Tag Archives: (Inn)Ovation

Monday Links: History of Innovation, Sports Books, and More

One of 2010’s best nonfiction titles is Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, in which he proposes that innovation is more a product of nurture than nature. That is, it takes a particular environment, not mere genius, to advance the state of science and culture. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Rather than having me “tell” you about it, why don’t you watch this book trailer?


Jim Caple of ESPN.com’s Page 2’s Page Turner offers up his pet peeves regarding sports books. Among his rants is a take on coaches and sports heroes who pen non-sports books like the rules for success tomes we’ve been treated to by Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, who wrote 3 of them. As Caple says, “None, unfortunately, involved proper table manners when a restaurant closes for the night.” Enjoy reading Some Thoughts on Sports Books.


Here’s a little quiz. In the Stanley Kubrick film of Stephen King’s The Shining, Wendy is seen reading what well-known book? Here’s a clue: She’s reading it in her kitchen before Jack takes the family to the Overlook resort hotel for the winter. Make your guess in the comments section below. The first reader with the correct answer wins a prize next time they come into the store.


The National Book Critics Circle has announced its list of finalists for their awards in 6 categories – fiction, criticism, nonfiction, poetry, biography, and autobiography. Among the notable books are The Emperor of All Maladies, Apollo’s Angels, and Empire of the Summer Moon in the nonfiction category. You can see the entire list here.


My plan is to finish my Best of 2010 list this week, so check back. If you know someone who would enjoy my daily books blog, consider subscribing them with the tool in the upper part of the left gutter. They’ll have a chance to accept or decline and also manage the frequency of delivery via e-mail. You can also subscribe to this blog through your RSS reader, get notifications through Twitter (it’s @NewAlbanyBooks), or follow us with alerts at our Facebook page (Destinations Booksellers).

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(Inn)Ovation: Educator Paul Hankins

Welcome to a first-time feature at NewAlbanyBooks – The (Inn)Ovation Award. It takes creativity and persistence to earn this plaudit, and today’s honoree is Paul Hankins.


NewAlbanyBooks Blog (Inn)Ovation Award

Paul is an educator at Silver Creek High School, teaching 11th-grade and AP English. And while he is a frequent visitor to the store (and friend of this blog), today I want to recognize Paul’s “virtual” contribution to the enrichment of not only his SCHS pupils, but of students, writers, and education colleagues around the country and the world.

Any teacher of reading and writing has an obligation to provide good reading material for his charges. The better ones are always looking for new and exciting books that will reach the students “where they live” and that will instill a lasting appreciation for books.

Paul, in his professional capacity, is a voracious reader and a prolific reviewer. It’s obvious that he considers his job to be more than a 40-hour paycheck. I’ve known him to practically consume a book in a day, which is no small feat when you have a wife and children to care for, as he does.

One of Paul’s “outside” ventures is his participation in a reading program called The Centurions of 2011, which you can find on Facebook if you search. In 2010, members pledged to read 100 books during the year. Quite a few of them actually accomplished that goal. This year, Paul and the group have pledged to finish 111 books and to share their progress with the Facebook group on a monthly basis.

While the typical young adult book (novels, mostly) is a shorter read than most adult books, that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment. A good number of the readers, Paul included, do not limit their reading to professional dictates, reading across genres and age-groups.

As impressive as that is, it is not enough to earn our first (Inn)Ovation ribbon. No, Paul has created a hugely impressive online community called Reading and Writing in Kentuckiana, which is “Now Serving the Whole Country” after beginning as a local project within Paul’s classroom.

The shorthand appellation for the community is RAWInK, and it’s run primarily through the .ning engine, an online tool that provides tightly controlled interactivity. Paul told me he chose it, in part, because it was important to give students free rein to build and design the content themselves. Equally important was the administrative ability to keep others out. Accordingly, to join RAWInk, you must apply and be approved by the network administrators.

Over the course of about 18 months, the site has grown from a one-school workshop to an international clearinghouse for secondary school teachers and students – and the authors who write for them.

Some of the biggest names in YA literature are affiliated with the site and provide content. The student administrators keep the site populated with videos, audios, reviews, blog postings, lists, and much more. Periodically an author will make a live, interactive appearance on the site, either for teachers or students – and sometimes both.

We at the store are proud to recognize Paul Hankins, prime creator of RAWInk, the online reading and writing Web network, with today’s (Inn)Ovation ribbon. (And yes, Paul, you may download this cherished graphic image to display as you wish.)


Filed under Check Out