How Schools Are Killing A Taste For Reading

High school reading scores haven’t improved since 1999. Why? “Faced with declining literacy and the ever-growing distractions of the electronic media, faced with the fact that —Harry Potter fans aside — so few kids curl up with a book and read for pleasure anymore, what do we teachers do? We saddle students with textbooks that would turn off even the most passionate reader.”

All By Myself… (Is This Art?)

“Sea Forts, which is billed as a study of isolation, will cost £93,000 in lottery cash and taxpayers’ money and is the brainchild of Stephen Turner, a Kent-based artist who describes his work as being ‘concerned with aspects of time and the dialectics of transience and permanence’. He will spend six weeks living in one of a complex of observation towers built during the Second World War to provide early warning of German attacks on the Thames estuary, where he will communicate his thoughts about loneliness in an internet journal.”

Museums – Vault Or Bazaar?

How do museums balance security with easy access to art? “The Munch Museum had been at one extreme of the vulnerability spectrum. “The Scream,” for example, hung from an easily cut wire, like an ordinary painting in an ordinary home. The museum’s upgrades have moved it to the opposite extreme. With X-ray machines, bulletproof glass, metal detectors, and paintings bolted to the wall, the revamped museum has been dubbed Fortress Munch.”

Quills Lit Award Announces Finalists

“Authors ranging from Bob Dylan to Stephen King and J.K. Rowling on Thursday made the Quills short-list — a new American literary award pitched as a populist event with a touch of Hollywood glitz. Readers will vote for the winners in 19 categories that include graphic novels and romance, as well as the more traditional fiction and biography categories from established prizes such as the Pulitzer and the National Book Award.”

EU Considers New Anti-Piracy Law

The European Union is considering anti-piracy legislation that would be stricter than that in the US. “A directive being pushed by the European Commission would, among other things, criminalize “attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting” acts of copyright infringement. The EU parliament will take up the proposal later this year.”

Carmel – Too Many Galleries?

Carmel California has built a tourist trade on its galleries. “But now galleries outnumber artists, and Carmel faces a clash between creativity and commerce that may be painfully familiar to residents in other scenic tourist spots across America. Today, galleries selling everything from Impressionist landscapes to cartoon dog portraits make up one of every three businesses along Carmel’s stone walkways. In all, 105 stores sell art in this town of a little more than 4,000 residents. For a while, the city was approving a new gallery every week.”

Brits Hot On Sci-Fi

“Science fiction is booming and the British writers are leading the pack. For the first time in its 63-year history, all the writers nominated for the prestigious Hugo award for the best novel are British. The Hugos, named after science-fiction publishing legend Hugo Gernsback, are the genre writing equivalent of the Oscars.”