Book Reviews

Booklamp's Algorithms Pick Reads For You

There have been previous stories on LISNEWS about Booklamp but I think it is useful to know when these services have stories about them in the popular media because patrons will start to mention the service.

Story on NPR: The creator of a new Website says its database can predict books you'll enjoy reading. Just type in your favorite and the site's algorithms will scan for others with a similar level of action, amount of description, dialog, tense and perspective.

Full Story here: Booklamp's Algorithms Pick Reads For You

NPR.org Expands Book Coverage

National Public Radio has expanded the book coverage on its website, adding weekly book reviews, and has hired six new book reviewers—including a graphic novel reviewer—and added more features to an already existing lineup of author podcasts, critics' lists and other book-focused content. Among the new slate of reviewers joining NPR.org are Jessa Crispin, founder of the literary blog Bookslut.com; John Freeman, book critic and a former president of the National Book Critics Circle; and Laurel Maury, freelance comics and graphic novel reviewer and a longtime contributor to PW Comics Week.

“We’re building up our book coverage because book content really works for our audience,” NPR senior supervising producer Joe Matazzoni explained.

Full story at Publisher's Weekly

What children say about children's books

Ask an adult what makes a children's book appealing, and she might talk about the colorful artwork, the clever storytelling or the lessons imparted.

Ask a child what makes a children's book appealing, and she might say, "It is weird and happy!"

Obviously, children and adults have different ideas about what makes a good children's book.

ALA President Offers Reading Suggestions for Gay Pride Month

June is when many gay and lesbian Americans celebrate their sexuality. In recognition of Gay Pride Month, Loriene Roy, President of the American Library Association tells listeners about books that highlight the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender experience. Read &/or Listen at NPR.

This hour, On Point: Great summer reads, '08.

Every book lover knows the thrill. A hot summer day. A porch swing, a hammock, a long curve in the beach -- and a great, transporting read. Maybe it's lords and ladies that first took you there. Or Spanish romance. High plains gunfire. Down and dirty spies. High-blown history. Distant lands.

On Point Radio [MP3] is asking top book mavens for their recommendations this summer. They've got a white tiger, and fear and yoga in New Jersey. Black flies, a black dove, Gandhi, Churchill, and 1434.

Playing the Odds

In the New York Times:
Book review of THE DRUNKARD’S WALK
How Randomness Rules Our Lives.

State lotteries, it’s sometimes said, are a tax on people who don’t understand mathematics. But there is no cause for anyone to feel smug. The brain, no matter how well schooled, is just plain bad at dealing with randomness and probability. Confronted with situations that require an intuitive grasp of the odds, even the best mathematicians and scientists can find themselves floundering.

Suppose you want to calculate the likelihood of tossing two coins and coming up with one head. The great 18th-century mathematician Jean Le Rond d’Alembert thought the answer was obvious: there are three possibilities, zero, one or two heads. So the odds for any one of those happening must be one in three.

Read full review here.

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The Times (UK) Reviews "Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian"

Caroline White Likes It: "These are not the shiny, happy Californians who people our cinema screens and magazines, but they are funny, illuminating and give Douglas's recollections a rawness with which the airbrushed memories of society's winners cannot compete."

The Future of History

Anne Applebaum's review of Nichoson Baker's book about World War II offers some good food for thought about the state of historical "research" in today's world and where we seem to be headed. Here is just one snippet.

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Completely Wrong

The following book review was posted by mdoneil is his blog. Because of all the controversy of the original post that got him to buy this book I figured I would move this over to a story.

mddoneil said in his blog:
I remarked earlier that I thought Prioleau Alexander's book, You Want Fries With That? would suck. I could not have been more wrong.

I got it from my local independent bookshop a couple of weeks ago, but I had not had time to read it. I took it with me to read on the plane last week. It was a scream. I called a friend from the airport to read part of the prologue -the dialogue between a RWM (me) and a South American father of 3. It was hilarious and yet absolutely correct.

Read complete blog post here.

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THE RETURN OF HISTORY AND THE END OF DREAMS

Book Review in the NYT of:
THE RETURN OF HISTORY AND THE END OF DREAMS

When Bill Clinton was in the twilight months of his presidency, he made a compelling case that by integrating China into the world economy we would gradually undercut the viability of its authoritarian government. It was only a matter of time, he told an audience of American and Chinese students in March 2000, before a Net-savvy, rising middle class would begin to demand its rights, because “when individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realize their dreams, they will demand a greater say.”

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