Critical Linking: August 24, 2014

I would like to argue that YA zombie literature has become an incredible teaching tool for kids.   After all, zombies provide a powerful antagonistic force for any story set in their world.. Unlike other types of the undead that may retain their consciousness — i.e., ghosts, vampires, the damned, and so on ad nauseam — zombies, locked in their unrelenting shamble for self-perpetuation, exist only to consume. These undead non-persons short-circuit any sort of identification or redemption,  have zero  sex appeal or charisma, and frighten only because  there is always the possibility that you or someone you love might be ravened by one (and subsequently euthanized) or, worse, become one yourself. In a time when the world’s financial, governmental, and political future is precarious, the zombie apocalypse provides for its young readers a psychologically safe context for contemplating a collapsed world.

Though nothing and no one in this fictional world is totally protected, it’s a scenario removed enough from day-to-day life to be an acceptable way to raise questions regarding survival skills, resource allocation, and human action (or inaction).

YA zombie novels as teaching tools. It kind of makes great sense.


While “Pioneer Girl” clearly wasn’t for kids, the idea that the original autobiography is full of shock and scandal “isn’t exactly true either,” according to Lauters. She told the Associated Press that the first version of the beloved classic books was more “blunt” and “honest,” but isn’t to be read as a scandalous tell-all version of the classic series.

According to The Pioneer Girl Project, a blog detailing the ongoing process on Wilder’s book, the edition coming out this fall will feature numerous annotations to better tell the real-life story of the Ingalls family in full, historical detail.

There’s going to be a new Laura Ingalls Wilder autobiography.


I had come to this Canadian island to follow in the footsteps of L. M. Montgomery, who made her island home famous with her novel “Anne of Green Gables.” An instant best-seller when it was published in 1908, the book tells the story of the verbose, red-haired Anne Shirley — an 11-year-old orphan who is accidentally sent to a middle-aged brother and sister instead of the boy they had requested to help with their farm. Starved for love, with a vibrant imagination and a knack for comic mishap, Anne has charmed readers for over a century, including Mark Twain, who proclaimed her “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.”

The book, which has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 20 languages, started Lucy Maud Montgomery’s career. Today it anchors the island’s multimillion-dollar tourist industry, with summer musical performances, gift shops, house museums, horse-drawn carriage rides, a mock village and more — all devoted to scenes and characters from the book and its seven sequels.

Turns out that Prince Edward Island is still a magical place for fans of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.


Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 20: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental car or have their publishers demand an active Twitter account. If you’re 26, get on out of here. (However, interestingly enough, 26 seems to be a magic age for a lot of writers, starting with Thomas Pynchon, which is a whole other list.)

Age doesn’t matter, but here are 25 authors who wrote great books by the time they were 25.

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