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BBC Radio 4 Book Club: 179 episodes now available online

Book Club. This 30-minute programme's been on Radio 4, the BBC's premier speech radio station, since 1998. Books are announced a month in advance, giving listeners a chance to read the chosen title before the discussion. James Naughtie then interviews the book's author about it in front of an audience of his (or her) readers, who also put questions of their own. My favourites from the programme's archive include Alan Bennet (Writing Home), Clive James (Unreliable Memoirs), Douglas Adams (a 1 hour special on Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Elmore Leonard (Rum Punch), James Ellroy (Black Dahlia), PJ O'Rourke (Holidays in Hell) and Stephen Fry (The Hippopotamus). No doubt you'll have your own. [more inside]
posted by Paul Slade on Feb 12, 2013 - 8 comments

Pristine Condition! Super Fast Shipping! Five Stars!

Amazon contemplating the used ebook market. But will they still have used book coffee rings on the pages? [more inside]
posted by weeyin on Feb 7, 2013 - 69 comments

Dreams of Space

Dreams of Space. A blog featuring art from non-fiction children's space flight books 1945-1975. Lots of great graphics, from the realistic to the now fanciful. I must also point out the wonderful Czech pop-up book and A Trip to Outer Space With Santa.
posted by marxchivist on Feb 6, 2013 - 8 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

They do furnish a room

Bookish is a nifty new book recommendation engine.
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 5, 2013 - 38 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

An affected, narcissistic creep, but he’s also a genius.

Batman vs. Koolhaas. Critic Martin Filler reveals the true villain of DC's Batman: Death by Design.
posted by xowie on Feb 5, 2013 - 8 comments

The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

"De Villiers has spent most of his life cultivating spies and diplomats, who seem to enjoy seeing themselves and their secrets transfigured into pop fiction (with their own names carefully disguised), and his books regularly contain information about terror plots, espionage and wars that has never appeared elsewhere. Other pop novelists, like John le Carré and Tom Clancy, may flavor their work with a few real-world scenarios and some spy lingo, but de Villiers’s books are ahead of the news and sometimes even ahead of events themselves." (SLNYT)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 31, 2013 - 26 comments

The Book of Coach

"For those who coached under Walsh, Finding the Winning Edge was a study of the genius beyond his playbook. For those who coached against him, it was a window into the mind of their nemesis." -- The Coaching Philosophy of Bill Walsh. The book is now out of print and even a used copy will cost you $1,249.99 on Amazon.
posted by MattMangels on Jan 29, 2013 - 10 comments

Controversial anatomy books

Anatomy is a respected medical science, aims at a better knowledgement of human body structures. there were two books in Anatomy that made a lot of controversy, the first one is Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy by Eduard Pernkopf, and the second one is The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice by by Professors R. Frederick Becker, James S. W. Wilson, and John A. Gehweiler. [more inside]
posted by Ahmed_Nabil on Jan 13, 2013 - 18 comments

How the Future Changed

Space Cartoons to Space Psychedelia: How Sci-Fi Book Covers Evolved
posted by Artw on Jan 10, 2013 - 19 comments

RIP Sol Yurick

Sol Yurick, author of the book that was the basis for Metafilter favorite film The Warriors, has died at 87.
posted by rhiannonstone on Jan 9, 2013 - 15 comments

Archie's Recipes

Archie's Recipes - When my grandparents passed away my family rediscovered an old family recipe book that my great grandfather wrote by hand in an old ledger. [via mefi projects]
posted by item on Jan 5, 2013 - 17 comments

The more I look the more I see things that make me want to look away BUT I CAN’T.

Lousy Book Covers
posted by dobbs on Jan 5, 2013 - 86 comments

--o---<<|

Happy Thomas Pynchon rumor day! [LAtimes.com] "What's that, you say? America's most reclusive author, Thomas Pynchon, appeared in the news Friday -- not once but twice? Why, yes, yes, he has, surfacing in two unconnected rumours. Conspiracy? Pynchonian? Maybe we should henceforth designate Jan. 4 as Thomas Pynchon Rumor Day." [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jan 5, 2013 - 40 comments

The Old Corner Bookstore is Now a Chipotle

"'Personally, I think it’s slightly sad how easy it was to get,' Jessica says, referring to the building. She brightens. 'But everyone at Chipotle was really excited to get this spot because of the history, the chance to be a part of Boston’s history. This is the oldest retail location in Boston.'" (via)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 4, 2013 - 52 comments

Finding the "just right" book

What's the right age to introduce children to literature with challenging themes? Authors, teachers, librarians and critics weigh in. (SLNYT)
posted by Daily Alice on Dec 30, 2012 - 60 comments

"I watched the entire street turn hot and black with smoke and then, after a few minutes, stared up at the hole in the roof and saw thousands of small gray ashes—pieces of paper, books, newspapers—floating down from the sky."

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is a project initiated by San Francisco bookseller and poet Beau Beausoleil that began as a response to the 2007 bombing [previously on MeFi] of the Baghdad bookselling center Al-Mutanabbi Street. After the attack the authorities made an effort to revive the area but recently the government has begun to make life difficult for the booksellers and intends to turn the street into an animal market. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project consists of book art created by 260 artists and authors from all over the world, but also includes essays, exhibitions and readings, some of which have been put online as videos. You can see a lot of artists' books online at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts and the Centre for Fine Print Research (1, 2, 3). The history of the project was told in a recent essay in World Literature Today by Persis M. Karim.
posted by Kattullus on Dec 29, 2012 - 5 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

The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre

"People haven’t been fascinated by this book because the translation is mellifluous or beautiful,” said Michael F. Suarez, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who directs the Rare Book School there. “People haven’t been attracted to this book because the presswork is beautiful. It’s not.” Instead, the Bay Psalm Book is treasured for being the first surviving piece of printing done in the British North American colonies. Only 11 copies, many incomplete, today survive. Remarkably two of those copies belong to the same owner, Boston's Old South Church. This month, the church made the controversial decision to sell one (the first such sale in 65 years), and it could bring as much as $20 million for the church's endowment.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 25, 2012 - 7 comments

"There’s a lack of pretentiousness to the word ‘comic book’ that I think suits the medium itself very, very nicely."

The NYT Book Review just named it one of the 5 best fiction books of the year. The AV Club helpfully posted a video to show you what happens when you open it. Actually, lots of folks posted videos to show you what happens when you open it. Other folks raved in print about the author and his career. The Comics Journal asked a dozen critics of the author's work to send in reviews; this one focuses on the role of disability in the narrative. This one notes the book "is in a very primary sense a comic about women and the private lives they lead, and it investigates more fully than any other comic I have ever read the way they age, fall in love, explore their sexuality, come to terms with compromises they’ve had to make as they’ve grown, accept their limitations, confront squandered ability, have children (or choose not to have children), marry (or stay single), and make sense of the world around them." You might find Chris Ware's Building Stories worth a look or two. Or fourteen. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Dec 19, 2012 - 28 comments

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

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