Thursday, August 11, 2011

News about Richard Van Camp's THE LESSER BLESSED

Great news! Richard Van Camp's acclaimed The Lesser Blessed is now available on Kindle.  A couple of years ago, I included his novel in a piece I wrote for School Library Journal. There, I said this about The Lesser Blessed:
"Larry is a teenage Dogrib boy whose life includes alcohol, violence, and sex. Realistically drawn, his story is raw and unsettling, yet, in Van Camp’s skilled hands, the account is not depressing. From start to finish, Larry’s Native culture and history are gracefully infused into the compelling narrative."
Here, I'll say straight up that The Lesser Blessed rocks and I'm glad it is on Kindle. I absolutely love Richard's writing in The Lesser Blessed, but elsewhere, too. Readers of AICL know I've written about several of his books. If you want to know more about him, visit his page at Native Wiki.

For another perspective, visit Teaching Van Camp's The Lesser Blessed to see how Professor Jane Haladay uses his novel in a Native lit course. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New Beginnings and a Million Page Visits

Earlier this week I began coursework in San Jose State University's School of Library and Information Science. Most of you know I've got a PhD in Education and have been on the faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois (UIUC) for several years.

UIUC is a "Research I" university driven by the "publish or perish" motto. Though I've written many book chapters and articles, the powers-that-be determined I was "not a good fit" for a Research I school. Not the right publishers, not the right articles, and, I wasn't "a good fit" in other ways, too. I'm a teacher at heart, and the work I do with teachers and librarians (including this blog) took time away from getting things published in the right books and journals.

In the end, I was (to use the jargon of a university) "not reappointed" to my position on the faculty. You can bet I was more than a little angry about that decision! But we always have to pick our battles, and I chose to quit fighting the University of Illinois. Those of you that have followed my blog and work since the 90s know that I am a founding member of UIUC's Native American House and its American Indian Studies program. You also know that I played a key role in getting rid of "Chief Illiniwek."

So... I was out of a job and contemplating what to do.

One afternoon while reading the newsletter of the New Mexico Librarian's Association, I saw an advertisement for Circle of Learning, an initiative at San Jose State University by which I could get an MLIS. I applied, got in, and as I noted above, my courses have started! The program itself is completely online. My goal is to establish a tribal library and resource center at Nambe. This degree will help me do that.

A few short weeks ago, I was the teacher giving undergraduates assignments for courses I taught at UIUC. Now, I'm completing assignments. It is quite the turn-about as I try to understand what the instructor wants me to do... 

Nonetheless, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Due to my mom's illness, my posts to AICL over the last three weeks were very few. That will pick back up, though. I've got many books that I've not yet written about, like Gensler's The Revenant. And, I have more to say about being at ALA in June, too.

One last note for today... The "page visits" count on AICL rolled past one million this weekend. Thank you for reading AICL, for recommending it to students and colleagues, and for returning to it yourself.