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The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has declared literacy a Constitutional right—a bright spot in a dark time

“Effectively every interaction between a citizen and her government depends on literacy,” the court held, according to Andrew Albanese from Publishers Weekly…  Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free right now!

In a potential landmark ruling, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that access to a basic minimum education “that can plausibly impart literacy” is a fundamental, Constitutionally protected right.

In a 2-1 ruling released on April 23, the court held that basic literacy is “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” and central to “the basic exercise of other fundamental rights,” including political participation.

“The recognition of a fundamental right is no small matter,” the court conceded in its written opinion. “But just as this Court should not supplant the state’s policy judgments with its own, neither can we shrink from our obligation to recognize a right when it is foundational to our system of self-governance. Access to literacy is such a right. Its ubiquitous presence and evolution through our history has led the American people universally to expect it. And education—at least in the minimum form discussed here—is essential to nearly every interaction between a citizen and her government.”

The Appeals court ruling reverses and remands a 2016 case in which lawyers claim that the State of Michigan failed to provide a suitable education to a plaintiff group of Detroit Public School students, after invoking the state’s Emergency Management Powers to take over control of the plaintiff’s schools. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that they were forced to sit in classrooms that were “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy,” marked by “unqualified instructors,” and “a dearth of textbooks and other school supplies.” The result: a number of students with “zero or near-zero” proficiency levels on state-administered tests.

See full post on Publishers Weekly

Parenting During A Pandemic: Books That Can Help You Get Through This

We’re usually not ones for parenting books, but desperate times call for desperate measures, amirite?  Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free right now!

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent by [Carla Naumburg]How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent

by Carla Naumburg
Kindle price: $9.99

Drawing on evidence-based practices, here is an insight-packed and tip-filled plan for how to stop the parental meltdowns. Its compassionate, pragmatic approach will help readers feel less ashamed and more empowered to get their, ahem, act together instead of losing it.

“Using a powerful combination of humor and reality checks, Naumburg helps parents unpack their unique stressors (we all have them) and find ways to stay calm even the most frustrating of family moments.” —Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of No More Mean Girls and The Happy Kid Handbook

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Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches by [Hillary Frank]Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches

by Hillary Frank
Kindle price: $10.99

Unconventional–yet effective–parenting strategies, carefully curated by the creator of the popular podcast The Longest Shortest Time

Some of the best parenting advice that Hillary Frank ever received did not come from parenting experts, but from friends and podcast listeners who acted on a whim, often in moments of desperation. These “weird parenting wins” were born of moments when the expert advice wasn’t working, and instead of freaking out, these parents had a stroke of genius. For example, there’s the dad who pig-snorted in his baby’s ear to get her to stop crying, and the mom who made a “flat daddy” out of cardboard and sat it at the dinner table when her kids were missing their deployed military father.

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Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault by [Bunmi Laditan]Toddlers Are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault

by Bunmi Laditan
Kindle price: $7.98

At last, the book that answers the question on every parent’s mind: Why does my toddler hate me?

Okay, it’s not really hate. It’s just that a little psychopath who walks through life 100% convinced that he or she is the center of the universe does not care that you have a heart, a mind, or a soul. You are simply a skin-covered robot tall enough to reach the candy on top of the fridge. And clean up the rage-vomit when you make the fatal mistake of cutting off the crust on your toddler’s toast. (Or not cutting it off—seriously, you can’t win.)

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Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life (No Series) by [Glennon Doyle]Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

by Glennon Doyle
Kindle price: $9.99

The inspiring and hilarious instant New York Times bestseller from the beloved writer, speaker, activist, and founder of Momastery, whose memoir Love Warrior was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

Glennon Doyle’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud new essays and some of the best-loved material from Momastery. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s attempt to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

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Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process by [Sheryl G. Ziegler]Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process

by Sheryl G. Ziegler
Kindle price: $8.99

The ultimate must-read handbook for the modern mother: a practical, and positive tool to help free women from the debilitating notion of being the “perfect mom,” filled with funny and all too relatable true-life stories and realistic suggestions to stop the burnout cycle, and protect our kids from the damage burnout can cause.

Moms, do you feel tired? Overwhelmed? Have you continually put off the things you need to do for you? Do you feel like it’s all worth it because your kids are happy? Are you “over” being a mother? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re not alone. Parents today want to create the ideal childhood for their children. Women strive to be the picture-perfect Pinterest mother that looks amazing, hosts the best birthday parties in town, posts the most “liked” photos, and serves delicious, nutritious home-cooked meals in her neat, organized home after ferrying the kids to school and a host of extracurricular activities on time.

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5 Books So Disturbing, People Claim They Truly Traumatized Them

Sure, horror movies are bad enough on their own…but there’s something ESPECIALLY scary about a truly disturbing book that forces your imagination to do all the work. The following will give you a whole new crop of nightmares to read about… Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free right now!

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Book Club Recommendation! by [Reid, Iain]I’m Thinking of Ending Things

by Iain Reid

Kindle price: $11.99

In this “dark and compelling…unputdownable” (Booklist, starred review) literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel “packs a big psychological punch with a twisty story line and an ending that will leave readers breathless” (Library Journal, starred review).

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The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text (The Schocken Kafka Library) by [Kafka, Franz]The Trial

by Franz Kafka

Kindle price: $6.99

Written in 1914, The Trial is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century: the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka’s nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers. This new edition is based upon the work of an international team of experts who have restored the text, the sequence of chapters, and their division to create a version that is as close as possible to the way the author left it.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin by [Shriver, Lionel]We Need to Talk About Kevin

by Lionel Shriver

Kindle price: $11.39

That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child’s character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it’s your own child who just opened fire on his fellow algebra students and whose class photograph—with its unseemly grin—is shown on the evening news coast-to-coast.

If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

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The Girl Next Door by [Ketchum, Jack]The Girl Next Door

by Jack Ketchum

Kindle price: $4.99

A teenage girl is held captive and brutally tortured by neighborhood children. Based on a true story, this shocking novel reveals the depravity of which we are all capable.

This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.

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The Road (Vintage International) by [McCarthy, Cormac]The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

Kindle price: $12.99

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

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“Think of all the things you hope will still be there in that castle of the future when we get across. Then do what you can, now, to ensure the future existence of those things.” Margaret Atwood on what to do now.

How is Margaret Atwood weathering the pandemic? She lets us know in this week’s Time Magazine… Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free!

Margaret Atwood: Do you think you remember a movie in which a knight gallops toward a castle just as its drawbridge is going up, and his white horse jumps the moat in one glorious airborne leap? I could picture it too, but when I went looking for this image on the Internet, all I could find was a couple of cars sailing over rivers via lift bridges and the Pink Panther detective flailing around in the murky water, having missed.

Nonetheless, we’re that rider. Chasing us is the dreaded coronavirus. We’re in midair, hoping we make it to the other side, where life will have returned to what we think of as normal. So what should we do while we’re up there, between now and then?

Think of all the things you hope will still be there in that castle of the future when we get across. Then do what you can, now, to ensure the future existence of those things.

Health care workers go without saying: everyone should be supporting them, because let’s assume we all want a health care system in that Castle Future. But what made your life worth living when you were healthy, apart from friends and family? We each have our own lists. Here are some of mine.

Favorite restaurants and cafés. Strange how we assume these happy places will always be there, so we can step out or drop in whenever we feel like it. To help them over the jump, order takeout and buy gift certificates. You can usually find out online what’s on offer, where.

Read full post on Time.com

Meet Rex Stout, the legendary mystery author who created Nero Wolfe and left an indelible legacy on crime fiction.

Rex Stout‘s larger-than-life sleuth left an indelible legacy on crime fiction, according to Orrin Grey from Murder & Mayhem… Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free!

Who Is Rex Stout?
Born in Indiana in 1886, Rex Stout moved to Kansas with his Quaker parents when he was still very young. He attended high school in Topeka and later graduated from the University of Kansas. After school, Stout served in the Navy and worked as a cigar store clerk.

Stout first began publishing in the 1910s, penning stories for various magazines. He published over 40 stories between 1912 and 1918 alone. Yet it wasn’t his early writing that gave him the capital he needed to tour Europe and live a life of comparative ease. Instead, he invented a school banking system that was put into place in more than 400 schools across the United States. During this time, Stout actually put his literary career on pause, abstaining from writing to focus instead on making and saving enough money from his business ventures. Things were going well, until 1929—when Stout lost most of his earnings in the financial crash.

It was during this same year that Stout published his standalone novel How Like a God, and his literary career took flight.

Rex Stout Creates Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
In addition to his early serialized narratives, Rex Stout’s first published standalone book was How Like a God. The psychological narrative was released in 1929 by Vanguard Press, an imprint that Stout helped found. As Stout entered the 1930s, he pivoted to writing detective novels, and introduced readers to Nero Wolfe.

Nicknamed “that Falstaff of detectives” by critic Will Cuppy, after Shakespeare’s portly, vain, and boastful knight, Stout introduced his armchair sleuth Nero Wolfe in the 1934 novel Fer-de-Lance. The novel was abridged in The American Magazine as “Point of Death.” Wolfe was unique among literary sleuths in that he preferred not to “get his hands dirty,” as the saying goes. Instead, he spent his time in a luxurious home where he read books, ate gourmet meals, and tended to his orchids.

Read full post on Murder & Mayhem

Alex Trebek’s memoir, The Answer Is…, will be released in July

According to Lexy Perez from The Hollywood Reporter, the ‘Jeopardy!’ host’s memoir, ‘The Answer Is… : Reflections on My Life,’ will be released July 21 by Simon & Schuster…. Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free!

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek may be battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but that isn’t stopping him from telling his story in a new memoir.

Trebek on Tuesday announced that his upcoming memoir, The Answer Is… : Reflections on My Life, will be released July 21 by Simon & Schuster.

“For over three decades, Trebek had resisted countless appeals to write a book about his life. Yet he was moved so much by all the goodwill, he felt compelled to finally share his story,” Simon & Schuster said of the anticipated book.

“I want people to know a little more about the person they have been cheering on for the past year,” the Jeopardy! host writes in his memoir, according to the publisher.

The book will provide personal anecdotes along with Trebek’s insight on a myriad of topics, including marriage, parenthood, education, success, spirituality and philanthropy. Having hosted the game show Jeopardy! since 1984, Trebek will also answer popular fan questions, such as “what prompted him to shave his signature mustache, his insights on legendary players like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, and his opinion of Will Ferrell’s Saturday Night Live impersonation.”

To continue to pay homage to his career, Trebek structures the book like the game show, with each chapter title in the form of a question. The memoir will also include dozens of never-before-seen photos that candidly capture Trebek over the years.

Read full post on The Hollywood Reporter

Did you know that the author of beloved children’s classic Madeline once shot a man?

He was only sixteen, according to Olivia Rutigliano from CrimeReads… Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free!

Ludwig Bemelmans, the author and illustrator of the Madeline books and an artist whose paintings often appeared on covers of The New Yorker (as well as on the walls of the Carlyle Hotel), did not begin a career in the arts until his 30s. Before this, he mostly worked in hotels, starting when he was a teenager in his native Austria.

Born in 1898 in the region of Austria that is now geographically Northern Italy, Bemelmans had a fairly unconventional life. He was raised by a single mother (his father, a hotelier and painter named Lampert, had left her while she was pregnant, and he had also impregnated Bemelman’s soon-to-be governess, abandoning them both for yet another woman). And after Bemelmans’ governess committed suicide shorty thereafter, his mother was left alone, at age 24, to raise her son.

As a boy, Ludwig frequently got into trouble at school, and when he became a teenager, his mother sent him to work for his Uncle Hans, a hotelier. The young Bemelmans was employed in the restaurant, under a cruel headwaiter. In a 1941 interview, he told The New York Times about a skirmish between the two that resulted in Bemelmans shooting his boss and eventually fleeing to the United States—an escape which had actually been advised by the police (this seems very European to me). Bemelmans explained:

The headwaiter at that hotel was a really vicious man, and I was completely in his charge. He wanted to beat me with a heavy leather whip, and I told him that if he hit me I would shoot him. He hit me, and I shot him in the abdomen. For some time it seemed he would die. He didn’t. But the police advised my family that I must be sent either to a reform school or America.

He was only 16. Arriving in New York City on Christmas Eve in 1914, his family told the Times, he planned to meet his father again.

Read full post on CrimeReads