HUMANITIES

Monday Missive – July 24, 2017

Summertime – When I hear the word summertime, I immediately think of the song “Summertime” from the opera Porgy and Bess.  It is one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, but my favorite rendition is the the duet version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  I just listened to it as I started writing this Monday Missive, and it seems perfect to me in every possible way.   However, I also like the versions by Billie Holiday...

Monday Missive – July 17, 2017

United We Teach — Every summer I teach an intensive graduate seminar called Children’s Literature Award Winners in which I cover the most recent winners of some of the major awards in the field of children’s and young adult literature.  Among the awards that I regularly cover are the Coretta Scott King Award, which recognizes outstanding children’s books by African Americans, and the Printz Award, which recognizes outstanding books for young...

NATURAL SCIENCES

John Blackburn’s A Book of the Dead

If you’ve read my blog enough, you know that I occasionally write introductions for volumes released by the excellent Valancourt Books, in particular a lot of introductions to the work of the late John Blackburn (1923-1993), master of horror and thrillers.  Well, I’m happy to say that one of Blackburn’s rarest books, A Book of the Dead, was recently released by Valancourt, with an introduction again by me!

A Book of the Dead (1984) is Blackburn’s...

Dr. SkySkull in Rome: Colosseo and Palatino

Part 3 of a series of photo essays on my recent trip to Rome. Part 1 can be read here, and Part 2 can be read here.

We got up early on day 3 in Rome to head to the Colosseum.  On the recommendation of my guidebook, I had purchased combined Colosseum/Palatine Hill tickets for us the night before, and this turned out to be a great idea. Instead of waiting in a line that might have been hours long, we were able to go through a separate line where we waiting, in the shade, for some 20 minutes at...

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