Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This is what I do on Spring Break ...

... I look for cool websites and other things that I can use as intelligence-boosting resources (for me and/or students). I'm a huge fan of Pawn Stars on The History Channel (it's a good thing because they play it ALL THE TIME). The pawn shop dudes often consult a book expert, named Rebecca Romney (I don't know if she's related to Mitt and I don't think I care). Anyway, she has a Facebook "public figure" page where she posts cool things about books and authors. Here's an example of a nerdy and awesome thing she has posted recently:

How about some Whitman, today? Whitman was likely only able to get his Leaves of Grass manuscript first published because he had friends in Brooklyn who owned a press.

Whitman spent a lot of time at the press. He had experience with printing himself and wanted to be in on the project to ensure it reached his high standards. He even set about ten pages of the type himself. Only 795 copies were printed.

She also has a blog.



  1. Interesting stuff, and PERHAPS accurate, but she doesn't even meet the Wikipedia standard for citing her sources. As for Whitman, he actually was a sloppy printer and everyone else at the press groaned whenever he showed up to set type. After about ten pages, they'd lure him away with fake notes from women to come drink with them at the corner tavern. Walt had a weakness for not minding his p's and q's, or so they say :-)

  2. Yeah, but you can ask her for her sources, according to the "copyright" page on her blog. It's still fun stuff. Maybe I'll ask to test her.

    1. Well, my version is fun stuff too, and I didn't even need any sources to make mine up :-) I guess my point is heavy-handed, but gosh, acknowledging sources, ought to be fundamental for non-fiction. She should be proud to show them.

    2. You're right. Yours is fun! Could lead to an interesting discussion on when someone has to cite sources. If she's an "expert," isn't she the source? Do Facebook posts need citations too (or why do we think they don't)? What makes someone an "expert?" This last question is actually coming up in the MOOC I'm taking (another post), but I haven't yet read the piece that explores it.