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.
The Suck Fairy. "The Suck Fairy is an artefact of re-reading. If you read a book for the first time and it sucks, it’s nothing to do with her. It just sucks. Some books do. The Suck Fairy comes in when you come back to a book that you liked when you read it before, and on re-reading—well, it sucks. You can say that you have changed, you can hit your forehead dramatically and ask yourself how you could possibly have missed the suckiness the first time—or you can say that the Suck Fairy has been through while the book was sitting on the shelf and inserted the suck." [Via]
Arthur's Classic Novels has 4000 free ebooks, no registration, nicely organized by author and topics: great old Science Fiction magazines l plentiful online education with 650 books for doctors l a vast collection of famous novels l short stories l by women l Buddhist Scriptures, including The Buddhist Bible, a fave of Jack Kerouac l magazines online l stories by Robert Sheckley l The Autobiography of Charles Darwin l huge collection of fairy tales l philosophy l P. G. Wodehouse l vintage technology l Oscar Wilde l Mark Twain l Rudyard Kipling l George MacDonald l the Koran l a collection of eText resource links. About Arthur Wendover. [more inside]
Sitting, lying or standing: what's the pole position for reading? Both the Guardian and Abebooks want to know? AbeBooks wonders if it's weird to read lying on your stomach?
Modern drinking games are often crafted around movies or television, leaving dry those with literary ambitions. Now you avid readers can get in on the fun! (via) [more inside]
Five Books claims to make you an instant expert, which it may or may not. What it does do is interview an important thinker every day about a topic, and have them select five books on the subject. The results are often eccentric and usually fascinating. Some samples: Rebecca Goldstein on reason's limitations; John Timoney on policing; Calvin Trillin on memoirs, Marcus du Sautoy on the beauty of math, Judith Herrin on Byzantium, Jonathan Haidt on happiness, and lots more, including five books on puppeteering, Nabokov, books for kids, moral philosophy, video games, terrorism, the enemies of Ancient Rome, and cookbooks.
War of the words - Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world. These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life. cf. near-future science fiction [1,2] & radical presentism  (via mr)
The writer has—has been stricken with the—the passion and beauty of life, the world, and a—a demon-driven need to—to express that, to put it down on paper or cut it into marble or into music, and with that foreknowledge that he has only a limited time to do it, he may be dead tomorrow—he's got to do it all while he can still breathe, and it's a—a desire, a need, to put the whole history of the human heart into any and every word, every paragraph that he writes, and the obscurity comes from a belief which I hold, that—that there is no such thing as "was."In the late 1950s William Faulkner was writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia. Extensive recordings of readings, reflections, and classes are now online. NPR summarizes. [more inside]
Why are so many recent Young Adult novels set in nightmarish futuristic dystopias? Because they're just like high school. [more inside]
Last August (2009), the "ephemeral artists" of Nothing Happened Here staged a mobile public reading event, meandering around the town of San Luis Obispo, CA with The Reading Chair, and a group of folks reading a variety of stories, poems and tales. The group has planned Typing in Public to take place tomorrow (May 15, 2010), in the same little town. The event is primarily focused on people writing on typewriters around town, but people can also share comments via Twitter, Flickr, or texting the event coordinators. To spark some inspiration, the group has received submissions from a variety of people, including Gerald Casale for Devo, Paul Frommer writing in Na'vi (with translation to English), Dr. James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, writing on the library as the poster child of the it revolution, and plenty more. [more inside]
On the ethics of illegally downloading e-books; a Teleread essay full of interesting links about these modern e-reading times. Inspired in part by this New York Times Ethicist column, and brought to my attention by this ask.metafilter question.
Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Daily readings (and podcasts) from the Complete Corpus of Anglo Saxon Poetry, presented by Prof. Michael Drout, Wheaton College. For those that like to read along, the Corpus presented in text (no translation, though).
Picture Book Report is an extended love-song to books. Fifteen illustrators will reach out to their favorite books and create wonderful pieces of art in response to the text that has moved them, shaped them, or excited them. From sci-fi to children’s books to fantasy to serious novels, we’ll cover them all. For three weeks out of every month there will be a new illustration every day from one of us along with our thoughts, process, anything we can come up with. Together we will try to excite readers both new and old and capture some of that magic of storytelling.. [more inside]
"It's simply very easy to subordinate oneself to a worldview that's supportive of one's own interests."
A reading by Wallace Shawn: "I like to be reminded of these poor people, the 'unobtrusives', and then, I like to be reminded of my lack of interest in them." [C-SPAN video player] (Previously: 1, 2) [more inside]
This is what the cultural elite wants us to believe: if our writers don't make sense, or bore us to tears, that can only mean that we aren't worthy of them. [more inside]
"Meanwhile, down in Vaginaland, Mr Condom's beginning to feel a bit iffy. He's overheating. For some reason, the shagging seems to be twice as fast this evening, and he grimaces as he gets flung willy-nilly in and out of the pink tunnel. He starts getting friction burns, hanging onto Bobby's stiff penis for dear life, headbutting Georgie's cervix at 180 beats per minute. 'Help me!' he yells in the darkness, feeling himself melting."
This year's worst sex. [NSFW or post-turkey family reading] [more inside]
This year's worst sex. [NSFW or post-turkey family reading] [more inside]
Spreeder is a free speed-reading training tool. Paste in your desired text, tell it how many words per minute, and hit play. [more inside]
Nina Sankovitch is about to finish reading a book a day for a year. She not only reads them, she reviews them too. "You can’t go from ‘Little Bee,’ by Chris Cleave, which is about this young woman who witnesses torture and herself is a victim of abuse in Nigeria — a really great book, but you’re just crying or your stomach is clenched — to another book like it the next day,” she said. “If I read a book like that every day, I would have collapsed a long time ago.” Other 365 day projects have included this, this, and this.
Whether you grew up checking out books like Louis the Fish and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie from the library every week, or you just know Steve Horlick's iconic theme song, you're probably familiar with Reading Rainbow, which ends its 26-year run today. [more inside]
The brain's plasticity has some neuroscientists worried about what the internet will do to reading - and to humanity. [more inside]
I've just finished reading ____________. Type in the name of the book you've just finished, and The Book Seer will provide recommendations for your next read.
It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
Readernaut. Share your reading experience by writing notes, tracking progress, and engaging in meaningful discussions with friends.
A guide to Storyreading. "For over ten years now, various friends and I have been getting together on occasion to read stories aloud to each other. This activity—graced with the unlovely but utilitarian name "story reading"—can be a great deal of fun, but can also be rife with pitfalls of various sorts. This guide is an attempt to help others to run story readings. Note that reading stories is different from—and, generally, much easier than—telling stories; while people do occasionally tell stories at these gatherings (and it usually goes over well), that's not the primary emphasis...The origins of our approach to story readings are lost in the mists of antiquity. The idea may have sprung fully-fledged from a conversation I had with DH about a Delany essay called "On Pure Storytelling"; or it may've been derived from MK's reading The Princess Bride aloud, which in turn may've been inspired by folks at Yale who were doing much the same thing. Whatever the history, it's clear that other groups—notably one in Boston—have been having similar sorts of readings for at least as long as we have." [more inside]
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.
Readability is a wonderful bookmarklet that strips away all the surrounding cruft on a page so you can focus on the content.
"... many critics and editors, especially male ones, make a fetish of "ambition," by which they mean the contemporary equivalent of novels about men in boats ("Moby-Dick," "Huckleberry Finn") rather than women in houses ("House of Mirth"), and that as a result big novels by male writers get treated as major events while slender but equally accomplished books by women tend to make a smaller splash." [more inside]
John Updike died, have you read his books? Who has time where there are a 1000 novels to read yet! James Delingpole argues that it is impossible - and unnecessary - to grapple with every 'must read' of the literary canon. [more inside]
People of the Screen : "Digital literacy’s advocates increasingly speak of replacing, rather than supplementing, print literacy. What is “reading” anyway, they ask, in a multimedia world like ours? We are increasingly distractible, impatient, and convenience-obsessed—and the paper book just can’t keep up. Shouldn’t we simply acknowledge that we are becoming people of the screen, not people of the book?"
Need a little Tolstoy while you're waiting in line? How about some Mark Twain on the subway? Booksinmyphone puts - surprise! - books in your phone, for free.
Something for a kid you know, or your own inner child. Speakaboos offers online stories with the written word below the illustrations, as if read from a book: fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folk tales, lullabies. You can watch the stories without registering. You will have to sign-up (for free) for the future function of recording your own "that will allow kids and parents to record their own voices reading (or singing!) their favorite story, song, or nursery rhyme." Christmas stories. [more inside]
New York Magazine? Popular Science? The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists? Ebony? Every issue, every page, back into the mists of history. [more inside]
It happened to Clifford. It happened to Little Bear. It happened to Harold and his Purple Crayon, and Curious George. Now, Moe Greene productions presents, Nate the Great. I don't want to begrudge my favorite children's book authors a fat paycheck, BUT... [more inside]
EduChoices offers some good free stuff online: 25 Places to Read Free Books Online l 50 Online Writing Websites for New Writers l Ranking of 20 Universities that Offer Free Courses Online (with links to the free courses), as well as information about university courses etc. l Great Reference Sites Other Than Wikipedia l Free Linux Tutorials for Beginners l Useful Online Calculators For Almost Every Educational and Life Need. [more inside]
Online Literacy Is a Lesser Kind. Testing shows people "read" online text much differently than printed text. [more inside]
Last weekend, (22-24 August 2008) saw the fantastic Reading Festival take place (dodgy timeline). Emerging from the National Jazz Festival in 1961, it mutated into the National Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival festival in the 70s, and on into the eclectic festival it is today. My personal faves were 1989 and 1992, but the best moment was seeing Meatloaf bottled off stage in 1988! Due to the combined force of the BBC and the interwebs, most of this year's performances - many complete - are available online for your delictation... [more inside]
What book got you hooked? For Scarlett Johansson, it was Fantastic Mr. Fox. For Stephen Colbert, it was Swiss Family Robinson. Neil Patrick Harris? Bridge to Terebithia. And it was Franny and Zooey for Ira Glass. These and dozens of other celebs have shared their answer to this question with First Book, a charity that has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books to children to spur their interest in reading. What book got you hooked? (Via the always fantastic Get Rich Slowly)
Humiliation: Which book are you most embarrassed to admit that you have never read? Several "respectable" authors answer the question at the Ways With Words festival. (single-link Telegraph post)