Likely in Store

via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J To address the fact that many of us are on the go and pressed for time, app developers have devised speed-reading software that eliminates the time we supposedly waste by […]

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"Libraries are the future." - Occupy Wall Street

This article is by Jane Carlin (Director, Collins Memorial Library at the University of Puget Sound) and Barb Macke (Associate Librarian, University of Cincinnati) and was originally published by The Huffington Post.

In our last post we talked about the future of academic library spaces. We encouraged everyone to dust off the shelves and to begin to think differently about their libraries. Recently at Puget Sound, we had the opportunity to brainstorm with Occupy Solidarity Network board member, social activist and library supporter, Micah White. Micah is one of the founders of Occupy Wall Street and a former editor of Adbusters. His unpublished dissertation, Post-Search: Libraries, Search Engines and the Organization of Knowledge reflects his innovative thinking and challenges us all to consider some fundamental questions about the future of libraries.

Micah draws inspiration from the Five Laws of Library Science by S.R. Ranganathan:

  1. Books are for use
  2. Every reader his or her book
  3. Every book its reader
  4. Save the time of the reader
  5. The library is a growing organism

At a roundtable luncheon with librarians and faculty he posed three questions:

  1. How do we organize libraries to unlock the knowledge hidden in the stacks?
  2. Why do digital natives avoid the library stacks?
  3. Imagine what could come after the Library of Congress classification and rows of well-organized books?

We were intrigued and challenged by these questions and here are some of our thoughts:

  • New technologies like Google glass can anticipate and connect students with resources before they even know they want it

  • Libraries need to adapt to the changing ways that digital natives find information. LC doesn’t always work. Of course, a radical transformation of library space and classification might not be possible - but are we really supporting creativity with our static rows of books?

  • Physically placing interdisciplinary works together to spark imagination and to encourage the serendipitous aspect of creative discovery.

  • Are new book displays really the way to go? What about displays of books recently checked out, what is trending, books selected by departments or faculty, books not checked out?

  • Use our digital technology to create virtual browsing rooms to help recreate the visual and tactile experience of browsing

  • Establish a twitter feed of books just returned or checked out

We think the library of the future will have books - but perhaps we need to think about how we arrange them and take more responsibility for curating collections to inspire students to use resources in new and creative ways. The design and order of our physical book collections may indeed foster the ongoing development of electronic discovery and virtual browsing.

We’d love to have your responses to Micah’s questions posed above. And in the meantime, I think I will take a lead from Alice in Wonderland. After falling down the rabbit hole, Alice is confronted with a bottle labeled “Drink me” and a cake labelled “Eat me”. Of course she couldn’t resist, and the end result was a wild cacophony of events she could never have imagined. So, how can we help “every book find its reader?” Maybe we need to encourage our students to ‘drink’ and ‘eat’ them. TAKE ME HOME, CHECK ME OUT, and LOOK AT ME notes might just appear on some of our dusty books, and we’ll let you know what happens!

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100 Years Of Solitude Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Was Irreplaceable

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died today aged 87, did not invent the genre of magical realism — but he helped to popularize it and advance it with novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and Autumn of the Patriarch. Speculative fiction still hasn’t risen fully to the challenge of Marquez’s work.

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via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J Artists brains are ‘structurally different’ according to The Independent, who report on a small, thought-provoking but as yet quite preliminary study. The image used to illustrate the article (the one on the right) is described as showing “more grey and white matter in artists’ brains connected to visual imagination and fine motor control”. This could […]

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  Books have become treasured objects, and in the case of artists’ books these become unique pieces where the content and the form play a very important role. The Red Poppy Art House will be hosting a bookbinding workshop targeted to artists, writers, photographers, designers and illustrators or any other creative person. Beware, these are not your usual books. During the three-hour long workshop that will meet every Wednesday for…

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PIC: PD

PIC: PD

The Guardian’s Steven Poole turns a critical eye to an alarmist piece that claimed the internet was damaging our ability to digest challenging literature. (An unusual claim given the number of litbloggers online, but I digress…)

Via The Guardian:

As it happens, I value deep reading – and so, perhaps, do you. And so, quite obviously, do all the youngish people I see everyday on London transport reading 700-page printed books such as the Game of Thrones series, 50 Shades of Grey or the new Donna Tartt. Stuart Jeffries has written persuasively about the popularity of such doorstops, as well as complex modern TV series. This might be a culture not of attention deficit but of “a wealth of attention focused more readily on the things that warrant it”.

Of course the internet can be distracting – you’re reading this, after all. It’s true that skimming is tempting, that being overwhelmed with information is in some quarters worn perversely as a badge of pride; and that the request to express the “take-away” (or, as some say, the “tl;dr”) of a lengthy piece of writing bespeaks a philistine data-age instrumentalism, according to which the only possible function of writing is to transmit bite-sized facts.

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The post No, The Internet Is Not Ruining Your Ability to Read Deeply appeared first on disinformation.

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When it was announced in March that Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo had won the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for her mesmerizing debut novel We Need New Names, it wasn’t difficult to share in her victory. Honors such as these further prove that literature from all parts of the world merits our collective attention. Bulawayo, who writes in English, shows the beaming promise of a young Junot Diaz. With a style all her own—one steeped in wit and striking imagination—she movingly details the complexities of the immigrant experience. Not only is Bulawayo talented, she is also necessary. Discovering her and her work, whether we know it or not, is necessary. 

Although I’d read a ton of poetry—from Frost to Dickinson and Whitman—I’ll submit I wasn’t all that bookish a teen. Not until the summer after my senior year of high school, in fact, did I realize my reading habits were a bit too insular, lacked variation. This needed to be remedied. So I sought out some familiar titles, made a few lists, and soon became captivated by the usual suspects: Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck. I read The Old Man and the Sea in one sitting and committed to As I Lay Dying and The Moon is Down. For the next several years, with occasional exceptions, these three gentlemen and their respective oeuvres dominated my reading. Until I saw an article in Paste touting some Bolaño as “the Kurt Cobain of Latin-American literature.” Intrigued, and with a hint of shame, I thought, What the hell is Latin-American literature? The next day, I ordered By Night in Chile, Roberto Bolaño’s novella about a tortured priest’s deathbed confessional. Suffice to say, something happened. Line by line, page by page, a door was beginning to open; a door I never knew was closed, and, for that matter, existed. What I’d discovered, I came to understand, was a new voice, one that was altogether beautiful and terrifying; commanding, too, with a vision in a world all its own. Soon, like so many before and after me, I took to devouring all of Bolaño’s translated works in quick succession. I was plunged into a world of violence, literature, illicit sex, and wayward poets in a race against time. The man wrote about Latin America with the brunt of a journalist and the controlled rhythm of a composer. Bolaño, who died in 2003, was a true craftsman, plugging away incessantly against the backdrop of personal illness. Sure, I’d dabbled in some Kafka and Garcia Marquez, but those were acclaimed writers who’d, deservedly, long been translated to English and had earned their proper due. Bolaño was my introduction, or perhaps initiation, to the canon of international literature. Naturally, I came to wonder: What else have I not been exposed to?

Do other Americans ask themselves similar questions when stumbling upon the work of gifted international writers? Or are the majority of us content with being fascinated by our own nation’s mythology? These questions are worthy of our pondering. In my case, it was an issue of broadening a somewhat narrow worldview. And literature from countries outside of my own, from Chile and France and Japan and Russia, began the work of providing a more holistic education­—one concerned with making sense of the entire world, not just a small portion.

It’s simple, really. If we’re only paying mind to the storytellers of our own country, we’re robbing ourselves blind of something rich and meaningful. No matter what our bag, whether it be science fiction, crime, fantasy, whatever, there are a slew of serious writers contributing to the pot, providing a camera angle we perhaps have not yet witnessed. It’s to be noted, also, that the behind the scenes work needed to even get translated projects completed and on our radar is no small task. And as Pacific Standard recently reported, “Only three percent of everything published in the U.S. each year is translated from another language—and the majority of that is computer manuals and other technical material.” This is a sobering fact but one we can all make an effort to change.

Now. This is not an attempt to burden with statistics and theories regarding the average American reader’s close-mindedness. Rather, it’s to encourage book lovers of all types to seek outside voices shedding light on the world conversation. If we desire to shape our book culture in such a way that doesn’t exclude anyone, voracious readers are the ones who must create that demand; by broadening our own tastes and educating others.

Publishing houses like Melville House, New Directions, and Archipelago Books, among others, are tirelessly doing the work of bringing exciting things to the forefront. People like Hilda Hilst (Brazil), Felisberto Hernández (Uruguay), and Jean-Christophe Valtat (France), have some of the dopest works of fiction available in English. Many of these names are finally gaining the readership they deserve on a worldwide scale. Takashi Hiraide’s (Japan) latest novella The Guest Cat was met with an instantly favorable response and ended up on The New York Times best-seller list.

Similar to my experience with Bolaño, was my encounter with the Hungarian writer, László Krasznahorkai—who also proved to be a towering visionary. Novels like The Melancholy of Resistance and Satantango reveal an artist deeply motivated by apocalyptic themes and a universe at war with itself. His prose is bleak and carries with it a strong poetic flair, drawing you in at the sentence level. So many good things can be said for Pedro Mairal from Argentina and the Moldovan author Vladimir Lorchenkov, both with recent releases from New Vessel Press. Then we have others like Samanta Shweblin (Argentina) whose full-length collections have yet to be translated to English. Her stories, a few of which can be read here and here, deserve recognition. Her style is gripping, effortlessly going from humorous to downright horrific in the span of a few lines. In 2010, Granta recognized her in their Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists issue. Still, we need more Samanta.

Although it can often be “easy to ignore what the rest of the world is saying” as Chip Rossetti pointed out, it would do us more good to not. And why would we want to? All forms of intelligent expression and storytelling possess something of value to give to the whole. And everyone, from everywhere, plays an important role in documenting the joys and pains of the human experience. When we miss parts, willfully or not, we are, in effect, not getting the full story. And when we don’t have the full story, how can we expect to understand something as complicated as the world?

As the publishing industry continues to change and evolve, the future of reading remains intact. Whatever manner we choose to consume literature—be it a digital device or a physical book—what’s important is that there is consumption taking place. And expanding on what we consume, by way of international voices, will prevent us from degenerating into what Sarah Winstein-Hibbs calls “a boring swamp of cultural incest.” Truth be told, nothing will ever diminish the value of broad and informed reading. So here’s to a future of variety for readers everywhere.

via http://ift.tt/fPizxk “When a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open, too.”

Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms, and remains banner-free. If it brings you any joy and inspiration, please consider a modest donation – it lets me know I’m doing something right. image Holstee

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"No, it's fine. Enjoy reading "Top Ten Celebrity Liposuction Disasters. I'll just stay here and silently judge you."PIC: Dutch National Archives (CC)

“No, it’s fine. Enjoy reading “Top Ten Celebrity Liposuction Disasters. I’ll just stay here and silently judge you.”PIC: Dutch National Archives (CC)

Neuroscientist Maryanne Wolfe believes that the human brain has changed in response to to the way that information is presented online, and the changes aren’t entirely positive. Wolfe presents her initial problems enjoy Herman Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game as a consequence of these brain changes.

I’m not so sure, myself. I wonder if she has considered that her reading tastes may have changed for other reasons, or maybe that The Glass Bead Game just isn’t her cup of tea? I read a ton of Herman Hesse in high school and college, but haven’t visited his work in a couple of decades. I’m not sure I’d enjoy any of it now, but I don’t believe the internet is to blame. Then again, I guess it might make a convenient excuse for why I can’t get through Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow or James Joyce’s Ulysses in spite of numerous attempts to do so.… Read the rest

The post Neuroscientist Claims Internet Has Ruined The Way We Read appeared first on disinformation.

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NPR Pulled a Brilliant April Fools' Prank On People Who Don't Read

"Why doesn’t America read anymore?" NPR asked on Tuesday.

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via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J The American Library Association has recognized the achievements of Luis Herrera, for his great work with children and their integration into reading programs in libraries of San Francisco.

via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J This beautiful quilled paper alphabet is actually a skillfully rendered digital illustration by designer Dan Hoopert. images by Dan Hoopert via Fubiz, Inspiration Grid

via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J The 19th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair takes place March 22, 2014 at The Crucible in Oakland. The fair will explore radical movements through discussions, workshops, skillshares, and more. The Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair is an annual event that brings together people interested and engaged in radical movements to connect, learn and discuss […]

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Is The "Young Adult" Boom Dwindling In Books As Well As Movies?

There’s a lot riding on Divergent, which comes out this Friday. Studios are hoping it’ll show there are still audiences for young-adult films other than Hunger Games, after the dismal performance of several other films. But also, says the Wall Street Journal, there’s hope it’ll rescue the struggling young-adult book market.

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via http://ift.tt/fPizxk Books that help us, in ways big and small, direct and indirect, make sense of ourselves, our world, and our place in it.

Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms, and remains banner-free. If it brings you any joy and inspiration, please consider a modest donation – it lets me know I’m doing something right. image Holstee