You heard the lady! Authorephemera.tumblr.com is free! Who’s got this?
By Beth McCoy
In my classrooms, we read literature and theory aloud. A lot. Sometimes we do so much reading aloud that I warn about it on syllabi in order to ward off interpretations that reading aloud equals busy work or indicates that McCoy has nothing to say about the material.
Reading-aloud exercises have to be framed carefully for other reasons. Students can’t be required to read aloud, for not all students necessarily can, should, or want to read aloud. Asking for “volunteers” doesn’t get around ableist presumptions; after all, in a classroom’s inherent power imbalance, the very notion of volunteerism is untenable.
At the same time, however, reading aloud in the literature classroom can demolish other barriers. Students who feel locked out of other activities often understood as “classroom participation” (e.g, question-and-answer cycles, small-group work) often discover that choosing to read aloud not only makes a contribution to the class but also helps them to take risks with language.
Indeed, one of the most valuable things about reading aloud is the process of stumbling over pronunciation. When I was a child, I knew that the past tense of “mislead” was spelled “misled.” But when I saw “misled” upon the printed page, I pronounced it my head as “myzled.” Fortunately, I discovered the unorthodoxy of my pronunciation before having to give a professional lecture as a Ph.D. As some readers of this piece know, I was not so fortunate with the word “autochthony.”
Telling that story—one that years later still brings me acute embarrassment—runs us past the shaming of those grammar and punctuation memes so ubiquitous on Facebook and into more nuanced contemplations of English pronunciation across time, culture, and place.
For instance, I live in Western New York, where the Genesee River essentially is the pop/soda divide. In this region, the word “elementary” is often pronounced as a five-syllable “elemenTAIRy” while my northern New Jersey origins lead me to pronounce it with only four syllables, the last of which is “tree.”
Want to see a class really erupt? Ask them what pronunciation of the word “radiator” sounds “correct” to them: “RAYdiator” or the one in which the first syllable sounds like the first syllable of “radish.”
To seal the deal, ask about “bagel.” Years ago, a student told of his encounter with the WNY variant pronunciation that renders “BAYgle” as “baggle.” He’d lived in the region his entire life but had never heard the variant until one morning when he was—quite appropriately—in a bagel shop. The student heard a five-year-old ask for a particular kind and number of baggles. Perplexed, the student asked the boy why he called them “baggles.” With some impatience, the child replied, “Well, because they come in bags!”
The child did not add “dummy!” to his response, but the student said it was implied, strongly.
I am obsessed with the pronunciations of towns near Rochester: Lima, Avon, Charlotte — I know there are others… All of which are pronounced “wrong” to my NYC ears!
I’m looking for some books to read that are good for college grads. Technically, I graduate in December but I need some good reads now to get me inspired and motivated for the semester ahead as well as job hunting.
Hello! I’d recommend:
What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson. This book contains many stories from people who asked themselves, well, what they should do with their life. Bronson writes well and the stories are all pretty inspiring. (Also, they’re written in snippets, so it’ll be easy to sneak in bits around your coursework and whatnot.) Most of the people featured are not recent college graduates, so it’s not going to give you any specific life advice, but it will give you a good place to start thinking practically about what’s important to you and what to look for when you job hunt (without being all “hey just follow your heart and damn the rent check,” which is annoying).
Stoner by John Williams. This is one of my favorite novels of all time so I never pass up a chance to recommend it. But also, it’s a very good book about how college life turns into adult life, and how very badly that can go wrong, for big reasons and for small ones. I find that often when I do some stare-off-in-the-distance life pondering. parts of this book bob in my mind. It’s incredible anyway, but I think you’re in a life place right now where it might be particularly great.
I don’t know what sort of job you’ll be looking for, but I would also recommend looking for good biographies about people in your chosen field, or just in general. They’re interesting because most successful people were tremendous fuck-ups at some point. I find that comforting. If you tell me what your career interests are, I’ll see what’s out there. Or, as a general biography recommendation, I’m fond of A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee.
I hope one of these will work for you, and if not, let me know. Good luck with your last semester!
This has been a #bookadvice post. I’m answering one #bookadvice question each day this month for reasons to be explained at a later date. Go ahead and post your own questions under the #bookadvice tag, or answer one. Or answer this one!
Real American Hero Stephanie Anderson, ladies and gents. Help us make #bookadvice happen!
Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly NICK OFFERMAN, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? In celebration of Nick's new book, Dutton is offering you the chance to enter the Paddle Your Own Canoe sweepstakes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO HERE.
Most importantly, he finds librarians irresistible.
Skipping ahead to ALA Annual in Chicago next month, here’s something you might want to add to your schedule if you’ve been intimidated by Tumblr. Library Journal book review editor Molly McArdle, Tumblr keeper Rachel Fershleiser, and librarians Erin Shea and Kate Tkacik will walk you confidently through the hows and whys. I will be there, as I am still learning Tumblarian-ese.
We are so excited to have a big discussion about this! Please join us!
Books are just about the Librarian’s most favorite thing in the entire world. Reading them can take you on exciting adventures in far-off lands, introduce you to new friends and cultures, and let you discover poetry, classic literature, science fiction and much more. (via LEGO.com Minifigures : Bios - Series 10 - Librarian)
OH MY GOOOOOOD.
Front desk at an unpopular museum.
Outreach/education at zoo, aquarium, or museum.
Salesperson in sofa or bed emporium.
Combination journalist/scuba instructor.
Oral history intake.
Skydiving instructor, stunt double, advice columnist, coffeehouse owner.
Thing 1) I submitted the boringest answer on this list.
Thing 2) ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN IS BACK ON TUMBLR AND ALL THE LITERARY PEASANTS REJOICE!
Tkacik’s upbeat, intellectually curious attitude comes across in her posts and attracts other librarians to her, says tumblarian Daniel Ransom, librarian for research and electronic resources at Holy Names University in Oakland. “She consciously set out to create a community, and, very quickly, she succeeded,” he says.
I love this woman. I love you Kate.
Could not be prouder of this hometown hero (where hometown = my Tumblr dash.)