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New theme song for Reading Rainbow offers an even better reason to read books
June 5, 2014 | 8:27 pm

LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is running up a fairly godlike funding tally. In case you’re wondering what his secret is, he reveals it in this “new version” of the Reading Rainbow theme via humor site Funny or Die. Reading Rainbow's New Theme Song with LeVar Burton from LeVar Burton ...

LeVar Burton discusses Reading Rainbow TV show cancelation, plans for Kickstarter
June 5, 2014 | 12:49 pm

The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter has reached about $3.5 million, and the velocity of increase has slowed considerably. I still think it has the potential to make 10 if it does well over the course of the month, especially when it gets the end-of-Kickstarter boost. But even if it makes its $5 million stretch goal, that will be something. LeVar Burton has been interviewed by Think Progress, and he took the opportunity to dispel a few rumors about why the show was canceled, and discuss how the show originally got started and how the money from the Kickstarter will be...

2014 Reading Challenge: May Update
June 3, 2014 | 3:15 pm

May was a good reading month for me---I enjoyed setting up my new Kindle, and I read some really great stuff, too. Alas, most of the stuff was not stuff I was supposed to be reading for my goals and I have fallen behind a little! So, how did I do?...

LeVar Burton launches Reading Rainbow Kickstarter, fully funds in less than twelve hours
May 28, 2014 | 8:55 pm

LeVar_RR_bio.largeTake a look, it’s in a book. The Verge ran a story today that LeVar Burton has launched a $1 million Kickstarter with the goal of bringing Reading Rainbow to the web, to reach kids across the globe. It’s already available for Android and iPad, but not all kids or schools have access to those devices, or the $60 per year the subscription costs. In addition to putting it on the web, Burton wants to create a version for teachers to use in the classroom, and to set up a not-for-profit organization to make it available for free to low-income schools. The...

The most well read cities in America
May 21, 2014 | 4:25 pm

most well read citiesSome fun data points came out of Amazon's release this week of their fourth annual 'Most Well Read Cities in America' list. I had this emailed to me, but Business Week has the full text here. The rankings compiled sales data from various categories for all cities with more than 100,000 residents. So, are there any surprises? Well, here are the top 5: 1. Alexandria, Va. 2. Miami, Fla. 3. Knoxville, Tenn. 4. Seattle, Wash. 5. Orlando, Fla. Seattle made the biggest jump, coming up from #13 last year. Coincidentally, it is the home of Amazon's corporate headquarters. And San Diego, the highest-ranking city with 1,000,000 residents, doesn't...

Are best-sellers bad for you?
May 17, 2014 | 10:52 am

best-sellerFrom Indie Reader came the link to this story from Shane Parrish, who decides to make reading a priority, so that he can acquire knowledge. 161 books later, he concludes that if you want to get smarter, you should avoid best-sellers. From the article: "If you read the best-sellers, by definition, you're reading what everyone else reads. And if you read what everyone else reads, odds are you're going to start to think like everyone else. If you think like everyone else, you're not going to think differently and creatively, stifling your ability to stand out and excel." I get that argument,...

Minorities and Mainstream Reading
May 9, 2014 | 2:40 pm

minoritiesA great little write-up from today's Morning Links gave me some food for thought during my commute today. Swapna Krishna writes about the difficulties of finding great 'minority' fiction to read, and she makes some points that I, in my quest to read more Jewish books this year, had come to myself. For instance, she talks about the 'heaviness' of some cultural fiction. It can be good sometimes. It can make for an interesting and nuanced read. But what if you just want to read a romance or a mystery---with characters who 'happen to be be' Black or Asian or Indian?...

Just Like Reading the Paper?
May 9, 2014 | 10:25 am

readingThe bus I took to work this morning was all decked out with National Post advertising, for their new ePaper program. The ad, which you can see via this info link, features a pair of hands holding a tablet-esque device which is bent, like a newspaper, and looks just like the print National Post. The slogan? 'It's just like reading the paper.' The details were predictable enough. It's a straight print replica which lets you do such revolutionary things as search, bookmark, share via social media or view extra photo galleries. You get it free if you are a paper subscriber,...

2014 Reading Challenge: April update
April 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

2014 Reading ChallengeApril was a challenging month for me, in several areas. I made some progress on my reading challenge, but I had some difficulties meeting my target with a few of my reading goals. Read on to find out what happened! Goal 1: Read 100 books I caught up a little on this, but I cheated some by reading two YA books---[easyazon-link asin="B00EX4E29Y" locale="us"]Harriet the Spy[/easyazon-link] by Louise Fitzhugh and [easyazon-link asin="B00CFTA5JA" locale="us"]Don't Care High[/easyazon-link] by Gordon Korman. Harriet the Spy was a long-ago Kindle purchase, and I was happy to cross another purchased book off my to-read shelf, even if it was a short...

Scribd reveals data on reading habits by country
April 26, 2014 | 3:59 pm

data on reading habitsThe advantage of having a lot of data is that you can produce cool infographics. Like this one from the Scribd blog with data on reading habits by country..   So Germans read the fastest. Canadians are most likely to finish a book (Joanna, feel free to weigh in on this. :) ) And they love romance in Uruguay. Hardly world-shattering data, but fun to ponder on a weekend. Enjoy!...

Testosterone makes you stupid – if you’re English
April 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

I never thought of stupidity as particularly macho. But then, maybe I've lived outside the UK for too long. Because apparently a lot of British men fit that mold. And I'm rather ashamed to link my own gender to this, but the statistics seem to speak for themselves. Or should I have softened it a bit? Saying, well, if you're male and British there is a greater tendency towards not taking a serious interest in books, rather than making such an emphatic statement? And let British society off the hook? And sidestep that disgraceful conclusion? Because here we have some hard...

Filter, read, learn: the puzzle of reading print vs screen
April 18, 2014 | 12:35 pm

reading print vs screenI have read almost a dozen articles in the past few days that attempt to puzzle out the new hot question: do our brains process screen text differently from paper text? Does reading too much online somehow 'ruin' our brains for long-form reading? I'll state at the outset that from everything I've read on this, science does not have a definitive verdict on reading print vs screen, so I can't answer these questions. What I can do is apply my own decently well-educated common sense filter to some of the things I'm reading and come to my own conclusion. Firstly, this one...