Jane Hutcheon


09 Oct

Hannah Arendt Journalism Books

Jane Hutcheon

Is there such a thing as the Banality of Evil?

I saw the film Hannah Arendt a few years ago.

I've read Hannah Arendt's New Yorker articles.

But a consensus against her views has been building ever since she wrote Eichmann in Jerusalem

Now I'm awaiting a copy of Bettina Stangneth's book.

And there are plenty of other recent pieces trying to reason why Arendt reached the conclusions she did.

It's one of humanity's enduring questions: where does evil begin?

(Photo of Arendt in 1949 by Fred Stein)


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17 Sep

Fiery Lady of Books Books

Jane Hutcheon

In 1900 Anne Caroll Moore became the first Children's librarian at the New York Public Library.

She was a missionary of kids' lit.  That's her on the far right of the photo.

From her annual 'Best Books' lists to children's book reviews to her fiery opinions in the New York Herald-Tribune, she turned the library from a NO DOGS OR CHILDREN ALLOWED zone into a haven of enrichment.

She also bought foreign language books and hired a multi-racial, multi-lingual staff.

She toured the libraries of England and France and met some of her idols, including Beatrix Potter.  The NYPL now has some original drawings by Beatrix Potter and the original soft toys which inspired A.A. Milne to create Winnie the Pooh.

As a result of her work, libraries around the world introduced similar reforms to open the world of books to small children.

Yet Anne Caroll Moore isn't a total heroine.

She took a strong dislike to the work of journalist and author E.B. White.  You can read about that here.

E.B. White is one of my absolute favourite author's.   Charlotte's Web is a gem.  

Each reading reveals something new.  Unlike many books written long ago, the language remains contemporary and the story is plainly beautiful.  He also wrote a great little book on grammar that we just called Strunk and White at uni.

But I'm grateful to Anne Caroll Moore for her work.  Even today, I always find solace in a library.  And the NYPL doesn't disappoint. 







(Photo of Anne Carroll Moore is my own, of a photo at the recent NYPL exhibition Why Children's Books Matter)

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23 Aug

Optimistic Men Life Books

Jane Hutcheon

Two good books came across my desk this week.

They were "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Col. Chris Hadfield and "Optimism" by Bob Brown.

Two men from very different walks of life.

(Oh how I'd love to interview them together)

There was a single, over-riding message: spend your life working at being positive in a job you are passionate about. Keep doing this day in, day out.

The books, of course go far deeper than this, but this was the ultimate take-away.

I thoroughly enjoyed how both Bob and Chris used stories from different stages of their lives, honing the processes for staying motivated, committed yet open to adjustment.  Simple mastery.  

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