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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

Brilliant A+++++ would read again

The best book reviews money can buy. (SLNYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Aug 26, 2012 - 61 comments

aqueous surface design

Ebru, turkish for "marbeling", and is hypnotizing to watch. It is a process that puts colored paint on the surface of water, and then transferring it to paper. It is probably most common for us now in its use in bookbinding, showing as early as the 17th century in Europe, and it's still being done routinely today in the US Government Printing Office. The art is much older, dating back to 10th century Turkey. It had a resurgence in the 60's as a psychedelic hippie art form. It's easy to learn but can take years to master. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Aug 25, 2012 - 32 comments

Fear and Loathing in Amundsen-Scott Station

Can't get enough Antarctic culture? [more inside]
posted by outlandishmarxist on Aug 24, 2012 - 40 comments

Amazon Election Heat Map 2012

Amazon Election Heat Map 2012. Republican landslide in Amazon book vote.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 22, 2012 - 77 comments

I want to plural, to discuss not the novel but novels, not the future, but futures.

China Miéville: the future of the novel [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 21, 2012 - 13 comments

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master: ...in earlier days I felt I had been betrayed by Henry James. I was like the youthful writer in “The Lesson of the Master” who believed in the Master’s call to live immaculately, unspoiled by what we mean when we say “life”—relationship, family mess, distraction, exhaustion, anxiety, above all disappointment.
posted by shivohum on Aug 21, 2012 - 7 comments

Judging a book by the cover

Scent of a kitten: the 20 irrefutable theories of book cover design
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 17, 2012 - 33 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

You Can Do Science Too

Citizen science refers to science conducted by average persons, e.g., people who are not full- or part-time professional scientists but nevertheless have a keen interest in scientific inquiry. Citizen Science Center is a resource for books, papers, discussions, and project listings related to citizen science that aims to convince you to get your hands dirty and do science now.
posted by netbros on Aug 14, 2012 - 11 comments

19th Century Prostitution

A Guide to Houses No Gentleman Would Frequent, and more artifacts of history and archaeology that shed some light on the largely-unwritten world of nineteenth-century prostitution in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, and Paris, among other locales. Lest it appear too amusingly salacious, the miserable side.
posted by Miko on Aug 13, 2012 - 5 comments

China Mieville's Railsea - an interview

We are so steeped in the tradition of railways as a single line cutting through the wilderness. But [...] there is a tradition you can tap into that completely inverts what has become the cliché, and focuses instead on branching lines, on sidings, on reversibility and on the breaching of timetables—and you end up with a notion of rails that can be an ineffable symbol of potentiality. I liked the idea of trying to honour that alternative tradition.
But that's all post-facto to the basic gag—and it is a gag—of someone shouting "there she blows!" and it's a mole, not a whale.
BoingBoing interviews China Mieville on his new book, Railsea. [more inside]
posted by rebent on Aug 9, 2012 - 53 comments

The story of OMG seriously?

Katrina Lumsden reads the Fifty Shades of Grey books so you don't have to:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
(contains animated gifs)
posted by Artw on Aug 5, 2012 - 189 comments

An insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering

TED Fellow Evgeny Morozov (previously, previously) calls bullshit on the "increasingly" "simplistic" "anxiety-peddling futurology" surrounding the TED conference in generally and especially the new TED book Hybrid Reality by Ayesha & Parag Khanna. [more inside]
posted by bbuda on Aug 4, 2012 - 54 comments

We read to know we are not alone.

American Photojournalist Steve McCurry has posted a series of photographs of people reading around the world on his blog. He also connects them with quotations on books and reading. McCurry is the photographer of the famous photograph Afghan Girl on National Geographic's cover a few years back. Earlier posts on Metafilter on McCurry include this and this And here is some music to listen to while thinking about books.
posted by Isadorady on Aug 1, 2012 - 6 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

Tea should be hot.

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 29, 2012 - 158 comments

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books catalogs the top ten favorite books of over 140 major authors and growing, including Louis D. Rubin, Jim Harrison, David Foster Wallace, David Leavitt, Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, and many more. Here's the list of books rank-ordered by frequency and here are other lists compiled from the statistics.
posted by shivohum on Jul 28, 2012 - 40 comments

Your adventure ends here. Badly.

YOU CHOSE WRONG. A children's treasury of horrible "choose your own adventure" story endings.
posted by lalex on Jul 22, 2012 - 73 comments

Zakalwe enfranchised;

Guardian Book Club: Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, Week one: John Mullan discusses the twist [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 21, 2012 - 50 comments

The story is about a very very hairy eagle who hangs out with fancy ladies.

"This is about a girl that goes mining. I don’t know why, but she looks like she would go mining, mining for gold. " Judging a Book by its Cover: A 6-Year-Old Guesses What Classic Novels are All About.
posted by Navelgazer on Jul 19, 2012 - 89 comments

Exercise is for non-book-readers!

How To Read A Book takes us through the trials and tribulations of finding reading-time comfort. (SLYT)
posted by vorfeed on Jul 18, 2012 - 27 comments

Turn all book covers into wallpapers

Turn all book covers into wallpapers [via mefi projects] Lovely book cover images from classic novels, remixed with "the most defining quote" from each book.
posted by exceptinsects on Jul 17, 2012 - 15 comments

Including: Clandestine Best-Sellers of the Pre-Revolutionary Era

"The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project uses database technology to map the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794. As the STN sold the works of other publishers alongside its own editions, their archives can be considered a representative source for studying the history of the book trade and dissemination of ideas in the late Enlightenment." [more inside]
posted by Marauding Ennui on Jul 17, 2012 - 5 comments

Auction House

Swann Galleries is Photographs, Posters, Prints & Drawings, Books, Maps, Autographs, and African-American Fine Art. Served daily. Also. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 15, 2012 - 2 comments

"This whole situation may well get uglier before it gets better..."

Bullying & Goodreads: "Little more than a week ago, a website aimed at naming and shaming so-called Goodreads [A kind of facebook for bibliophiles.] ‘bullies’ suddenly appeared online – called, appropriately enough, Stop the GR Bullies. Run by four concerned ‘readers and bloggers’ writing anonymously under the handles Athena, Peter Pan, Johnny Be Good and Stitch, the site thus far seems bent on punishing the creators of snide, snarky and negative book reviews by posting their handles, real names, locations and photos in one place, together with a warning about their supposed ‘level of toxicity’ and some (ironically) snide, snarky and negative commentary about them as people. There’s a lot here to unpack, but before I get started on why this is a horrifically bad idea, let’s start with some basic context."
posted by Fizz on Jul 11, 2012 - 178 comments

"Last Sunday night I spent a good five minutes lying face down on my couch..."

Thank you for killing my novel - A negative review in the NYT sparks a dialogue between an editor there and a fictional character from the book in question. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jul 5, 2012 - 46 comments

Previously owned

"I still buy books faster than I can read them. But this feels completely normal. How weird it would be to have around you only as many books as you have time to read in the rest of your life." Julian Barnes reflects on his life as a bibliophile, the disappearance of secondhand bookshops and the precarious survival of the physical book.
posted by verstegan on Jun 30, 2012 - 89 comments

The frantic career of the eyes

Picturing Books: What do we see when we read? (Other than words on a page.) What do we picture in our minds? A consideration by Knopf's senior designer Peter Mendulsund. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on Jun 27, 2012 - 22 comments

The Viable Zombie

“[...] it took more than a dozen calls to work out the details of her zombie contagion. “After about the 17th time,” says McGuire, “I called and said, ‘If I did this, this, this, this, this, this and this, could I raise the dead?’ And got, ‘Don’t … don’t do that.’ And at that point, I knew I had a viable virus.”
posted by batmonkey on Jun 27, 2012 - 70 comments

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