depth, and (3) speed write about a character's thoughts. ctively in class for reader response. On Day 1, after students read the novel, the instructor re-read selected passages aloud and asked students to record their responses; on Day 2 students met in small groups, shared their writing, and selected two common images to use as a book cover; on Day 3 students sketched their covers on the board and discussed why they chose these particular images and what they signified. Each group discussed their cover and identified connections between their images and what they perceived as messages in the text. This exercise shows students that they can begin to analyze and interpret a literary work independent of the teacher or commentaries by a literary critic. Suggests that where children are given the power to make meaning for themselves, they are more likely to learn to read critically than those who are not. Connecting to Story through the Arts. Provides examples of arts infused literary studies, with each example using art experiences (expressive writing, creative movement, visual arts, exploratory music, and informal drama) to relate to the literature text. Notes that the learning outcome is to involve readers in exploring the meaning of the story as it relates to their own life experiences. Notes that literature responses nurture the transactions between readers and meaningful texts. Noting that children must be provided with the opportunity to read various types of text as early as possible if they are to develop into strategic and self-directed readers, this paper presents research evidence to show that every text type makes unique demands on readers. Story mapping. Learning comes from reading and sharing reading. We learn by "overhearing" our own and others' meaning-making processes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Write Or Die : Dr Wicked's Writing Lab

Using a timer the following took about 15 minutes to Write Or Die : Dr Wicked's Writing Lab
Octavia Butler's Fledgling is not bad. Always looking for new vampire renditions. I like that the vampire is a little girl, who is older than she appears and sexually active. I think this speaks to something we all know intuitively to be true. Little girls have an innate awareness of themselves as sexual beings long before boys and become aware of their power at an early age. Butler makes the simple but often ignored truths core elements of her narrative. Simple facts, no moral or ethical judgment, just the way things are in this alternate world of creatures who feed and form symbiotic relations with their food.

Lots of excitement. Thriller plot line. Could be more earthy. Something sensual in the feeding experience is suggested, but misses the mark. Analogy to wine might bring in a lexicon for why one blood tastes better than another. If it's just a question of chemistry and palate, why? Genetics are mentioned but not in way that brings anything new to the reader, more as a teaser. Our protagonist is an genetic experiment. Use a bit of the lingo, make me believe it's possible. So much of the premise is just background.

Still, readable for undemanding fans of the genre.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman

This is a YA novel by theme, but also a fun read for any adult who has ever walked on the weird side. Portman includes lots of legitimate information and resources on magical traditions both pre and post Crowley. Tarot archetypes give shape to the narrative and even define characters. I'm looking forward to seeing Portman tackle something targeting adults using the same ideas. How about a series watching Adromeda Klein grow up, sail through college and become a librarian. Maybe she could even correspond magically with the great akashic librarian in the aether. Just saying...Adromeda could be our answer to the death of Potter.

Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

Interesting approach to the vampire tradition, combing feminist themes with settings ranging from the Deep South to the Wild West and all the excitement of untold historical possibilities, were it "her"story, rather than "his."

R. Scott Bakker 's Neuropath

"...precious little distinguished the neurochemical profile of love from that of obsessive-compulsive disorder."
"Everything you live, everything you see and touch and hear and taste, everything you think, belongs to this little slice of mush, this little wedge in your brain called the thalamocortical system. The neural processing that makes these experiences possible__we're talking about the most complicated machinery in the known universe __is uttterly invisible. This expansive, far-reaching experience of yours is nothing more than a mote, an inexplicable glow, hurtling through some impossible black. You're steering through a dream..."
"Consciousness is an end-user... Out of all the information our brains crunch every second, only a tiny sliver makes it conscious experience--less than a millionth, by some estimates."

Aren't you just loving the novel of consciousness trend and the proximity it underlines between real and surreal?

Monday, February 22, 2010

OCD Readers Unite

I'm taking an online course in readers advisory that is work related for librarians. (Nothing like being the kid working in the candy store.) And, I introduced myself and this blog. The instructor commented that she like the concept of OCD readers and I had to reply:

"Believe me, it's more than a conceptual choice. I am quite literally unable to function without reading. The interesting thing I'm finding these days, is it's less book dependent that I once thought. Reading and writing online is satisfying some of the escapist compulsion for distraction. Without getting too metaphysical, I am beginning to think that most of what we do in our lives is invested in distracting ourselves from what is actually required to survive in the world and our nature as humans.

Hmmm, this could turn into a rant. Better save it for my readersanonymous blogging."

Which is what you are reading, if anyone out there is. Either way. The idea will be there later for further development. I welcome any thoughts on the mystical idea of distractions as a necessity for living. And, to get you going you might pick up some Marshall McLuhan. In Understanding Media, chapter 2 titled something about gadgets is what really kicked this home for me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lyda Morehouse mirrors early W.Gibson

Strong cross-gender personalities, whether self-identified as male or female. Interesting bits of info on Muslim back story. Vatican envoy sent to determine if AIs have souls. Yakuza interest and involvement. Angels, Devils, Demons and other everyday miracles.
p.133 Does God have a plan for us all? and how boring would that be?
Fractals & Free will, Order & Chaos
Or is the whole thing just a creative experiment in phenomenology.
A little heavy on the religion references, but informative, nevertheless and Lyda has a strong writing style that drags you along on what is proving to be more than a little archetypal questy.
Fallen Host is the one I just finished. Will go back and read Archangel Protocol to get the back story. I see on amazon she has two more. Lovely.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Head Case & Radiant Cool

Radiant Cool by Dan Lloyd is rich and tasty philosophical fiction with the subtitle A Novel Theory of Consciousness. I'm still reading it and am reading it slowly, not only to savor it, but also because there is much to ponder on the way. A few treats so far:
1. ...time leaves its mark on my now.
2. ...harmonics of meaning attach to every object in the knowable universe.
3. The instant has to be long enough for consciousness.
4. Meaning takes time.
5. 100 trillion modifiable synaptic connections in the brain
6. How we love the hidden order...moronic chaos of reality transfigured.
7.The Aleph
8. Multiple drafts model of consciousness (See Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained.)
9. The mind is a text.
10. The text is stored in memory, accessed and updated all the time, even in our dreams.

Dennis Cass's Head Case is a much lighter approach to mind and consciousness, as his subtitle suggests: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Looking for something to read based on reading habits?
I searched scifi/fantasy for books with computers/VR and on terrain (as opposed to space.) I'm going to try some of the recommended titles and see if I agree with their rankings. More later...