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Favorite Books of the Year... Everywhere

"What are your favorite books from 2012?" Tis the season when this question starts firing up libraryland and produces massive amounts of list serv posts with you-absolutely-have-to-read-this-book
recommendations. This topic is also an easy way for business, science and other non-library type of publications and websites to reach out to readers. (I find that many of the books that top these lists are more obscure titles that are not on the best seller lists, but that's whole other post.)

Have you ever contributed to one of these lists? Do you use any of these lists for your own personal reading recommendations? If so, which ones?

Children and E-Books

A couple of months ago I offered to give a talk on Children and e-books. Who is reading them, what they are reading them on, where the books come from, etc.
A lot has been written on adults and ebooks, a bit less on teens and ebooks and next to nothing on kids and ebooks except for the pieces on pre-schoolers and iPads.
Clearly, the organizers of the conference thought that there wasn't enough discussion on this topic and agreed to have me speak. But it turns out to be a Catch-22. What do I speak on, if there isn't enough information out there?

One solution I have come up with is to create a short survey. This survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/kidsebooks

The one that I hope anyone reading this, will take. I made it general so that anyone with any experience of kids and ebooks can answer the questions.
My audience will thank you.

Cites & Insights 12:12 (December 2012) available

Cites & Insights 12:12 (December 2012) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i12.pdf

The print-oriented PDF is 38 pages long. A single-column 6x9" PDF designed for online reading is also available at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i12on.pdf. That version is 73 pages long. Both versions include bookmarks for all sections and subsections, one reason they're fairly large.

The issue includes the following (also available as HTML separates from the essay titles or at http://citesandinsights.info):
Policy:
The Rapid Rout of RWA (pp. 1-25)

A comedy in four acts over seven weeks, from AAP/PSP's endorsement of HR3699, the Research Works Act, on January 5, 2012, to Elsevier's withdrawal of its support for RWA (which mysteriously caused the near-instantaneous death of the bill, introduced as it had been by wholly independent Congresspeople) on February 7, 2012. It's a story that I believe and hope will resonate with scientists and others...

And it's not directly related to the other essay, but some might see connections:

Libraries:
Walking Away: Courage and Acquisitions (pp. 25-38) -- Read More

World's Fastest Number Game Wows Spectators And Scientists

The Japanese have stumbled upon an extraordinary way to do mental arithmetic very, very fast: Become proficient with an abacus, then discard it and do your calculations using a mental image of one. The results are mind-boggling

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2012/oct/29/mathematics

British Airways Boeing 747-400 in D-Check

British Airways Boeing 747-400 in D-Check

Pocket Neighborhoods

Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World

Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World introduces an antidote to faceless, placeless sprawl — small scale neighborhoods where people can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirt-tail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate.
The book describes inspiring pocket neighborhoods through stories of the people who live there, as well as the progressive planners, innovative architects, pioneering developers, craftspeople and gardeners who helped create them. -- Read More

I Want My MTV

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV's programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business. Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever.

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

FASTER patron-driven acquisitions (PDA): a library model

OUR LIBRARY has pioneered what we believe is the first program of its kind in patron-driven acquisitions.

One of the problems with most library collections is that although they may be extensive, they can never be complete. And when the patron requests books on a topic, for example, "theoretical experimental particle physics," although the library may pride itself on its exhaustive collection, with current on-demand and online publishing it can't ever call its collection complete. So when the patron is given ten current books on "theoretical experimental particle physics," it is still a common occurrence whereby the patron will respond with infantile disappointment.

So the current model of collection development is broken. Libraries can't ever hope to meet every need. We buy and buy, but it's never enough for some people. So our library has adopted a new model that reduces our inability to fulfill our patrons' requests down to nearly zero. If the material exists, we can get it.

Here is a typical PDA transaction at our library:

The patron has expressed a need for some online content and the librarian assesses the system requirements of the content and the system configuration held by the patron to verify a match. When a match is found, for example, an iPad, the librarian will initiate the purchase by locating the item in the app and downloading it to the patron's device.

"Enter your password."

"But..."

"This is how it works. Just do it."

"Okay..."

"Now tap that."

"But.."

"And it's downloading to your iPad. And you can read it right now. Pretty cool, huh."

"But I didn't want to spend *my* money! That book was four *hundred* dollars!"

"But the library already spends your money through the taxes you pay. This is faster."

"You DICK!"

As you can see from the model, the patrons get what they want, when they want it, but the cost to the library has also been reduced to nearly zero. -- Read More

New books in Amazon Top 100

New books in Amazon Top 100
http://nonstopbooks.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-books-in-amazon-top-100.html

Includes links to media pieces that discuss books.

Cites & Insights 12:11 (Fall 2012) available--special added issue

Looks like there will be 12 issues of C&I this year...

An added Fall 2012 issue of Cites & Insights is now available for download at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i11.pdf

The issue is 20 pages long. A single-column 6x9" version intended for online/ereader reading is also available, at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i11on.pdf. The single-column version is 43 pages long (and tables do break across pages in some cases): Please don't use this version for printing!

This issue consists of a single essay (also available in HTML form, if you absolutely hate PDF--but that one prints out as 40 pages, so again please don't use that version for printing):
Libraries
Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four (2012-13): Commentary, Part 2 pp. 1-20

This essay consists entirely of notes about Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four (2012-13): "Libraries by State." It also adds a new table for each state section (except DC and Hawaii), showing libraries in each size category.

I'm doing this added issue because one fairly long and reasonably timely essay is almost done--and should be paired with another shorter and somewhat more timely essay. Since I'd like to publish those some time in November, and since adding those to this 20-page essay would make for an uncomfortably long issue, I'm putting this out now.

Oh, and do go buy the book...these notes aren't nearly as useful without the book.

 

The BlackBerry as Black Sheep

The phone once coveted by the elite and the powerful is becoming an object of ridicule as Androids and iPhones corner the smartphone market.

http://goo.gl/WeyJG

Joe Kittinger

What was done 50 years ago: Come Up and Get Me: An Autobiography of Colonel Joe Kittinger

Eric Lomax, River Kwai Prisoner Who Forgave, Dies at 93

Eric Lomax, a former British soldier who was tortured by the Japanese while he was a prisoner during World War II and half a century later forgave one of his tormentors — an experience he recounted in a memoir, “The Railway Man” — died on Monday in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. He was 93. Full article in the NYT.

Book: Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World

Photographer Edward Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing Native American tribes at the end of the 19th century. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.

Full piece on NPR

Dining By Rail

Dining By Rail: The History and Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine

Readers who sigh at the names "Super Chief" and "Zephyr," and who remember the meal Cary Grant ate on the train in North by Northwest , may find this book fulfilling their wildest dreams. In an attempt to "preserve a record of one of the ways we used to eat," rail fan and Penn State professor Porterfield presents a detailed history of train dining. Beginning as an alternative to railroad station eateries, train dining reached its peak in 1930, when 1732 railroad dining cars were registered with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and all but ended in 1971 with telegrams like the May 1 order to Union Pacific to shut its passenger lines and make way for Amtrak. Model railroaders and social historians will find the 150 photographs and illustrations invaluable: a photo spread with dimensions of the pantry of the New York Central's Twentieth Century Limited, a sample 1920s dinner menu from the Milwaukee Railroad's Pioneer Limited, descriptions of staff sleeping quarters. The second half of the book offers 250 recipes from 48 railroad lines, featuring early-20th-century fare like Lobster Newburg New York Central, Poinsettia Salad-Merchant's Limited and Baked Potato Pennsylvania. For authentic American versions of lamb fricassee, deviled eggs and blanc mange presented without campiness or apology, this is the source. -- Read More

When I Was a Child I Read Books

When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays

Washington Post: Marilynne Robinson’s ‘When I Was a Child I Read Books’: Essays on faith, reading

New York Times: Her Calling

Read the Booklist starred review on Amazon. First line of review - There is more food for thought in one of Robinson’s well-turned paragraphs than in entire books.

Cites & Insights 12:10 (November 2012) available

The November 2012 issue of Cites & Insights (12:10) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i10.pdf

The issue is 32 pages long. For those who prefer to read on e-devices, the single-column 60-page 6x9" edition is also available, at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i10on.pdf

The issue includes three essays, each also available as HTML separates from http://citesandinsights.info (or, if you're reading this on or from a blog, via the title headings below):
Libraries
Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four (2012-13): Commentary, Part 1 (pp. 1-22)

Casual commentary on a few of the interesting items in Chapters 2-19 of Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four (2012-13). You may have seem slightly different versions of some of this commentary on Walt at Random; that will continue for some time to come...

The CD-ROM Project (pp. 22-24)

Seeing whether six first-rate Dorling-Kindersley explorational CD-ROM titles will work in a current operating environment. I wish I had good news here...

The Back (pp. 24-32)

Hi-fi fun and other nonsense: Seventeen little rants. See if you can spot which one was added at the last minute for copyfitting reasons...

 

 

The Poetry Home Repair Manual

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets—aspiring or practicing—can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry’s ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.

Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend—a friend who is willing to share everything he’s learned about the art he’s spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

Note: Kooser was U. S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

iWoz and Libraries

I'm currently reading "iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon". It is a lively and fascinating read, and plenty of Steve Wozniak's comments are worth repeating, but this one about the that he and the other Steve:) spent at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) Library is superb, especially to a hang-out at libraries geek such as myself. Reminds me of spending some time at Mizzou's Engineering Library. :)

...It had a great technical library, just tremendous. It had the kind of technical books and computer books and magazines you wouldn't encounter in normal libraries (emphasis added) or any other place I knew. If there were any place that had a phone manual that listed tone frequencies -- the manual the phone company was trying to pull out of circulation -- this would be it.

(p.98)

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