It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
Recent research on children. (1) Brothers and sisters who argue a lot can improve their language, social skills and outcomes: Guardian article; paper on part of the research (pdf). (2) First findings from Understanding Society. Conclusions include: the unhappiness of children’s mothers with their partners affect children’s happiness, but this is not the case if children’s fathers are unhappy in their relationships; having older brothers or sisters doesn’t appear to affect children’s happiness, but having younger brothers or sisters is associated with less happiness; not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation. (3) A longitudinal study on people now in their forties has found that for these people reading is linked to career success, though not necessarily to better pay, whilst playing computer games and doing no other activities was associated with less likelihood of going to university. In particular, those who owned a ZX Spectrum or Commodore C64 were less likely to go to university. thinq interview with researcher. Guardian article. Telegraph article. (4) Poll about children’s attitudes to losing in sport. Press release. Data from children’s survey. Data from parents’ survey. (All three are PDFs.)
One million books will be given away for free in the UK & Ireland as part of World Book Night. Any adult can apply to receive a box of 48 copies of their favorite from a list of 25 titles, by the likes of John le Carre and Toni Morrison, and give them away as they please. The ambition is to roll out the idea worldwide in future years if it proves a success in the UK.
You say Orwell, Tolstoy and Joyce, but actually it's Rowling and Grisham... Anyway if you are a chap, just make sure you put away that Clarkson before your date arrives.