It was a beautiful snowy night in beautiful downtown Staunton, Virginia, when, inspired by Elizabeth Baird Hardy’s outings with her Hunger Games readers, a colleague and I went with about 60 Mary Baldwin psychology students to see Divergent at  the historic Dixie theater.  Granted, it was March 25th, a few days after the movie’s big opening weekend, and, at that time of year, a beautiful spring evening would have been far more appropriate, but that wasn’t going to spoil our fun.

Judging from both the turnout for the film and the comments afterwards, this was a movie the students were eagerly anticipated and which lived up to their expectations.  Since my colleague is teaching personality psychology this term, we could not resist indoctrinating them on the Five Factor Hypothesis. But, with their finals coming up in only a couple of weeks, I figure the odds of the students remembering what O.C.E.A.N stands for are a bit more in their favor now.  At least two students have told me they were inspired to read the series now, which is always a desirable outcome.

Spoilers, ho!

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I love teaching British Literature I, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is a big scary fella with a heck of a grip: Beowulf. The translation I enjoy using is the absolutely fabulous Seamus Heaney one, but there is a new version forthcoming, one that has a variety of readers drooling like Grendel contemplating a mead hall full of yummy Danish warriors. J.R.R. Tolkien’s much anticipated translation, bound along with some of his scholarly and fiction work related to the epic poem, is slated for release May 22. [click to continue…]

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Registration Now Open: LSU Young Adult Literature Conference

by Louise Freeman 24 March 2014

Share The official website for the inaugural Young Adult Literature Conference and Symposium at Louisiana State University is up and registration is open, with an early bird discount if you register by April 15th and a hefty discount for students.  I will be teaching a short course on Divergent and leading a breakout session of [...]

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All Aboard the Hogwarts Express! A Virtual Platform 9 3/4?

by John 20 March 2014

Share If you’re like me, you’re receiving a lot of email these days from the Wizarding World of Orlando about the new park opening this summer. For those who have missed out, you can see online versions here and here. Is anyone headed to Platform 9 3/4 this July? Please let us know about the [...]

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Another Hogwarts Professor Study: Readers of YA Fiction

by Louise Freeman 17 March 2014

Share Dr. Louise Freeman of the Mary Baldwin Psychology Department seeks readers of young adult fiction for a personality study. This study will require you to fill out a brief (15 minute) personality survey. Participants must be at least 13 years old and a fluent speaker of English. The study is approved by the Institutional [...]

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But Wait, There’s More! J.K. Rowling Releases New Harry Potter Story about Quidditch via PotterMore

by Elizabeth 17 March 2014

Share It’s funny how some authors only want to distance themselves from their most popular creations, while others keep right on keeping on as long as there is one devoted fan still breathing. J. K. Rowling is apparently steering a middle course; she is at once writing novels for a very adult audience (I have [...]

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And the Winner Is… Alayna Rinlo, Contestant Number Two!

by John 10 March 2014

Share Thanks to Park Inn Watford for the tickets to Leavesden Studios that made this essay contest inviting, thank you to all those who wrote essays and especially our three finalists, and thank you to those of you who voted yesterday and today for a winner! And the winner is Alayna Rinlo, Contestant number 2! [...]

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Park Inn Leavesden Ticket Essay Contest: Pick a Winner!

by John 8 March 2014

Share Voting is simple. Leave a one sentence vote in the comment boxes below. One vote only, please, and anything negative will be deleted! Thank you to all of you who sent entries and best wishes to our three finalists – First Contestant … But the thing I love the most about Harry Potter, and [...]

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Bulletin Board: LeakyCon last CFP, my Patronus, and the Pope

by John 7 March 2014

Share Four quick links and notes on a beautiful Friday afternoon here in OKC! (1) LeakyCon sent out its “insider” email to tens of thousands today to ask those already registered for their big ideas about programming. Read all the details here. This last ‘call for papers’ or other type of presentation has a deadline [...]

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Park Inn Leavesden Ticket Contest: Third Contestant, Please!

by John 7 March 2014

Share As posted here last month, in the first of what the faculty hopes are a series of HogwartsProfessor Short Essay Contests, we asked you to write a 500-750 word composition, poem, fictional vignette, whatever in answer to the question, “When I am asked why I love the Hogwarts Saga, I answer…” This week we [...]

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