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An enthusiastic public reading journal.....

In Praise of Anne Rice's Amazon Reviews
posted by The Whelk on Oct 19, 2014 - 30 comments

“Not everybody wants to read about vampires and dystopia,”

To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."

posted by Fizz on Oct 9, 2014 - 24 comments

Philosophical science fiction - suggested reading lists

A collection of philosophical science/speculative fiction reading lists, (with decent amount of short fiction and some media thrown in) with short "why you should read this " blurbs. The suggestions are made by professional philosophers and philosophy-trained SF writers, and curated by Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy at UC Riverside. Part 2, Part 3 With more suggestions promised to come. (Previously, a course on Science Fiction and Political Science , previouslier - curated lists of anarchist and socialist science fiction
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Oct 8, 2014 - 21 comments

Silent but Readly

"Midway through the Confessions, St. Augustine recalls how he used to marvel at the way Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, read his manuscripts: 'His eyes traveled across the pages and his heart searched out the meaning, but his voice and tongue stayed still.' Scholars have sparred for decades over whether Augustine's offhand observation reveals something momentous: namely, that silent reading—that seemingly mundane act you're engaged in right now—was, in the Dark Ages, a genuine novelty...Could the earliest readers literally not shut up?"
posted by Iridic on Sep 29, 2014 - 51 comments

“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.”

International Read an E-Book Day:
The new holday -- "holiday"? -- is the brainchild of OverDrive, a major e-book distributor. OverDrive is the country's largest provider of e-books to libraries; it handles e-books from 5,000 publishers, including major Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Perseus, Wiley, and Harlequin. If you've ever checked an e-book out from the L.A. Public Library, it was provided by OverDrive. To celebrate International Read an E-book Day, Overdrive will be giving away tablets and e-reading devices at the readanebookday.com website and through social media. Readers are asked to "tell their story of what eBooks mean to them" and use the hashtag #eBookDay to be eligible.
via: L.A. Times
posted by Fizz on Sep 18, 2014 - 88 comments

Future Politics

Future Politics (PDF link) is a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign class by Jake Bowers on the political theory of science fiction and a great recommended reading and discussion list for the rest of us.

How can imagining the future help us understand the present? How does considering the future help us think critically about politics today?...The future hopes and imaginings of past political thinkers do not include either enough detail or enough information about our rapidly changing technological, social, political, and economic landscape to provide us with enough practice to confidently confront the future as citizens as it happens to us. Science fiction allows us a much more detailed view of life in alternative futures, and the writers that we choose to read here tend to think seriously and logically about how current cutting edge technology might have social and political ramifications — however, science fiction authors are also mostly working on a narrative and thus may skim over core concepts that ought to organize our thinking about politics and society. Thus, we read both together in order to practice a kind of theoretically informed futurism (which is not the same as prediction or forecasting, but is more like the practice of confronting the unexpected).
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Sep 17, 2014 - 4 comments

A hard stare from a public bench bear

"London has become a literary playground: a project by the National Literacy Trust has scattered 50 book-shaped benches across the capital for the whole summer, each dedicated to an iconic London-related author or character." (The Guardian). The BBC report about the literary benches; the full list of benches from the Books about Town website. CNN has a slideshow that includes a nice photo of the Paddington Bear bench in use.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 25, 2014 - 11 comments

But then I suppose we have all read the reviews. We can talk about those

"So what is going on here? Should we be reassured that critics are sticking loyally by a work they admire regardless of sales, or bemused that something is being presented as a runaway commercial success when in fact it isn’t?" Tim Parks: Raise Your Hand If You’ve Read Knausgaard. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on Jul 25, 2014 - 33 comments

All the good stuff is in the first 26 pages...

What aren't you reading? By looking at the top 5 most highlighted passages via Kindle in each book, Jordan Ellenberg has figured out which books are most unread: Take the page numbers of a book's five top highlights, average them, and divide by the number of pages in the whole book. He calls the result the Hawking Index, after the much-unread Brief History of Time, though Piketty seems to have knocked Hawking off his throne (all five top highlights come in the first 26 pages, out of 700). Also, everyone finishes The Goldfinch. Previous attempts to figure out what is least finished have been conducted by Goodreads (#1: Catch-22), and by the Guardian in 2007 (which may explain why Vernon God Little is #1), which included helpful summaries. What have you not finished recently?
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 6, 2014 - 103 comments

NHS Prescribes Books for Better Health

Bibliotherapy:
From June 2013, a new scheme, Reading Well Books on Prescription will be available in libraries throughout England. This new scheme has been developed by The Reading Agency and The Society of Chief Librarians and aims to bring reading's healing benefits to the 6 million people with anxiety, depression and other mild to moderate mental health illnesses. There is growing evidence showing that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health conditions get better. Reading Well Books on Prescription will enable GPs and mental health professionals to prescribe patients cognitive behavioural therapy through a visit to the library. Here they can get books to help them understand and manage conditions from depression to chronic pain.
More on the program from the Boston Globe. Previously.
posted by MonkeyToes on Jun 25, 2014 - 6 comments

774-325-0503

Call Me Ishmael: call a number and leave a voicemail about a book you've loved and a story you've lived. Later, that anonymous voicemail will be transcribed and made into a short video for everyone to see.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 22, 2014 - 8 comments

"the seductions of news websites constantly updating"

Reading: The Struggle
What I’m talking about is the state of constant distraction we live in and how that affects the very special energies required for tackling a substantial work of fiction—for immersing oneself in it and then coming back and back to it on numerous occasions over what could be days, weeks, or months, each time picking up the threads of the story or stories, the patterning of internal reference, the positioning of the work within the context of other novels and indeed the larger world. Every reader will have his or her own sense of how reading conditions have changed, but here is my own experience.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 18, 2014 - 38 comments

"And the world is full of people running about with lit matches."

"Why I'm sending 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensacola, FL." [boing boing] "The principal of Booker T Washington High in Pensacola FL cancelled the school's One School/One Book summer reading program rather than letting all the kids go through with the previously approved assignment to read Little Brother, the bestselling young adult novel by Cory Doctorow. With Cory and Tor Books' help, the teachers are fighting back." [VIDEO RESPONSE]
posted by Fizz on Jun 10, 2014 - 61 comments

Readers' Night Out

At silent-reading parties, guests bring books, stay as long as they want, and aren't allowed to speak to one another.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on May 29, 2014 - 47 comments

Why Libraries Matter

A day in the life of New York City's public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people. Why Libraries Matter.
posted by cashman on May 17, 2014 - 6 comments

Waiting for the inevitable slow reading movement

How fast do you read? (previously.) The average adult allegedly reads 300 words a minute, but if that's too slow, there are ways to improve it.
posted by MartinWisse on May 5, 2014 - 77 comments

"What message are we sending to young people?"

Julianne Ross asks: Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite? Amy McCarthy asks a similar question: Why do all our young adult heroines look the same? Mandy Stewart also offers up her own advice: Be Divergent and Other Lessons for My Daughter. Interview with Veronica Roth on her book 'Insurgent' and feminism. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 27, 2014 - 142 comments

28 Books You Should Read If You Want To

"...one of the greatest rewards of a reading life is discovery." A short essay by Janet Potter
posted by chavenet on Feb 25, 2014 - 33 comments

This is Mr Maupin. He invented San Francisco.

On January 21, The Days of Anna Madrigal, the last in the Tales of the City series, will be released. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 5, 2014 - 25 comments

Best Longform of 2013

2013 had a lot of great longform writing. Longreads and Longform lead the way with their best of lists. Lots of sites provided year end lists: The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Business Week Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, Dazed Digital, Deadspin, Esquire UK, FlavorwireGawker, Inc., Impose Magazine, Indiewire, i09, Lifehacker, Maclean's, Mashable, Mother Jones, National Geographic, National Journal, The New Yorker, On Earth, Out, Pocket, ReadWrite, Slate, Spin, Sports on Earth, The Electric Typewriter, The Verge, The Voice Media Group, and The Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2013 - 37 comments

Making Excuses for Science Fiction

When I published my first novel 20 years later, I found myself faced with the same challenge: how do I talk about this book to people whose entire conception of science fiction and fantasy are built around Star Wars and The Hobbit? How do I convince folks that stories about the dissolution of a marriage in Montreal in 2155 are just as serious an endeavor as writing about the dis­solution of a marriage in Montreal 1955?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 27, 2013 - 43 comments

you can love me if you want it's not my problem

"Alt lit [previously] is accused of navel-gazing myopia, but technically any writing occurring outside of traditional institutions qualifies for the label. Everyone I know has written alt lit: every status update, every blog post, everything that has ever been said on Twitter. And Twitter, unbeknown to Jonathan Franzen, is especially literary...Which brings me to Heiko Julien," Author (and composer) of "I Am Ready To Die A Violent Death." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 6, 2013 - 21 comments

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers. The Internet has provided us with yet another list. How many have you conquered?
posted by Pyrogenesis on Nov 5, 2013 - 263 comments

Should a six-year-old be permitted to read Robert Caro?

The Perils of Precocity by Thomas Beller.
posted by xowie on Nov 1, 2013 - 59 comments

Go To Bed, Scum

GWAR's Oderus Urungus Reads 'Goodnight Moon' [NSFW]
posted by mannequito on Oct 23, 2013 - 11 comments

Contemporary poetry from around the world in English translation

Poetry International Rotterdam has contemporary poetry in English translation from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including countries as different as Argentina, China, Finland, Iran and Romania, in languages as unrelated as French, Malayalam and Zulu, as well as many poems originally in the English language. The poets range in age and stature from those barely over thirty to Nobel prize winners. There are also videos and audio recordings of poets reading, as well as articles about poetry.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 13, 2013 - 5 comments

What Stephen King Isn't

Thoughts on what makes him a damn fine and fun read.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 12, 2013 - 49 comments

You are what you read

If we so quickly forget the bulk of what we read, is it a waste of time to read so much?
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 2, 2013 - 86 comments

Because even bad Bowie is better than no Bowie

How to Read Like Bowie - David Bowie's Top 100 Books Don't miss Meta-Bowie or Bowie on metafilter music or in MetaTalk (just because).
posted by cjorgensen on Oct 1, 2013 - 25 comments

18 Books Ernest Hemingway Wished He Could Read Again for the First Time.

18 Books Ernest Hemingway Wished He Could Read Again for the First Time. "I would rather read again for the first time Anna Karenina, Far Away and Long Ago, Buddenbrooks, Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, A Sportsman's Sketches, The Brothers Karamazov, Hail and Farewell, Huckleberry Finn, Winesburg, Ohio, La Reine Margot, La Maison Tellier, Le Rouge et le Noire, La Chartreuse de Parme, Dubliners, Yeat's Autobiographies and a few others than have an assured income of a million dollars a year."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 23, 2013 - 24 comments

A Los Angeles Review of Books essay on Melville by William Giraldi

The Writer As Reader: Melville and his Marginalia In the General Rare Books Collection at Princeton University Library sits a stunning two-volume edition of John Milton that once belonged to Herman Melville. Melville's tremendous debt to Milton — and to Homer, Virgil, the Bible, and Shakespeare — might be evident to anyone who has wrestled with the moral and intellectual complexity that lends Moby Dick its immortal heft, but to see Melville's marginalia in his 1836 Poetical Works of John Milton is to understand just how intimately the author of the great American novel engaged with the author of the greatest poem in English. Checkmarks, underscores, annotations, and Xs reveal the passages in Paradise Lost and other poems that would have such a determining effect on Melville's own work.
posted by jason's_planet on Sep 1, 2013 - 11 comments

I was surprised by how many of the weird things ......came form the book

Tricia's Obligatory Art Blog presents " Reading "Jurassic Park" in 2013 is Weird As Hell "
posted by The Whelk on Aug 26, 2013 - 73 comments

What’s worse there, the sex or the pretending to be dead?

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure [PDF, there is a Word file direct from the DoD] is 167 pages of stories of elaborate frauds, scams, and abuses of power in the US government. Interestingly, the sarcasm-filled document is also published by the US government, to help illustrate how government workers get in trouble. Freakonomics radio has a amusing and interesting discussion with the Encyclopedia's editor and founding editor [link goes to transcript]. [more inside]
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 18, 2013 - 12 comments

A year of reading the world...

Writer Ann Morgan set herself a challenge – to read a book from every country in the world in one year. She describes the experience and what she learned. Here is her blog
posted by dfm500 on Jul 16, 2013 - 26 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

Despite what memes keep telling us, reading is not sexy

These images of cisgendered, scantily-clad females reclining salaciously with books with quotes touting ownership do very little to promote reading and much more to bolster sexism and classism.
posted by josher71 on Jun 10, 2013 - 189 comments

General Mattis on Professional Reading

With Rifle and Bibliography. "In late 2003 a colleague of General James Mattis wrote to him asking for a few words on the importance of reading and military history for the officer, even where it might seem that one was “too busy to read.”" His letter is found about 1/3 down in the linked page, also pasted the entire first letter after the jump. [more inside]
posted by amitai on May 10, 2013 - 15 comments

And that absurd nom de plume! John le Carré, like some addled saint...

At Slate.com, Ted Scheinman has written a nice appreciation of John LeCarré. Confessions of a John le Carré Devotee
"...I could tell there was more than politics, class, and acts of stratospheric treason to be found in these pages. I adored the psychological acuity with which he roamed his characters’ heads..."

posted by Trochanter on May 9, 2013 - 18 comments

Reading? Ain't Nobody Got Time That!

If the bird is the word, three must be the number. Do you feel you don't have time to read everything you want? What about establishing some ground rules?
posted by huguini on Apr 2, 2013 - 41 comments

Ugh, Jonathan Livingston Seagull twice

For this blog I plan, among other things, to read and review every novel to reach the number one spot on Publishers Weekly annual bestsellers list, starting in 1913. Beyond just a book review, I'm going to provide some information on the authors and the time at which these books were written in an attempt to figure out just what made these particular books popular at that particular time.
posted by Chrysostom on Mar 6, 2013 - 71 comments

What we talk about when we talk about the Tube

The first District line train out of Upminster in the morning is the first train anywhere on the underground network. It leaves the depot at 4.53, the only train anywhere in the system to set out from its base before 5am ... if you catch that train, you might be tempted to say ta-dah!—except you probably wouldn't, because nobody is thinking ta-dah! at seven minutes to five in the morning; certainly nobody on this train. People look barely awake, barely even alive. They feel the same way they look; I know because, this morning, I'm one of them.
John Lanchester on the experience, at once aversive and hypnotic, of catching the London Underground. Lanchester's article is an extract from his forthcoming entry in the new Penguin Lines series of tube-reading-friendly books released to commemorate the Underground's 150th anniversary. Meanwhile, the Guardian have compiled a collaborative Spotify playlist of songs that mention Tube stations, for those so inclined.
posted by Sonny Jim on Mar 6, 2013 - 37 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

I want it NOW! I want cake NOWWWWW!

A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL (SLYT) Football knowledge not required.
posted by capnsue on Jan 18, 2013 - 30 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

The Secret Lives of Readers

The Secret Lives of Readers Books reveal themselves. Whether they exist as print or pixels, they can be read and examined and made to spill their secrets. Readers are far more elusive. They leave traces—a note in the margin, a stain on the binding—but those hints of human handling tell us only so much. The experience of reading vanishes with the reader. How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 29, 2012 - 25 comments

Short story podcast

Authors choose their favourite short stories. For the next two weeks over the festive period we will be running a short story podcast each day. Our contributing authors introduce the stories they have chosen to read. Ford reads Carver. Gordimer reads Saramago. Selfs reads Borges. Postcasts are being posted here. [previously]
posted by shakespeherian on Dec 24, 2012 - 3 comments

My little piece of Heaven

People posting photographs of their bookshelves:
Father in Law's Library, built by hand in about 5 years: The card file. Details & overview.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare: Building Wall Shelving for 9000 Books.
“…first time in years I've been able to get most of my books out of cardboard boxes and onto shelves…”
My desk after four months of working in a bookstore.
Nigella Lawson's library. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Dec 14, 2012 - 54 comments

How and Why We Read

"Reading is always an act of empathy" - John Green of Crash Course (previously) explains "How and Why We Read" (... and recommends his favorite books). [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm on Dec 4, 2012 - 19 comments

"But lapidary epithets are few./We do not deal in universal rubies."

Vladimir Nabokov reads his poem "An Evening of Russian Poetry." [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Nov 29, 2012 - 11 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

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