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From the archives of "This American Life" -- Listen to full show
Stories of people who believe a book changed their life. It's a romantic notion, and one reason we believe it is because we want to believe our lives can be changed by something so simple as an idea — or a set of ideas contained in a book.
When Alexa was seven, she started going through her grandfather's books. Her grandfather was a playwright and teacher, and through the books—and especially through his notes in the margins—she entered the world of 1930's American theater. And she found a book that changed her life: writer Moss Hart's autobiography Act One. (5 minutes)
ACT ONE. ACT ONE.
More of Alexa Junge and how Moss Hart's autobiography changed her life. She followed his path, learned specific lessons, and had a vision of him that was absolutely clear—until she met his widow. (10 minutes)
ACT TWO. THE FAMILY THAT READS TOGETHER.
The story of a book that changed a family's life, but only temporarily and not for the better. David Sedaris describes what happens when he finds a dirty book in the woods and shares it with his sisters. This story is published in Sedaris' book Naked. (9 minutes)
ACT THREE. ROGER AND ME, LEWIS AND CLARK.
Reporter Jeremy Goldstein tells the story of a man who had many books change his life, even though he'd never read them. (14 minutes) Available: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, containing excerpts from the explorers' journals. -- Read More
Excerpt: Obviously the iPad does a lot more than reading, but this post is designed to give avid readers an idea of whether a Nook will be enough for them, or an iPad will be worth the extra money. And the short answer is: the Nook will be enough. It’s a close fight, but the iPad simply doesn’t seem...
Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel is $1.99 as a Kindle ebook today.
Teleportation, time machines, force fields, and interstellar space ships—the stuff of science fiction or potentially attainable future technologies? Inspired by the fantastic worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku takes an informed, serious, and often surprising look at what our current understanding of the universe's physical laws may permit in the near and distant future.Entertaining, informative, and imaginative, Physics of the Impossible probes the very limits of human ingenuity and scientific possibility.
The author is Michio Kaku. The Wikipedia entry for the author is here.
The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems is on sale for 1 day for $2.99 on Amazon.
Book is published by Harvard Business Press
Think of the toughest problems in your organization or community. What if they'd already been solved and you didn't even know it?
In The Power of Positive Deviance, the authors present a counterintuitive new approach to problem-solving. Their advice? Leverage positive deviants--the few individuals in a group who find unique ways to look at, and overcome, seemingly insoluble difficulties. By seeing solutions where others don't, positive deviants spread and sustain needed change.
With vivid, firsthand stories of how positive deviance has alleviated some of the world's toughest problems (malnutrition in Vietnam, staph infections in hospitals), the authors illuminate its core practices, including:
· Mobilizing communities to discover "invisible" solutions in their midst
· Using innovative designs to "act" your way into a new way of thinking instead of thinking your way into a new way of acting
· Confounding the organizational "immune response" seeking to sustain the status quo
Each day Amazon is making several Kindle books $2.99. The next day the books are set back to their regular price.
Some of the books for today are:
1) A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability
2) Always On : Language in an Online and Mobile World
3) The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
4) Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel
5) Exploring Space 1999: An Episode Guide and Complete History of the Mid-1970s Science Fiction Television Series
6) Gothic Kings of Britain: The Lives of 31 Medieval Rulers, 1016-1399
7) Handmade Hellos:Fresh Greeting Card Projects from First-Rate Crafters
8) Honeybee Democracy
9) Mr. Darcy's Obsession
10) Sunday Soup
11) The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
12) The Last Thing I Remember
13) The Monster Hunter in Modern Popular Culture
14) The Wishing Box -- Read More
The story goes back 35 years. In the 1980s, I had a gruesome copy-editing job at E. P. Dutton, the American publishers of the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books. One of my colleagues was a crusty septuagenarian named Elliot Graham, whose title was director of publicity emeritus. Elliot was the shepherd of the original Pooh stuffed animals — Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Piglet and Eeyore — which were kept in a glass case in the Dutton lobby on 2 Park Avenue.
Oxford History of the United States
In 2007, C. Martin Gaskell, an astronomer at the University of Nebraska, was a leading candidate for a job running an observatory at the University of Kentucky. But then somebody did what one does nowadays: an Internet search.
That search turned up evidence of Dr. Gaskell’s evangelical Christian faith.
The University of Kentucky hired someone else. And Dr. Gaskell sued the institution.
Whether his faith cost him the job and whether certain religious beliefs may legally render people unfit for certain jobs are among the questions raised by the case, Gaskell v. University of Kentucky.
A new app that lets frustrated drivers vent their anger at boneheaded motorists already has branded your bumper with a “How’s My Driving” sticker, and it could raise your insurance premium. It’s like having thousands of unmarked police cars and speed cameras on every roadway, and it could spell the end of anonymity behind the wheel.
DriveMeCrazy, developed by Shazam co-founder Philip Inghelbrecht, is a voice-activated app that encourages drivers to report bad behavior by reciting the offender’s license plate into a smartphone. The poor sap gets “flagged” and receives a virtual “ticket,” which may not sound like much until you realize all the information — along with date, time and location of the “offense” — is sent to the DMV and insurance companies.
Search is among the most disruptive innovations of our time. It influences what we buy and where we go. It shapes how we learn and what we believe. In this provocative and inspiring book, you'll explore design patterns that apply across the categories of web, ecommerce, enterprise, desktop, mobile, social, and real-time search and discovery. Filled with colorful illustrations and examples, Search Patterns brings modern information retrieval to life, covering such diverse topics as relevance, faceted navigation, multi-touch, personalization, visualization, multi-sensory search, and augmented reality.
By drawing on their own experience-as well as best practices and evidence-based research-the authors not only offer a practical guide to help you build effective search applications, they also challenge you to imagine the future of discovery. You'll find Search Patterns intriguing and invaluable, whether you're a web practitioner, mobile designer, search entrepreneur, or just interested in the topic.
Amazon says it has sold millions of Kindles, beat out all of 2009 sales in just last 73 days
Message from Amazon Kindle Team:
Thanks to you, in just the first 73 days of this holiday quarter, we’ve already sold millions of our all-new Kindles with the latest E Ink Pearl display. In fact, in the last 73 days, readers have purchased more Kindles than we sold during all of 2009. We’re grateful for and energized by the overwhelming customer response.
The strange but inevitable rise of e-reader pornography.
As I write this, the most downloaded item for Amazon's Kindle is a novel by Jenna Bayley-Burke called Compromising Positions. Here is part of the plot description: "David Strong knows how to do a lot of things—run an international fitness company, finesse stock portfolios and stay out of emotional entanglements. That is, until he gets tangled up with Sophie Delfino and her Sensational Sex workout. He's supposed to help her demonstrate Kama Sutra positions for her couples-yoga class. … And his co-instructor unexpectedly tests his control to the limit." If that nudge and wink aren't clear enough, this is attached: "Warning: This is one exercise program you won't need to consult your doctor before beginning—unless he's hot and available for house calls. The Kama Sutra isn't for the prudish or faint of heart, and neither is this story."
A great photo of a Boston area book store that made it's rounds on Boing Boing yesterday!
It's that time of year again! Susan Stamberg chats with three independent booksellers about their favorite reads of the year, from an atlas of remote islands to a children's book about feminist heroes.
The pundits have been out in full force this year, as ebooks finally hit the mainstream. But amidst all the hot air about pricing and contracts and DRM and i-Whatevers, a lot of ink was shed on some red herrings—issues which, on the surface, seem very important but in my opinion are mere diversions from the real story of the future of the ebook world. What are my top five red herrings, and why do I think they are not the stumbling points the pundits make them up to be? Keep reading to find out!
Reading is a revolutionary act, an act of engagement in a culture that wants us to disengage. In The Lost Art of Reading, David L. Ulin asks a number of timely questions — why is literature important? What does it offer, especially now? Blending commentary with memoir, Ulin addresses the importance of the simple act of reading in an increasingly digital culture. Reading a book, flipping through hard pages, or shuffling them on screen — it doesn’t matter. The key is the act of reading, the seriousness and depth. Ulin emphasizes the importance of reflection and pause allowed by stopping to read a book, and the focus required to let the mind run free in a world that is not one's own. Far from preaching to the choir, The Lost Art of Reading is a call to arms, or rather, pages.
The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals in this work of great historical merit, the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe.
The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic, and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his state-of-the-art and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society. -- Read More
A new computer-generated process is giving scholars a prism into Victorian thought.
Victorians were enamored of the new science of statistics, so it seems fitting that these pioneering data hounds are now the subject of an unusual experiment in statistical analysis. The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century — 1,681,161, to be exact — are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
Article in the Travel section of the NYT
ON a balmy fall evening in the Mission District of San Francisco, hundreds of people spilled onto Valencia Street, where they chatted happily for a few minutes before pouring back into bookstores, cafes and theaters. It was a giddy, animated crowd, but most of all bookish — a collection of fans and believers, here to listen to the written word.