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Morning Links: Year’s fattest cookbooks. Interactive children’s book gift guide
December 17, 2014 | 9:00 am

cookbooksThe Year's Fattest Cookbooks (PW) From How to Cook Everything Fast at a thousand-plus pages to an authoritative collection of Mexican recipes that clocks in at 705 pages, the year 2014 saw a slew of hefty cookbooks. Here’s a look at just a few. *** Where Are All the Boy Books? You're Buying Them (Book Riot) Even the most well-meaning, socially-conscious adults fall into this trap, believing that the boys are being left behind and that girls and girl interests “dominate” the children’s book world. *** e-Readers- The Race to the Bottom (GoodeReader) When Sony and Amazon first got into the e-reader business, they were considered a...

British Library’s Terror and Wonder show throws open its portals
December 16, 2014 | 8:25 pm

Spectral TimesAs many will know, the British Library has been hosting a great show on the Gothic tradition, "Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination," since October. It's the ideal show for the Christmas period, given the well-known British propensity for linking the festive season to ghost stories, horror movies, and dark and hideous imaginings of all kinds. And now, the British ghost hunter's favorite free magazine, Spectral Times, is holding a giveaway of tickets for the show in its latest issue, with two entry passes available in return for answering a simple question. The issue of the magazine is readable in full...

Appeals court judges ask probing questions in Apple e-book anti-trial case
December 16, 2014 | 7:56 pm

Yesterday, the appeals court heard testimony from Apple and the Department of Justice relating to the e-book anti-trust trial appeal. To my surprise, two of the three judges seemed amenable toward Apple’s point of view. They expressed concern over why the publisher collusion was such a bad thing when it was for the sake of stopping monopolist Amazon, and hinted that Judge Cote might have erred when she ruled that Apple’s behavior constituted a pro se anti-trust violation—a violation so obvious that it doesn’t need the “rule of reason” test applied to it. Apple attorney Theodore Boutros asked for...

James Patterson gives third round of grants to bookstores
December 16, 2014 | 6:25 pm

James PattersonJames Patterson is at it again. The best-selling author sent another round of donations to independent books stores around the country. This time, he doled out $473,000 to 81 shops in a third round of donations, according to the Associated Press. Patterson has donated more than $1 million since he launched the program a year ago. Initially, Patterson had intended this third round to be the last, but that may not be the case. According to the AP, he will offer more in 2015 along with an “ambitious plan to help school libraries.” The grants were awarded to shops based on proposals....

Joanna’s Best Books of 2014
December 16, 2014 | 4:25 pm

best books of 2014It's that time of year again! There are still two weeks left in the year, and that's time enough to find another great book, I guess. But there was so much I loved about my 2014 reading year! I managed just over 50 books, and they covered a range of genres and styles. What were my top reads of the year? In no particular order, my best books of 2014. [easyazon-link asin="1439102775" locale="us"]The Storyteller[/easyazon-link] by Jodi Picoult: The first of my 'read more Jewish books' project, this book was a can't-put-down, in spite of some minor flaws. I found the modern-day character...

BookCon to showcase diversity in books
December 16, 2014 | 2:25 pm

bookcon2015BookCon is showcasing diversity in its 2015 event in a partnership with We Need Diverse Books. BookCon will take place May 30-31 at the Javits Center in New York City. We Need Diverse Books will hold two panels, the first of which includes Hugo Award winners Kameron Hurley (The Mirror Empire) and Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie), World Fantasy Award winner Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death), Daniel Jose Older (Shadowshaper) and Joe Monti (Executive Editor of Saga Press). Their panel will be a “moderated conversation about the role diversity plays in the genre, their works and their influences,” according to ReedPOP. The...

Christmas gift ideas for your ereading habit: Wind-up device chargers
December 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

IMG_20141207_154354Here's another stocking filler Christmas gift idea for the ebook nut in your life - including yourself, if no one else has the wit to buy you one. With a wind-up charger like this you need never be dependent on a wall socket or even a battery for emergency power again. And it even doubles as an emergency torch. Given that most modern tablets now charge on the same rating with the same sockets as cell phones, any portable digital device can probably be charged by the same wind-up mini-generator. And although their use on camping trips and for outdoors in...

Budapest’s beautiful book stations
December 16, 2014 | 11:25 am

IMG_20141211_143113 Budapest has one delightful and very practical resource for the reading public: drop-off book stations where people can both deposit and pick up books. These are ... ahem ... stationed in the northwestern district of Obuda, which as per the description on the book stations, describes itself as "the cultural city." And the principle is that they serve as book exchanges: readers leave one book and borrow one - or of course, can donate as many as they like. In keeping with the same Budapest public spirit that sees guests at bars and cafes leave their bags and phones unattended when...

Wassily Kandinsky’s birthday – in pictures and in prose
December 16, 2014 | 10:25 am

As a teasingly abstract Google doodle, with even less reference to the Google monicker than most, commemorates, Wassily Kandinsky, the great Russian-born modern artist and pioneering painter - and theorist - of abstract art, was born on December 16th, 1866 (quite a surprisingly early birth date considering his hugely advanced aesthetic). A cosmopolitan resident of many European nations, and longtime teacher at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky finally died in France after the Liberation in 1944, on a date close to his birth date: December 13th. He also fell under the influence of Madame Blavatsky's theosophy, which helped emancipate his art from material...

Morning Links: What makes a “good reader?” DRM screws blind people.
December 16, 2014 | 9:00 am

drmWhat Does it Mean to be a 'Good' Reader? (Dear Author) Last weekend delivered a hat trick of essays on critical reading, two on KJ Charles’s m/m novel Think of England, and one on Deborah Fletcher Mello’s The Sweetest Thing, in which Liz McCausland also addresses the intertwined issues of “good writing” and “good reading.” *** Instead of Killing Comments, We Should be Trying to Fix Them (GigaOM) Every month or so, it seems, a media outlet decides to get rid of their comments. The latest is The Week, which follows Reuters and Re/code, both of whom shut down their comments recently. *** DRM...

I’ve Got the Gadget Shopping Blues!
December 16, 2014 | 8:59 am

gadget shoppingI am gadget shopping this week! And wow, what a pain it is. All these years of computer-owning, and I still feel like every time I buy a new one, there is all this manual labor involved. How have they not found ways to make this easier yet? I have an Apple store gift card that has been earmarked for a new iPad Air. My iPad 2 is starting to show its age a little, and I had an opportunity to make a deal with my boss for it, so I seized the opportunity. I have been happy enough with the...

Arthur Machen archive threatened by UK library closures
December 15, 2014 | 8:25 pm

My thanks to Tartarus Press for alerting me to the danger posed to Newport Art Gallery and Library, which houses an archive of books and other documents from and about the great Welsh horror and dark fiction writer Arthur Machen, by cuts and reorganization plans at Newport City Council. As confirmed by Wales Today, the Council is planning to close the library and gallery and move their collections into a central location, but has left a consultation document online to invite public input on the plans. A support organization, the Friends of Newport Museum and Art Gallery (FoNMAG), has organized a Change.org petition to protest...