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Search tags: youth-ya-mm
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text 2018-05-13 20:00
Living the Liberal Arts
Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain

I work at a university. Over the past year, we've been working with a new strategic plan, as an organization, and the first, most vital point of that plan has been a discussion of liberal arts, a passion area for me. Far too much is happening, and there are far too many ideas to discuss here - plus, I want to tie this column directly to a book - so I'm going to narrow in. 

 

I talk a lot with my students about the value of liberal arts (liberal, I remind them, in this case means "broad," not necessarily "left"). The specific, tangible benefits of liberal arts often need to be enumerated, because they're less obvious than in the professional or vocational disciplines. But every scholar of the liberal arts know that the intangible benefits of the education are where your heart goes.

 

Sometimes, in my reading, I run across some statement that makes me sit up and say, "Yes! This is liberal arts. This is what happens when you open yourself up broadly to the gifts of learning." I'm going to quote a few sentences from Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth" here. Her moving memoir is a bildungsroman from a female (before the late 20th century, not a common thing at all), and a profound meditation on what happened to the youth of Britain, an entire generation decimated and affected primally and permanently by The Great War.

 

With students investing so much in their educations these days, words like these help us and inspire us to continue the good fight for liberal arts:

 

(If you're following along at home, this is from pages 30-31of the 1934 American edition, published by Macmillan.)

 

"I suppose it was the very completeness with which all doors and windows to the more adventurous and colourful world, the world of literature, of scholarship, of art, of politics, of travel, were closed to me, that kept my childhood so relatively contented a time. Once I went away to school and learnt--even thought from a distance that filled me with dismay--what far countries of loveliness, and learning, and discovery, and social relationship based upon enduring values, lay beyond those solid provincial walls which enclosed the stuffiness of complacent bourgeoisdom so securely within themselves, my discontent kindled until I determined somehow to break though them to the paradise of sweetness and light which I firmly believed awaited me in the south." 

 

-cg

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review 2018-04-30 04:47
The Youth & Young Loves of Oliver Wade
The Youth & Young Loves of Oliver Wade: Stories - Ben Monopoli

"This was the tragedy of growing up a closeted gay boy: you've had no practice when it matters."

 

We meet Ollie near the end of Paintings of Porcupine City, so we don't really get to know him that well when he and Fletcher hook up. These books have always been more gay lit than M/M, so I was only disappointed that we didn't get to know Ollie better. This collection of short stories fixes that. It chronicles Ollie's life from his first school dance to his meeting and first date with Fletcher.

 

The stories are often insightful, and the ones focusing of his teen years are especially angsty. One of the college years stories includes dub-con, so be aware of that. What is fascinating in all the stories is how Ollie learns to be honest with himself and others, how he figures out what being gay means, and how he fumbles as he tries time and again to find true love - until that true love finds him.

 

I still don't know what to make of Paint Day. It's a weird fantastical element in books otherwise firmly rooted in reality, but a bit of mystical reality never hurt anyone I suppose. :D

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text 2018-04-24 22:02
Free in US on Kindle
Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain,Mark Bostridge

The Hachette Book version of Testament is currently free.

 

Find it Here

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review 2018-02-18 11:34
The Well of Youth: The Last Prophecy Series 1 - E.J.Dawson

Although this is listed as a fantasy story it is much more an adventure story. True, the story is set in an imaginary world but it is a very recognisable one. Professor Holloran went missing when he left on a mission to follow some ancient texts referring to a well of youth, allegedly giving eternal life to the lucky drinker of this magical water. So the government sends out a dashing female captain, the professor's favourite student Andy and another scholar named Osewyn to find both the professor and the well. What follows is an adventure that features a marvellous ship called Juggernaut, an encounter with a Kraken,pirates,ice covered landscapes, huskies and colourful characters. This is the first in the trilogy and as said before, it is a great adventure story.

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text 2018-01-18 02:57
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 304 pages.
The Waters of Eternal Youth (A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery) - Donna Leon

off to Venice, with my first Donna Leon novel, where I will keep company with Commissario Guido Brunetti as he deals with a cold case. excited!

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