Category Archives: books

Skin in the Game

One of the least rewarding parts of my graduate classes in English was having to read reviews of new books of literary criticism. Especially after an undergraduate class I took with a professor who helped shape my own pedagogical approaches, it was hard to read those reviews and not see how the reviewers were using the opportunity that review provided them — hardly a small one — to promote their own careers. At some point in nearly every review I read, the reviewer would invariably…

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I Can Afford to Hoard Now

Part of my job as an English teacher is to stay current on developments in the language, from Oxford comma debates to ever-changing citation styles. Keeping track of all the “loan words” that seep into English from other languages is a small part of that work, but it’s one of the more enjoyable things I get to do, if only because it helps me learn more about other cultures. It also provides an ongoing example of how languages change over time, and aren’t the static…

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Trimmed

The first video-intensive website I remember visiting is a special site that Norelco built to sell a new razor that was designed to capitalize on a new trend, one that’s called “manscaping” these days. Not only was the instantly-loading video kind of a shock to me at first (as was automatically-playing audio, which had become a no-no back when so many of us were loading our websites up with crappy MIDI sound files), but the website, shaveeverywhere.com (which is now owned by a domain hoarder,…

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The Trouble with Textbooks

College students outraged over $999¬† online textbook (channel3000.com) One of the primary guiding principles of my teaching career, if not my whole life, is to never forget where I came from. While I could cite many examples of how that principle guides my non-teaching life, my bad experiences as a K-12 student have done a lot to shape how I approach my work as a teacher. Even when I was still a student in those classrooms, I could see how some teachers were inflicting misery…

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Post-Pyrrhic and Punch-Drunk

Five weeks ago, I blogged about a very problematic turn of events for me. On the one hand, the leading book review organization¬†Kirkus Reviews had posted an incredibly positive review of my first novel,¬†The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban. For many authors, getting this kind of a review can be career-making , and it was coming as I headed into a summer where I didn’t have any teaching work. Getting this review in front of as many people as possible became a top priority for me,…

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