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Oxford University Press Celebrates National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week, Oxford University Press is making all of its non-journal products available online for free for the week of April 13th-19th, 2014. This includes the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Handbook series. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

 

The "Community" Weblog

Classic Book Titles with Sarcastic Quotation Marks [SLListicle]
posted by schmod on Apr 3, 2014 - 161 comments

"The neighborhood has all gone t' hell"

Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2014 - 51 comments

Your tax dollars at work

The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Dec 14, 2013 - 15 comments

Your desert island reading list. Now with affiliate links!

Just One Book is a site that asks for the single book you'd recommend to someone. [more inside]
posted by DigDoug on Nov 25, 2013 - 42 comments

The New York Review of Books turns 50

In February 1963, a new publication took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America. The New York Review of Books is now 50. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Oct 21, 2013 - 7 comments

Andrew Wylie on publishing

"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized." Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
posted by escabeche on Oct 7, 2013 - 30 comments

"Publishing is tremendously susceptible to the availability heuristic"

What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 27, 2013 - 62 comments

Bolaño Dia 2013

Sunday, April 28, would have been Roberto Bolaño's 60th birthday. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is holding an event that day, in conjunction with their recent exhibit of Bolaño's archive, to celebrate the life and work of the writer. Or if you're not in Barcelona, the celebration is #DiaBolaño on twitter. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 25, 2013 - 10 comments

"His writing is not about something; it is that something itself."

In theory: the unread and the unreadable - "We measure our lives with unread books – and 'difficult' works can induce the most guilt. How should we view this challenge?"
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 19, 2013 - 18 comments

Rewarding The Poison Pen

The Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner: Camilla Long, for her devastating review of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2013 - 71 comments

The Bookstore Strikes Back

Ann Patchett opened a new independent bookstore in Nashville, despite being told that books are dead.
posted by reenum on Feb 6, 2013 - 93 comments

The shocking news that Goldman Sachs is greedy

"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case."
posted by vidur on Feb 5, 2013 - 47 comments

Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.

Writers No One Reads
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 17, 2012 - 34 comments

Hari Krugman

"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics]
posted by vidur on Dec 9, 2012 - 79 comments

"I often read dozens of books simultaneously."

My 6,128 Favorite Books - "Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 26, 2012 - 150 comments

What Kind of Book Reader Are You?

What kind of book reader are you? More types of book reader.
posted by rollick on Sep 4, 2012 - 63 comments

Books, book bindings, and the death of the book

Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 15, 2012 - 60 comments

50 Shades of #808080

By late May, more than ten million copies of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance series about the sexual exploits of a domineering billionaire and an inexperienced coed, had been sold in the United States, all within six weeks of the books’ publication here. This apparently unprecedented achievement occurred without the benefit of a publicity campaign, formal reviews, or Oprah’s blessing, owing to a reputation established, as one industry analyst put it, “totally through word of mouth.” [Grey Area: How ‘Fifty Shades’ Dominated the Market]
posted by vidur on Jul 30, 2012 - 101 comments

Reading Along the Lines

Underground New York Public Library, a photo tumblr of NYC Subway riders and the books they read.
posted by zamboni on Jun 15, 2012 - 98 comments

This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike’ by Augusten Burroughs

This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike. is Augusten Burroughs' new self-help book (reviews here, here, and here), one which scorns the genre cliches of goal-setting and affirmations in favor of a hard-nosed philosophy of self-honesty based on lessons learned from his own background of abuse, neglect, and rape. In an interview with CNN, he gives snippets of his views on subjects like the harm of people "clinging to a dream which maybe they don't actually have the talent to do", suicide ("it doesn't release you, it adds a new layer of horror") and the quest for thinness ("the brain is magnificent and to focus on your gastrointestinal track is a complete waste"). (previously)
posted by shivohum on May 14, 2012 - 42 comments

"...for the next tour, I’ll either be calm and collected or nervous with a dangerously out-of-control boner."

The Awl: Nine Writers and Publicists Tell All About Readings and Book Tours
posted by zarq on Apr 12, 2012 - 18 comments

All Hallow's Read: because there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books

"This Halloween, give somebody a scary book, to read. That's it. That's the idea. It's going to be a tradition." It's an idea Neil Gaiman came up a year ago. It's called All Hallow's Read, with a website and everything, which has book recommendations of all sorts, plus stickers, bookmarks, cards, and a small story you can print off, as well as a poster contest for next year's event. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 31, 2011 - 22 comments

We are all a bunch of Winnie the Poohs

Jed Perl reviews "Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall"
posted by vidur on Jul 18, 2011 - 67 comments

The End of the Story

Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 20, 2011 - 83 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

Just Write It!

Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
posted by reenum on Apr 14, 2011 - 206 comments

SLRP (R=reddit). PDF Paradise!

"Have any of you ever found a great PDF online?" [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Mar 26, 2011 - 52 comments

A First Time for Everything

Recreating Mills & Boon romance covers, one passionate moment at a time. [more inside]
posted by whimsicalnymph on Mar 15, 2011 - 7 comments

She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness

Should you date an illiterate girl or should you date a girl who reads?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Feb 11, 2011 - 160 comments

iStockPhoto + Photoshop + Books

Cover clones are examples of books using the same cover art or stock photos. See also: Copycat Covers, Reusable Cover Art, and The Dangers of Stock Photography. (via)
posted by blue_beetle on Feb 5, 2011 - 13 comments

Modernist Cuisine in 6 Volumes

Modernist Cuisine, a 2400-page, 6-volume lavishly-illustrated and highly-anticipated $625 list price set (available for pre-order) by authors Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet, expounds a deeply scientific and avant-garde take on cooking techniques and been praised as the most important cookbook of the last 10 years. Its burger recipe. Its kitchen.
posted by shivohum on Feb 4, 2011 - 156 comments

"Bent and juxtaposed in ways that present the tension and dynamics of staged drama."

3D art made from book covers, by Thomas Allen.
posted by crossoverman on Jan 2, 2011 - 15 comments

In praise of reading and fiction

Fiction is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist, renewing and preserving in us the best of what is human. [PDF] [more inside]
posted by Omon Ra on Dec 7, 2010 - 9 comments

Scary Sketches to Glimpse in the Dark

Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the 1990s. But most of the backlash was against not the stories themselves (which were fairly tame), but rather the illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell. His bizarre, grotesque, nightmarish black-and-white inkscapes suffused every page with an eerie, unsettling menace. Sadly, the series has since been re-issued with new illustrations by Brett Helquist, of A Series of Unfortunate Events fame. Luckily for fans of Gammell's dark vision, copies of the old artwork abound online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. Interested in revisiting the stories themselves? Then don't miss the virtual re-enactments of YouTube user MoonRaven09, or the dramatic readings of fellow YouTuber daMeatHook.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 29, 2010 - 48 comments

Dig Senalonga

Twenty-four vintage book covers from Portugal
posted by kenko on Oct 16, 2010 - 11 comments

Confessions of a Used Bookseller

Have you seen people at library book sales going over all the books with a barcode scanner? One of these folks reveals his methods and discusses his feelings about what he does.
posted by reenum on Oct 7, 2010 - 165 comments

We've come full circle people

PediaPress has long allowed logged in users of Wikipedia to create printed-on-demand books of one or more Wikipedia articles, but now Wikipedia has integrated into their interface the ability to make a book. No, not like that. Of course, the value of printing an ever-changing information resource can be debated, and some think it's a waste of time. Previously. [more inside]
posted by malapropist on Sep 5, 2010 - 5 comments

Judging Lolita by Her Cover

As Dieter Zimmer’s online exhibit "Covering Lolita" shows, it started with a plain green jacket. [Note: Some links include images which may be NSFW.] [more inside]
posted by bunnycup on Feb 19, 2010 - 40 comments

Compra Original

The Book Pirates of Peru. A slideshow in which Peruvian author Daniel Alarcón describes the vibrant literary scene in his home country, where the informal publishing industry is the same size as its legitimate counterpart. There's no library system to speak of, the National Library's acquisitions budget is nil, but a culture of reading and writing is booming, with book sales and attendance at literary festivals up, up, up.
posted by WPW on Jan 18, 2010 - 16 comments

Wisconsin book burners

"If you told me we would be going through a book challenge of this nature, I'd think, 'Never in a million years.' " [more inside]
posted by sredefer on Jul 22, 2009 - 110 comments

Infinite Summer

Infinite Summer - "The Challenge: Read Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009" [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on May 21, 2009 - 118 comments

What are you reading, charming writer?

What are writers reading? An eclectic mix of authors answer the perennial question. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 21, 2009 - 10 comments

A Temple of Texts

William Gass's personal library. The photos accompany this article by Gass about his love of books -- specifically about collecting them over his life and "living in a library." [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 8, 2009 - 21 comments

Almost Perfect

Almost Perfect (1994) is an account of "the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation" from the point of view of former executive vice-president W. E. (Pete) Peterson. [via reddit].
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Apr 5, 2009 - 122 comments

Feel your inadequacy

If you're like me, you are not a top computer science researcher, and you haven't written a classic book about programming and made it available online for free. Let's review who we're not. We're neither Abelson nor Sussman, and we haven't written Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (previous proof). We're not part of TeachScheme and we had no hand in the writing of How to Design Programs (not even the second edition, natch). Shriram Krishnamurthi didn't need our help to write Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation. We wish we were Simon Peyton-Jones and had a hand in The Implementation of Functional Programming Languages. [more inside]
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Apr 1, 2009 - 45 comments

The works of the Beard family

Let boys make their own kites and bows and arrows; they will find a double pleasure in them, and value them accordingly, to say nothing of the education involved in the successful construction of their home-made playthings. -- The American Boy's Handy Book
In the late 19th- and early 20th-century, the Beard family—Daniel Carter, Lina, and Adelia Belle—wrote a number of books on outdoor activities, woodcraft, and other recreational activities for boys and girls. Many of these books are in the public domain now: (The American Boy's Handy Book, The Field and Forest Handy Book, The Outdoor Handy Book, The Jack of All Trades, The American Girl's Handy Book, On the Trail: An Outdoor Book for Girls). Others, such as Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties and Boat-Building and Boating, are excerpted online. Some highlights include throwing tomahawks, making candy, and building tree houses, sleds, catapults, and rafts. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good on Oct 29, 2008 - 40 comments

Biblioburros

Luis Soriano, with his donkeys Alfa and Beto, brings books to small villages in Colombia.
posted by The corpse in the library on Oct 20, 2008 - 16 comments

Is Haskell Failing?

Haskell has a sort of unofficial slogan: avoid success at all costs says one of its inventors, Simon Peyton-Jones. But will the advanced purely functional programming language[, a]n open source product of more than twenty years of cutting edge research remain true to its roots? Things look rather bleak for the obscurity of Haskell. In the wake of Peyton-Jones's own A taste of Haskell, and with the imminent publication of Real World Haskell by O'Reilly and the emergence of the Haskell Platform, comes BONUS's fun, colorfully illustrated Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!. [more inside]
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Oct 18, 2008 - 61 comments

Literary oddities

Unusual books. Unusual art made from books. Unusual bookcover. Unusual bookshelves. Unusual bookstore.
posted by desjardins on Sep 26, 2008 - 9 comments

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