Archives for March 2014

Divergent Movie: First Impressions

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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A Heroic Achievement: Tolkien’s Beowulf Coming in May

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. [Read more…]

Registration Now Open: LSU Young Adult Literature Conference

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 Harry Potter. The other workshops look great, too and I’m planning my reading list to get familiar with some of the works of the guest authors.

Hoping some Hogpro regulars will come!

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

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 Hogwarts Express as well as the new exhibit. Did either or both enhance or diminish your personal, imaginative experience of the Hogwarts Saga?

Another Hogwarts Professor Study: Readers of YA Fiction

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 Review Board of Mary Baldwin College.   Many thanks for your help!