Books

Books

Can Google Help Translate a Classic Novel? (no)

A classic of Argentine literature, Antonio Di Benedetto's Zama is available for the first time in English. The novel, about a provincial magistrate of the Spanish crown named Zama, is a riveting portrait of a mind deteriorating as the 18th century draws to a close. Esther Allen brilliantly translates Di Benedetto's novel, and talks about the six-year process of bringing the book to U.S. readers. No, Google Translate was in no way useful to my translation of the 1956 Argentine novel Zama: let's get that out of the way first thing.
From Can Google Help Translate a Classic Novel?
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The Bloody History of the True Crime Genre

One common thread in Borden literature examines how the police and the courts handled the case. Over the years, writers have explored the investigation and trial to critique both the American justice system and the effects of the press on that system. The coverage of the Fall River murders demonstrates that, even as true crime evolves throughout the centuries, it continuously engages with the culture that surrounds it. Since the early modern murder pamphlet, true crime has asked us to consider how we, as a society, both contribute to and learn from the most shocking acts of our age.
From The Bloody History of the True Crime Genre | JSTOR Daily
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Belgians are hunting books, instead of Pokemon

Inspired by the success of Pokemon Go, a Belgian primary school headmaster has developed an online game for people to search for books instead of cartoon monsters, attracting tens of thousands of players in weeks. While with Pokemon Go, players use a mobile device's GPS and camera to track virtual creatures around town, Aveline Gregoire's version is played through a Facebook group called "Chasseurs de livres" ("Book hunters").
From Belgians are hunting books, instead of Pokemon | Reuters
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Of Dirty Books and Bread

This piece of advice forms the antidote to the abovementioned instruction for cleaning books: conflicting advice across the centuries. Undecided on the issue I will, however, continue to make sure my hands are clean as I continue through manuscripts with recipes, especially the alchemical ones. You never know what may have left that stain in the margin.
From Of Dirty Books and Bread | The Recipes Project
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Committee reviewing books pulled from summer reading list in Chesterfield VA

The decision to pull books from a summer reading list in Chesterfield County after parents complained that they were laden with sexually explicit language and violence has drawn the attention of a state senator and criticism from national free-speech advocacy groups.
From Committee reviewing books pulled from summer reading list in Chesterfield - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Chesterfield County News
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The origins of children’s literature - The British Library

By the end of the 18th century, children’s literature was a flourishing, separate and secure part of the publishing industry in Britain. Perhaps as many as 50 children’s books were being printed each year, mostly in London, but also in regional centres such as Edinburgh, York and Newcastle. By today’s standards, these books can seem pretty dry, and they were often very moralising and pious. But the books were clearly meant to please their readers, whether with entertaining stories and appealing characters, the pleasant tone of the writing, or attractive illustrations and eye-catching page layouts and bindings.
From The origins of children’s literature - The British Library

To Your Brain, Audiobooks Are Not ‘Cheating’

This question — whether or not listening to an audiobook is “cheating” — is one University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham gets fairly often, especially ever since he published a book, in 2015, on the science of reading. (That one was about teaching children to read; he’s got another book out next spring about adults and reading.) He is very tired of this question, and so, recently, he wrote a blog post addressing it. (His opening line: “I’ve been asked this question a lot and I hate it.”) If, he argues, you take the question from the perspective of cognitive psychology — that is, the mental processes involved — there is no real difference between listening to a book and reading it. So, according to that understanding of the question: No, audiobooks are not cheating.
From To Your Brain, Audiobooks Are Not ‘Cheating’ -- Science of Us
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Cloud Atlas 'astonishingly different' in US and UK editions, study finds

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a popular choice for book groups around the world. But it turns out that American readers may be enjoying a rather different experience to those in Britain, after an academic uncovered “astonishing” differences between the US and UK editions of the award-winning novel. Professor Martin Paul Eve of Birkbeck, University of London was writing a paper on Cloud Atlas, working from the UK paperback published by Sceptre, and from a Kindle edition of the novel, when he realised he was unable to find phrases in the ebook that he could distinctly remember from the paperback. He compared the US and UK editions of the book, and realised they were “quite different to one another”.
From Cloud Atlas 'astonishingly different' in US and UK editions, study finds | Books | The Guardian
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How American Girl puberty books shaped a generation of tweens.

Still, the American Girl puberty books have managed to stay relevant for two decades, so I’m hopeful that they will continue to change with the times. And it’s promising to see that the series is taking baby steps toward loosening up its famously conservative brand. After all, for this tween growing up in the late ’90s, these books were a guide through a wilderness of raging hormones and new social pressures. I can only imagine how life-changing they’d have been if they’d taught me how to match my bra strap to my shirt.
From How American Girl puberty books shaped a generation of tweens.
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The End of Books - NY Times Books Section - 1992

Hypertext is truly a new and unique environment. Artists who work there must be read there. And they will probably be judged there as well: criticism, like fiction, is moving off the page and on line, and it is itself susceptible to continuous changes of mind and text. Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.
From The End of Books

Publishers' Dilemma: Judge A Book By Its Data Or Trust The Editor's Gut?

"Data is better than your gut — yes, I have said that," says Dominique Raccah, publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks, a company that's been described as "data driven" — a description she does not dispute. She says sales data has been available for a while but now she has access to a different kind of information.
From Publishers' Dilemma: Judge A Book By Its Data Or Trust The Editor's Gut? : All Tech Considered : NPR

How do authors make money from library books?

But that staple of society is changing. The Los Angeles County Public Library has a lot of physical books, but it’s shifting a lot of its book budget to more of the hybrid model with ebooks and audio."I know I sound like a cheerleader for libraries, and it’s not just because my wife is a librarian. But I really believe that that's one of the staples of our society, is libraries.” So, another question to consider is how authors get compensated for every time people click on a title to check it out from the library and read it on their tablet or phone.
From How do authors make money from library books?

Book Piracy as Peer Preservation

In describing the people, books, and technologies behind one of the largest “shadow” libraries in the world, we find a tension between the dynamics of sharing and preservation. The paper proceeds to contextualize contemporary book piracy historically, challenging accepted theories of peer production. Through a close analysis of one digital library’s system architecture, software and community, we assert that the activities cultivated by its members are closer to that of conservationists of the public libraries movement, with the goal of preserving rather than mass distributing their collected material. Unlike common peer production models emphasis is placed on the expertise of its members as digital preservations, as well as the absorption of digital repositories. Additionally, we highlight issues that arise from their particular form of distributed architecture and community.
From Book Piracy as Peer Preservation : Computational Culture
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Reco thinks books are better when they’re recommended by people you trust | TechCrunch

I still love books, and I still have a fair amount of trouble finding new ones to read that I’ll actually enjoy. Helping with discovery is the idea behind Reco, a new mobile app from Canadian bookseller and retailer Indigo, which provides users with a social network based around books, and people’s love thereof.
From Reco thinks books are better when they’re recommended by people you trust | TechCrunch
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Children's Doodles Found in Margins of Medieval Manuscript

The margins of a medieval manuscript from a convent in Naples, Italy, are decorated with doodles of what are apparently devils, a farm animal and a person that were likely drawn by children, a new study finds.
From Children's Doodles Found in Margins of Medieval Manuscript
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Ulysses and the Lie of Technological Progress

Today is Bloomsday, a folk holiday adopted to celebrate the life and work of the Irish writer James Joyce, in particular his 1922 novel Ulysses. The name derives from the book’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom, one of the Dubliners the book follows through the day of June 16, 1904. First celebrated mere years after the novel’s publication, Bloomsday festivities have been enjoyed for decades. Today, Bloomsday is marked globally in various ways, but especially in Dublin, where it has taken on the character of a citywide festival and as a pilgrimage for aspiring high modernists worldwide.
From Ulysses and the Lie of Technological Progress - The Atlantic
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Fidel Speaks: Literature in Castro’s Cuba

Late in 1959, the photojournalist Lee Lockwood flew to Cuba to witness the end of Batista’s regime. After a long search, he found Fidel Castro, who had only just seized power. The two had an immediate rapport, and in successive trips over the next decade, Lockwood found that Castro granted him unprecedented access to the island; in 1965, he sat for a marathon seven-day interview. First published in 1967, Lockwood’s portrait of Castro stands as arguably the most penetrating document that exists of the man. Lockwood died in 2010; this month, in light of the new course in U.S. relations with Cuba and the paucity of historical context, Taschen is reissuing his interviews in Castro’s Cuba: An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba 1959–1969, including hundreds of photographs, many of them previously unpublished. The excerpt below covers Castro’s opinions on literature, arts, and culture in Cuba.   
From Fidel Speaks: Literature in Castro’s Cuba
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AIGA | 50 Books/50 Covers Competition

“50 Books/50 Covers” has a long history of celebrating design excellence, with selections exemplifying the best current work in book and book cover design as chosen by a distinguished jury of design peers. The annual competition developed from AIGA's “Fifty Books of 1923” exhibition and past selections have been added to the AIGA Design Archives as well as the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum and in Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at the Butler Library. Since 2011, the competition has been managed by Design Observer. “Justified: AIGA Design Competition” represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions and seeks stories that reveal the value design created for the client. For book design, AIGA encourages entry in both competitions. 
From AIGA | 50 Books/50 Covers Competition Here are the 2015 winners: Books and the Covers.
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Library of Congress asks for profound books, gets Dune and The Cat in the Hat

A public poll for the Library of Congress to choose 65 books by US authors that had a profound effect on American life has thrown up some surprises. Herbert’s Dune, a 1965 science-fiction novel adapted into a film starring Sting, Pirsing’s cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and children’s favourite The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss – real name Theodore Geisel – all make the cut. So too does the prolific and popular Stephen King with The Stand. But literary giants such as William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, John Updike and Tom Wolfe do not. The library, the biggest in the world with more than 162m items, does not claim the list is a definitive rank of greatness.
From Library of Congress asks for profound books, gets Dune and The Cat in the Hat | Books | The Guardian

The True Story of Medical Books Bound in Human Skin

Hark is part of the Anthropodermic Book Project, a group of researchers that analyzes books rumored to be bound in human skin. He was first pulled into it when librarians at his own college asked him to investigate whether a book in the school’s collection might fall into that category. Scrawled on the inside cover of Biblioteca Politica, a Spanish political tract dating from the 17th century, was a note indicating that the binding was human in origin. The inscription became a well-known piece of campus lore, turning the title into a nuisance for Juniata’s librarians. They found themselves spending an inordinate amount of time fielding questions from students about the book’s provenance, especially around Halloween.
From The True Story of Medical Books Bound in Human Skin - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

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