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Tis the season! I’ve posted previous about an arts round-up via Arts Journal and now that the Holidays are upon us you finally have to time to complete all that arts reading you’ve been putting off. So sit back and relax with your favorite holiday treat and read up on stocking stuffers, masterpiece literature, community symphony orchestras, the origins of Tintin, the language of “occupy” and the new cute internet sensation (hint… it’s wee face will toast your heart’s gooey interior and watching it learn to walk with make you die via “squee”)

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Stocking Stuffers: Do you suffer from the The Presenter’s Paradox?:

It’s Christmas morning, and you open a box to find a cashmere sweater. The sweater feels plush and expensive, and you feel grateful. But then, underneath the sweater, you find a packet of Hershey’s kisses. Technically, you have been given more, but now the sweater may seem a little less exciting. Why?

What’s the definition of a great book?: How can you tell a masterpiece? Read lots of good books:

What is a masterpiece? Crime and Punishment. Hamlet. To His Coy Mistress. Ulysses. Madame Bovary. How does one know this? By having read a hell of a lot. Something only stands out from a crowd when there is a crowd to stand out from. This is one of many reasons to read as widely as you can: not only is it more fun and more edifying, it helps you to make distinctions between the quality, and the qualities, of one thing when you set it against another. One element of our experience of reading is inescapably comparative.

Colorado Symphony to revamp concerts, emphasize community focus: What does a 21st Century Orchestra look like? Do you agree with CSO:

In short, the CSO plans to undergo nothing less than a complete culture change that rejects music-making offered with “little thought as to whether it truly was of interest and relevancy to a large part of the community” and plays up relaxed, consumer-friendly performances that meet audiences on their own terms and in their own towns.

Tintin’s Father, Nobody’s Son: My little brother and I grew up reading Tintin. It was one of the few comics we could find in English when we were on trips to India. We loved every politically incorrect moment. Especially Snowy.. “Whooahhh!”

In Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, adapted from the comic books that have enthralled generations, the intrepid boy reporter joins forces with the perpetually soused skipper Captain Haddock to unravel the mystery of Haddock’s birthright. But Tintin himself has no origin. He simply exists, with no ties to past or future generations, a fate that his creator might have wished for himself. The Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, became an international celebrity thanks to the success of Tintin’s collected adventures, which have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. But he showed little taste for the spotlight, and still less for those who wished to poke into his past.

What if We Occupied Language?: One of the most incredible things about language is its every changing and evolving meaning as we grow and change culturally. Meaning is defined by all of us as participating members of society. This article explores how the word “occupy” has changed and grown within the Occupy Wall Street movement. Worth the long read especially the exploration of language-based racism:

In this sense, Occupy Wall Street has occupied language, has made “occupy” its own. And, importantly, people from diverse ethnicities, cultures and languages have participated in this linguistic occupation — it is distinct from the history of forcible occupation in that it is built to accommodate all, not just the most powerful or violent.

Sloths are the new kittens: This article needs no explanation. Look at its face:

So what’s the reason for the sloth’s sudden popularity? Is it because our LOLcats have run out of things to say? Or is it because their mellow, blissed-out faces and perpetual laziness appeal to a nation of go-getters? Said Cooke in a Q&A with the Village Voice: “I think there is a bit of the sloth in all of us. Any animal that is as mellow as the sloth has to be admired. And the babies are so vulnerable and awkward, they are basically cute crack.”

Little Reads

This week I had the joy of writing for the NEA’s Big Read Blog about some “little reads” for little hands. I’m talking about children’s books of course!

I love children’s books. I loved Jan Brett as a little girl. I freaked and and had a case of the shakes when I got to meet her at a reading of The First Dog. I still treasure my tattered copy of The Story of Ferdinand, my little brother’s all time favorite (if Ravi was a bull, he’d be Ferdinand). My mom taped herself (back in the days of cassett tapes) reading Blueberries for Sal for me to listen to when she had to work late. Who doesn’t have fond memories wrapped up in children’s books?

So that’s why around this time of year when the nostaligia hits home hard I chose to write about children’s books! Of course How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol are my go-to classic favs BUT I diverged when I came up with my top 5 (plus a bonus!) list of holiday favorites. Check out the post HERE and let me know in the comments what your favorite holiday reads are!

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