- Heather F. from A High & Hidden Place because if you hadn't noticed by now, we're connected at the bloggy hip. I love her to pieces.
- Lisa from Bluestalking Reader is a constant inspiration to me in my writing and is constant entertainment.
- Nancy from Bookfoolery & Babble is a long time blogging buddy from my Yahoo book discussion groups, and I couldn't be happier that she jumped on the blog train.
- Amanda A. the kickass librarian/poet/mom extraordinaire. It just doesn't get any hipper than her.
- And a new blog that I haven't yet introduced to the bloggy public: Book-It Blogspot & Zine, the brainchild of one my very favorite people ever. Dr. Susan Stewart was my thesis director and mentor, and she remains a close friend (we burn up the phone lines at least once a week). She's started Book-It, along with another prof of mine, Dr. Karen Roggenkamp, as a place to discuss children's and YA fiction, their respective scholarly specialties. The site will feature columns and reviews from middle and high school students, along with undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and outsiders like myself. I'll be writing a column for them coming soon! I'll keep ya posted.
And I can't forget Iliana, and Danielle, and Chris, and Purl, and Dewey, and Andi, and....
You get the point. Too many great bloggers that will be my BFFs. I love YOU ALL.
Next, in her recent "Living Responsibly" post, AndiLit asked about the five most important issues that I am focusing on - at least for today. I would say:
- The environment. Like Andi, I am incredibly focused on the environment today, and for me, it's not a passing fancy. I remember in my younger years, the first time recycling was hip, I jumped on the save planet Earth bandwagon in a big way. I read books about habitat conservation, animal extinction, etc. etc. The more recent wave of environmentalism simply stokes my fervor all the more. Although, all these years later, I'm far more concerned about the small daily changes I can make to positively affect the environment--reusable shopping bags, earth-friendlier bulbs, recycling.
- Local economy. I live in a small, rural town, and it's been affecting to see how stunted my local economy is. While corporations are chugging away and steadily hacking down the charm and ingenuity of the American Everyman, I try my best to revolt. I prefer to buy locally whenever possible whether it's produce, books, clothing, or housewares.
- Education. Because it's my business baby! In some ways the area I live in now is more affected by lack of education. Certainly the students I teach are wonderful and motivated for the most part, but many of them have been at a dramatic disadvantage for most of their lives because of poor and failing education. While No Child Left Behind doesn't seem to be helping in this particular area (or many more for that matter, I would guess), I can. By really talking to my students, by presenting material that is valid to their lives, I hope I can bring them increased interest in education and hopefully they'll pass it along.
- The American political climate. I'm more enraged, appalled and generally disgusted by American politics than ever before. I've never claimed to be a fan of the Bush administration, and as a result I rally for my candidate of choice (see sidebar). It's not only a candidate thing, though. It's a knowledge thing. This goes back to education, but I try to present information that can hopefully taunt my students into reading, investigating, and making up their own minds when it comes to politics. My ultimate hope is that they become more informed individuals and that they will carry their values to the polls.
- The humanities. There's a terrible epidemic in this country called "vocationalism." Along with it goes a lagging appreciation for the arts and humanities, and a disproportionate push toward the sciences and other "practical" studies. Not that practical is bad, nor is the motivation to get a degree in preparation for a specific career, but the slow death of a broad-based education that seeks to produce well rounded people is a tragedy. Let's all wear "I *heart* the Classics Department" t-shirts together, shall we?
Thanks to Andi for the push to put some of my passions down in writing. I could've written a veritable book about each one, but as it is, you get a drive by version.