Friday, January 30, 2009
I hope you enjoy watching Professor Amy Hungerford lead her students at Yale University in a discussion of Wright's autobiography.
Carl Zimmer's Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea is based on the PBS series--and you'll find wonderful teaching resources online at PBS.
One librarian created a Darwin Day Bulletin Board. How will you take note of Darwin's Bicentennial?
Me? In addition to enjoying the benefits of my opposable thumb, I'm going to celebrate Charles Darwin by dipping into
- Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl Giberson
- Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution by Kenneth R. Miller
- 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania by Matthew Chapman
- Evolution's Captain: The Story of the Kidnapping That Led to Charles Darwin's Voyage Aboard the Beagle by Peter Nichols
- Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul by Edward Humes
Maybe I'll break out the crayons and spend some time with The Human Evolution Coloring Book!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Let us know if you'd like an examination copy so you can consider I'm Every Woman for your class.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Those of you who are in the writing game, or who teach about writing, would probably agree that this grape essay needs a couple of rounds of editing but is otherwise publishable. So why am I putting something like that online for free instead of trying to sell it? A few reasons.
First, I've found that it's never a problem, later on, to do those couple of rounds of editing and include the online material in a book. A significant percentage of the content in my two dining books developed out of material I'd posted online.
Second, for me it's a great motivator. I like it when people comment on things I've written, especially when their comments are positive. It encourages me to write more when I'm experiencing insomnia, instead of watching reruns of Chuck.
Third, although that material could use editing, I like writing online exactly because I'm free of editors. If I only published what editors approved of, I'd publish a book every three years, a few magazine articles and the occasional New York Times op-ed. I publish all those things anyway, but I also have to my credit more than 20,000 message-board and blog posts from the past decade. There's just a lot more of me out there as a result of this strategy. Not all of it is great material, but some of it is.
Finally, I like the laboratory nature of online publishing. I can put something out there and gauge reactions. This helps me understand what kind of material resonates with my universe of readers. It's a small universe, but I like to know what's going on there.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Here's a way to tempt young adults to read poetry: Sharp Teeth is a tightly written thriller in blank verse--featuring a pack of werewolves in Los Angeles. Or, as the Wall Street Journal put it, "Romeo and Juliet, werewolf-style." Plus, it has a very cool cover.
We've put together a teaching guide to help you add Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to your curriculum. Let us know if you'd like an examination copy.
The college course that changed my life was actually a negative experience, but I am thankful for it! I was on course to be a computer major, but I ran into a horrible class/horrible teacher, and I became disenchanted with that world. I changed my major to sociology and then to psychology.
When I graduated, I got a bookstore job, which is heaven for a dilettante! I could’ve been, perhaps, a rich computer guy now (said aforementioned computer class was in, gulp, 1972), but I have been way happier and richer as a bookstore and publishing person all these years. Now, I see computers as a means towards the writing, editing, selling, printing, and the reading of books, but it’s the words themselves--not the machinery--that fill my every day.
Tell us about the class that changed your life.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Feel free to ask for Eugene's advice.
Honestly, the following will make you laugh, but I'm not certain you'll want to share it with your high school students.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Like many people who work in publishing, I was an English major. But though I loved my literature classes, I always felt one step behind. My high school English classes were somewhat untraditional, and I never read many of the classics that other kids were forced to read at that age. Instead I took a survey of Hermann Hesse, a class on Gothic literature, and so on. It was awesome and eye-opening, but when I got to college I was very hesitant to speak up in class discussions, fearing that I was missing some crucial piece of literary knowledge that was the key to smart comments.
I spent most of my four years shyly taking notes, until senior year and the class that changed my life: Women in Television. I love television more than almost anything else in the world. I read TV Guide for fun as a kid and was even named after two soap opera characters. Finally, there was a class where I knew I had the proper background, where I knew that my insights were worthy. Classes were spent watching episodes of Oprah, Buffy, and Roseanne. I used books like Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks to write my papers and learned that I could apply the critical thinking skills I had learned in my English classes to just about anything.
It came too close to the end of my college career to make too much of a difference there, but Women in Television helped me conquer my fear of speaking up for good, and that truly changed my life.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Here's a taste of what's to come!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I can still picture Victor Visconti, my 7th grade English teacher, furiously parsing sentences on the chalkboard. Determined that each of his students would master punctuation and grammar, Mr. Visconti drilled and drilled us. My 13-year-old self raged at these seemingly pointless exercises: Why doesn't the bell ring and release me from the grip of this obsessive? What do dangling participles and semicolons have to do with me--and for that matter--with the real world!?
Today, I make my living in the real world as a writer. And, almost every day, I look back on Mr. Visconti's lessons with gratitude. He taught more than the proper use of a comma. He showed me that words matter. I wouldn't admit it at 13--but I am happy to say it now: You were right, Mr. Visconti. Thank you.
One of our nominees in the Best Fact Crime category is For The Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb and the Murder that Shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz.
HarperOne invites booksellers, other publishers, librarians, and readers to join the conversation and submit their most inspirational books for today’s challenges, whether they be financial, spiritual, or personal. With this broad range of voices, GOOD BOOKS IN BAD TIMES will continue to grow into a resource of helpful books and ideas to shine a light and offer comfort to readers everywhere.
Please send us a short write-up on which book has been good for you during bad times.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I was a blue-collar kid. My parents thought of college as a foreign country with rules they did not understand. ("There's an application fee?!") The one thing they were certain of was that a college degree could lead to a good job--and a good job, in their opinion, meant accounting.
This is how I landed in the back row of an Accounting 101 class at Hofstra University. By the third class, I knew that I would never be an accountant. Luckily, I was still within the drop-a-class window.
What did I take instead? With some wrangling, I landed a spot in Women's Literature--taught by Ruth Prigozy. I had a great time reading and discussing The Awakening, Sula, The Women's Room (for a look at commercial fiction), The Yellow Wallpaper, and a slew of other books. At the end of the semester, I changed my major to Literature, and I have never regretted it.
Years later, Dr. Prigozy walked into Harper's booth at the American Studies Association's annual conference, and I got the chance to tell her what a difference dropping out of Accounting 101 had made in my life. She said, "Well, it's nice to see one of my students doing something in publishing." Today, I'm still doing something I like to do. Thanks again, Dr. Prigozy.
(Note that I have great respect for accountants. Actually, I love one--my brother, the "good" child.)
Friday, January 16, 2009
On January 17, The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site in Philadelphia will reopen with a new exhibit in honor of the bicentennial. The celebration continues throughout the year with special events and lectures. This national park also has great resources for teachers.
The Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore will have events throughout the year.
I'm going to dip back into The Great Short Works of Edgar Allan Poe and Kenneth Silverman's Edgar A. Poe: A Biography.
Let us know what you're planning for the Poe Bicentennial.
The course that changed my life was tenth grade English at G.A.R. Memorial High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My wonderful high school teacher, Mr. Jerry Hromisin, introduced us to some of the great stories and books of American literature—works that opened my eyes and my mind to the world as never before—including Henry David Thoreau's Walden.
Reading this wonderful book, my cynical fifteen-year-old self was astonished that someone could watch the large and small of life with such intensity, curiosity, and joy. I, too, was a kind of watcher, and in those pages I found kinship and assurance that though I was different from my friends, I wasn't alone. Researching my first term paper on Walden, my mind was introduced to the diversity of viewpoints available beyond my teenage world.
I have always said that college taught me how to think. But my college years—and the path to adulthood—began in that class.
Tell us about the class that changed your life.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Join us--and we'll send you a new short story via e-mail every week until the end of the year. Plus, you can start reading now!
PLUS, Harper Perennial will consider your short story to be included in the program. Send your story here.Here's an interview with one of our favorite writers, Simon Van Booy, author of Love Begins in Winter, which will publish in May 2009.
Here is Uzodinma talking about writing the novel on The Charlie Rose Show.
Let us know which course changed your life.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Rosemary covers everything from the Hungry Ghost Festival to table etiquette in a fun and accessible style.
Many years ago, I spent a wonderful month in Nepal--and upon my return--I got involved in several organizations to further education there.
A trip to Nepal inspired John Wood, the author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, to found Room to Read, an organization that has created a network of over 5,600 libraries throughout the developing world. John encourages students and teachers to get involved through their Students Helping Students program.
If your students have taken on a volunteer project, please let us know.
Read the article in today's Inside Higher Ed.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This afternoon Michelle Knotts of Sinagua High School (Flagstaff, AZ) and her AP English students interviewed Tom Foster, author of the wildly popular How to Read Literature Like a Professor and How to Read Novels Like a Professor.
You can listen to it at Authors on Air.
If you have assigned a book by one of our authors, let us know. We'll do our best to set up an author interview with your students.
Here's Dr. Csikszentmihalyi talking about creativity and fulfillment.
Monday, January 12, 2009
These projects, which include everything from neighborhood clean-ups to preparing and serving meals to hospice patients, will take place on or during the week of the federal King Holiday, January 19.
Learn more about the national MLK Day of Service--and take some time on January 19 to read from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Here's an interview with Doris Lessing about winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Today, a knack for filling out forms and the ability to nail an interview have become necessary skills for young children. In NYC, 10-year-old students must apply to middle school. Despite best efforts, the process was confusing--and there was a lot of pressure on fifth graders and their parents. For instance, 2000 students and parents took the tour of East Side Middle School. How many students will it accept? 140 or so. (Honestly, this was not a good time to have dinner with the parents of fifth graders. They could talk of nothing else--but who could blame them?)
My friend, 10-year-old Isabel Lichtenstein, was quoted in a New York Times article about the application process. I hope Iz gets her first choice of school--and I wish her good luck with all of the forms, essays, and interviews she'll face over a lifetime.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Also included are interviews with thirteen students that highlight the struggles faced by so many immigrant children.
In June, The New York Times published an article about International High School's first prom--a Brooklyn school founded four years ago with a student body that is 100% recent immigrants. You can meet some of its students in this video.
The new Harper Perennial Modern Thought books got a great response. Lots of folks were very happy to see Heidegger's Being and Time in paperback, and were excited about the forthcoming titles, especially Wittgenstein's Major Works.
New books such as Mrs. Lincoln: A Life, and Waking Giant caught the eye of many. There was also great anticipation for Jackson Lears' forthcoming book Rebirth of a Nation due out in June. Books that continue to be popular for course use among history professors are Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
Thanks again to the AHA and all who stopped by the booth, we look forward to seeing you all again next year in sunny San Diego.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The National Council of Teachers of English has online resources to help you get ready.
To help you incorporate Letters to a Bullied Girl into your school's campaign against bullying, I asked Mike Koren, a middle-school teacher in Wisconsin, to writer our curriculum guide.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
For ideas on how to incorporate Not Quite What I Was Planning into your class, take a look at our teaching guide. If your students post their six-word memoirs at SMITH magazine, they might be picked for the next edition!
New in bookstores, Six-Word Memoirs of Love and Heartbreak is filled with insightful slivers of passion, pain, and connection that capture every shade of love and loss—six words at a time.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Jackson Lears's Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 was our most popular galley. The book will publish in June 2009.
I had the usual discussion with a professor about page length. Shorter is better for most classes. It's not as if this professor won't assign a long book--but she gets a better reaction from students when the book is under 300 pages. 256 is ideal.
Friday, January 2, 2009
With works from Martin Heidegger, Antony Flew, Peter Singer, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is worth a good, long look.
My first thought was, "Why would a mother encourage that? Feminism is dead." My next reaction was, "Oh, here's an example of third-wave feminism, right?"
There are times when you have to go back to go forward. I turned to Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch--a touchstone of second-wave feminism. In it, you can see the seeds of third-wave feminism--including sex-positivity, the reappropriation of the derogatory (reclaiming the female body), anti-essentialism (not advocating any particular prescription for women), and activism.
For more insights into second- and third-wave feminism, take a look at our teaching guide for The Female Eunuch--written by Meg Jay.
I'm still on the fence about the photo-taking mother. What do you think?