The Literate City: Without libraries and bookstores, how can it exist?

The Literate City: Without libraries and bookstores, how can it exist?

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr The annual survey ranking America’s Most Literate Cities was released this month, evaluating the USA’s 75 largest metro areas on six criteria that foster or support literacy: level of education, libraries, booksellers, Internet resources, and circulation of newspapers and periodicals. For the first time in five years, the #1 spot was not claimed by either Seattle or Minneapolis, although those cities still scored very well. Are you […]

Did you need another reason NOT to trust your horoscope?

Did you need another reason NOT to trust your horoscope?

Image via Wikipedia “Hey baby, what’s your sign?” You may have to start answering that question differently. It turns out that the stars aren’t aligned quite the way we thought they were. A group of Minnesota astronomers recently pointed out that the relative positions of the Earth and the sun have shifted in the 3000 years since the Babylonians developed the “zodiac” calendar. The moon’s gravitational pull causes Earth to “wobble” on its axis, changing […]

For Whymommy: Help for cancer survivors needing lymphedema sleeves

For Whymommy: Help for cancer survivors needing lymphedema sleeves

I met Susan Niebur for the first time at BlogHer’09 in Chicago, but I already knew who she was – blogger, mom, planetary scientist, and cancer survivor. When Susan was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) – the least common and most deadly form of the disease – in 2007, fellow bloggers rallied around, forming Team Whymommy to support her in her battle against it. She won…that time. She had a recurrence of the cancer […]

Encino Says: “Save Our Bookstore!” (Updated)

Encino Says: “Save Our Bookstore!” (Updated)

There have been too many stories in the last year or two about cities closing or limiting the hours of their libraries, but bookstores have been having a hard time of it as well. Shelf Awareness regularly reports on closures in the independent-bookseller sector – there’s one looming in Nashville – but they’re not the only ones affected; the big-name bookstores have been struggling too. I live in what’s essentially a one-bookstore town…well, two if […]

Censorship, #Amazonfail, and the dark side of self-publishing

Censorship, #Amazonfail, and the dark side of self-publishing

Remember Banned Books Week? It was a little over a month ago, and many of us defended the freedom of access to books, regardless of their content: “I’m very much in favor of the freedom to read what one chooses to read – and in order to make those choices well, one needs access to the full range of choices. I also believe in the freedom to choose not to read something. But I believe […]

Voting early…and somewhat less than enthusiastically

Voting early…and somewhat less than enthusiastically

By the time you read this, I’ll have already voted. The legendary Chicago maxim – “vote early and often” – aside, you can only vote as often as elections are held, and when they are held, you only get to vote once. But in many places, you don’t have to wait for Election Day any more, and you can easily comply with the “early” part. More and more districts are implementing in-person “early voting” at […]

A Turning Point: Maria Shriver and a Woman’s Nation take on Alzheimer’s

A Turning Point: Maria Shriver and a Woman’s Nation take on Alzheimer’s

(photo credit) This weekend, as we do around this time every year, my family and I walked for the Alzheimer’s Association in our local Memory Walk. I’ve shared my mom’s Alzheimer’s story and the reasons why I do this, and I want to thank everyone who donated in support of our team’s fundraising efforts. But there’s so much more to be done to fight this disease. Last week, I was invited to participate in a […]

Where were you when IT happened?

Watching the recent rescue of the Chilean miners on TV prompted The Stiletto Mom to reflect on where she’d been during other history-making events. She got me thinking, too. I’ve taken the lead from some of the events she mentioned (which are marked with a *), but added in a couple of my own. March 1981: President Reagan was shot in the lung by John Hinckley, Jr.*: That was my junior year of high school, and I think […]

Where all news is VERY local

Where all news is VERY local

When I meet people elsewhere, I usually tell them I’m from Los Angeles or “the LA area,” because it’s easier to place it. However, I actually live northwest of the city, between LA and Santa Barbara. Like many who live there, I make a daily commute to and from LA proper for work. Along with not having kids in the city schools (I have stepkids, and they are in school, just not in my town. […]

Books for Baltimore: It’s the 2010 Dewey Donation Drive!

Books for Baltimore: It’s the 2010 Dewey Donation Drive!

The Dewey Donation System is back online and kicking off its 2010 Book Donation Drive! Have you met Dewey? Born in 2006, he’s the offspring of author/roller-derby queen Pamela Ribon‘s efforts to help struggling public libraries through her website pamie.com and “Tubey’s Kids,” the charity initiative started by Television Without Pity (TWoP) and its co-founder David “Glark” Cole. Dewey previously helped bring in books and raise funds for libraries in Harrison County, Mississippi, Negril, Jamaica, […]

Critical controversy, #Franzenfreude, and writing about women writers

Critical controversy, #Franzenfreude, and writing about women writers

Do you read book reviews in mainstream media – newspapers and magazines, and/or their websites – any more? There actually are some of them still around, despite the rapid disappearance of dedicated book-review sections in newspapers during the last few years. And while many of us seem to be getting book information and recommendations from book blogs and other new sources, traditional review outlets like The New York Times still carry influence and weight – […]

Could California ban divorce? Should it?

I’ve been mulling about this one for at least a week, and after the two days of discussing Laura Munson’s separation memoir, this seemed like as good a time as any to bring it up. Two years ago, there was a lot of talk in California about “protecting marriage” as Proposition 8 came up on the ballot. The constitutional amendment that defines marriage as strictly between one man and one woman passed, controversially, calling into […]

No Florida vacation: Growing up by the Gulf

No Florida vacation: Growing up by the Gulf

When I talk about the various places I’m from, the place I tend to talk about the least is St. Petersburg, Florida – but if we’re friends on Facebook, it’s documented there. I graduated from St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg Junior College, and the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus; one reason I chose to major in accounting was because I could get all the classes I needed without ever having to […]

Brand management, the Catholic Church, and me

Brand management, the Catholic Church, and me

I was listening to a story on NPR the other day about managing President Obama’s “brand,” and the whole concept annoyed me. Granted, as a blogger, I’m a bit overexposed to “brand” talk anyway – brand/blogger relationships, product-driven content, FTC disclosures, and so on – but I think it was the context that got under my skin. Does everything come down to marketing these days? Does everything we do have to be calculated for image […]

Tuesday Tangents: Be Counted! The Census Edition

Tuesday Tangents: Be Counted! The Census Edition

We received our 2010 Census Form last week, but need to make a few minutes to fill it out. Have you gotten yours yet? PSAs for the Census tell us to send the form back right away. However, the form itself states that Census Day is officially April 1, 2010, so you should respond by counting the people in your home as of that date. It’s not clear to me whether this is actually a […]