On Recognizing Authority

Critical thinking skills are more important now than they ever have been before. While it is truly wonderful that platforms such as blogs and social media sites are coming to be seen as credible sources, proving that authority is constructed and contextual, consumers of information need to be aware of the potential for bias and false reporting (intentional or unintentional). According to the Information Literacy frameworks put forth by the American Library Association, experts are able to maintain an “openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought” and the novice learner will be able to “ask relevant questions about origins [and] context” (“Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education”, 2015).

With this new openness to sources previously deemed unprofessional or unreliable comes a greater responsibility on the part of information seekers and consumers to do their own research and fact checking. While many may believe that these actions are only necessary when completing academic assignments, or that trusted authorities publishing information online or in print have already performed these actions for them, there are many real world examples that prove this is untrue.  Continue reading

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11th Annual Teen Book Fest at Nazareth College

Teen Book Fest, also known as TBF, took place on May 14 this year, but the real excitement began for me the day before. Well, very, very early the morning before. One of my best friends from childhood and I awoke at 4AM and somehow managed to put ourselves together in time to leave at 5AM in order to beat the infamous Long Island rush hour (I’ve gotten stuck in it on my way to work two days a week every week this semester, so I knew the early wakeup call would be worth avoiding what is quite literally the world’s largest parking lot). We made fantastic time and ended up at our hotel right around 11AM.  Continue reading

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

The HatersFrom Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.
 
Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band. 
 
For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.* Continue reading

Review + Giveaway of Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

kindred spirits‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.* Continue reading

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The VegetarianA beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul
 
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.
 
Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman’s struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.* Continue reading

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

thanks for the troubleTommy Wallach, the New York Times bestselling author of the “stunning debut” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) We All Looked Up, delivers a brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl.

“Was this story written about me?”
I shrugged.
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.
I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.
I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don’t you feel like a jerk? Continue reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

everyone brave is forgiven

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Little Bee, a spellbinding novel about three unforgettable individuals thrown together by war, love, and their search for belonging in the ever-changing landscape of WWII London.

It’s 1939 and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blueblood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, mentally disabled, or—like Mary’s favorite student, Zachary—have colored skin.

Tom, an education administrator, is distraught when his best friend, Alastair, enlists. Alastair, an art restorer, has always seemed far removed from the violent life to which he has now condemned himself. But Tom finds distraction in Mary, first as her employer and then as their relationship quickly develops in the emotionally charged times. When Mary meets Alastair, the three are drawn into a tragic love triangle and—while war escalates and bombs begin falling around them—further into a new world unlike any they’ve ever known. Continue reading