Friday, December 23, 2011

Writing prompt

Wherever I was was inferior to where i might be. (From Marge Piercy poem "Down the road, down the road")

Monday, December 05, 2011

Emily Dickinson # 613 & 593

They shut me up in Prose--

As when a Little Girl

They put me in the Closet

Because they liked me "still"--

Still! Could themself have peeped--

And seen my Brain--go round--

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason--in the Pound--

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Look down upon Captivity--

And laugh--No more have I--

I think I was enchanted

When first a sombre Girl--

I read that Foreign Lady--

The Dark--felt beautiful--

And whether it was noon at night--

Or only Heaven--at Noon--

For very Lunacy of Night

I had not power to tell--


I could not have defined the change--

Conversion of the mind

Like Sanctifying in the Soul--

Is witnessed--not explained--

'Twas a Divine Insanity--

The Danger to be Sane

Should I again experience--

'Tis Antidote to turn--

To Tomes of solid witchcraft--

Magicians be asleep--

But magic--hath an element

Like Diety--to keep--

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poem from Marge Piercy's AVAILABLE LIGHT edited

For Mourning

I wear grey for mourning , never black.

I mourn in grey,

the sleeted Wind,

The color of Ash.

Death comes in as Fog.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith

I'm new to poetry. Even with a MA in English Lit, I've somehow managed to more or less avoid poetry. Sure, I've read representative classics from the major literary traditions (in English, not much attention paid to poets who write in anything other than our mother tongue in academia unless you can read and translate from the original.) But contemporary poetry has been as foreign to me as Portuguese.

There were haikus; there were musings with rhythms suggesting lyrics for songs I did not know how to play or sing, but no poems. Poems were precious things for writers of purple prose with inflated egos, all that white spacing wasted on the page, just spit it out.

Then I started a certificate program in poetry, because that's the way bibliotherapy is legitimized these days. I wrote some poems, and felt better, more whole, more myself than after 100 hours of Jungian psychoanalysis.

And I started reading poetry. Reading in fits, armloads from the library, pulling anything that might look interesting off the shelves until the weight was maximum capacity for seeing my way down the stairs.

And I found BLOOD DAZZLER, poems by Patricia Smith, about Hurricane Katrina. And I don't have words to tell you. Just as we were struck dumb by the travesty, by both man & nature, unable to watch TV coverage without thinking, no this can't be, we woke to find the nightmare played out over weeks and we had to turn it off to get back to our own jobs, our own realities. Because what was happening down there wasn't real, it couldn't be, we couldn't be that inadequate in saving our own; we couldn't be that vulnerable here in the blah blah of blah.

Patricia Smith doesn't get political. Doesn't point fingers, lays no blame, though how can we not? Surely accountability is at hand? Mother Nature can't take all the blame.

Instead, BLOOD DAZZLER is reported. Journalism, a reporter's personal POV and interpretation of events not covered by the media. Quotes from correspondence between officials and counterpoints of the Bushs' day-to-day while the greatest crime of the century was being perpetrated provides insight covertly. We don't have to cry, we don't have to suffer humiliation, we don't have to care. But we do, because Patricia Smith has made the unimaginable accessible? In her poems, we can let our selves feel, just a little, of the horror and recognize, just a little, of the despair. Because frail humans we be, and a little is all our hearts can hold. Our minds take it all in but there's only a little our hearts can hold, providing a little help as part of the larger container needed to hold all the sadness of those who lived to survive a loss that overflows those old worn out levies still.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

1044 page blockbuster

Neal Stephenson's REAMDE has been occupying most of the past weekend. Fortunately, I was sick in bed and could do little but read which got me through the first 500 pages. In true Stephenson fashion the plot's intensity started early and kept climbing. A bit shoot'em up for my tastes through much of the middle, but that's what sells these days.

On page 791, with major players finally face to face. I'm wondering if it's going to get predictable at this point. I miss the old cyberpunk where new worlds were opened. Cyberthrillers are less interesting and definitely less inspiring.

The stuff about gaming is new for me since I don't play. And, since I rely on fiction for most of my news on politics, the terrorist theme seems timely. Sort of feels like that bit could have been written by any number of bestseller list authors. Reader expectations are hard to satisfy. But, I had hoped for more than a thriller. Still, Stephenson is an excellent craftsman and I intend to sail through the last few hunfred pages.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ready Player One finished

Entertaining. Not very enlightening or particularly thought provoking. Kept waiting but never happened. Basically it's a YA novel dressed up for grownups. Cyberpunk has not found its renaissance in this writer. Sounds like Warner optioned it so maybe the movie will be better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The importance of being ernest editorials will probably flow from in regards to the latest cyberpunk novelist to make the grade. Only 34 pages in and I am well-pleased.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Writing as bibliotherapy

The thing is, writing isn't about the product. As with most of living  a meaningful life, it's all about process. Whether reading a book or writing a poem, what is of real interest is what's going on in an individual's consciousness. What do we learn about ourselves during the process?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Anais Nin "The Writer and the Symbols"

Quote: "The creation of a story is a quest for meaning."

In one line, Nin has written the reason for my life. Melodramatic? Maybe, but I don't think Nin would think so.

Continuing to quote: "The meaning is what illuminates the facts, coordinates them, incarnates them."

Anais Nin "On Writing"

Quote: By following rigorously and exclusively the patterns made by the emotions I found that in the human unconscious itself there is an indigenous structure, and if we are able to detect and grasp it we have the plot, the form, and style of the novel of the future."

Nin's novel of the future

Quote Anais Nin from essay Realism and Reality: "...the unconscious creates the most consistent patterns and plots of all."

Dorothy Allison on Dialogue 

Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt

Not the kind of book I normally read. Lame duck betrayed goes back to philandering husband in anticlimatic end. And yet, there is something here. Stories of women and girls within the context of the novel tell a bigger story, one of cruelty and catharsis.

Oh, and one quote: "Only the aged have access to life's brevity."

A list of "mad" poets: Torquato Tasso, John Clare, Christopher Smart, Friedrich Holderlin, Antonin Artaud,

Paul Celan, Randall Jarrell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ezra Pound, Robert Fergusson, Velimir KhlebnikovL Georg Trakl, Gustaf Froding, Hugh MacDiarmid, Gerard de Nerval, Edgar Allan Poe, Burns Singer, Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Laura Riding, Sara Teasdale, Vachel Lindsay, John Berryman, James SchuylerL Sylvia Plath, Delmore Schwartz

And last but not least, a bit of bibliotherapeutic support: "A book is a collaboration between the one who reads and what is read and, at its best, that coming together is a love story like any other."

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Writers tips 

Eventually, reading for therapy will require writing. It's part of the individuation aspect of the reading process. May as well make it good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pirating Personal Publishing 

I will read him if only for his personal philosophy on publishing. Article says he posts links to sites for his books on twitter. Good place to start.

Monday, September 12, 2011

from Carl Jung's THE SPIRIT IN MAN, ART, AND LITERATURE "Psychology and Literature"

The psychologist should constantly bear in mind that his hypothesis is no more at first than the expression of his own subjective premise and can therefore never lay immediate claim to general validity.
The phenomenology of the psyche is so colourful, so variegated in form and meaning, that we cannot possibly reflect all its riches in one mirror.
p.87...the psychologist must content himself with widely ranging descriptions of psychic processes, and with portraying as vividly as he can the warp and woof of the mind in all its amazing intricacy.
...the more unconscious the author is of (psychological assumptions), the more (psychological intentions) background reveals itself in unalloyed purity.
a true symbol is an expression for something real but unknown.
...our intuitions point to things that are unknown and hidden, that by their very nature are secret.
...the psyche is a door that opens upon the human world from a world beyond, allowing unknown and mysterious powers to act upon man and carry him on the wings of the night to a more personal destiny.
...the poet now and then catches sight of the figures that people the night-world...p.96 he catches a glimpse of the psychic world that terrifies the primitive and is at the same time his greatest hope.
Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.
Participation mystique is the secret of artistic creation.
To grasp the meaning of a work of art, we must allow the work to shape us as it shaped the artist.

from Gaston Bachelard's THE POETICS OF SPACE Introduction

"The poet, in the novelty of his images, is always the origin of language. To specify exactly what a phenomenology of the image can be, to specify that the image comes before thought, we should have to say that poetry, rather than being a phenomenology of the mind, is a phenomenology of the soul. We should then have to collect documentation on the subject of the dreaming consciousness...
before the interior poetic light was turned upon it, it was a mere object for the mind. But the soul comes and inaugurates the form, dwells in it, takes pleasure in it...can therefore be taken as a clear maxim of a phenomenology of the soul."

"...the poetic image is essentially variational, and not, as in the case of the concept, constitutive.

Good argument for poetry therapy:
"A consciousness associated with the soul is more relaxed, less intentionalized than a consciousness associated with the phenomena of the mind. Forces are manifested in poems that do not pass through the circuits of knowledge."

This is why the self-help book type of reading is not to be confused with bibliotherapy. And though the argument here is strongly poetry based, I propose it is comparable to reading fiction when the criteria of a relaxed mind, an open and aware consciousness, rather than the critical mind, is active. This can also be understood by reading Jungian works on "active imagination" (See Marie-Louise Von Franz.)


" A book is not shut in by its contours, is not walled up as in a fortress. It asks nothing better than to exist outside itself, or to let you exist in it it."

"the book is no longer a material reality.... It has become a series of words, of images, of ideas which in their turn begin to exist. And where is this new existence? Surely not in the paper object. Nor, surely, in external space. There is only one place left for this new existence: my innermost self...dependent on my consciousness."

"Language surrounds me with its unreality."

I have thoughts which are part of a book I am reading, the thoughts of another.
"I am thinking the thoughts of another...
But I think (it) as my very own...
My consciousness behaves as though it were the consciousness of another."

The work lives its own life within me; in a certain sense, it thinks itself, and it even gives itself a meaning within me."

In this essay, Poulet argues that we cannot know the author by the work, but I disagree. We can know the author's mind at the moment in time when the work was being created and as such know as much about the author as the author is likely to know about herself. Do we know the author's biography? Of course not, but we know the author's mind, as fleetingly as thought based language will allow.

Check out Mallerme's opion in "THE BOOK: A Spiritual Instrument"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zero Summer

Still reading Caitlin Kiernan. Did I mention she's singlehandedly turned me into a short story reader.

Quote from above mentioned:

There should be a word for losing something that was never yours to begin with.

Hugos 2011 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

School of Life Bibliotherapy Going Strong 

Wish something like this would fly in the States. Unfortunately, not enough of the literate have discretionary income.

Still I'm slowly building momentum to offer something similar in Portland for free. If I can work anywhere, it's Portal Land.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Caitlin R. Kiernan 

I never knew horror could be so beautiful.

P175 from To Charles Fort, with Love

The mind exists only in a moment, always, a single flickering moment, remembered or actual, dreaming or awake or something between the two, the precious, treacherous illusion of Present floundering in the crack between Past and Future.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Art Journal Workshop by Traci Bunkers

With DVD. How fun. Traci shows how fun art can be if you just Go For It. She's obviously not overthinking. It's clearly about the process. What is she thinking while she's playing with color, balance and form. It's not about a "marketable" finished product. It's about the experience. I love the new book arts movement. Books as a personal art form have entered the mainstream.

Bunkers' visual journaling is an excellent call to arms for silencing the inner critic so we can hear the soft whisper of our own creativity so often drowned out by commercial media.

Let the play begin. Even grownups need to color, cut & paste. I've been doing altered books and collage for about 12 years and am only recently beginning to understand the therapeutic benefits of art as a way to self awareness.

Good introduction to the world of art therapy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Limited overview of bibliotherapy

The problem with this POV is limiting the subject to children. I found this to be true when working on my MLIS and have found there has been little progress in applying the practice to adult readers. One of the reasons quite probably is a result of little or no funding in today's libraries for readers advisory, much less a more in-depth application.

"Readers aren't playing captive audience any more..."

As book talk burgeons online, readers and librarians have more pointers to follow, or not, than ever before
Since Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was published in 2008, it has received 1,561 consumer reviews on Amazon, averaging four of five stars. LibraryThing has registered 682 reviews, putting Tattoo among its most-reviewed books, with observations ranging from a top-ranked "gut-wrenching" to "what's the hubbub?" Over on the blogs, Bookbitch and LJ reviewer Stacy Alessi ( offered a rave, writing that "every twist and turn is completely unexpected." But the Elegant Variation's Mark Sarvas did no more than signal that the book looked promising--even as an irate reader of his blog posted a comment huffing that Tattoo was "poorly written, poorly constructed, and, I hate to say, poorly imagined." Oh, and New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani moderately derided it, allowing that the main characters were "interesting enough to compensate for the plot mechanics."
Over the last 15 years, the book review landscape has changed seismically. Reviewing is no longer centralized, with a few big voices leading the way, but fractured among numerous multifarious voices found mostly on the web. In turn, readers aren't playing the captive audience any more. Undone by economics, many traditional print sources have been shuttered or, like the formerly stand-alone Los Angeles Times and Washington Post Book World review sections, either collapsed into the rest of the paper or moved entirely online. The New York Times Book Review is still standing but is half the size it was a few decades back.
Meanwhile, book talk thrives on the web, with eager readers thronging LibraryThing and Goodreads, trading recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, and pushing their own reviews on Amazon and From the most casual forums to rich and rigorous sites like the Millions (, reviews are energetically spun out, then tweeted, rated, challenged, and otherwise subject to endless feedback.
Beginning the conversation  
Pointedly, a chunk of this conversation comes not from critics picked expressly for their expertise but enthusiasts who may or may not be the best adviser you could find on a particular book. The more careful among us will point to their cheers, tears, and bashes and wonder, "Are those really reviews?"
Others could care less, countering that reviewing was always supposed to be an intellectual conversation and the real exchange has finally begun. As they'd argue, the current range of voices in the reviewing arena can only be good, promoting books, conversations about books, and connections among readers, bringing a much wider spread of material into play than can be covered in traditional review sources, print or online. The sheer numbers voting for or against a particular title can be illuminating. "On balance, I trust Michiko Kakutani a lot more than any single LibraryThing reviewer," acknowledges LibraryThing founder Tim Spalding. "But given a choice between her review and 100 LibraryThing reviews, I'd usually take the latter." In the end, says New York Public Library's Miriam Tuliao, today's richness not only satisfies readers' hunger but "ensures that there will be a diversity in what is being published."
Whether print or online, traditional or consumer, a review is now as likely to treat an obscure sf gem or specialized political treatise as the latest literary masterpiece, reflecting a broadened book market following readers' interests.
The big sources still review a focused bunch of high-power books, and they have reach. As Free Press senior editor Amber Qureshi notes, "A fantastic review on a personal blog will not have the same impact on a book as a tepid one in the Christian Science Monitor, online or print."
But while the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Time Book Review, and the Washington Post Book World once pushed sales, now it's as likely to be Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and People. "That's the New Reviewing Trifecta," says EarlyWord's Nora Rawlinson, who also cites the book power of NPR. "They deal more with books that will appeal to general readers and seem to have an interest in making books happen."
With the book market more fragmented than ever, with so many voices echoing through our heads as we consider what to read next or purchase for patrons, with our almost fetishistic resistance to being told what to think, no one critic today can speak for us, and certainly many can't even speak to us. But even as we ditch the concept of authority, even as we say that every voice should be heard, even as it seems that every voice is getting heard, at least in cyberspace, it's apparent that, in fact, not everyone's a critic.
Anyone can blog, or post a consumer rating or review, or register an online comment, but, famously, not every blog is bearable reading, not every consumer review insightful, not every comment exactly what's needed to nail the book. Some judgments are worth more than others; the question is how we judge.
A question of authority  
In print or online, traditional reviews still offer something unimpeachable while consumer commentaries have the verve and single-mindedness to do something that traditional reviews cannot. The two coexist comfortably because they fill different needs. Will the latter come to replace, or at least supersede, the former? That's anyone's guess, but one thing is certain: today's raging stream of voices has radically altered the idea of reviewing, with huge consequences for book culture itself.
The traditional review has always been defined by the idea of authority; presumably, the book has been assigned to a reviewer who has some knowledge of the subject, is sufficiently versed in the literature to make valid comparisons, and embraces the obligation to write an unbiased and closely reasoned assessment for a broad audience. What the reviewer knows--and knows how to communicate--matters. As arts and travel journalist Terry Trucco sums it up, "While I'm happy to read a review by Paul Krugman of an economics or political book, I don't particularly want him weighing in on the ballet or cooking or, God forbid, fashion."
The golden ideal of the authority-driven review has been challenged by the conversation the Internet facilitates, where special interests are pursued energetically. A blog offers an impassioned reader's personal slant, and a consumer review is perhaps an informed read and perhaps a stab in the back by a jealous competitor. Anyone can post, and an opinion is just an opinion until you start winkling out the depth of understanding behind it. But most book talk on the web isn't trying to emulate work by seasoned critics. It's a different beast entirely, generally striving for conviction rather than objectivity, advice but not hierarchy; the goal is ultimately participation.
The problem with love letters  
For librarians, spending public money and conscious of the need to defend purchase decisions, the I'll-do-it-my-way stance on the web can be problematic. "Most, but not all, consumer criticisms read more like love letters or, at the other end of the spectrum, screeds," says Shawna Thorup, Fayetteville Public Library, AR, which obviously makes them troublesome for collection development.
Of one high-profile consumer reviewer, always suspiciously over the top, Alessi bitingly observes, "Would anyone seriously into books even look at her reviews? The woman reads several books a day and loves, loves, loves them all. Ridiculous."
Blogs and consumer reviews haven't entered official collection development policy--yet. But they're useful stopovers in the book hunt, especially in niches not covered by the biggies. Bookbitch Alessi can't see her library system relying on Amazon reviews for nonfiction, though "perhaps there is a little more leeway with fiction, especially if there is no authoritative or conflicting review."
Kim Garza, Tempe Public Library, AZ, agrees. "I have often used reader reviews online when I am not sure about something," she says, "but I approach them carefully."
Karl Helicher, of Upper Merian Township Public Library, King of Prussia, PA, puts the whole thing in perspective: "For years, we have bought books recommended by customers, and choosing books on the strength of a public review is really no different." In the end, that sense of connection may preempt authority.
"I would expect a traditional magazine or newspaper review to be more objective than a blog or patron review, but that doesn't necessarily make it better in my eyes," says LJ fiction reviewer Sally Bissell, South County Regional Library, Estero, FL, herself a thoughtful blogger. "I have also read some wonderful, from-the-heart blog posts that speak to me as a reader and as a buyer."
Angelina Benedetti, King County Library System, WA, is even more emphatic. Reflecting on patrons miffed that she's not up on crop circles or urban chicken farming, Benedetti says, "To your question, 'Where has the authority gone?' I ask, 'How authoritative was anyone anyway?'"
Digging for gold  
Respected authorities can have holes in their knowledge, turn out sloppy work, fail to read the book, engage in logrolling, grind their axes vigorously, or "play out old grudges in the review pages," as Oxford University Press publicity director Purdy grouses. And amateurs can write persuasively, from a fund of knowledge, about their favorite books. The problem has always been and still is figuring out who to trust.
Whether for reading pleasure or collection development, concrete advice on how to sort through all this free-fall book talk is hard to come by. Beyond their favorite sources, readers turn themselves into critics, taking a prove-it-to-me stance while continually looking for reviewers or blogs that steer them "toward good reads and away from bad reads time and time again," as Purdy puts it. However, the pervasive anonymity of the web can make following standout writers a challenge, so dedicated readers focus on what grabs them, cultivate an ability to spot fakes and grandstanders, and recognize that some subjects (e.g., genre fiction) are better treated by committed amateurs than others (e.g., history).
Falling back on glam sites like the Huffington Post ( or The New Yorker's Book Bench ( is definitely a cop-out. "I've learned as much from a 'small' review as I have from a 'big' one," says Free Press's Qureshi, "and, having written myself, I know better than to be snobby about my sources."
Fortunately, this is not entirely a do-it-yourself project; the Internet provides built-in help for the free-for-all it has fostered. As the like-minded gather to discuss favored topics, connections are built and sensibilities acknowledged; friends can help filter out which books, reviewers, and sources are tops. Says LibraryThing's Spalding, "The New York Times gets Stephen King or Christopher Hitchens to review books in part because we know them well enough to care about their opinion. Well, I care about my friend Ben more than I care about either of those fellows. The same applies when you don't know the person, but you see that they share very similar tastes." Trusting your buddies isn't a new idea, but it's amplified infinitely on the web.
In making judgments, one can also look at the writing itself, which can be wipeout brilliant but is just as often messy and unreasoned or simply uninformative and routine. "Overall, I have mixed feelings about decentering (and usurping?) traditional voices because I value good writing and thoughtful analysis," says Stephen Morrow, an LJ fiction reviewer and composition professor at Ohio University. What consumer reviews and most blogs lack is an editor, not only to correct those pesky typos but to question dubious assertions and assure coherent thought. As Morrow smartly sums it up, "There's no editor to ask, 'You have some wonderful thoughts on deep-sea diving and the War of 1812, but what do you think of Cormac McCarthy's book?'"
Yet, Morrow, who like many of us finds himself of two minds on this subject, also values the raw energy and engagement of a writer unleashed. "Bloggers go for broke," he explains. "They can be original and tremendously funny or satirical because they have no one to stop them from saying stuff like, 'Nicholas Sparks is just phoning them in.'"
Beyond the traditional review, you've got intimacy (or something that feels like it), you've got sharp personality (read LJ reviewer Terry Hong's Smithsonian BookDragon blog, and you know she's whip-smart, charming, and not to be crossed), and you've got a populist voice ("I don't feel like I have to have an advanced degree in literature to understand the reviewer, as is often the case with The New Yorker," says Morrow). Since it's embarrassing to mislead an online friend or follower, you've also got brutal honesty, though, of course, scrupulous attention to standards of truthfulness mark more traditional writing as well. And, finally, you've got some good ideas; says Spalding drily, "It's a myth that online reviews are written by idiots."
An expanding forum  
Book coverage may be seeping from newspapers, but authority-driven reviews aren't lost. From Kakutani's work to the professional, prepublication commentary in LJ and elsewhere, they're integral to today's robust book talk wherever they appear.
"I now write for both print and online formats, and with that combination, my readership is in the multiple millions," notes book reviewer Jane Ciabattari, president of the National Book Critics Circle. "Before, I'd venture my reviews reached the population of the cities whose newspapers I was reviewing for, plus the magazine/literary quarterly audience." That's exciting.
The mix of review types endures because different readers use them differently. Some read reviews to determine what book to pick up next, others to decide what to purchase for patrons or customers. Some want to be part of a conversation for the sake of conversation, others to contribute to that conversation so they can see their names on the screen (why else would anyone want to be the 1,562nd commenter on Larsson?). Some want to learn about the subject, others simply to be entertained or to confirm impressions of a book they've finished. Some, like Qureshi, are editors seeking "to identify our audiences better and publish to them"; others are librarians like Fayetteville's Thorup, who would never use consumer reviews when leading book club discussion because, after all, "All the members have consumed the book and have their own opinions."
That's for now. What about the future? Those in the younger demographic don't have the habit of looking up to anyone when deciding what to read or see or absorb through their earbuds, depending instead on their cohorts. As Morrow notes, "Most of my students aren't reading book reviews at all, print or online."
Will they learn to depend on reviews like Ciabattari's? A few years back, credentialed reviewers might have despaired, but they're emerging from a prevailing sense of gloom to embrace the future. "We're at an exciting juncture," says Ciabattari. "The conversation about books has been growing exponentially because of the viral nature of social media and the many ways in which formerly print book publications are exploring the use of literary blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth." In the heady, freewheeling environment of the web, readers have many options. They will join the conversation in their own way, whether online or mobile, drawn by something new or hot or intriguing that's just a click away.
By Barbara Hoffert
Barbara Hoffert is Editor, Prepub Alert, LJ

graphic novel links from rough guides to

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bibliotherapy evaluation tool for counselors

Found at


Need for Bibliotherapy Training found in British Study

Found at


Bibliotherapy in depth

Found at


Oregon State Bibliotherapy Project

Found at


Benefits of bibliotherapy (preview chapter 2)

Found at


VA Bibliotherapy Resource Guide

May not link.
Try searching "Bibliotherapy Resource Guide" pdf in Google.

bibliotherapy independent study

Found at


Affective Bibliotherapy preview

Found at


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grave Expectations by Bailey & Flowers

At 56 1/2 I'm shopping around for my post-death experience. My mother thinks it's macabre and even friends think it's one of stranger of my offbeat interests. But I think it's a topic that has lots of potential for those of us who like to plan, especially if those plans are prone to off the beaten path preferences.

I'm not alone in this as Bailey & Flowers attest in their book Grave Expectations: Planning the End Like There's No Tomorrow. The only thing I wasn't particularly keen on was the lined white spaces for adding your own plans, though a web link with these as forms that could be filled in and printed out for filing with important papers might be useful. As it is, it just kind of seems gratuitous and gives the book a kind of cheesy look. Having said that, I want to share some of the really cool stuff I found in book.

One of my favorite is the Ecopod, an Egyptian-shaped sarcophagus made from recycled paper, which I'd really like to buy now and design interior and exterior myself, do-it-yourself creative adventure of the "in between" as life is referred to by Robert Thurman in his works on Tibetan Buddhism & death.These only recently have become available in the States. Other fabulous ideas that deserve some serious consideration include:
and I also liked

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Bibliotherapy Certification

Thank you, Rhea, for the history and info on bibliotherapy certification.
American Libraries, Mar/Apr2011, Vol. 42 Issue 3/4, p7-7, 1/3p
A letter to the editor is presented in response to the article "A Feeling for Books" by Jennifer Burek Pierce in the November/December 2010 issue.
I am deeply concerned about the alarmist and misleading piece on bibliotherapy in Jennifer Burek Pierce's Youth Matters column "A Feeling for Books" (Nov./Dec. 2010, p. 48).
Bibliotherapy's place in librarianship is not a new issue; librarians have been debating it since its first use by a trained librarian in 1904, when E. Kathleen Jones used it with patients in a mental hospital. The field really caught on in the 1930s when it was practiced primarily with individual patients in medical hospitals; teams of librarians and doctors provided information about illnesses and outcomes in a service we now call patient education.
In 1939, ALA established its first Committee on Bibliotherapy, giving it official status as part of librarianship.
By the 1970s, librarians in prisons and mental hospitals (and in public libraries that provided outreach services to residential institutions) were also using bibliotherapy. At that rime, we talked about three types of bibliotherapy: institutional, clinical, and developmental. The last type was used primarily by librarians, teachers, and others to promote normal development and self-actualization in students and others in the community from the 1960s on.
Pierce's article did not define the type of bibliotherapy under discussion. It also neglected to mention the bibliotherapy training and certification available to librarians (and others).
In the 1980s, the ALA bibliotherapy unit worked with the National Association of Poetry Therapy to develop standards and training to practice bibliotherapy. A number of professional librarians (myself included) became certified practitioners after completing astringent process with a mental health mentor. This "license" was not mentioned in the article. Currently, the National Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy awards three different credentials: Certified Applied Poetry Facilitators, Certified Poetry/biblio Therapists, and Registered Poetry/biblio Therapists.
By Rhea Joyce Rubin, Oakland, California

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Characters in the Story of our Lives

On holiday at my mom's I've picked up something I wouldn't normally read, though the author is best-selling and well-reviewed. The novel, The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks, is a good story, not particularly compelling or challenging, but an entertaining, somewhat sentimental and so far predictable story. However, I did find a good quote that I think fits nicely into the bibliotherapy vein:
"People come, people go--they'll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures."
Who are the characters at play in your life?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dublin's version of bibliotherapy

Useful format, though this is not bibliotherapy but rather a self-help reading bibliography.
Good to know that the subject is getting some play, nevertheless.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Deep State by Walter Jon Williams

Recently stumbled upon an old cyberpunk reading list from the 90's. Walter Jon Williams was on the list and I'd never read him. Though more of a techno-thriller than what I normally think of as cyberpunk, Deep State has a lot of similarities to early Gibson. He makes the usual political statement, in this case it's a Turkish regime, of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" while tossing out a number of gamer and hacker premises.

Of course, I love the fact that the main protagonist is female. There's just enough espionage, gadgets and romantic interest to keep the pages turning. No brilliant insights, but telling, in the same way that Wag the Dog reminds us that war isn't just about the military any more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

E.Moon (2003) via K.Wilhelm (1976)

The Speed of Dark, winner of 2004 Nebula Award for Best Novel, this was the book that set the bar too high and resulted in my not being able to find anything worth writing about for months.

I project autism is a next stage in evolution for all of us (as a species) as we overstimulate ourselves into multimedia stupors, myself included, don't get me wrong. I'm one of the worst. Plus, I already much prefer my privacy to dealing with people and would be benefit from a happy "bouncing room" like the one made available at work for our gifted narrator and protagonist. Even the little spinning fans might serve a purpose in helping to quiet the churning thoughts under bombardment from the incessant stream of interruptions and the Sisyphean task of rolling that boulder of email, listservs, twits, and posts up the mountain day in, day out.

Total identification with the quiet voice of our author, who speaks volumes:

"If they aren't going to listen, why should I talk?
I know better than to say that out loud. Everything in my life that I value has been gained at the cost of not saying what I really think and saying what they want me to say."

The book (one our narrator is reading on neurology) answers questions other people have thought of. "I have thought of questions they have not answered. I always thought my questions were wrong questions because no one else asked them. Maybe no one thought of them. Maybe darkness got there first. Maybe I am the first light touching a gulf of ignorance."

"Maybe my questions matter."

"I do not know what the speed of thought is. I do not know if the speed of thought is the same for everyone. Is it thinking faster or thinking further that makes different thinking different."

Must check out more Moon. See Remnant Population, a finalist for the Hugo Award.

In Kate Wilhelm's Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang we see a post-apocalyptic world where cloning strips the ability for creative, independent thought.

There's something about the eyes they just don't have. Theirs only see outward, I think, and yours, and those in the other men in the picture, they can look both ways.

Perhaps the greatest threat from floods of media input isn't how much we take in, but whether or not we take time to process and apply what we learn, that we look inward to test what we see and hear against our own internal, pattern-forming awareness.

And this is what distinguishes therapeutic, or the active reading that I think of in terms of bibliotherapy from passive reading, in general. In finding the right book at the right time, the one that speaks to us in the quiet whisper that we must be still and quiet to hear, we come a little closer to finding ourselves able to be the protagonists in our own stories.

Time Must Have a Stop by Aldous Huxley

"Perhaps dirt is the necessary condition of beauty."
"Perhaps hygiene and art can never be bedfellows."
"Remorse is pride's ersatz for repentance, the ego's excuse for not accepting God's forgiveness. The condition of being forgiven is self-abandonment. The proud man prefers self-reproach, however painful--because the reproached self isn't abandoned; it remains intact."
And because knowledge, the genuine knowledge beyond mere theory and book learning, was always a transforming participation in that which was known, it could never be communicated--not even to one's own self when in a state of ignorance.The best one could hope to do by means of words was to remind oneself of what one once had intuitively understood and, in others, to evoke the wish and create some of the same conditions for a similar understanding."
"But whereas any particular manifestation of beauty--in art, in thought, in action, in nature--is always a relationship between existences not in themselves intrinsically beautiful, this was a perception of, an actual participation in, the paradox of Relationship as such, apart from anything related; the direct experience of pure interval and the principle of harmony, apart from the things which, in this or that concrete instance, are separated and harmonized. And somewhere, somehow, the participation and the experience persist even now as I write."

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

"Everything is biographical, Lucien Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross."
"We would study ourselves in this evolving portrait. It made us secretly competitive."
"We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell."
"...retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are songlike in their refrains and lines, making up a single monologue."
"...what is most untrustworthy about our natures and self-worth is how we differ in our own realities from the way we are seen by others."
"We relive stories and see ourselves only as the watcher, or listener, the drummer in the background keeping cadence."

Have you ever wanted to personally thank an artist or writer for giving you something so exquisite, for adding to your being by way of their wisdom tethered to life. Aloha nui loa, you kind, beautiful, brilliant man.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friday, January 07, 2011

My Kingdom for a Book

Lately, I read and I read and I read and I read but I can't connect with the book that carries me to the place I need to  be.