What are your reading habits and quirks?

Guardian Books - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 10:11

All of us here love books and love can induce some very eccentric and odd behaviour. Share your personal reading habits and quirks

I have this thing that really annoys my sister when I am reading a book. Whenever I visit home, we'll be sitting in the living room, and she'll suddenly yell at me to stop "flicking the page". I know exactly what she means, but I don't realise I'm doing it. I've always done it. I have this habit, see, of stroking it's definitely stroking, or crinkling, not flicking book and magazine pages as I'm reading them. I know, I know. It's weird. I just like the feel of paper, and it helps me concentrate. Um, this is what I mean:

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Thrillers review roundup

Guardian Books - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 09:00
The First Rule of Survival by Paul Mendelson, After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman, The Burden of the Desert by Justin Huggler, The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry, Treachery by SJ Parris

Paul Mendelson's South Africa-set The First Rule of Survival (Constable & Robinson, £7.99) begins with a gag: they haven't yet made CSI: Cape Town, observes senior superintendent Vaughn DeVries, because "they wouldn't have the lab results from the first crime till the series ended". It sets us up for a ramshackle ride. But satire isn't Mendelson's game here, and what DeVries and his team lack in gleaming forensic technology they make up for in cold wisdom. At this sure-footed novel's core is the abduction, in broad daylight and on consecutive days, of three boys a case DeVries had failed to solve in 2007. Now two of them have been found dead, their bodies wrapped in plastic and dumped in a bin, and the race is on to track down the killer and save Boy Three. We may feel like we've met DeVries before, a reaction Mendelson pre-empts when he has a character declare of him, "You're a heavy-drinking, weather-beaten police detective with a broken marriage and anger-management issues." But he plots so smoothly and writes so powerfully that we're too engrossed to care.

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Cliff McNish's top 10 dogs in children's books

Guardian Books - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 08:00
From Best Mate in Michael Morpurgo's Born to Run to Lassie and Toto, author Cliff McNish picks the 10 most memorable hounds in children's fiction.

Read an interview with Cliff McNish by Millennium RIOT readers and JDBookGroup

When I was asked to put together a top 10 list of children's books with amazing dogs the first thing I realised is that mutts in children's fiction have brilliant names. What self-respecting child called Jack or Emily wouldn't really rather be Pongo or Missis Pongo from Dodie Smith's The 101 Dalmations? Or the mashed-up pit-bull from Larry Levin's Oogy? Sure, you can dream about being Spiderman or Batgirl, but why bother when you can be Sam Angus's Rocket in Soldier Dog? You can even go to hell if you want, as boy Conor does with Scrote in Anthony McGowan's Hellbent, proving that even in the afterlife you can have a loyal hound at your side.

Because that's the point, isn't it? Cats are tricksy and fickle, but you can rely on a dog. Which is why it's pretty hard to name five random children's books WITHOUT a dog in them somewhere. Try it.

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History by Richard J Evans review a ruthless, forensic demolition

Guardian Books - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 07:30
Evans's rigorous demolition of what-if? narratives decries counterfactual history as a fundamentally reactionary pursuit

The official pretext for the Russian TV station Dozhd, or TV Rain, being taken off air as part of the Putin regime's recent crackdown on independent media was a counterfactual. A poll asked viewers if it would have been better if the city of Leningrad had surrendered to the Nazis in 1941. If it had, the reasoning goes, its inhabitants might not have endured a horrifying 900-day siege in which more than a million civilians and soldiers died. But as Richard J Evans points out in Altered Pasts, "once you let the counterfactual genie out of the bag, anything can happen". What if the surrender of the USSR's second-largest city had been so catastrophic for morale that the Nazis would then have been able to take Moscow and Stalingrad as well? What if Leningrad had been levelled, like Warsaw or Minsk? Would Hitler even have accepted capitulation? Evans would be horrified by the state censorship of Dozhd, but he might agree that this thought experiment is of little historical value. But for those participating in it, the Dozhd poll may have meant something else freeing themselves from the weight of official history, or offering alternatives outside of an enforced heroic consensus of martyrdom and victory.

At the start of Altered Pasts, Evans talks about his initial "allergic reaction" to counterfactuals, and in part his essay is an attempt to explain this aversion, to delve into a peculiar form of historical fantasy and to take its claims seriously. Its main ancestors, he argues, are the idle, facetious ponderings of bored conservative historians in interwar England. In If It Had Happened Otherwise, a 1932 collection of essays edited by British Union of Fascists sympathiser John Collings Squire, you could find speculations on a Soviet Britain resulting from the TUC winning the 1926 general strike; Lord Byron as King of Greece; Winston Churchill on how a Confederate victory in the American civil war would have created "a union of the English-speaking peoples"; and GK Chesterton musing on how great everything would have been if England had stayed Catholic. It's reactionary fantasy with a vengeance. And despite the attempts of later historians including Daniel Snowman and Niall Ferguson to bring in some rules and rigour, that is how it has stayed since "rather than 'what if', it's really little more than 'if only'".

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Kamila Shamsie on the best novels about archaeologists

Telegraph - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 07:00
From The English Patient to Murder in Mesopotamia, novelist Kamila Shamsie picks the tales she really digs






Categories: News Feed

Wordstorm: a crucible of ideas to inspire Northern Territory writers

Guardian Books - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 01:22

Darwin books festival aims to bring together local and national authors to debate race, the web, writing and the media

Writing comes to the fore in Darwin next month when the Northern Territory Writers Centres biennial Wordstorm writers festival takes place. A three-day feast of local and visiting literary talent, it offers a thoughtful thematic framework for engaging with the current literary landscape, one which still holds a place for the printed word but which is also immersed in the digital realm. Overseeing Wordstorm is Panos Couros, executive director of the NT Writers Centre, and heading into his first such festival at the helm.

Unlike past Wordstorm festival directors, Couros is not a writer. His own artistic background is in sound, film and performance, along with management roles at the Darwin festival, the Sydney-based Casula Powerhouse and Mardi Gras film festival. He says he tried to make "a point of difference" between Wordstorm and other writers' festivals. Most, he says, start off with the writers: "Its the particular identity of this or that writer that counts. I started off with ideas, and then matched those ideas with appropriate writers."

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Don’t Take a Selfie Next to a Moving Train

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 21:24

Here’s good advice for those seeking to impress friends with selfies taken next to moving trains: don’t do it. As demonstrated in this video, the selfie-taker was kicked in the head by a wise, disciplinarian train conductor. He’s lucky he’s not dead.

Don’t forget about this great selfie video depicting dangerous selfie scenarios. We told you so?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed

eBooks’ Interactive Features Are Not Always Helpful for Reading Comprehension

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 20:16

Research from Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar of West Chester University are pointing to troublesome features of eBooks – mainly that they provide too much stimulation without enough reading compression.

While some books such as Miss Spider’s Tea Party, provide positive reinforcing stimulants, such as the sound of tea drinking- others, like Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure,  simply distract children with gimmicky features of moving objects and disconnected sounds. continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed

Five perfect books for men who never read

Guardian Books - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 19:28
Just under a third of the male population don't read books, says a Reading Agency survey. Here are five man-friendly page-turners they might enjoy anyway
Looking for more inspiration? Here are the 100 greatest novels of all time

Nearly 30% of men have not read a book since school, according to a survey commissioned for World Book Night, an annual event that hopes to change their ways. The reasons men don't read are varied, but "not really wanting to" seems to be the main one. However, if you are a man or know one who might agree to try just one book for the hell of it, these are my guaranteed-no-regrets recommendations.

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Hilary Mantel says political debate has been replaced by abuse and bullying

Guardian Books - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 19:18
Writer reveals campaign of hate she had to endure after a public lecture she gave on the commodification of royalty

Serious political debate and activism seem to have been replaced by nasty abuse and bullying, the writer Hilary Mantel said as she revealed the hate campaign she endured after a public lecture she gave last year.

Mantel's Royal Bodies lecture for the London Review of Books explored the commodification of royalty across centuries.

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Wireless Companies Providing Voluntary Anti-Theft Tool for New Smartphones in 2015

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 19:10

Today, CTIA and participating wireless carriers announced major anti-theft protection for new smartphones, starting in July of 2015. The voluntary program , which includes participation from major carriers such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

New smartphones manufactured after July 15, 2014 will feature remote wipe and other methods of rendering the device inoperable to thieves. continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed

Goodreads syncs with Amazon purchases, Lee Boudreaux to start Little, Brown imprint, and more

Quill & Quire Blog - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 17:26
Categories: News Feed

Colm Tóibín: how I wrote Mary's story

Telegraph - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 17:00
How Colm Toibin made Mary 'uncompromising'






Categories: News Feed

‘Family Guy’ Joins the Top Free Android Apps List This Week

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 16:00

Facebook is still leading the top free list on Google Play, but we’ve got some newcomers to the top ten list that are worth mentioning. First up, Family Guy –  my favorite TV show in the known universe. The game is free and fun, especially if you are really into epic chicken battles.

There’s also Cut the Rope 2 at #10, a follow up to Cut the Rope. If you like crushing candy and being addicted to games, this app is for you.

Below, we’ve listed the top free Android apps of the week as well as videos to the two new apps. The list links to Google Play’s research about the individual apps, including user reviews.

We spotlight the top free apps every week–helping our readers discover, enjoy and analyze successful content. continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed

‘The Girl Behind the Door’ is Today’s Free eBook

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 15:00

The Girl Behind The Door: A Father’s Journey Into The Mystery Of Attachment - is today’s free Kindle download from writer John Brooks. The memoir follows a father’s journey to understanding his adopted daughter’s tragic suicide:

A Marin County, California father embarks on a journey to understand what led his seventeen-year-old daughter, Casey, to take her life. He travels back to her abandonment at birth and adoption from a Polish orphanage at fourteen months, through her happy childhood and her turbulent adolescence, searching for answers. In most respects, Casey was a perfectly normal girl – beautiful, smart and popular, accepted at an elite college. But she also had troubling behaviors that no one understood, including mental health professionals.  continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed

The 100 best novels: Help!

Guardian Books - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 14:15
As our list reaches the 20th century, the field of landmark books gets ever broader, which will likely mean much more debate. Whom should I choose?

This week, with The Red Badge of Courage, my list of 100 great novels in the English language, in chronological order, is almost one third complete, with a growing weekly readership that's approaching 200,000.

Each week since we started the project last year, I've found that there's always a steady percentage of my readers who a) viscerally hate it (Sunburst, for instance), b) despise it (hertfordbridge), or c) misunderstand it. failsworthpole stands for many here.

Continue reading...






Categories: News Feed

Scientists Can Use Your Hot Body to Generate Electricity for Wearable Devices

eBookNewser - Wed, 16/04/2014 - 14:00

A research team from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have found a way to print thermoelectric materials onto flexible, glass fabric. This fabric is actually a miniature generator, capable of harnessing your body’s heat and converting it into usable energy to charge your mobile, wearable devices.

Byung Jin Cho, professor of electrical engineering at KAIST : continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Categories: News Feed
Syndicate content