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10 Amelia Bedelia-isms

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Here are 10 Amelia Bedelia-isms I got a kick out of back in the day; leave a comment and let us know which ones you were particularly fond of.

1. In Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, Amelia is making cakes and pies for the family to eat. On the list is a date cake. After a moment of pondering where to get dates on such short notice, Amelia finds a calendar, clips out all of the dates and dumps them into her cake batter.

2. In the first Amelia Bedelia book, which is self-titled, Amelia's employers leave her a list of household chores. This includes "dust the furniture." She locates the dusting powder in the bathroom (a sign of the times, I suppose—this was first published in 1963) and carefully spreads it over all of the furniture in the house.

3. In the same book, she's told to "Draw the drapes." What's a girl to do but get out her sketchpad and doodle a quick line drawing of the curtains?

4. I remember that Amelia tying expensive steak to the green bean plants after she is told to "stake the beans" always used to make me giggle. In Amelia Bedelia Helps Out she also makes tea cakes by using tea as an ingredient. I don't know"¦ since some trendy cakes and pastries made with matcha (green tea) powder these days? Maybe Amelia was a gourmand and we just didn't realize it.

5. Be careful if you ask Amelia to make a chicken dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers found that out the hard way when they sat down to a meal that chickens would eat—cracked corn—in Good Work, Amelia Bedelia.

6. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what Ms. Bedelia did when she was told to "steal home plate" in Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia.

7. You guys probably know that "pitching a tent" doesn't involve chucking the whole mess of poles and nylon into the bushes, but AB doesn't.

8. Peggy Parish, Amelia's creator, died in 1988. But the series didn't die with her. In 1995, her nephew Herman took up the mantle. The two of them had developed a close rapport and he was aware of her writing process and style. His first book, Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia, picked up right where his aunt left off. Mr. Rogers takes Amelia for a driving lesson, and when his directions include looking for a fork in the road, our favorite bumbling housekeeper finds herself trying to spot abandoned cutlery. Sounds like Herman got it just right to me!

9. I can deal with Amelia's misadventures in cooking and cleaning, but I'm not so sure the misunderstandings would be as funny in a doctor's office. Luckily, she's not performing appendectomies or anything like that—she's just helping out by answering phones and such in Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia, also written by Herman Parish. When one patient calls to report that she's "caught a bug," Amelia's sound advice is to let it go, of course. Makes sense to me.

10. Has Amelia always been so literal? Yup. We find out about Amelia's formative years in a series about her firsts, including her first Valentine and her first day at school. As a kid who grew up with her nose in a book, I'm particularly delighted by Amelia's efforts to actually shove her nose into her reading material.

It's a good thing she made such good pies and cakes, otherwise Amelia wouldn't have lasted beyond that first day in the Rogers household. Although after dealing with her literal-mindedness for so long, wouldn't you think Mr. and Mrs. R would learn to be more specific when giving instructions? Then again, what fun would that be?

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15 Powerful Quotes From Margaret Atwood
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It turns out the woman behind such eerily prescient novels as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake is just as wise as her tales are haunting. Here are 15 of the most profound quips from author, activist, and Twitter enthusiast Margaret Atwood, who was born on this day in 1939.

1. On her personal philosophy

 “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

2. On the reality of being female

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

3. On limiting how her politics influence her characters

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

4. On so-called “pretty” works of literature

“I don’t know whether there are any really pretty novels … All of the motives a human being may have, which are mixed, that’s the novelists’ material. … We like to think of ourselves as really, really good people. But look in the mirror. Really look. Look at your own mixed motives. And then multiply that.”

— From a 2010 interview with The Progressive

5. On the artist’s relationship with her fans

“The artist doesn’t necessarily communicate. The artist evokes … [It] actually doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is how the art makes you feel.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

6. On the challenges of writing non-fiction

“When I was young I believed that ‘nonfiction’ meant ‘true.’ But you read a history written in, say, 1920 and a history of the same events written in 1995 and they’re very different. There may not be one Truth—there may be several truths—but saying that is not to say that reality doesn’t exist.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

7. On poetry

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

8. On being labeled an icon

“All these things set a standard of behavior that you don’t necessarily wish to live up to. If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

9. On how we’re all born writers

“[Everyone] ‘writes’ in a way; that is, each person has a ‘story’—a personal narrative—which is constantly being replayed, revised, taken apart and put together again. The significant points in this narrative change as a person ages—what may have been tragedy at 20 is seen as comedy or nostalgia at 40.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

10. On the oppression at the center of The Handmaid's Tale

“Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” 

— From a 2015 lecture to West Point cadets

11. On the discord between men and women

“‘Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They’re afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

— From Atwood’s Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982

12. On the challenges of expressing oneself

“All writers feel struck by the limitations of language. All serious writers.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

13. On selfies

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

14. On the value of popular kids' series (à la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson)

"It put a lot of kids onto reading; it made reading cool. I’m sure a lot of later adult book clubs came out of that experience. Let people begin where they are rather than pretending that they’re something else, or feeling that they should be something else."

— From a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post

15. On why even the bleakest post-apocalyptic novels are, deep down, full of hope

“Any novel is hopeful in that it presupposes a reader. It is, actually, a hopeful act just to write anything, really, because you’re assuming that someone will be around to [read] it.”

— From a 2011 interview with The Atlantic 

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China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
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A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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