When combining libraries and bookstores with cafes became a trend in big cities several years ago, many were optimistic the craze would instill a passion for reading in the country. "More and more people, especially youngsters, go to book cafes for social reasons instead of intellectual ones. They want to be recognized as sociable and intelligent," said Ninis Agustini, a lecturer from the School of Library and Information Science at Padjadjaran University, Bandung, West Java.
Here's the argument: contemporary mainstream fiction is very different from the storytelling of the deep past because of a demand side shift. Women consume most fiction today, and their tastes differ, on average, from those of men. How do they differ? To be short about it men are into plot, while women are into character. This means that modern literary fiction emphasizes psychological complexity, subtly and finesse.
The 19th and early 20th centuries saw an outpouring of illuminating English-language books about China by Western travelers. Most tales have been forgotten. Now many are back in print, writes Yao Minji.
A republished series of old English-language books about China gives readers a window on how Chinese and foreigners got on in earlier days, especially during the mid- to late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most are by Westerners, a few by Chinese.
I think that we all agree that, 9.9 times out of 10, whenever someone makes a movie based on a book, the book is better.
Entertainment Weekly has a decent list of the 23 most disappointing book to movie adaptations. Included are some real gems like The Golden Compass and (shudder) A Sound of Thunder. Whether you agree the movie was good or bad, I think most all of us will agree that the book was most definitely better.
On Fresh Air an interview with the author of "Final Salute".
Never leave a Marine behind. The tradition began in 1775, and continues today via officers like Marine Colonel Steve Beck, whose job it is to notify the families of the loss of a loved one in Iraq.
Beck's mission, called "casualty notification," is one for which he received no training. It begins with a knock at the door, and continues through the funeral and beyond. It involves standing watch over the caskets of the fallen, comforting those left behind and, at times, choking down his own tears.
In Monday's Shelf Awareness, we were offered several options for this unfortunate but frequent predicament via the San Francisco Chronicle: "Commit your passport number to memory . . . Try to figure out what all the fuss is about Sudoku. . . . Concoct an elaborate revenge fantasy about the guy two rows ahead of you . . . the Skymall catalog, of course. . . .