March by John Lewis

This isn’t a review. I’m a little surprised I haven’t heard of this trilogy.

For those who don’t know, John Lewis is one of the last remaining civils rights era icons of the mid-20th century civil rights movement that took place throughout the United States. A movement that persists to this day. He’s represented Georgia in the US House of Representatives for some time now. When he speaks about civil rights and liberties people listen because he was on the front lines of the movement long before plenty of people (myself included) were ever born and before millions of people embraced the change that was undoubtedly needed but difficult to come by.

I just accidentally stumbled upon a set of books he’s written to chronicle the era. But these aren’t your typical history books. They’re graphic novels. I imagine the aim is to educate a younger audience in history through a medium they’re familiar with. I have no information on whether or not this is happening, but I’d actually like to see middle and high school teachers use the books to supplement textbooks. Time in the classroom is so limited, much the same as space in textbooks, so I say why not assign students graphic novels written by someone who has one of the greatest perspectives of the era? I remember being taught almost exclusively from textbooks in history classes, which is fine but far from exhaustive.

I think this trilogy of graphic novels set during the mid-20th century is a good way to teach history in a different way that many will embrace and enjoy.

What do you think of using them to teach history? 

Everyone Thinks They Know What you Want to Read

As readers we are constantly bombarded with book recommendations. Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Goodreads. PEOPLE. That random guy in the bookstore who saw you glancing at that book on President Reagan. Book bloggers. The list never ends.

And now there’s a new player in the game. Shelfjoy. Which is so pointless it makes me laugh. Shelfjoy is absolutely no different than any other recommendation you’ve ever gotten. It recommends books based on topics you’ve already shown an interest in. Which is exactly what every other site or person does because obviously if you’re interested in a particular title, then you MUST be interested in what I think is “similar”.

They claim every book is hand-curated, but my understanding is it amounts to a bunch of lists on different topics. It isn’t creative. It isn’t groundbreaking. And it isn’t new. And it’s only available on Facebook Messenger, so there’s that. I think you can send them a message and they reply with a book for you to read. How grand. 

I’m convinced every book recommendation is someone somewhere trying to infiltrate my brain. What do you think?

When Will They End?

After the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child JK Rowling made a point to say Harry is done. Even though she’d already said the series would end after book 7. Which is fine until it was announced that there’d be 3 new ebooks released next month. None of the new ebooks is about Harry, but it just leads one to wonder when (or if) the books will ever stop.

I guess when you’re the author of the bestselling series ever you can do whatever you want to with your series. I know fans of the series will just about always buy anything remotely related to the wizarding world, but is that reason enough to keep releasing snippets of info fairly regularly? I mean, doesn’t she also post random things on Pottermore every once in awhile too?

I don’t know. I’m feeling like we’re being forced to remember the wizarding world. I’m just glad Suzanne Collins hasn’t done this with Katniss. Although I think there is a prequel movie being made, though I’m unsure of her actual involvement. But at least she isn’t releasing ancillary type stories or books that do nothing to add to the original trilogy. I say let Harry and the whole wizarding world finally shut the door on what’s been a remarkable couple of decades. But of course, I’m no one.

Are you still craving any and everything related to the wizarding world? Or are you ready to move on like I am?

(though I’m still reading the original series)

What the Olympics are Supposed to be About

I imagine you’ve watched at least some Olympic coverage over the last week and a half, but there’s a story I want to share if you haven’t been keeping up as closely as I’ve been.

This isn’t a story of Team USA winning gold. It isn’t about the dominance of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps. It actually isn’t about any medal or close finish. It’s about that mysterious thing that only pokes its head out a few times (if any) at the Olympic Games we know as the Olympic spirit.

It can be easy for us to forget that these athletes are human beings just like we are. They might have more notoriety than we do, they might have more money than we do, and they have the athletic ability we simply don’t. But we’re all human. Every one of us.

And two athletes put that on full display yesterday. Abbey D’Agostino from Team USA and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand. The American clipped Hamblin and both fell to the track during their 5000M race. Abbey got to her feet first, but rather than proceed with the race she leaned down and encouraged Hamblin to get up and finish because it’s the Olympics. And Hamblin did. She got up. But then D’Agostino went down again. She’d injured her knee in the fall. This time it was Hamblin encouraging her to get up and finish.

They finished in the last two positions in their heat. Both would later be advanced to the final even though they didn’t qualify. But only Hamblin will compete. Abbey D’Agostino tore her ACL in the fall and collision. She ran more than a mile with a torn ACL. And the first person to meet her as she crossed the finish line was Nikki Hamblin.

I imagine the story is being shared more by the US media and in New Zealand, but there’s no doubt that these two women both gained millions of new fans and supporters over the last 24 hours. Not for being elite athletes. Not for winning gold for themselves and their country. Not for their personal stories that most viewers don’t know about. But because even in the midst of the highest athletic competition these two women forgot that they’re competing against each other. In those trying moments on the track it was more important to both of them to look out for their fellow human being rather than at their own standing in the race.

I love sports more than any person I know. But these women show how small sport really is. No one would have questioned either of them had they gotten up and continued on without looking back. But they didn’t.

Suffice it to say I’m a fan of both Nikki and Abbey now because they are the embodiment of what the Olympics are all about.

You can see what happened here, although the video won’t play if you’re not in the USA.

How Many is too Many?

A library in St. Louis County has launched an initiative to get parents reading to their kids before kindergarten. But I think their goal is a bit lofty. Parents are encouraged through prizes to read 1000 books to their child before they reach kindergarten.

That’s a thousand books in the first five years of their life. I know the books are short and you can read multiple books in a single day, but new parents aren’t exactly full of free time. Obviously the program is designed to create and enhance better language skills and vocabulary, but eh. I don’t know how many books were read to me before kindergarten, but I know it wasn’t close to a thousand of them. 

Do you think this library is on to something or just a little too enthusiastic with its expectations?

No, I Don’t Want That Book

As is all too common on the internet different companies and sites use my browsing history to recommend something else they’re selling. For example, I clicked on some travel ad on Instagram and that same company popped up in a promoted tweet on Twitter. Just ugh.

But I also tweet quire a bit about the presidential race. And as a result I’ve now been seeing promoted tweets from Trump selling signed “limited editions” of The Art of the Deal. First, the book is priced astronomically high. More than $150. Second, I have no desire to read the book. Third, there is no scenario in which I’d support him or his campaign.

I just wish Twitter would get the message. Are there any ads on social media that keep popping up in your feeds no matter how many times you skip over them?

The Numbers are in

Unfortunately the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a runaway hit. In its first ten days in release the book version of the script has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America alone. At the times of my original post on here and when I made my video for the script I hadn’t actually read any of the script. But now I have. Just a few bits and pieces to get a feel for the writing itself. My conclusion is quite simple. The writing is terrible. If no one had known anything about how this play came about and read this it would be obvious on page one that it wasn’t written by Rowling.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Even with the great sales numbers they still don’t come close to the first day sales of Deathly Hallows, which sold more than 8 million copies in 2007. I’d say several factors are at play with the somewhat diminished numbers. First, it’s been nearly a decade since the final book was released. Second, this isn’t really a continuation of the series so many people know and love. Third, (and I saw this firsthand) a lot of people were unaware of this release. Fourth, the reviews. In my video last week I told y’all that it was rated 3.3 stars on Amazon after more than a thousand reviews. That trend is sticking. After more than 3000 reviews it is currently rated 3.4 stars out of 5. I think that number will stop people from buying who wanted to wait and see what initial readers thought of the script.

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them adaptations. Every one of the original Potter movies (like the books) was well received by viewers and critics alike, but hearing that a sequel is already in the works before the original is even released has me scratching my head. I mean, Warner Bros. just gave everyone the terrible trilogy they adapted from The Hobbit. Let’s hope they don’t make a habit of it.