ok so for my students’ final project, i’m having them select any text they’d like and produce a new edition of it, one that’s targeted towards a different audience than the text in its original form. their edition has to include a critical introduction as well, explaining the changes that they’ve made to the text and to its material form, challenges they encountered, etc.

i’m reading the project proposals now and there are so many good ones – a cnn article on “alternative facts” re-edited to work as a kindergarten lesson about political engagement, rewriting a piece of the californian legislation family code so it’s legible to non-experts or ESL parents, “no fear hegel” (kill me), a version of cat in the hat for high schoolers that includes peritext explaining its connection to the cold war, etc. but i just got to this one: “Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined the underlying feelings of aggression and angst in modern American middle schoolers with the manipulative and cunning nature of Machiavellian philosophy?” 

he’s editing the prince for preteens.

i made the mistake of posting this when i was only halfway through the stack. listen. listen. the official bartender’s guide, for NASA astronauts. 

I want to read several of these.

Your students are brilliant 

I just possibly may have made more eggplant and zucchini pakoras than were strictly needed for one person.

The question now becomes: will I have room for any of the rest of the meal for a while, after stuffing myself with yummy fried vegetables? That may take some effort, but we’ll have to see. Try hard and believe in yourself, and all that 🙄

Yeah, that’s the broiler pan full. And I already ate some of them while they were cooking. Started out with half a smallish Italian type eggplant and one medium sized zucchini. Which I was thinking about just rolling in seasoned cornmeal and frying hillbilly style because I hadn’t had any so far this summer. But I still haven’t gotten hold of more cornmeal, so an Indian theme won out tonight. Not sorry I decided to go with that, either.

That batter recipe could have used a little more seasoning to my taste, but a sprinkle of chaat masala after they were done fixed that.

Any leftovers should reheat fine under the broiler anyway, if I don’t end up eating them all tonight.
























(via bookshelves)

I don’t mean to be unkind, but I don’t get how you can claim to “love books” and have a shelf full of Harry Potter and Jodi Picault. Have we created a nation of people who honestly believe that “reading” is one of their hobbies because they own a copy of The DaVinci Code? Where did we go wrong?

Your homework: Burn your books. All of them. If you think they’re good books, then burn everything else you have that you think is good. Don’t give them away, or donate them – that’s just moving the problem on to some other poor bastard.

Now populate your shelves with: William Faulkner; Vladimir Nabokov; Ernest Hemingway; Hunter S. Thompson; Kurt Vonnegut; Nikolai Gogol; Fyodor Dostoevsky; Frank Kafka; and that’s just for starters.

Come back to me for further recommendations when the fog has lifted from your brain.

I’d forgotten about this lovely reply to one of my photos from 7 years ago. Oh, literary snobbery, you haven’t changed much.

I’d forgotten about it too. I hope you’ve developed a love of literature in the last 7 years, or at least burned your copy of The DaVinci Code.

And what have we learned?

  • Never confuse “snobbery” or “elitism” for having standards. (If you don’t have any standards for yourself, then why should anyone else?)
  • Never confuse “popular” with “good”. (If every book on your bookshelf appeared on a best-seller list, how do you tell the difference?)  
  • Learn to accept criticism, especially from people who have no investment in whether you take their advice or not. (If you find it difficult to accept criticism, you’re missing out on many opportunities to improve. Here are my book reviews. I might have got it all wrong. Please feel free to reblog any of them with any criticism you may have – let’s get a conversation going! I’ve also started a blog of simplified classics called Pretend You’ve Read. Please feel free to criticise anything you feel I got wrong there, too. Why not? Hone your reader’s instincts.)
  • Keep pushing forward. (Otherwise, what are you doing with your life?)
  • Always try to be a better version of yourself. (ditto)
  • Put your energy into creating things, making things and helping people, not into destroying things, taking things apart or trashing people. (I made that post with the sole intention of improving your life. I wasn’t try to upset you or make you feel bad or come across as “snobbery”. I was trying to help you understand what literature is, what it can do, and how you can cut yourself off a slice of that crazy action.)
  • A great way to learn to be a better version of yourself is to read literature. (I assume you understand this better than you did seven years ago. At least, I hope so!)

All from that one little post I reblogged from you 7 years ago. 

Let’s be friends! 

Well actually, my career in publishing and the book industry – which I hadn’t yet begun when I posted this – is down to my passion for all books, whether they’re deemed to be “literature” or not. The book industry is not sustained by holding onto the novels of dead white men, but by recognising that there are gems in all genres, and valuing all readers.

I personally love children’s books and YA. But I also ran a successful Classic Challenge for five years. (Don’t think that was anything to do with you, dear reader).

I have not moved on from Harry Potter or A Series of Unfortunate Events (maybe Dan Brown, but hey, it was seven years ago) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” – Haruki Murakami

William Faulkner; Vladimir Nabokov; Ernest Hemingway; Hunter S.
Thompson; Kurt Vonnegut; Nikolai Gogol; Fyodor Dostoevsky; Frank Kafka.

Wow. White guys. So many white guys. They are the one true coming of all literature.

Wow. This guy. Telling OP that all her interests are trash and that she should burn them so she could learn about real literature. Then, seven years later, telling her he was doing it to improve her life.

This whole set of interactions is so new and different. It’s almost like it hasn’t happened a billion times in the last day. Wow.


Good grief. What a tool.

Don’t you know all good arguments start with “burn that book”?

Frank Kafka.


The day someone tells me to burn books of any kind is the day I know that they are a moron who believes in censorship of individual taste and of FUN. The day that person only recommends books that are on any school syllabus and doesn’t branch out beyond them underscores the point with fifteen exclamation marks.

Probably my favorite is the fact that OP had 2 obvious Richard Dawkins books (The Selfish Gene and The Greatest Show on Earth) indicating a wide and well-nourished range of interests – from evolutionary biology to young adult fantasy to women’s fiction. (and how satisfying and beautiful is her bookshelf!!) I mean, the cure for a balanced literary diet is not “apply a small wodge of tedious historical men’s fiction following the same themes.”

Meanwhile, her self-appointed critic literally just has a list of dead white American/Russian men who wrote Gritty Literary Fiction About Sad Stuff during a narrow period of history. THEY’RE NOT EVEN THE PRETENTIOUS CLASSICS! THEY’RE NOT EVEN THE OBSCURE FARE!

I am actually a lot more accepting about people being snotty about Classics ™ because I accept that they’ve gone so deep that they probably don’t realize how much they need to decompress – they have lost their adaptations to surface life and normal human interaction, like those deepwater fish that you have to bring up slowly in your net, or they’ll burst. But imagine bringing yourself to be snobby about angsty men’s fiction written between 1800 and 2000.

(Also, Frank Kafka. We shouldn’t laugh)

I don’t know which is a richer irony:  “Create, don’t destroy!” from someone whose criticism involved telling a stranger to burn her library, or “If every book on your bookshelf appeared on a best-seller list, how do you tell the difference?” from someone whose essential reading list is a Freshman Lit syllabus.

Here’s a better idea:  Read what appeals to you, take it apart, put it back together, find out what makes it tick, revel in what you love about it, and don’t let anyone take it from you.  And the OP is absolutely killing it. 🙂

I find it really disturbing when strangers pressure other people to uphold their own moral standards. And bang on about how you really need their criticism and if you don’t want it that’s a failing on your part. Who the fuck cares what you think about “pushing yourself to do better?” My “pushing myself” looks different than yours. Fuck off



Employers threaten their workers with being fired if they don’t come to work despite deadly weather conditions. It’s sickening and not inspirational.

The people who like shit like these are the lazy fucking counts who benefit from her work and would use her misfortune to lecture other poor souls as to why they’re not being helped. I’ve literally been told that this is what I and every other immigrant should be doing to make a living, otherwise I’m a thief. “Look a Misses Quintanilla, she’s WORKING, she’s getting herself through this! If you’re not working like she is, you’re lazy.” I’ve been told this by artists who were less talented than me and got jobs I was after. Their lecture was that I should be their maid.


Sigh, and there you go. This morning, road workers found these two baby Doves on the ground in the neighbour’s front yard, and he called me overe knowing that I care so much about birds. Their nest must have been in one of the trees that were cut yesterday, it was nowhere to be found. It is kind of a miracle that they made it just fine. The mom was around, so we made a new nest in a hanging flower basket and put it into a nearby tree. Hopefully, she will find them and they will be just fine.



A thing that frustrates me abt the way talking abt trans women and stonewall is that like, the reason people wanted to highlight trans women’s presence was to show how gay and trans liberation have historically been linked, but the general trend has been to still talk abt it in this adversarial gay vs trans way that talks abt them like they are two separate groups like “trans women gave gays their rights, cis gays had nothing to do w it” (besides being untrue and focusing too much on one event) misunderstands why it’s important to reintegrate trans women into these historical narratives (and to highlight their race/class): to show that they’ve been a part of the communities and actions, and that transness or race or poverty were always a central part of gay lib (not just things to add onto it)

and the thing is if people actually went back and listened to and read what Stonewall vets had to say in their own words we wouldn’t have this problem to such a degree.