Sunday, April 8, 2012

What I've been reading lately

Lavery Maiss Auras via Wikimedia Commons
I just came to a realization today. Though I've spent more time reading in the SFU library than any other semester in my loooong academic career, I haven't touched an actual book or journal from that library. I have done a portion of my course reading from three texts, but the lion's share was downloaded copies of articles. One of my courses (LING290--a great intro to all the practical applications of phonetics) had no required text at all: we were given the names of a couple dozen articles & online resources to track down ourselves.

Here's a short roundup of what I've found interesting this week--all of it digital. From my Google Reader feed: balancing work & mothering, sexism in fairy tales & April Fool's a bit late. Plus a couple of eBooks I've read.

Read the full post after the jump...

This short post over at Blue Milk really rang true for me about why it's difficult to write or do any school work with a toddler around. I enjoy having a voice of feminist mothering in my RSS feed--check out Blue Milk for an intelligent read every time.

Hat tip to Blue Milk for posting an excerpt from this article in the Economist: The Anti-Grimm. You may have noticed that Disney's princesses are generally pretty pathetic, in need of saving by princes & the fairly tales they're usually based on are incredibly sexist in so many ways. These stories don't necessarily reflect the actual fairy tales that were part of the oral tradition in the 1800s, however. Grimm, for example, edited the folklore that he collected, turning it into moral cautionary tales intended for educating children of the 19th century.
This is why the discovery of a huge new trove of unedited German fairy tales is nothing short of a revelation. These tales, only of few of which were published in the 1850s, were collected in the Upper Palatinate region of Germany by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, a scholar intent on preserving the rapidly vanishing folk wisdom of his region. What they reveal, in abrupt contrast to the Brothers Grimm, is an equal-opportunity world where the brave and clever children are as likely to be girls as boys, and the vulnerable, exploited youths are not just princesses, but princes.

Schönwerth 's tales, Prinz Roßzwifl und andere Märchen, were published in German in 2010, with an English translation of Prince Dungbeetle in the works at the moment. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Wikimedia Commons image
A belated April Fool's joke from IkeaHackers. This particular post isn't a great illustration of why I have subscribed to this blog for years. If you haven't heard of them before, they accept submissions of projects people have made using & modifying Ikea products in creative ways. It's a great source of ideas for DIYers of all stripes with lots of ideas on how to renovate your home on the cheap, as well as how to make your rental home more you without necessarily altering anything permanent. Plus a goodly portion of kid & pet-related hacks.

While browsing the links to related works at the end of an eBook (love this feature!) I came across A Princess of Mars (free download here), by Edgar Rice Burrows. I can't remember what exactly drew me to it, as the title, cover art & publication date of 1912 both suggested a typical sci-fi tale of sexism & derring-do. I got what I expected--essentially a wild west tale set on Mars with green aliens & all--but somehow found it quite engrossing & entertaining. I think the issues I had with it on a feminist, linguistic & scientific basis made it funny in a way that Rice Burroughs probably hadn't intended, so rather than being irritated with the rampant sexism, I enjoyed the read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! (I've had to enable comment moderation on older posts to thwart spammers, so your post may not appear right away.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...