Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian compatriots! This Monday’s Link Roundup has its usual eclectic mix of articles. One on my favorites is 7 Playful Activity Books for Grown-Ups. If you’re looking for something to lighten your day, then one of these books may just do the trick. Also don’t miss a fascinating story about Vintage Report Cards from the early 1900s and what they reveal about daily life.
- The Benefits of Speaking Aloud. “Giving sound to what had been a silent process puts writers in the role of their readers. This extra step gives writers an objective view of their content. Bestselling author Nicholson Baker calls his version of the verbalizing process “speak-typing,” in which he dictates to himself and types as he speaks.”
- 7 Playful Activity Books for Grown-Ups. “The intersection of childhood and adulthood is a frequent area of curiosity around here, from beloved children’s books with timeless philosophy for adults to quirky coloring books for the eternal kid. Today, we turn to seven wonderful activity books for grown-ups that inject a little more whimsy and playfulness into your daily grind.”
- When a Dictionary Could Outrage. “…the furor over Webster’s Third  also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.”
- Farmer’s Almanac more ‘weed-dating’ than game-changing. “In a world that changes too fast and allows grand old institutions to die like flies, please welcome The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2012, the 220th annual appearance of the U.S. edition and the 30th of the Canadian edition.”
- Five ways to work a conference. “It’s conference season, and the challenge for most attendees is how to turn the hothouse of ideas they are exposed to into marked improvement back in the office.” [Thanks to Philip Sherwood of Lifewriters for alerting me to this item.]
- New Oral History Resource for LGBT History Month.“There’s a new middle and high school resource just in time for LGBT History Month that’s designed to help educators integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, people, and issues into their instructional programs. Unheard Voices, created in collaboration with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, the Anti-Defamation League, and StoryCorps, includes five lesson plans built around brief audio interviews with nine people who witnessed or helped shape LGBT history in some way.”
- Vintage Report Cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. “After discovering hundreds of early 1900s report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, Paul Lukas is publishing his findings online in a series called “Permanent Record” on Slate. The written assessments are historical artifacts as well as ephemeral relics of daily life, describing some students as “slow,” and others as “very ambitious,” “irritable at times,” or a “nice type.”
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