www.whyville.net Jul 4, 2003 Weekly Issue

City Worker

City Worker Calliope's Critique Club

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Salutations! I'm one of the newest City Workers to join the fine and outstanding community known to all of us as Whyville -- so new, in fact, that I haven't gotten my official City Worker beanie yet! My new home has presented many happy faces, interesting activities, and especially challenges. I'm still trying to raise my salary at the moment. :-) It is, in fact, the idea of "challenges" that stirs me to write this article for the citizens today.

Due to the overwhelming success of MediaWiz's Media Hour, I've decided to create a forum for you Whyvillians who wish to challenge yourselves in a slightly more literary fashion. Thus, I am pleased to announce Calliope's Critique Club -- a group dedicated to the rigorous analysis and discussion of the many great works of literature out there in our homes, at our schools, and most importantly our public libraries.

I have no greater pleasure than reading books that take me away to far off places or inform me to become a more educated person -- except for, perhaps, talking about them! The fact is, reading by yourself, as nice as it can be, limits your perspective. Sharing ideas and opinions about all kinds of different topics allows everyone the chance to look at things from another angle. For example, Bigfoot Bill and I have very different opinions about the recent rave, Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix. By talking with each other and freely putting out our ideas, we hopefully are understanding more of hidden aspects of the book. Ultimately, I would like the Critique Club to do this on a larger scale.

Though the Critique Club will have very many similar aspects to Media Hour, it will also have its very own unique format. Like the Media Hour, there will be chat times; instead of once a week for one hour, they will be held every two weeks for an hour and a half. We're extending the time in between so that more people will really have a chance to read. More time to talk means more thoughts can be shared and compared. Also, thanks to Bigfoot's smooth persuading of the Times Editor, citizens will get the chance to write reviews, analysis, and "inspired by" articles about the books they read. The Times Editor will dedicate a big chunk of the first Times issue of every month to essays written by the members of the Book Club. So, in addition to exercising your brain, you'll be exercising your fingers too!

This may seem like a lot right now, but don't be intimidated. Take a look at the Literature List to see what's up for discussion. Read through as many as you like, and drop by at the Greek Theatre on Saturday, July 12th. We'll talk about the list, and books in general. In honor of the first session, Bigfoot Bill will be co-hosting it with me and we're going to be giving big clam bonuses to citizens with exceptional insight and participation (so, not a bad way to raise your salary -- though I might need it more myself right now!). In the meantime, post on the BBS below with any questions or comments.

Featured Literature:

Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury. The modern father of science fiction creates a futuristic dystopia where the fire department is not issued to put out fires, but to start them instead. Why? To burn books for society has banned it, gluing their citizens to the television instead. Here, knowledge and ideas are squashed and unacceptable. Fireman Guy Montag leads his life to discover that he too must ask why his world is the way it is. Struggling with the prison walls that society has trapped him in, the hero begins to question the foundation to the very world he exists in. A classic, and must read for every reader.

The Crucible: Arthur Miller. A play light in volume, but not a light read. This famous Miller play depicts the hysteria of the famed Salem Witch Trials. Gain a new perspective on the Puritans, on how rampant government is only so far when reason and common sense is eliminated. To impress us, after finishing The Crucible, research its importance with the "Red Scare" in the 1950s. Was Arthur Miller trying to make a political statement? If so, what do you think it is? The Crucible is not really a book, but a four act play -- a relatively short read. For those of you who are curious to see it acted out, you can rent renditions of it on VHS/DVD at your local rental store.

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel: Robert Heinlein. Another classic, this can suit some of the younger citizens and anyone with a young, adventurous heart. Kip Russell is a high school student ready to go off to college and find his dreams. At one particular moment, he's dreaming of going to the moon while fooling around in a spacesuit. The next thing he knows he's kidnapped by a space pirates! Join him on this fantastic space opera where Kip learns how to use his noggin to make himself independent and resourceful through his trials and tribulations. Heinlein creates a wonderful story filled with captivating adventure while presenting good, solid scientific framework for his world (and shows you to turn a spacesuit into a radio!). Kip Russell came before Harry Potter, and will always have a place to stay. The question is: are you ready to travel the moon?

In the meantime, citizens can busy themselves with the Summer Literature List for the Calliopie Critique Club. Some of the books will be brought up at discussion meetings as featured reading, others as supplements to the featured reading; and of course, all the books are fair game for reviews and comparisons. If there is any literature that you would like to add to the list, or if you have comments/suggestion for the club, feel free to post on the BBS below. The list is ever-growing, and I'm always reading, so start catching up with me! ;-)

Summer Literature List (in no particular order)

Hot Zone*, Richard Preston
Chaos*, James Gleick
20,000 Leagues under the Se a** , Jules Verne
Joan of Arc **
, Diane Stanley
The Moon Lady and The Chinese Siamese Cat, Amy Tan
Eyes of the Dragon, Stephen King
Isle of the Dolphins, Scott O'Dell
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engel
The Bone Detectives: How Forensic Anthropologists Solve Crimes..., Donna M. Jackson
Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The Once and Future King, T.H. White
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
The Call of the Wild ** , Jack London
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkein
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein
Harry Potter, JK Rowling
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ** , Mark Twain
The Count of Monte Cristo ** , Alexandre Dumas

* These books are planned to be featured readings, so pick them up and enjoy!

** For younger readers or people without much time, you may read the abridged versions. However, the unabridged versions are the best for the discussion.

Thanks for reading,


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