Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
I started borrowing books from a roving Quaker City bookmobile when I was 7 years old. Things quickly got out of hand. Before I knew it I was borrowing every book about the Romans, every book about the Apaches, every book about the spindly third-string quarterback who comes off the bench in the fourth quarter to bail out his team. I had no way of knowing it at the time, but what started out as a harmless juvenile pastime soon turned into a lifelong personality disorder.
Fifty-five years later, with at least 6,128 books under my belt, I still organize my daily life—such as it is—around reading. As a result, decades go by without my windows getting washed.
My reading habits sometimes get a bit loopy. I often read dozens of books simultaneously. I start a book in 1978 and finish it 34 years later, without enjoying a single minute of the enterprise. I absolutely refuse to read books that critics describe as “luminous” or “incandescent.” I never read books in which the hero went to private school or roots for the New York Yankees. I once spent a year reading nothing but short books. I spent another year vowing to read nothing but books I picked off the library shelves with my eyes closed. The results were not pretty.
Terry Pratchett plans to hand over the Discworld series to his daughter Rhianna, he reveals in this week’s New Statesman.
In an interview with Laurie Penny – who has returned to the NS as a contributing editor – the author, campaigner and “professional morbid bastard” talks about his life and work. They discuss his diagnosis with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s, in 2007. Since then, his health has declined markedly:
He has lost the ability to use a keyboard altogether and can do very little with a pen. His most recent four books have been written entirely by dictation, and with the help of his assistant of 12 years, Rob Wilkins.
There have been enough essays on the death of book reading, but have there been enough words devoted to discussing the decline of book reviewing? In the last decade or so—yes, indeed, as we’ve all wrestled with how the internet influences everything we do, including reading, writing, and writing about books (Tolstoy LOL tl;dr). But while the words “book-review” made its first print appearance as a headline in 1861 to just that—a review of a book titled How to Talk: A Pocket of Speaking, Conversation, and Debating (verdict: “The present work has the additional recommendation of an unmistakably useful subject, which is lucidly treated”)—the practice of criticizing the critics has always been with us. Most often, dissatisfaction with the state of book reviewing has come not from the readers who are the reviewers’ intended audience, but from writers who have felt their work mishandled, unjustly ignored, or cruelly misunderstood.
Launched in 1665, the Parisian Journal des Sçavans (“sçavans,” a word related to “savant,” and denominating a version of the French “scholar”) was the first publication devoted entirely to the task of criticism. Its aim was “to give readers (and scholars) a universal account of the state of learning,” with reviews “conceived of as installments of a continuous encyclopaedia to be carried on until the end of time.” The vision here was broad and expansive. In its pursuit of compiling scientific knowledge, Journal des Sçavans focused on objectivity; the reviews largely aimed to document findings, discoveries, and inventions in the world of biology and technology.
Really, these are awesome. A guy takes a load of old books, and carves things out of them. They are remarkable.
As a human being with eyes and ears and so on, chances are you’re a fan of Bill Murray. After all, what’s not to like? He’s charming, he’s funny, he looks good sliding about on plastic sheets – he’s the whole package.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that publishers Belly Kids have announced a new Bill Murray colouring book for all you Bill Murray fans out there who enjoy not going over the lines.
But before you go pre-ordering a dozen for your younger relations, know this: there are swear words hidden in certain images.
Part of a novel lost when a blind woman’s pen ran out without her knowing has been salvaged with the help of a forensic police team in Dorset.Trish Vickers, from Charmouth, had written 26 pages of her first novel.But when she asked her son to read it back to her there was nothing but blank pages.They called staff in the fingerprint bureau who volunteered their time and revealed the missing words by shining a crime light on the indentations.Staff used the tool’s bright light on the pages as it enhanced the shadows left by the pen strokes.Kerry Savage, from Dorset Police, said: “Fortunately apart from one line we managed to retrieve the whole lot.
When The New York Times reports on the recent trend of parents self-publishing the books their kids write, they present both sides of the argument. Well, kind of. You’ve gotta love the way they rain all over the parade of Ben Heckmann, an eighth grader who was profiled by his local news.
As the camera rolled, Ben described how “the first time I held my own book, it was just this amazing feeling.” Then he shared a lesson for other young people, saying, “You can basically do anything if you put your mind to it.”
But his two “Velvet Black” books, detailing and depicting the antics of a fictional rock band, were not plucked from a pile of manuscripts by an eagle-eyed publisher. They were self-published, at a cost to Ben’s parents of $400 — money they have more than made up by selling 700 copies.
To mark World Book Day on March 1, we look at some of the world’s most valuable titles. In a list of the most expensive books sold at auction, The Economist put John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) at number one. It sold for $10.3m in 2010.
Science fiction is a flexible genre when it comes to building a story line, and many writers and filmmakers over the years have used it to craft stories with environmental themes, some by setting their stories in overly polluted dystopian worlds, others imagining a world in which humans have engineered themselves into one form of trouble or another.
Whatever the angle, it’s always fun to see the environment play a part in a good sci-fi flick. I’ve scoured my personal movie collection, Netflix and IMDb to pull together a list of seven great movies with environmental themes that are definitely fiction, but they seem plausible.