Shared Text Alert: Terrorists Love Hogwarts Saga?

According to a recent AP article, former child soldier and Al-Qaeda militant Omar Khadr is something of a Harry Potter fan.  Khadr, described in several articles as a rage-filled, cold-blooded killer, apparently enjoys reading the books, which begs the question: Does someone who so clearly exhibits only intolerance for anyone who does not share his beliefs really “get it” if he considers himself a fan? Does he not see that the Order of the Phoenix members would all fall under the category of personae non gratia in his worldview? Or does he see those who disagree with him as the evil Ministry of Magic?  What seems really interesting, though, is the way the media keeps tossing out Khadr’s reading of HP. On one level, the references are probably just meant to emphasize the irony of the situation: terrorist who reads the popular, epitome-of-Western-Culture books loved by millions, isn’t that bizarre? [Read more…]

Twilight Official Guide to Arrive at Last–Next Year

After promising publication for over a year and a half now, Little Brown has at last given a firm release date, April 12 next year, for the now-illustrated official guide to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Meyer has promised that the new guide will include backstory information on characters, as well as genealogies and maps to fill in more background on the world of the Cullens. It will be interesting to see how much really “new” information is included, or if most of it will be the same material Meyer has already posted on her website or revealed in correspondence and interviews.  One piece that was originally intended for this guide grew until it took on a life of its own as The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Perhaps the collection will include shorter pieces that fill in the actions of characters whose stories Bella couldn’t tell.

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Student Guest Post: On The Hunger Games as Contestant in the Required Reading Arena

In my English 113 classes,  my college students have several topics from which to choose for their first essay. One is an argument for the book of their choice to be assigned reading in school (or, in the case of a controversial book, for it to be permitted for students to read). One of my students, Jordan Hutchins, decided to argue for the Hunger Games as an addition to the required reading list for high school students. The essay was so nice that I asked if we could post it, and Jordan has graciously agreed. I hope everyone enjoys the essay as much as I did and that you’ll give this student scholar some great feedback. Thanks, Jordan!

The Hunger Games: Contestant in the Required Reading Arena [Read more…]

Professor Sprout Goes to District 12 and the Arena: Some ‘Hunger Games’ Plant and Berry Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned, I’m using  The Hunger Games this year in my ENG 111 (Expository writing) classes.  I was just puttering about finding some images to use in class discussion when I came across some interesting material on Katniss’s namesake. So I thought it might be fun to flip a few pages of the treasured family plant book to ponder why Katniss’s name is both symbolic and prophetic while also looking at a few other pertinent wild botanical samples that crop up as people and themes in the books.

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A Curious Cat: Mockingjay’s Tigris As More Than Just Another Freak in the Capitol Circus

Last week, when our esteemed headmaster, John, sent along his amazing three-part series on Unlocking Mockingjay, I was, like John, and several others, still puzzling over Tigris. She’s a peculiar character, and not just because she has had more plastic surgery than everyone on the cover of the latest tabloid put together. In order to get beneath the stripey surface of this intriguing safe-house keeper, it seems we need to look at three possible purposes that she represents outside her mechanical function as plot-propelling individual who takes in Katniss and the remnants of the Star Squad. [Read more…]