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08 Jun 2011


Came across this post summing up beautifully what it means to be a reader today:

"The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers.

"...It's undoubtedly true; there are things that fade. But I can't help blaming, in part, the fact that we also simply have access to more and more things to choose from more and more easily. Netflix, Amazon, iTunes – you wouldn't have to go and search dusty used bookstores or know the guy who works at a record store in order to hear most of that stuff you're missing. You'd only have to choose to hear it.

"You used to have a limited number of reasonably practical choices presented to you, based on what bookstores carried, what your local newspaper reviewed, or what you heard on the radio, or what was taught in college by a particular English department. There was a huge amount of selection that took place above the consumer level. (And here, I don't mean "consumer" in the crass sense of consumerism, but in the sense of one who devours, as you do a book or a film you love.)

"Now, everything gets dropped into our laps, and there are really only two responses if you want to feel like you're well-read, or well-versed in music, or whatever the case may be: culling and surrender.

"Culling is the choosing you do for yourself. It's the sorting of what's worth your time and what's not worth your time. It's saying, 'I deem Keeping Up With The Kardashians a poor use of my time, and therefore, I choose not to watch it.' It's saying, 'I read the last Jonathan Franzen book and fell asleep six times, so I'm not going to read this one.'

"Surrender, on the other hand, is the realization that you do not have time for everything that would be worth the time you invested in it if you had the time, and that this fact doesn't have to threaten your sense that you are well-read. Surrender is the moment when you say, 'I bet every single one of those 1,000 books I'm supposed to read before I die is very, very good, but I cannot read them all, and they will have to go on the list of things I didn't get to.'

"It is the recognition that well-read is not a destination; there is nowhere to get to, and if you assume there is somewhere to get to, you'd have to live a thousand years to even think about getting there, and by the time you got there, there would be a thousand years to catch up on.

"...It's an effort, I think, to make the world smaller and easier to manage, to make the awareness of what we're missing less painful. There are people who choose not to watch television – and plenty of people don't, and good for them – who find it easier to declare that they don't watch television because there is no good television (which is culling) than to say they choose to do other things, but acknowledge that they're missing out on Mad Men (which is surrender)."

-- excerpts from The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything by Linda Holmes (read the whole post)

04 Jun 2011
Happy weekend, everyone! What will you be reading this weekend? I am currently reading Jeremey Mercer's Time Was Soft There.

I hope everyone will have a grand time just relaxing and reading. Here's something to inspire you:


04 Jun 2011

"Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book." -- Christopher Morley

03 Apr 2011
One that we keep forgetting.

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*

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.

06 Mar 2011
I hope you enjoy the weekend, curled up with a good book :)

03 Mar 2011
Well mine's a hot steaming mug of brewed coffee and Arthur Conan Doyle's Great Stories of Sherlock Holmes. Perfect, with the rain outside. Just a short and sweet reminder for today.

27 Feb 2011
A good book should leave you...slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. -- William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958


Some thoughts on reading and books for today:

1. My Son's Book Shelf: Something He Couldn't Have With a Kindle or iPad by Martha Ross.
"My son has absolutely no interest in the e-reader idea, which might be a little surprising, given that he loves searching around the web and watching videos on his iPhone. You'd think reading on an iPad would be a natural next step for him. He shook his head at the idea. Like me, he was wondering what would happen to his book shelf. "

2. English 101: The Perfectly Pretentious Bookshelf.
"The pretentious bookshelf is a staple of college-aged dwellings that I both love and hate equally. Really, if you have any collection of books on display, you are making a statement about how you want to be perceived. The only way to avoid this is to, I don't know, get all your books at the library? But what does that say about you? I'm poor? The point is, any book that any intelligent person may have read may look pretentious on your shelf; So you might as well embrace the process of crafting the perfectly pretentious bookshelf (ppb.)"

3. In 'Mountain Lion,' Sibling Love Becomes Loathing by Sigrid Nunez.
"In 2010, readers everywhere honored the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the aftermath of that celebration I'd like to tell readers about another novel that charts the coming of age of a sister and brother, this one set not in the South but out west."

4. The 100 greatest novels of all time by Robert McCrum.
"The British love to read and, as the BBC prepares to reveal the nation's best loved books, The Observer has compiled its own list of essential fiction from the past 300 years...Ours is not a list of 'best loved' books. It is less sentimental, and probably less contemporary. It is a catalogue of just a hundred 'essential' titles - as we see it. Of course it is not scientific. Neither Mori nor Gallup was involved. It is partial, prejudiced and highly personal. It reflects whim and fashion. And as we compiled it we began to see actually how difficult - even questionable - the idea of such a unified literary inheritance has become at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Even more agonising are the impossibly hard choices that a list of a hundred forces one to make."

5. Have you switched off your book?
"These questions are being debated today with the growing popularity of the Kindle, the e-book reader by Amazon. Kindle was introduced to the Indian market in October, but except for the 'early adapters', a term used for geeks or technology enthusiasts who have to try everything new straightaway, the e-book is nowhere as yet like a cellphone, ubiquitous and indispensable."

26 Feb 2011
And if you agree with me, buy this print from dazeychic!

17 Feb 2011

HILARIOUS. I've felt this way one too many times! This is genius.

16 Feb 2011
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
-- Author Unknown

(via CGSociety)

Some thoughts on reading:

1. Another and Another Before That: Some Thoughts on Reading by Carl Phillips
"If it is true that what we read helps shape us, just as true is that our choices in reading are the result of our sensibility—teachers aside, who we are is a major force in shaping a personal canon. "

2. Some Thoughts on Reading by Derek Brown
"Many of us have been through many books. But many of those books have never been through us. That is because we rush through them and never take time to write down our thoughts, to make notes, and to make the book our own."

3. What Do You Love Most About Reading?
"For me reading is a way to escape...Sometimes I just want to think about someone other than myself and books allow me this power."

4. Nancy Pearl's Revised 'Rule of 50'
"On the spur of the moment, with no particular psychological or literary theory in mind to justify it, I developed my Rule of 50: Give a book 50 pages. When you get to the bottom of Page 50, ask yourself if you're really liking the book. If you are, of course, then great, keep on reading. But if you're not, then put it down and look for another..."

5. Rural Teens on the Role of Reading in Their Lives
"Well, reading before was transferring information from a page to your brain and holding it there. Now I think reading is more about the feeling. It’s more about...being involved in the reading and not just reading it for a book. You’re reading it and you want to be involved and you know you’re getting your imagination going and you’re reading because you like to and you’re reading because you enjoy it. "