Clive Staples Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, and much, much more, was born on this day in Belfast, Ireland, in 1898. Jack, as he was known to friends and family, was a professor of literature at both Oxford and Cambridge, as well as a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction. More on C.S. Lewis.
The “Holiday Season” is upon us! In North America, the unofficial start to the Holidays is American Thanksgiving. As usual, in the school library we celebrate a month of “Holidays and Holy Days!” We feature a “spectacular display” of materials (both online and in person!) related to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Bodhi Day. the Winter Solstice, New Year’s, Festivus and other wonderful feasts, festivals and observances. Stay posted for more here on this site, and visit us in person as we celebrate “Holidays and Holy Days.”
Jews in Canada and around the world celebrate Hanukkah starting at sundown tonight. The Festival of Lights is a celebration of God’s deliverance and provision. The event began in remembrance of Maccabean revolt in the 2nd Century BCE, when the Hebrews recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, the spiritual centre of Judaism. Each candle of the Menorah is lit, one per day for the 8 day Festival. Like all Jewish Holy Days, which follow the lunar Hebrew Calendar, Hanukkah can occur anytime from late November to late December according to the Gregorian Calendar. This year Hanukkah will conclude on the evening of Thursday, December 5. For more information on Hanukkah, check out some of the following:
Check out our display: “Holidays & Holy Days”
Two pop culture icons with Seattle connections were born on this day.
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942. He would go on to become a rock superstar, widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential guitar players of all time. He died far too young at age 27. More on Jimi Hendrix.
Martial Arts legend Bruce Lee was born on this day in 1940 in San Francisco. He was raised in Hong Kong, and was buried in Seattle. He also died much too young. He was only 32. More on Bruce Lee.
On November 26, people of the Baha’i faith celebrate the Day of the Covenant. This is a Holy Day on the Baha’i calendar, a celebration of Baha’u’llah’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of His Covenant.
As we enter season of “Holidays and Holy Days” we will look at the celebrations and festivals of Canadians, and people from around the world, who represent a wide variety of religions, beliefs and cultures.
For more on the Baha’i faith, including its festivals and holy days, check out some of the following links:
Baha’i Faith (International)
On this day in 1835, Andrew Carnegie was born. He would go on to become the “richest man in the world.” A controversial figure, many criticize the manner in which he amassed his wealth. However, he is also one of the most prolific philanthropists in history, having given away more than $350 million in his lifetime. He is best known for the establishment of more than 2500 public libraries throughout the world. The millions he gave away in his lifetime continues to do good work right up to the present, accounting for billions of dollars of philanthropy.
The first episode of “Dr. Who” aired on the BBC on this day in 1963. It has since become the longest running sci-fi television series ever, winning countless awards along the way. Moreover, in the UK, Dr. Who is a pop-culture icon, while Dr. Who has a cult following in Canada and other parts of the world.
On this day in 1963, the President of the United States, John Kennedy, was assassinated. While the official verdict of the government’s “Warren Commission” came to the conclusion that a single shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, was responsible, many have believed that the truth was something different. In the fifty years since, the JFK Assassination has become the topic that perhaps best exemplifies the culture of conspiracy theories and skepticism that the powers that be are not telling the truth.
To read more about the JFK Assassination, and other conspiracy theories, check out some of the following from your school library:
On this day in 1945 the Nuremberg Trials began in post-war Germany. An American led “International Military Tribunal” began a series of trials for Germans accused of crimes against humanity, primarily in connection to the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, Roma, homosexuals and other groups. The various trials stretched out over nearly a year. While public sympathy was very much in favour of both the rationale for and the outcome of the trials, there have been major criticisms against the legal jurisdiction of the tribunal. While we are right in wanting justice for the crimes of the Nazis, how legitimate were the Nuremberg Trials? Moreover, were the Allies themselves guilty of some of the same crimes for which the Germans were tried?
For more on these questions, check out some of the following:
As an interesting side note, today student from our school are joining other students from around the province for a Symposium on the Holocaust at UBC, presented by the Holocaust Education Centre.
Thought provoking ideas from a wide variety of thinkers are brought together by editor John Brockman in Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? In the opening essay, “The Bookless Library,” Nicholas Carr asserts:
As a technology, a book focuses our attention, isolates us from the myriad distractions that fill our everyday lives. A networked computer does precisely the opposite. It is designed to scatter our attention. It doesn’t shield us from environmental distractions; it adds to them. The words on a computer screen exist in a welter of contending stimuli.
Carr isn’t arguing that the internet is bad. We cannot dispute that the internet has given us huge advantages. However, those advantages come at a cost.
My own reading and thinking habits have shifted dramatically since I first logged on the Web fifteen years ago or so. I now do the bulk of my reading and researching on-line. And my brain has changed as a result. Event as I’ve become more adept at navigating the rapids of the Net, I have experienced a steady decay in my ability to sustain my attention… What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.
The computer age has not rendered the book obsolete. True, the future of paper publishing may be in doubt. The physical book is here for at least the short-term. In the long run maybe they will be completely replaced by e-books. That is not the point. Regardless of the format, we need books, more than ever. We need them for many reasons, not least as an antidote to the distracted, shallow thinking that is the product of so much of what people do on-line. We need long-form text, including fiction and non-fiction. We need to read things that require concentration, engagement and deep thinking.