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Author Topic: Books in the News  (Read 1191 times)

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September 27, 2014, 09:07:09 AM

paint it Black

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:hermionelibrary:


If you are reading this, you've likely discovered the joy that books and reading add to your life, and you are not alone.  :hermioneread:  Millions of people have discovered ways to make literature a part of their lives, and sometimes in rather interesting ways that attract the attention of the media.  This topic is for the discussion of news items related to the world of books.  If you'd like to share such a story and are referencing a particular article in your post, please provide a link to it so we can all have a look.  :nod:


I'll start us off with this one...

The Discussion Station is not the only one having a birthday this week!  September 21 is also the 112th anniversary the birth of Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books.  In 1934, Penguin popularized the use of a paperback format for more serious, quality books; previously paperbacks were a form of cheap, lurid entertainment that no respectable person would be seen reading in public.  :o  And Lane came upon this idea while seeking quality reading material at a railway station, so he's our kind of guy!  :thumbup:  Did you know that for a time Penguin books were sold from a vending machine known as a "Penguincubator"?  :lol:

So what do you think, might there still be a market for a book vending machine?  Do you (or have you) read and enjoy Penguin books?


In other book/railway news... US train service Amtrak has chosen to sponsor 24 writers for a residency aboard their long-distance trains:typing:  Does traveling by train inspire you to write, or to read a particular type of book during your journey?


And yet more book news...  Author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale, among others) has agreed to write a work of fiction that few people alive today will ever read, for this reason: it will not be published for another 100 years.  As part of the Future Library Project, one author per year will contribute to a closeted collection that will only be available to read starting in 2114.  At that time, the forest of 1,000 trees that were planted earlier this year in Nordmarka, Norway will be harvested for the paper on which the stories will be printed.  The only requirement of the authors is that their work be on the theme of imagination and time.

So what do you think: If you were an author, would you write a work that no one would read in your lifetime?  Do you agree with Atwood that people might need some help 100 years from now to translate what she's written into the language of that era?  If you were alive in 2114 would you like to read these books?  Any other thoughts?




Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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September 27, 2014, 08:24:03 PM
Reply #1

Dreamteam

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"Penguincubator" love it [/size][size=78%]  :))  there can't be many readers out there who have never read a Penguin book or the children's version, Puffin so we do owe Allen Lane our thanks.   :reading:


I rarely travel by train but I did use the bus to and from work every day until I retired and that was one of my main places for reading and, as anyone who knows me can testify, I'll read just about anything so I don't choose a particular genre to read when travelling. 


What an interesting project to write books for future generations to read rather than us and to wait until the pages have grown before printing on them although it does feel just a little frustrating to a bibliophile, it's like seeing all the gifts wrapped under the tree but knowing you'll never be able to open them. I'm sure that when they are published readers will have no problem with the language any more than we have when reading Dickens or Austen - ok Shakespeare can have it's challenges but we can usually get through with perseverance and his work goes much further back than 100 years.  It must surely also be frustrating for the authors who will not know how well their work is received by their readers.  Hmm.  [/size]

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October 06, 2014, 12:12:36 AM
Reply #2

paint it Black

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"Penguincubator" love it   :))  there can't be many readers out there who have never read a Penguin book or the children's version, Puffin so we do owe Allen Lane our thanks.   :reading:

I agree; many times when I get a classic from the library it is a Penguin edition, and I've not been disappointed with the quality of them.  :)

What an interesting project to write books for future generations to read rather than us and to wait until the pages have grown before printing on them although it does feel just a little frustrating to a bibliophile, it's like seeing all the gifts wrapped under the tree but knowing you'll never be able to open them. I'm sure that when they are published readers will have no problem with the language any more than we have when reading Dickens or Austen - ok Shakespeare can have it's challenges but we can usually get through with perseverance and his work goes much further back than 100 years.  It must surely also be frustrating for the authors who will not know how well their work is received by their readers.  Hmm.

I wonder if this project isn't best suited for a more mature author.  If I were a young author I think it would really frustrate me to not know what people thought of my work, and I might also feel dissatisfied that some of my my least-evolved work (assuming that I was to have a long writing career) was what was going to be preserved for a century.  An experienced writer with a lot of work under his or her belt might be more relaxed about these things.  I agree with you though that readers a century from now would certainly have an interest in these work/s, and probably won't have that much trouble interpreting their language.


Some more book news for you....

If you own an e-reader, by now you've probably adapted to the differences between reading a paper book and that displayed on your portable screen, and have few troubles reading a book in either format,  But did you know that your brain may not be interpreting the text in the same way?  Several studies linked to in this article infer that when we read from a screen, we have more trouble staying focused on the subject than when we do when reading from a paper page.  Blame social media and the format of a typical web page, with information sometimes delivered in 140 characters or less and information constantly flashing in the margins.  The theory is that when one reads from a screen, their brain is expecting these distractions, and as a result doesn't engage as fully with the written content.  In your experience, is there any truth to this?  Do you find any differences in comprehension between what you've read on paper and that on an electronic device?  Do you think these studies are valid or do you disagree with their findings or their methods?

This article in Scientific American touches on similar ideas, while also addressing how one connects in a sensory way with a paper book versus an e-reader.  For example, a page of text on an electronic device is purely virtual; it disappears once one is finished reading it and moves on.  So, one might recall that a memorable passage in a paper book was located on the left-hand side of their book at the end of the page with a stain on it, but an e-reader has no left or right side page, or any real, tangible page at all.  Plus, with a paper book one can actually see the physical size of the tome that they are reading, and how much of it remains of it to be read.  An e-reader remains the same size, whatever you are reading.  E-readers seem to have been evolving to re-create many of these paper book features, and the article also touches on why this should be so; why should we not embrace e-reading as its own entity?  Any thoughts on this?   :hmm:


Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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October 07, 2014, 05:57:20 PM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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I was totally intrigued by these articles you cited. I am one who thought I could not read well on an e-reader, but out of necessity switched because I was reading myself out of the house, i.e. I had books everywhere!  I do agree though that if I want to really delve into a book - I buy the hard copy. I also know that I don't retain what I have read nearly as well on the e-reader as I do with a physical book. I have found that if I do highlight phrases in the e-reader and keep a tab on those things I think interesting, I can scan the book better and get more out of the text. I am wondering though that as younger people use more and more e-reader technology, their brains will adapt a lot faster and they will be able to have similar recollection ability and comprehension that is now seen with physical books. If I have learned one thing over the years it is that the brain network has a plasticity to it that allows the brain to rewire and adapt to new challenges. Over time our brains will adapt to this new way of receiving information.
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October 15, 2014, 09:53:09 PM
Reply #4

Dreamteam

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I don't feel that I concentrate any less with an e-reader than I do with a paper book.   I have two e-readers, one is an old Kindle and one is a Kindle Fire HD which I love because it is much more than a collection of e-books and I use it every day for the web, reading, games, etc but one thing it doesn't have (the old Kindle did) and which I miss is a Search function on books and that's really annoying.  I do like that if I come across a word I don't know I can call up a definition without having to find a dictionary (not easy during a commute, for instance) and I also like that it will fit into my bag and holds an unbelievable number of books so that I can go on holiday and not run out of reading material.  I do get a page count/percentage throughout the e-books so I don't find it difficult to keep track of how much I've read.  I still love paper books and buy them when the paper copy is cheaper than the e-copy (surely all e-copies should be cheaper considering the reduced overheads in production?), I also like to put a couple of post it notes inside the cover of whodunnits to list the characters and how they relate, etc which doesn't feel quite the same with notemaking for e-books.  So, I love e-readers and paper books which both have a place in my reading but concentration isn't a deciding factor when it comes to deciding which to buy. 

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October 19, 2014, 08:25:09 AM
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paint it Black

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I do not own an e-reader, but I can say that I do dislike reading books on my pc, and partly for just those reasons mentioned in the article.  Most of my online reading is of news and other articles of interest, and I am free to jump between sites if an idea strikes me and I want to look up something, or to check my email on occasion.  Therefore when I read a book on the pc, I am still glancing at any tabs that I have open and checking email, etc.  I realize that I would not have these distractions on an e-reader, but I fear I would have a similar experience of divided focus.  :surprised: The other reason I don't like reading books on the pc is that I just prefer getting cozy on the couch to do my reading, and sitting at a desk is just not the same.

Not so much book news but a book topic....

In this interview with NPR, Peter Mendelsund discusses his process as a designer of book covers.  He's just released a book of hundreds of his favorites from his designs, including some very recognizable ones such as that from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Are you susceptible to being drawn in to a book by an interesting cover?  Can you recall any particularly memorable book covers that really captured the essence of the book for you?  If you had the talent to do so, do you think you would enjoy being a book cover designer?  :lunaquibbler:

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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October 19, 2014, 03:11:02 PM
Reply #6

Evreka

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And yet more book news...  Author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale, among others) has agreed to write a work of fiction that few people alive today will ever read, for this reason: it will not be published for another 100 years.  As part of the Future Library Project, one author per year will contribute to a closeted collection that will only be available to read starting in 2114.  At that time, the forest of 1,000 trees that were planted earlier this year in Nordmarka, Norway will be harvested for the paper on which the stories will be printed.  The only requirement of the authors is that their work be on the theme of imagination and time.

So what do you think: If you were an author, would you write a work that no one would read in your lifetime?  Do you agree with Atwood that people might need some help 100 years from now to translate what she's written into the language of that era?  If you were alive in 2114 would you like to read these books?  Any other thoughts?
This makes me think primarily of two very different things:

Some years ago when I visited one of the many castles in Sweden I learned that one of our queens, who was very interested in literature, wrote often during her lifetime. When she died she left behind a lot of letters, a life-long diary and some other written material. She also left behind instructions that her works should be locked away for a long period, probably around 70 years, before anyone was allowed to read them. I am fairly sure this was Queen Victoria 1862 - 1930, although this may be wrong.  Regardless, there was a lot of interest from historians and people interested in littrature when this period came to a close and the archive was opened. Some people began reading the words she left behind and eventually concluded that it was of little interest.

In the case of a queen I can sort of see why she wanted to prevent her contemporaries to gloat into her personal writings and possibly also spare her family any humiliation from her attempts at literature, if it would fail. But in general I think it is hard to write anything today and have a hope of striking such cords that the work will be appreciated a long time into the future. I also fail to see the reason why this project would not spread the works today, if the books are truly great literature they might survive a century the way Austen's and Dicken's and Shakespeare's works have  survived so far. Why thrust untested litterature from a long forgotten foggy past upon the people who lives a hundred years from now? What say they will be interested?  :what:

The other thing it reminds me of, is a decision made in the 16th (or possibly 17th) century, by a King who needed good oak wood to build ships with and had trouble getting it. He gave order to plant a huge amount of oaks that was going to be left alone to grow for 400 years. At some point during the last 50 years these trees were ready to "harvest" and a letter is believed to have been sent to our current King, informing him of this... For obvious reasons, this grand plan did not work out as planned...

What is there to suggest that in 100 years people will even use trees to print books on any more?  :hmm: This whole project seem like someone has thought too far ahead, I think.


"Penguincubator" love it   :))  there can't be many readers out there who have never read a Penguin book or the children's version, Puffin so we do owe Allen Lane our thanks.   :reading:
I agree; many times when I get a classic from the library it is a Penguin edition, and I've not been disappointed with the quality of them.  :)
In my home too, we have lots of old Penguin books.


What an interesting project to write books for future generations to read rather than us and to wait until the pages have grown before printing on them although it does feel just a little frustrating to a bibliophile, it's like seeing all the gifts wrapped under the tree but knowing you'll never be able to open them. I'm sure that when they are published readers will have no problem with the language any more than we have when reading Dickens or Austen - ok Shakespeare can have it's challenges but we can usually get through with perseverance and his work goes much further back than 100 years.  It must surely also be frustrating for the authors who will not know how well their work is received by their readers.  Hmm.
I wonder if this project isn't best suited for a more mature author.  If I were a young author I think it would really frustrate me to not know what people thought of my work, and I might also feel dissatisfied that some of my my least-evolved work (assuming that I was to have a long writing career) was what was going to be preserved for a century.  An experienced writer with a lot of work under his or her belt might be more relaxed about these things.  I agree with you though that readers a century from now would certainly have an interest in these work/s, and probably won't have that much trouble interpreting their language.
But what if you read these books in the future and you are left with questions for the author? How frustrating....  :annoyed:  ;)
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October 26, 2014, 07:55:49 PM
Reply #7

Evreka

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If you own an e-reader, by now you've probably adapted to the differences between reading a paper book and that displayed on your portable screen, and have few troubles reading a book in either format,  But did you know that your brain may not be interpreting the text in the same way?  Several studies linked to in this article infer that when we read from a screen, we have more trouble staying focused on the subject than when we do when reading from a paper page.  Blame social media and the format of a typical web page, with information sometimes delivered in 140 characters or less and information constantly flashing in the margins.  The theory is that when one reads from a screen, their brain is expecting these distractions, and as a result doesn't engage as fully with the written content.  In your experience, is there any truth to this?  Do you find any differences in comprehension between what you've read on paper and that on an electronic device?  Do you think these studies are valid or do you disagree with their findings or their methods?
Now, I've only read the article you link to, and not followed the links within it. But from my own personal horizon, I am dubious. Thanks to a little wizard that charmed me hook, line and zink on a silver screen over a decade ago, I have spent hours upon hours reading posts on various forums and communities for more than 12 years on a daily or sometimes weekly fashion. While they compare E-readers and books, I assume any kind of screen reading goes on the same "page"? Further, I work as a software developer in real life, and so I do almost all of my work in front of a screen, where concentration, analysing and logic is key. So, no, I don't think I skip around while reading on a screen.

On the other hand... I tend to from time to time write long posts, I hate reading anything whatsoever on my phone due to its small screen, I don't have a twitter account and I (next to) never use Facebook. So maybe I'm not the average screen reader, and have never developed the skipping around reading style, at least not as much as others?  :crabbegoyle:

In fact, I think I might skip around more in an ordinary book - which I miss doing on an E-reader. Particularly I like to skim through the pages I have already read whenever something I read now make me think of something specific that I've already read. This is much harder to do in an E-book - partly because you can't find it as easily by browsing, partly because you can't very well search unless it's a re-read or you might find results further on in the book, which just could ruin it.

Also, when chapters are longer I like to skip ahead in a real book (without reading) to find the next stop in the text. This is a way to see where I can next stop reading and consider it in relation to how much more time it will take to get there. My Kindle marks how far away the next chapter is, with a marking system that works better on the relatively short books, than longer ones. However, it doesn't mark at all the stops that are within a chapter, and this is something that I miss.

For example, a page of text on an electronic device is purely virtual; it disappears once one is finished reading it and moves on.  So, one might recall that a memorable passage in a paper book was located on the left-hand side of their book at the end of the page with a stain on it, but an e-reader has no left or right side page, or any real, tangible page at all. 
Normally when we read a book we start from the beginning and read chapter 1, 2, 3... and when the book start a new chapter on top of a new page (Or roughly at the same height anyway) it means the subsequent pages usually starts and ends with the same text as they did on your last read, at least as long as you use only one e-reader. So while you can not remember that it was near the start or in the middle, you might remember that it is near the top of a page, for instance.

However, if you go back to a previous page instead, the text has moved! Forward from a chapter start means the last page of that chapter ends where the text of that chapter finished, which might leave half the page blank. But if I go back to that same page from the chapter after, the last page of the previous chapter will be filled with text, and if you keep going back the first page might not start on the usual height as it starts, as this is now determined from that the chapters last page was full! This I find very irritating.   >:(

I understand the problem of the e-reader, but it doesn't help.


I do like that if I come across a word I don't know I can call up a definition without having to find a dictionary (not easy during a commute, for instance)
Yeah, that's a very handy thing! Also it sometimes is a bit smarter than a dictionary. It sometimes recognizes a verb form that would be impossible to look up without knowing the base form, like if you read wrote you have to know it's explained under write. Very handy when you read on a language other than your own.  :thumbup:


I also like to put a couple of post it notes inside the cover of whodunnits to list the characters and how they relate, etc which doesn't feel quite the same with notemaking for e-books. 
This is something I miss as well. For instance my HP books, and factual books to an even larger extent, looks like hedgehogs with post-it notes in different colours poking out! The under liner in an e-book only comes in one colour (grey) so you can't colour code your notes.  :(

This is not a matter of not learning a new system for things as much as it is a functionality lost in the e-readers, so far... Maybe they'll solve it with time...  :hermioneread:
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 08:14:01 PM by Evreka »
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November 07, 2014, 06:46:57 PM
Reply #8

paint it Black

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I'm guessing that for me, the e-reader studies are valid; this despite the fact that I do not own an e-reader. :ashamed: Much of the content that I read on the computer is in the form of short articles, and I find that even when a book download is available to me, I do not enjoy reading it on my pc.  I am guilty of checking my email, etc. from time to time when I am surfing the interwebs and browsing news sites, and having those tabs open and visible could possibly be distracting me from engaging more deeply with longer written material.  I know that these tabs won't be on an e-reader, but I think I still might be vulnerable to a lack of focus on electronic text just from my pc habits.


Another literary topic for you...  In the "Never say you've seen everything" department... Since 2008, New York City has been home to The Poetry Brothel, where customers pay $10 to enter a world where poetry is pimped out like sexual favors.  Guests are offered "a full bar, live jazz, burlesque dancers, painters, and fortune-tellers, with newly integrated themes, performances and installations at each event."  And of course, poetry readings.  For an extra fee, a costumed "poetry whore", each of whom has their own stage name and persona, takes you into a private room and reads you whatever type of their poetry you choose.  According to this article in The Guardian, the "madam" of the establishment finds a connection between poetry and sex work in that they are both a way to privately share an intimate experience.  So what do you think?  Is this an interesting way for struggling poets to make a few extra dollars?  Is it an intriguing new form of theatre?  Does it demean poets in any way to equate their art with prostitution?  Would you ever consider participating in something like this, either as a guest or as a poet?

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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November 27, 2014, 10:42:40 PM
Reply #9

Dreamteam

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Another literary topic for you...  In the "Never say you've seen everything" department... Since 2008, New York City has been home to The Poetry Brothel, where customers pay $10 to enter a world where poetry is pimped out like sexual favors.  Guests are offered "a full bar, live jazz, burlesque dancers, painters, and fortune-tellers, with newly integrated themes, performances and installations at each event."  And of course, poetry readings.  For an extra fee, a costumed "poetry whore", each of whom has their own stage name and persona, takes you into a private room and reads you whatever type of their poetry you choose.  According to this article in The Guardian, the "madam" of the establishment finds a connection between poetry and sex work in that they are both a way to privately share an intimate experience.  So what do you think?  Is this an interesting way for struggling poets to make a few extra dollars?  Is it an intriguing new form of theatre?  Does it demean poets in any way to equate their art with prostitution?  Would you ever consider participating in something like this, either as a guest or as a poet?
What do I think?  Well it's taken me a few minutes to get beyond being speechless,  :))   I can't see how it would help struggling poets if each "poetry whore" reads poetry chosen by the customer, the customer would need to be familiar with a piece of work in order to be able to choose it.  I can't believe that anyone would seriously equate it with the more "traditional" form of prostitution but then I found it difficult to believe in the whole concept to begin with (I did have to read it twice) and it seems to be, as you suggest, paint it Black, a new form of theatre with a twist to make it stand out from the crowd and get itself noticed.  I don't think I'd be willing to take part either as a poet (my poetry wouldn't get far beyond "the cat sat on the mat") or as a guest because I doubt very much I could get through it and keep my face straight, which may not be appreciated. 

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November 28, 2014, 04:28:46 AM
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Evreka

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Another literary topic for you...  In the "Never say you've seen everything" department... Since 2008, New York City has been home to The Poetry Brothel, where customers pay $10 to enter a world where poetry is pimped out like sexual favors.  Guests are offered "a full bar, live jazz, burlesque dancers, painters, and fortune-tellers, with newly integrated themes, performances and installations at each event."  And of course, poetry readings.  For an extra fee, a costumed "poetry whore", each of whom has their own stage name and persona, takes you into a private room and reads you whatever type of their poetry you choose.  According to this article in The Guardian, the "madam" of the establishment finds a connection between poetry and sex work in that they are both a way to privately share an intimate experience.  So what do you think?  Is this an interesting way for struggling poets to make a few extra dollars?  Is it an intriguing new form of theatre?  Does it demean poets in any way to equate their art with prostitution?  Would you ever consider participating in something like this, either as a guest or as a poet?
I'm afraid I'm on Dreamteam's side here. In fact, my reaction, having read this part thrice to try to understand it, was pretty much: How is this literature? If anything besides plain weird, this sounds like some "out-therish" Cabaret.  :crabbegoyle: It seems also, that the people this establishment would try to rope in, would be those most likely to be intrigued by the more usual establishments in this sense, seeing as this connection seems to be meant to appeal to them. This might make for the poetry to be rather special?  :crabbegoyle: What family would think this would be a good activity for growing teens? And like Dreamteam said:

I can't see how it would help struggling poets if each "poetry whore" reads poetry chosen by the customer, the customer would need to be familiar with a piece of work in order to be able to choose it. 
So no, I don't think I'd be the least intrigued.
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