Critical Linking: December 20, 2015

The rise of adult coloring books comes with a similar, exciting trend: extremely ornate and beautiful coloring books. These tomes make aesthetics the first priority by utilizing the work of extremely talented illustrators. Check out some coloring books with unusual and stunning artwork, perfect for when you’re looking for something a little different. 

Some suggested grown-up coloring books, perfect for those last minute gifts (or yourself so you can destress from this time of year).

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A Chicago school librarian who had been told her job was ending because of budget troubles will now be staying through the end of the academic year with funds from an anonymous donor who came forward after students organized and staged a “read in” protest at school. After the student action, parents complained and alumni weighed in on the importance of the library and the woman who runs it, Sara Sayigh.

Sayigh said she overwhelmed by the response from students, who protested last week after Sayigh learned she would be out of a job at the end of December and that the fate of the library itself — which is housed at the multi-school DuSable campus on Chicago’s South Side and serves Daniel Hale Williams Prep and the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute — was questionable. Students said that the library and Sayigh were important to their academic work as well as to extra-curricular activities, and they demanded in a petition that she be reinstated and the library remain open.

A happy-for-now ending to a crummy story. Good work, kids.

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Too much, or not too much: That is the question.

In 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Bard will be everywhere. Theater companies, orchestras, cinemas and opera houses are presenting his works—and works inspired by him—in venues ranging from London and Duluth, Minn., to Tehran and South Sudan. A New Orleans jazz funeral will mark his death. The hashtag #Shakespeare400 will beckon Shakespeare-lovers on Twitter. And a publishing frenzy has already begun, with titles ranging from academic treatises to a cocktail recipe collection (“Shakespeare, Not Stirred”), to fictional adaptations by Anne Tyler, Howard Jacobson and Margaret Atwood.

I, for one, welcome the upcoming Shakespeare onslaught.

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That desire for a simpler English led Carnegie to help found and fund the Simplified Spelling Board, an organization designed to make the language more obvious and phonetic. Carnegie’s reason for funding the organization in 1906 was an attempt to help push forward the idea of making English the global language.

His approach was even more aggressive than Webster’s. The organization he created had no interest in graceful-looking words. The Simplified Spelling Board eyed changes that would have made the dictionary fully phonetic, with little variation from the way words are actually said. Words like “woe” would have become “wo” and “though” would have devolved into “tho.”

Andrew Carnegie would have been all over Twitter and texting.

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