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End-of-year lists are fingerprints

Year-End Lists: 2012 Albums | 2012 Songs | 2012 Movies | 2012 Books [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Dec 19, 2012 - 63 comments

BLDGBLOG Books Received

BLDGBLOG has a new Books Received post about the latest books to cross their desk. Previously
posted by Cloud King on Dec 19, 2012 - 2 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 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

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

The Best of Times, The Worst of TImes

Released today: the top Google searches of 2012. Also, the top Google searches in the UK. Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
posted by misha on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 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

"Consider hybridisation in the following way. The mixing of a unicorn with a dragon leads to a hybrid, the rhinoceros!”

Thanks, Textbooks. A Collection Of The World's Finest Academic Writing. (Updated Every Monday). *or not
posted by Toekneesan on Dec 7, 2012 - 26 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

Increasing the emotional energy of inanimate objects

Brain Pickings presents the Best Design Books of 2012. Because you weren't really going to get anything done today anyway, right? [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee on Dec 2, 2012 - 14 comments

Fox in print

Nineteen year old Jade Phillips creates images of foxes by marking up pages from old text books and re-assembling them. More of her work is available on Flickr and her own blog.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 28, 2012 - 21 comments

Loebolus

All the 245 pdf-format, public domain Loebs conveniently arranged in one place, ready to be downloaded for your classics reading pleasure. (via time's flow stemmed)
posted by Marauding Ennui on Nov 26, 2012 - 47 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

Most expensive books of 2012

Publishers Weekly lists the most expensive books of the season.
posted by anothermug on Nov 23, 2012 - 34 comments

Big generative jockey

Just when you thought it was safe to open a book... it's the Literary Review's annual Bad Sex Award! (Previously) This year's nominees include works by Tom Wolfe, Ben Masters, Nicola Barker, Paul Mason, Nancy Huston, Craig Raine, Nicholas Coleridge, and Sam Mills. Not on the list? J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy--despite "a couple of queasy moments," in the words of TLR senior editor Jonathan Beckman--and E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey, since the award "is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature." Snippets from the nominated books can be found at the Guardian link.
posted by Cash4Lead on Nov 21, 2012 - 33 comments

Strunk & White & Pinker

Steven Pinker is apparently writing a science/academic writing style guide of sorts based on insights from psychology. Here is an hour-plus long video of Pinker discussing the book at MIT.
posted by AceRock on Nov 21, 2012 - 19 comments

I don't want to set the world on fire/I just want to start a flame in your heart

Five years ago today Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle, a move that would revolutionize the publishing industry. While often controversial, most recently for its international tax avoidance schemes, Amazon has been very successful and has made millions for its founder. What has Bezos done with some of his tax-free millions? Well for one, he launched and landed a rocket vertically, and posted the video to YouTube, just yesterday. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 19, 2012 - 99 comments

“Let’s go over to the entrance, pretend we walked in together.”

Book Shopping with the Best-Read Man in America. An afternoon in a used bookstore with Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize winning book critic and author.
posted by aldurtregi on Nov 14, 2012 - 38 comments

“Our history is all fabricated.”

Mubei, or Tombstone, by Yang Jisheng, was published in 2008 and is considered to be the definitive account of the Chinese Great Famine. The book is banned in China, but has been available in Hong Kong. Counterfeit and electronic copies have allowed many Chinese to access the book. Before this November, Tombstone was available only in Chinese; however, the English translation has now been released. [more inside]
posted by Bokmakierie on Nov 11, 2012 - 27 comments

"What I did not expect was shrugging boredom, the most feared of student reactions."

Is "Catcher In The Rye" outdated and outmoded? Jessica Roake at Slate thinks so. And she's backing the author of "Cloud Atlas" when it comes to the new champion...
posted by dr. zoom on Nov 4, 2012 - 153 comments

Librarians are doing it for themselves

What really concerns librarians; what do they discuss when they self-organise and decide for themselves? After the inaugural UK event, the second UK Librarycamp, with around 200 attendees, was recently held; reflections by Frank Norman, Carolin Schneider [1] [2], Sarah Wolfenden, Amy Faye Finnegan, Shambrarian Knights, Michelle, Jennifer Yellin, Jenni Hughes, Bookshelf Guardian, Amy Cross-Menzies and Simon Barron, and by one of the organisers. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 1, 2012 - 10 comments

A Penguin a Week

Karyn Reeves collects Penguin paperbacks. She reads and reviews a Penguin a week. She also blogs about Penguins (such as the elusive green Penguins) and showcases classic Penguin book covers. Nonfiction fans may want to check out her list of Pelicans - or visit the Pelican Project at Things Magazine (previously).
posted by kristi on Oct 30, 2012 - 18 comments

Are literary journals comatose?

Have literary journals lost their cultural relevance? Ted Genoways, former editor of the Virginia Quarterly suggests they have, and are relegated to publishing masses of material, often submitted by waves of new MFA graduates, that few read. Others question the definition of relevance. The journals do continue to proliferate, generating constant fresh material for a review that reviews them, a database that writers use to sort through them, and agents who comb through them looking for the next literary sensation. Perhaps only print journals are in real trouble?
posted by shivohum on Oct 30, 2012 - 39 comments

Random Harper Penguin

The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters. As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
posted by stbalbach on Oct 29, 2012 - 77 comments

The Library of Babel in 140 characters (or fewer)

The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word in the English language; Shakespeare's folios, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, exploded; Constantine XI, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard, in abundance; and definitive discographies of Every. Artist. Ever... All this, I repeat, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Oct 27, 2012 - 14 comments

Tootleg Boy audiobook defacement

These audio files contain profanity:
The Lord of the Books of the Fifty-Five Arse-Hymens of Stone
Pride and Prejudice and 367 Pages of Balls and Young Men
Pride and Prejudice and Praise and Porridge and Presents and Pedantic Ponies and Pride and Pride and Pride and Proud and Priiide
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 26, 2012 - 23 comments

Frightening fiction

Scary stories for Halloween Guardian books writers select their favourite seasonal chillers
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 25, 2012 - 54 comments

Art Book Bonanza

A few days ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art published online 368 full text titles also downloadable as pdfs. They range from major exhibition catalogues such as the 1983 Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library or the 1992 Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, exhaustive lists of holdings (European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volumes I and II), art books like Degas: The Artist's Mind or The Great Wave: The Influence of Japanese Woodcuts on French Prints, facsimile editions such as The Cloisters Apocalypse: An Early Fourteenth-Century Manuscript, social history titles covering subjects such as fashion or dance, technical manuals for those wanting to know how The Care and Handling of Art Objects works and much, much more.
posted by Marauding Ennui on Oct 22, 2012 - 19 comments

"To most Americans, there is something inexplicably foreign about cricket"

Wickets and Wonders: Cricket’s Rich Literary Vein - a meditation on the literary history of cricket, and a few of the more well-known books surrounding gigaioggie.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 11, 2012 - 14 comments

Montaigne's Library

On the day he turned thirty-eight, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne retired from public life to the tower of the Château de Montaigne, there to spend the next ten years composing an assay of his life's experience. That his mind might thrive, he turned the tower into a "Solitarium" and its top floor into a sumptuous library, lining its round walls with some 1,500 books. Even the roof beams were made to bear his thoughts: on them he inscribed 46 quotations, here collected and translated.
posted by Iridic on Oct 11, 2012 - 22 comments

Always wondered if Tom went on to work in banking.

John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
posted by Miko on Oct 10, 2012 - 40 comments

Pity the Billionaire

Pity the Billionaire (YT): Thomas Frank discusses how the American right pulled off a massive coup and successfully branded itself the party of rebellion and protest in the wake of the financial crisis.
posted by shivohum on Oct 5, 2012 - 32 comments

free & cheap ebooks

Books on the Knob, Pixel of Ink, and iReader Review are three blogs that feature free & bargain ebooks daily. If you want to start simple there's OpenCulture's 375 Free eBooks list but if you don't mind doing some footwork then there's this very comprehensive 614 Places for Free eBooks Online post (with divisions of content by genre) on Gizmo's Freeware. [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 4, 2012 - 12 comments

Romance novel cover illustration

Romance novel covers are a frequent subject of ridicule. But they have also featured highly talented illustrators like Alan Ayers, Pino Daeni, Elaine Gignilliat, Phil Heffernan, and Albert Slark. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 30, 2012 - 13 comments

Henry Miller's "The Books In My Life"

They were alive and they spoke to me! That is the simplest and most eloquent way in which I can refer to those authors who have remained with me over the years. - Henry Miller, The Books In My Life [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 23, 2012 - 7 comments

Book Title: Author Name

Book Title: Author Name. Political thriller, erotica, sword and sorcery, cookbook, lock-picking manual, travel guide? Doesn't matter. Book Title: Author Name.
posted by codacorolla on Sep 21, 2012 - 67 comments

It is impossible to imagine a finer association...

Lord Byron's copy of Frankenstein, inscribed by author Mary Shelley, is being offered for sale at Peter Harrington Books in London, where it will be on display from 26 Sept to 3 Oct. If you are interested in buying they are accepting offers in excess of 350,000. GBP ( about $568,000). [more inside]
posted by Isadorady on Sep 20, 2012 - 26 comments

"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."

Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2012 - 55 comments

Impress a Penguin

Pretty cute job description.
posted by mrfuga0 on Sep 14, 2012 - 66 comments

M is for Myriapod

Mysteries of Vernacular is a series of delightful papercraft animations about etymology, by filmmaker Jessica Oreck. Four of a projected 26 videos, one for each letter of the alphabet, have been completed so far: Assassin, Hearse, Pants, and Clue. (via)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Sep 14, 2012 - 5 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

Target: NuWho

What if New Who had Target Novelisations just like the old Doctor Who?
posted by Artw on Sep 7, 2012 - 58 comments

‘The real world's what the map here stands for!’ —Otis P. Lord, page 334

An “Infinite Jest” atlas. The Infinite Atlas Project is an independent research and art project seeking to identify, place and describe every possible location in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The project includes: Infinite Map- a cartographic infographic poster identifying 250 of the most interesting locations from the novel. Infinite Boston-a ruminative travelogue and photographic tour of key locations in and around Boston, Massachusetts. [Previously]
posted by Fizz on Sep 7, 2012 - 24 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

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

The Drowned World

J.G. Ballard and the alchemy of memory
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2012 - 24 comments

Illustrated Aesop's Fables through history

Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 30, 2012 - 11 comments

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again "Is there a greater cultural sin than a good story spoiled? The accepted modern posture is that knowing too much beforehand about the plot of a novel, a play, a movie, even a TV series, ruins the magic of experiencing it for the first time — renders it damaged goods, not worth one’s time or money.[..]

It’s a given: Everyone hates spoilers. Except when they don’t. Two researchers in the psychology department of the University of California at San Diego recently decided to test whether we really hate spoilers, or just like to say we do. What they found surprised them: The majority of people apparently like having a story spoiled for them. In fact, we may enjoy spoiled stories even more than the unspoiled versions. Is it true? Do we secretly crave predigested plots the way some foodies sneak Big Macs when no one’s looking?" Pdf link to study. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow on Aug 29, 2012 - 171 comments

Magic realism: not fantasy. Sorry.

Magic realism: not fantasy. Sorry.
posted by shivohum on Aug 27, 2012 - 136 comments

RIP Nina Bawden, 1925 to 2012

Nina Bawden, writer of novels for adults and children, born in 1925, died on 22nd August 2012. “As a child, Nina said, she had felt wicked because the children in the books she read were all so good, and she was one of the first writers for children to create characters who could be jealous, selfish and bad-tempered” (Guardian obituary). [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Aug 27, 2012 - 10 comments

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