Happy 200th Karl M

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Philly: word on the street

h/t to New Jersey-based street artist Sean 9 Lugo

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Student Writer Hits The Big Time

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The Effects of Reading

This wonderful infographic was created by the folks at the University of Virginia Library to describe what happens when we read a book.

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Bad Writing

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The bearded are better

As someone whose face has not felt the razor for more than three decades, The Philosophy of Beards is a must read. I haven’t downloaded my copy yet, but the terrific website the Public Domain Review has posted a digital version of this sagacious 1854 tome. Here’s a sample of the book review for all of you hirsute readers:

It is Gowing’s ardent belief that the bearded are better looking, better morally and better historically than the shaven. To call him a huge fan of the suburbs of the chin would be an understatement. “It is impossible” he writes “to view a series of bearded portraits . . . without feeling that they possess dignity, gravity, freedom, vigour, and completeness.” By contrast, the clean-cut look always leaves him with “a sense of artificial conventional bareness”. Gowing’s apology for the beard makes frequent appeals to nature, some of them amusingly far-fetched: “Nature leaves nothing but what is beautiful uncovered, and the masculine chin is seldom sightly, because it was designed to be covered, while the chins of women are generally beautiful.” Sometimes his argument transforms from a shield for the beard into a swipe at the chin: “There is scarcely indeed a more naturally disgusting object than a beardless old man (compared by the Turks to a ‘plucked pigeon’)”.

Gowing was writing at a time when physiognomy — the art of reading a person’s character in their facial features — was still popular in Europe and America. So it is no surprise to learn that “the absence of Beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness”. Gowing also takes aim at the notion that beards are unhealthy. Far from being unhygienic because of their propensity to trap feculent particles, “the beards of foreign smiths and masons filter plaster dust and metal from the air, protecting the lungs.”

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The Great American Read

Nearly everyone has a favorite book, but what about an entire nation ? Beginning next week, PBS ( our public broadcasting network ) is embarking on a quest to discover what is America’s favorite read. The eight-part television series about beloved books and reading kicks-off with a two-hour special event.

The search will begin with the reveal of a list of 100 of America’s best-loved novels. Getting to a list of just 100 books was not a simple task. PBS first surveyed the public in a “demographically representative study.” The an advisory panel composed of 13 literary professionals applied their collective wisdom and experience to establish guideline for the competition and to maximize variety in the list.

You can see the entire favorite book list here and follow the quest online and on the air throughout the fall. The program will also be traveling across the United States to uncover more about the novels. PBS promises to interview some of our favorite authors, as well. Expect to see the great Margaret Atwood, George R.R. Martin, John Irving, and many more literary luminaries.

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The Writing Game

Star Authors is a 19th century American card game that requires a player to match notable authors with the books that they wrote. The improved 1887 edition includes 54 book title cards and 18 author cards. Based on these examples, impressive facial hair was de rigueur in the late 19th century for American writers—at least for the men.

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Benefits of Studying Abroad

I’m grateful for all of the many travel opportunities that I’ve had over the years, but I do regret that I never had the chance to participate in a study abroad program. The guest post below, along with the infographic, are from Natalie Hagen of TakeLessons.

If  you’ve had the opportunity to travel you know what an amazing experience it is. Being in a new place with different languages, foods, colors, cultures, and people is eye opening and awe-inspiring all at once. Traveling can help you make new friends or learn a new language. Those that choose to study abroad get these benefits and more.Students who have studied abroad were reported to have an increase in their GPAs as well as a boost to their resume. Studying abroad also helps to improve tolerance, respect, leadership skills, and self awareness. These are just a few of the many benefits of taking that leap of faith and moving abroad to study. It will require a lot of planning and some bravery, but it will be well worth the effort. Still need convincing? The infographic from TakeLessons lists a few more reasons why you should take that chance and study abroad.


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Pick Your Spot

You can follow Grant and even purchase prints and posters of his wonderful comics right here.

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