Book Reviews

When Gay People Get Married

In order to find out the impact of same-sex marriage, M. V. Lee Badgett traveled to a land where it has been legal for same-sex couples to marry since 2001: the Netherlands. Badgett interviews gay couples to find out how this step has affected their lives. We learn about the often surprising changes to their relationships, the reactions of their families, and work colleagues. Moreover, Badgett is interested in the ways that the institution itself has been altered for the larger society. How has the concept of marriage changed? When Gay People Get Married gives readers a primer on the current state of the same-sex marriage debate, and a new way of framing the issue that provides valuable new insights into the political, social, and personal stakes involved.

Review here.

Remember Shorthand?

NY Times: Shorthand wasn’t always just for secretaries and court reporters, Leah Price writes in her essay on the history of shorthand in the London Review of Books.

Before the 1870s, it was used more for writing down one’s own thoughts or discretely noting the conversation of others. Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens used it, as did legions of “spirit-rappers, teetotalers, vegetarians, pacifists, anti-vivisectionists, anti-tobacconists,” and other members of a “counter-culture of early adapters” who generated something of a shorthand craze in mid-19th-century Britain. Isaac Pitman, creator of the wildly successful “Stenographic Soundhand” method still used today, made arguments that don’t sound so different from the tweeting techno-evangelists of our age. When people correspond by shorthand, he declared “friendships grow six times as fast as under the withering blighting influence of the moon of longhand.”

I remember my mother with her spiral top notebook and two columns of lines writing down what seemed to me to be completely indistinguishable marks. Anyone out there know shorthand? Is it of any value today?

Book Club on Twitter...Tweet It, Just Tweet It

From Shelf Awareness and The Book Studio: NOTE - NEW DATE & NEW INFO. FOR BOOKCLUB(see below)...

For readers intrigued by the challenge of a book discussion in 140 characters or less, the Twitter Book Club has chosen Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge for its next meeting, August 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm Eastern Time. Grab your copy of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction, a glass or mug of your favorite beverage, and join us. Olive Kitteridge was the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.

We're thrilled to announce that Elizabeth Strout, the author of Olive Kitteridge, will be participating in the discussion as well!

Questions? Post a comment below, ask on Twitter (@thebookmaven or @booksquare), or even use good old email: bethanne at thebookstudio dotcom.

The online book club meets live on Twitter on the second and third Monday of every month and is co-hosted by the Book Studio's Bethanne Patrick and and Kassia Krozser of Booksquare.

Theater review: Book mystery sends librarian on quest

Barrington Stage Company’s Stage 2 is doing what it does best: It is presenting “Underneath the Lintel,” a creative, quirky, clever play written by Glen Berger.


Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians

Lunch Lady and the League of LibrariransLunch Lady arrived this week and our young Jarrett fans were on these books "like cheese on macaroni". Today Lucy (10) and Bayla (8) share their thoughts on the first two books in this zany graphic novel series.


New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Sory

New Year at the Pier (A Rosh Hashanah Story)
Crisp salt air and sunshine breeze from airy, upbeat illustrations in this chattily shared and poignant reminder of the power of forgiveness.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.


Bits of Destruction...Part Two

More on the current wave of Bernard Lunn.

"Readers will be able to order any book in the universe and have it sent to them in print wherever they want or sent digitally to whatever device they have. Readers have grown accustomed to getting their online content for free, so they will expect to get at least a degraded experience via the regular browser (the "free" in freemium). This will take a while to play out. We live in a world today of bilateral negotiations, so different titles are available for different devices and in different bookstores. But play out it will.

Here is my free review of my free copy of "Free."

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, recently came out with the book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price." So the question of whether books will be free in the future is a natural one to ask. The short answer is, No. If books became free, authors would stop writing, printers would stop printing, and electronics factories would stop churning out e-book readers. In other words, there would be nothing to read... excerpts and promotional stuff.

The kicker: How much does Chris Anderson's "Free" book cost on Amazon? List price: $26.99, discounted to $16.19. Not free.

But Free on Scribd.

This Is Your Country on Drugs

Interesting sounding book just out: This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim (Wiley, $24.95, 0470167394/9780470167397, June 29, 2009).

Book review by Debra Ginsberg from Shelf-Awareness who calls it "a truly compelling and enlightening read."

The "Verdict" on Reviews

Library Journal article:

For decades, Library Journal reviews have concluded by recommending titles for particular types of libraries or collections, with an occasional nod to a type of reader—the generalist, the student, the fan. Phrases like "highly recommended for larger libraries," "recommended for medium-sized and large fiction collections," and "for academic libraries only" have been standard fare at the end of reviews. Librarians know the drill so well that many just skip to that final sentence to get the recommendation and move on. They're looking for the quick yea or nay cum evaluation.

Now, responding to librarians' requests that we frame reviews for their readers rather than for their colleagues only, we're abandoning the wording we've become known for—and sometimes teased about (see below)—along with the guidance for the librarian once considered core to LJ reviews.

Full story here.


BOOK REVIEW: 'Raised by Librarians' will warm your heart

Sheila Dembowski: "The children's picture book "The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians" is a wonderful story that makes that very point. Author Carla Morris is a librarian herself and has woven her experiences into an inspirational story about the power of libraries and the positive influence they can have on people."



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