Category Archives: Books

More than another Crumb under the table

Much has been said about Crumb’s new Genesis comic. I’ll leave that to others to comment on.

Instead, I want to highlight another graphic novel that’s been around for a few years, but which you may not be familiar with. The Jewish Publication Society released JT Waldman’s Megillat (Esther) in January 2006. It is still worth your time to check it out.

The publisher’s website has a number of links to reviews. An exceptional review (not listed on the publisher’s site) was written by Richard McBee for the Jewish Press (found here). I also direct you to the Waldman’s website which has an extensive preview of the comic.

Waldman’s work, unlike Crumb’s Genesis, includes the Hebrew text (in the frames and margins of the comic), which makes it useful for using in language learning.

Megillat Preview
This image is from the author’s preview site where you can scroll through pages of an extensive preview.

Jewish Children’s Bibles

I know that I promised I would post my review of the JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible quite a while ago. I think I will be able to get that online when I get back from the Bible Translation conference that I am currently attending.

In the meantime, the author of that children’s bible, Ellen Frankel, is guest blogging at the Jewish Book Council Blog. Today she talks about making the Bible PG for young readers. This will have to suffice as an appetizer until I get back home to post my review.

Gödel, Escher, Bach: Session 7

A day late. Sorry folks. But I think I may be talking to myself by now. So, since we are at #7, I think I’ll let that be the perfect ending of our little discussion group (for now). I know this was a little ambitious to take on (schedule-wise), so I will re-think another book or topic to do next time.

Current Assignment: For Thursday, October 1
Read: Canon by Intervallic Augmentation and Chapter VI: The Location of Meaning
Listen: Bach never multiplied the intervals of a theme by 3 1/3. He did multiply them by -1 in this canon by exact inversion, the Canon Perpetuus from the Musical Offering. An effect of the exact inversion is that the piece has to oscillate constantly between major and minor chords, and technically it can’t end.

The Dialogue: Canon by Intervallic Augmentation

This Dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise tries to resolve the question, ‘Which contains more information–a record, or the phonograph which plays it?”

(By the way, how many haikus can you find in this dialogue?)

Rosetta Stone

Chapter VI: The Location of Meaning

This chapter discusses how meaning is divided among coded message, decoder, and receiver. Hofstadter gives examples of strands of DNA, ancient tablets containing undeciphered inscriptions, and some unusual phonographs.
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William Kamkwamba: Watch his TED talk

Definitely worth the six minutes to watch William Kamkwamba’s TED talk. This July 2009 video is worth a million words.

You can also see his original 2007 TED talk about his first windmill from their archive here.

TED also has an expanded bio and other links here.

From those links (definitely watch the short documentary):

A short documentary about Kamkwamba, called Moving Windmills, won several awards last year; Kamkwamba and friends are now working on a full-length film. You can read the ongoing details on his blog (which he keeps with help from his mentor), and support his work and other young inventors at

What’s up with all these GEB posts? If you missed what we’re doing, read here. Remember, I’m no expert on all this, I’m just helping facilitate. I’m trying to read along with the rest of you!

Current Assignment: For Monday, September 28
Read: Little Harmonic Labyrinth and Chapter V: Recursive Structures and Processes
Listen: The Little Harmonic Labyrinth by Johann David Heinichen. Waltz #2 by Billy Joel.

I think the Fall semester has hit most of us and our schedules are slipping away from our control (did we ever really have control??). But, in case someone is still interested in this, I’ll continue to post for a bit more.

red pill or blue pill?

When Justin Curry (MIT) taught this course, he quoted the following at this point in the book:
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill -the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill -you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. – Morpheus
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JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible

I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my copy of the soon-to-be-released JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible.

JPS Illustrated Children's Bible

The illustrations look to be beautifully rendered. But even more than the illustrations, I am looking forward to reading the stories from a fresh point of view.

From the introduction:

My chief aim in writing this book has been to introduce American children to the language and rhythms of the Hebrew Bible.

You can download (PDF file) the introduction here. A sample chapter is also available for download.

But if you want to see more, and especially if you’re interested in reading the Author’s notebook which includes explanations about choices made for the translation (a very worthwhile read!), you can find sample pages of the book on Google Books. Here’s a link to the search I performed. You can also follow the link on the JPS page to another Google Preview.