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23 Mar 2011
Not really a fan of the series (I love Lord of the Rings! Yes, I'm that kind of person), but this infographic is seriously cool:

Designed by Wayne Dorrington.

22 Mar 2011

Here's a nice post about writing in the margins:

"Marginalia was more common in the 1800s. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a prolific margin writer, as were William Blake and Charles Darwin. In the 20th century it mostly came to be regarded like graffiti: something polite and respectful people did not do.

Paul F. Gehl, a curator at the Newberry, blamed generations of librarians and teachers for “inflicting us with the idea” that writing in books makes them “spoiled or damaged.”

But marginalia never vanished. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa in 1977, a copy of Shakespeare was circulated among the inmates. Mandela wrote his name next to the passage from “Julius Caesar” that reads, “Cowards die many times before their deaths.”"

I've always been partial to marginalia myself. Very guilty of it, in fact. Although mine are probably more of personal musings and thoughts while reading, and not necessarily academic. I doubt people will glean much from my books except that I like talking to the characters and to the author when the opportunity presents itself.

20 Mar 2011

Here are some interesting discussions about books, reading and more this week:

1. Dryas Donates Proceeds From Travel Book to Japan Relief. "In an almost prescient move, German publisher Dryas Verlag has spent the last year donating 50 cents from every sale of the book Schattenläufer und Perlenmädchen – Abenteuer Alltag in Japan to the Japanese chapter of Doctors Without Borders to be used in the event of an earthquake. In light of the tragic events of the past week, publisher Sandra Thoms and author Christine Liew have decided to double their donations to one euro per book sold from March 16th to June 16th."

2. How Do I Love Thee? Count 140 Characters. "Poetry and literature may be flowering in the socially networked, microblogged world of the tweet."

3. Four Attempts To Enjoy My Own Film. "The first time I watched the film of my novel, Submarine, was a strange experience. We were at the world premiere as part of the Toronto Film Festival and it felt, to use the director, Richard Ayoade’s words, like a “ninety-minute heart attack.” Okay, maybe not quite that bad. A ninety-minute anaphylactic shock. (I have a peanut allergy, so I can say that.) Only as the credits rolled was I filled with a wave of relief and pride — much like the feeling of being injected in the glutes with an Epipen full of adrenaline."

4. SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian. "Tech for tech's sake is over. In a year when social media is helping inform our coverage of everything from political upheaval in the Middle East to the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan, your app better do something more than be cool. I kept coming back to the librarians as I talked to people at SXSWi because this micro-track mirrored what I saw tweeted and written about the conference as a whole. Interactive didn't feel blindly focused on discovering the killer app. Tech didn't feel like an end unto itself -- rather, it was about processing data with a purpose; data for a greater good."

5. What's the next chapter for bookshelves? "Books have played a major role in shaping the American house. But with e-readers rapidly turning bookworms into techies, what's the future for home libraries, bookshelves and coffee-table tomes?"

6. James Gleick’s History of Information. "James Gleick argues that information is more than just the contents of our libraries and Web servers: human consciousness, life on earth, the cosmos — it’s bits all the way down."

7. Print – And Burn – After Reading: It’s Time To Fight Back Against The Footer Fascists. "You’ve seen them, I’ve seen them. We’ve all seen them. Those screamingly pompous email footers that IT departments append to millions – billions? – of emails every day, urging us to “Consider the environment!” before asking “Do you really need to print this email?” I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that they are literally the most antisocial human innovation since McDonald’s started giving away chewing tobacco with Happy Meals. Worse, they’re so utterly pointless: never once in the – what? – two decades? – the messages have been plaguing our inboxes has a single soul ever heeded their message and considered the environment before printing. Most people don’t print emails, and those who do, do. There is not a single tree still standing because some Dilbertesque corporate responsibility dickhead had nothing better to do with his time than to lecture total strangers on their obligations to mother earth. Enough is enough."

8. Reading and Responding: Holding Writing Workshops. "How can a teacher’s artistic vulnerability inspire students to share their own work? In this lesson, students do a free-writing and sharing exercise, with the teacher providing a model. They then consider the roles of teacher as writer and student as responder, and take part in a writing workshop in which they provide the teacher with feedback and suggestions on his or her original written work."

9. Is Reading Comprehension A Must-Teach For All Educators? "When students learn about the genetic code or pore though Huck Finn, do they really understand what they're reading? That's what New York schools are trying to answer with their Secondary Literacy Pilot. The goal is to assess student literacy in all subject areas with the goal of helping students understand complex texts, Education Week reports."

10. What My Family Is Reading. "I’m back in Minnesota this weekend to help celebrate my dad’s birthday. My sister, who goes to grad school in Iowa, is also home, so there’s a full house around here. Last night, we went out to dinner, then stayed up late playing a rousing game of Texas Hold ‘Em using Easter candy as money. That seems like a good idea, until you remember everyone in my family is stingy about chocolate because we love it so much. Oops. And of course, because I am who I am, I had to check in with all of them about what they’re reading now."

19 Mar 2011
Saw this adorable, adorable advertisement today. It's an advocacy to promote literacy in children. *sigh*

18 Mar 2011
Happy Friday! Can't wait for the weekend to start. Now here's a smart woman who has a pretty lovely way of going about her rest and relaxation:

17 Mar 2011
Following that post I had yesterday comes this really sweet embroidery:


Also, if you're interested: How to make a cross stitch bookmark

16 Mar 2011
Well this puts a whole new meaning to it:

So adorable! (via)

15 Mar 2011
for this:

14 Mar 2011
Via MonoModa: "4 of Jules Verne novel book covers were re-designed as a senior thesis by Jim Tierney during his University studies. Classic books allow for more personal interpretation of the topic as most of the people are familiar with the contents."

His work is really excellent! Below is his design for my favorite Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:

See the whole collection here.

12 Mar 2011
What happened yesterday in Japan still breaks my heart. Watching cracks appear on the earth, buildings sway like flowers - it's just unthinkable. I wouldn't know what to do had I been there. This recent event brings to mind Haruki Murakami's after the quake:

Here, an excerpt:

"Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways. She never said a word. Sunk deep in the cushions of the sofa, her mouth clamped shut, she wouldn’t answer when Komura spoke to her. She wouldn’t shake her head or nod. Komura could not be sure the sound of his voice was even getting through to her..."

Read more about the book here.

11 Mar 2011
That's my first reaction when I saw this stream of book installations created by Alycia Martin. AMAZING. What effort! What time and dedication! Very surreal. I probably have had the same dream once or twice in my life: books were entering my life like flood, and I am drowning. My therapist would probably have a field day over that imagery :p

10 Mar 2011
These Penguin advertisements are really clever and creative! As you know I really do have a fondness for Penguin. Really excellent work from an ad agency in Brazil.

09 Mar 2011
Found this interesting infographic via Contently about books and the publishing industry. It's really quite sad to know that just because you published a book it doesn't mean you are going to make it as a writer, and just because somebody helped distribute your work it doesn't mean people are going to buy your book or that you're going to be #1 on the bestseller's list immediately.

Anyway, here it is:

08 Mar 2011
These are fun poems to read to your child if they're just learning how to read:

Author Unknown

I like books
I really do.
Books with stories
And pictures, too.

Books of birds
And things that grow.
Books of people
We should know.

Books of animals
And places, too.
I like books
I really do!


I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Dr. Seuss

I can read in red. I can read in blue.
I can read in pickle color too.
I can read in bed, and in purple. and in brown.
I can read in a circle and upside down!
I can read with my left eye. I can read with my right.
I can read Mississippi with my eyes shut tight!

There are so many things you can learn about.
But…you'll miss the best things
If you keep your eyes shut.
The more that you read, the more things you will know
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

If you read with your eyes shut you're likely to find
That the place where you're going is far, far behind
SO…that's why I tell you to keep your eyes wide.
Keep them wide open…at least on one side.

07 Mar 2011

Here are some places where you can download free e-books:

1. Free Book Spot. Free Book Spot is a free e-books links library where you can find and download free books in almost any category, but focus is on scientific, engineering, programming, fiction and many other books. All books are ready for download without registering.
2. Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device. This site carries high quality ebooks: they were previously published by bona fide publishers and digitized with the help of thousands of volunteers. All ebooks can be freely downloaded: Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats. No fee or registration is required.
3. Baen Free Library. Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We're calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached.
4. Bookyards. Bookyards has a total of 17,008 books, 41,784 external web links, 4,197 news & blogs links, 384 videos, 32,963 Ebook links and access to hundreds of online libraries (800,000 Ebooks) for your reading pleasure.
5. Online Computer Books. contains details about free computer books, free ebooks, free programming books, free online books and sample chapters related to Information and Communication Technology, Computer Science, Internet, Engineering, Business, Marketing, Maths, Electronics, Physics and Science which are provided by publishers or authors on their websites legally and free of charge.