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I read 164 books in 2015 and tracked them all in a spreadsheet. Here's what I learned.

At the end of every book I loved, I felt transformed. I wanted to tell everyone about it, if not read it again right away. The other books, the ones I didn't care about, I read because I thought they would make me better in some way — more well-read, perhaps, or even more interesting. But reading books I wasn't invested in just made me bored and disengaged; I would have been better off doing something else.

I became a librarian because talking about books is one of the only things I like as much as reading them

From I read 164 books in 2015 and tracked them all in a spreadsheet. Here's what I learned. - Vox

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The value of books is not restricted to price

The best way to pass along books for future generations to value is give them today. They do this better in Iceland than anywhere. An online article by Giulia Trentacosti described Iceland’s Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas book flood,” festival. The majority of Iceland’s books are published around Christmastime when it’s traditional to exchange new and used books. The flood comes from the fact Iceland is so literate. 

“With around 330,000 inhabitants, Iceland is certainly one of the smallest book markets in the world. Nevertheless, it boasts one of the highest rates of books per capita.” They also each read an average of eight books annually, and “an impressive 98 percent read at least one.” Giving and reading books in a national pastime.

From The value of books is not restricted to price | At The Library Column | newsminer.com

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Adult Coloring Books Test Grown-Ups’ Ability to Stay Inside the Lines

Eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon currently are coloring books designed for adults. These books tend to be much more finely detailed than those for children. Popular topics include animals, fish, flowers and mandala spiritual symbols.

Michael O’Mara Books Ltd., a British publisher, says it got the ball rolling. “A staffer said how embarrassed she was to see her mother coloring and getting enormous enjoyment,” says Michael O’Mara, founder and chairman. “We thought, ‘Why not have a stab producing a coloring book aimed at adults?’ ”

From Adult Coloring Books Test Grown-Ups’ Ability to Stay Inside the Lines - WSJ

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Most popular books in New York's libraries in 2015

Jodi Picoult's "Leaving Time" (left) was the most-checked-out book of 2015, while Harper Lee's highly anticipated "Go Set A Watchman" ranked third.
The entire Top 10 can be found below:

1. “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult

2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

From SEE IT: Most popular books in New York's libraries in 2015 - NY Daily News

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Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time

With hundreds of thousands of books published every year, the choice of what to stock can prove bewildering for booksellers. The owner of one small bookshop in Tokyo has taken an unusual approach to the problem: Morioka Shoten, located in the luxury shopping district of Ginza, offers just one title to its customers.

From Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time | Books | The Guardian

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German machine vends books in exchange for unwanted presents

German trade publisher Bastei Lübbe and book retailer Hugendubel have come up with an unusual idea to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents.

The companies have invented a vending machine (pictured below) where consumers can dump a present and exchange it at the touch of a button for a book.

From German machine vends books in exchange for unwanted presents | The Bookseller

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Computers Get Busy for National Novel-Generating Month

Last month nearly 200 entries turned up in a strange event on GitHub challenging programmers to write computer code that can generate 50,000-word novels. “The only rule is that you share at least one novel and also your source code at the end,” posted the event’s organizer, Darius Kazemi, who’s been staging “National Novel-Generating Month” every November since 2013.

From Computers Get Busy for National Novel-Generating Month - The New Stack

The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve

Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.

From The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve : TreeHugger

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Where the Wild Books Are

This raises an interesting question: When one person finds a rare book, is their gain always at the expense of somebody else? “That can be true,” Barry says, “but among the booksellers I work with, especially those that belong to organizations like the ABAA or the ILAB, there’s an ethical obligation not to swindle each other or people who don’t know any better, like little old ladies selling their husband’s things. Personally, if I were to go to a garage sale and thought I had found a $5,000 book on sale for a dollar, I would feel conflicted. In most cases, though, the more common example is that you see a book you feel like you’ve seen before and decide to take a chance on it. It’s only after you get it home and do your research that you know if you’ve hit the jackpot—or overpaid.”

From Where the Wild Books Are | Collectors Weekly

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Against all odds, print books are on the rise again in the US

While it’d be a stretch to say that the physical book is thriving, it’s at least staying strong. The same can’t be said of the e-book, which is seeing a decline in popularity. A Pew Research Center study in October found that fewer Americans are buying and using e-reading devices like Kindles and Nooks than they did in past years.
Assuming these trends continue, 2016 might just be the year that the physical book makes—fingers crossed—a real comeback.

From Against all odds, print books are on the rise again in the US - Quartz

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The Best Book Covers of 2015 - The New York Times

Books and their covers are confronting their own awkward questions of relevance and value in the escalating competition for attention against screens the size of Jumbotrons (or, conversely, wristwatches). To see publishers answer this concern with the craft, sophistication and pictorial wit that go into an increasing number of book covers each year reinforces the certainty that one of our oldest technologies remains one of our most perfect. Below are 12 covers from 2015 that made me stop, stare and ask aloud to no one in particular what the cover means, only to turn to the first page and then the following and then the one after that and onward.

From The Best Book Covers of 2015 - The New York Times

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Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen?

Whether you chalk it up to typographical error, long-obsolete custom or authorial intention, the hunt for the true story behind Moby-Dick’s hyphen continues. These days, most scholars simply refer to the book with a hyphen and the whale without.

From Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen? | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Old Book Illustrations

Old Book Illustrations was born of the desire to share illustrations from a modest collection of books, which we set out to scan and publish. With the wealth of resources available online, it became increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to explore other collections and include these images along with our own. Although it would have been possible to considerably broaden the time-frame of our pursuit, we chose to keep our focus on the original period in which we started for reasons pertaining to taste, consistency, and practicality: due to obvious legal restrictions, we had to stay within the limits of the public domain. This explains why there won’t be on this site illustrations published prior to the 18th century or later than the first quarter of the 20th century.

From About | Old Book Illustrations

Lolita Turns 60

Though Vladimir Nabokov was living in America when he wrote Lolita, the novel was first published in Paris in 1955—by Olympia Press, whose list included many pornographic titles. On the sixtieth anniversary of Lolita’s first publication, we asked ten writers to reflect on their changing experiences with the novel in the course of their reading lives. Each day for five days, we are posting two reflections, each revisiting a section of pages from the book—we are using Vintage’s 2005 edition, a complete, unexpurgated text. 

From Lolita Turns 60 | New Republic

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Why 18th century books looked like smartphone screens

The point being, of course, that the ergonomics of smartphones as reading devices are not only kind of rad, but historically so.

These small formats from days of yore also help explain the stupendous productivity of many historic authors. I’ll often be reading about a nonfiction essayist from the 17th or 18th or 19th century and the bio will mention he or she wrote 56 books or some other ungodly number, and I’ll freak out: Man alive! How can anyone generate so much?

From collision detection: Why 18th century books looked like smartphone screens

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80 Books No Woman Should Read

The list made me think there should be another, with some of the same books, called 80 Books No Woman Should Read, though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means. Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.

From 80 Books No Woman Should Read ‹ Literary Hub

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The big question: are books getting longer?

For Finlayson, much of this shift can be explained by the industry’s shift towards digital. “When you pick up a large book in a shop,” he says, “you can sometimes be intimidated, whereas on Amazon the size of a book is just a footnote that you don’t really pay all that much attention to.” The rise of digital reading is also a factor, he adds. “I always hold off buying really big books until I’m going on holiday, because I don’t want to lug them around in my bag. But if you have a big book on a Kindle, that’s not a consideration.”

From The big question: are books getting longer? | Books | The Guardian

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Faber boss says future of book publishing is mobile

The chief executive of publisher Faber & Faber has challenged the book publishing industry to respond to the rapid increase in smartphone use, particularly by young readers.

“Perhaps in the 21st century the zero-law of publishing will be understand mobile. Because without expert understanding of it, we may not be able to create the new audiences,” said Stephen Page, speaking at the FutureBook publishing industry conference in London.

From Faber boss says future of book publishing is mobile | Technology | The Guardian

Class of 2016: Works Entering The Public Domain

Pictured above is our top pick of those whose works will, on 1st January 2016, be entering the public domain in many countries around the world. Of the eleven featured, five will be entering the public domain in countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.) and six in countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Africa) — those that died in the year 1945 and 1965 respectively. As always it’s a sundry and diverse rabble who’ve assembled for our graduation photo – including two of the 20th century’s most important political leaders, one of Modernism’s greatest poets, two very influential but very different musicians, and one of the most revered architects of recent times.

Below is a little bit more about each of their lives (with each name linking through to their respective Wikipedia pages, from which each text has been based).

From Class of 2016 | The Public Domain Review

Russia in marathon reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace on web

Russian film stars, a cosmonaut and French actress Fanny Ardant are among 1,300 people reading Leo Tolstoy's epic War and Peace live on the internet - a 60-hour marathon spread over four days.

From Russia in marathon reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace on web - BBC News

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