Author Archives: Jane Hoff

About Jane Hoff

Middle School Librarian and Media Technician Guest Teacher, K - 12 BA, Sociocultural Anthropology, the University of Chicago, 1995 Graduate Student, Master of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA

An early review of Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time”

via Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time” | The New Yorker

This review was published in 1927, after Hemingway’s great literary success “The Sun Also Rises.”  There are a few things I love about reviews that are more contemporary to great classics.  The first is the quality of writing of the review itself.  Often the review is written by a now familiar author, and the review is a fabulous peek at that author’s style and growth as a writer.  If the reviewer is not a hence famous author, the writing style is still instructive in the quality of publication meant for common consumption.  The second reason I love early reviews of classics is it often reveals the spirit of the day that the work was written, and provides subtle historical perspectives that current analysis might miss.  And finally, I love to see how ideas grow over time, revealing the ways that people shape literature as much as literature shapes people.

Outside of one’s own curiosity, this early review might serve as a great side lesson in comparative literature, literary analysis, journalistic writing, or to bolster a unit on Hemingway, short stories, or even obscure writings of famous authors.


Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

“The results [of research] could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.”

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Source: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences) | Outside Online

After a legendary career in adventure writing, Tim Cahill thought his story was over. Thrown from a raft in the Grand Canyon’s Lava Falls, he was trapped underwater and out of air. When he finally reached land, his heart stopped for several minutes. Then he came back—and decided to risk Lava again.

This article is really about “story” and its connection to human experience, to the human condition.  An excellent reflection on the importance of story, of one’s own story, of our family’s story, of history, and of the story of man.  Especially useful for beginning writers, or students exploring their own lives and its meaning.  It is not a complete exploration, but it is certainly a starting point in the discussion.

Source: My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences) | Outside Online

How to Mentor a Perfectionist

From the Harvard Business Review, a candid look at perfectionism and how to manage it in ourselves and those we are paired to teach.

While this was written with the boardroom in mind, it struck me as applicable to the classroom as well.  Though perfectionism is not the norm amongst Middle School students,  it is a familiar concern with some and might be for more if we recognize that the choice some students make not to do work as a way to cope with their fear of imperfection (a symptom of perfectionism). Perfectionism is not necessarily what drives successful people; in fact, certain people are successful despite their perfectionism.The difference between striving for excellence and striving for perfection is stark.  As a teacher and librarian, I realize my students should be encouraged to seek excellence – that is what stimulates growth.

The difference between striving for excellence and striving for perfection is as stark as the difference between the possible and the impossible.  As a teacher and librarian, I realize my students should be encouraged to seek excellence, which promotes growth.  Perfectionism is stressful and debasing, and loses the purpose of the task which is skill building.

The article also provides some nice reminders and tools to employ when working with perfectionists.  Definitely a worthwhile read.

Source: How to Mentor a Perfectionist