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Preview: Books, Words, And Writing

Books, Words, And Writing

Updated: 2014-10-04T22:18:44.886-06:00


Books, Words, and Writing Has Moved!


Books, Words, and Writing has moved to its new home: You can click here to be taken there automatically. My other blog (Amy On The Web) has also moved; its new URL is You can click here to be taken to this blog automatically. Please update your bookmarks and feeds, and I look forward to hearing from you in my new spot!

List of Blogging SF/F Writers


Here’s a handy list: SF/F Writers Who Blog. The list includes writers such as Gwenda Bond, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Edward Willett. Via SF Signal.

What Kind Of American English Do You Speak?


Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
25% Yankee
10% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern
Now, if only there were a test for Canadian English! Via Logomacy.

How To Pronounce Those Difficult Literary Names


There’s a great post over at The Millions in which we learn how to pronounce the names of certain authors. Hard To Pronounce Literary Names tells us the correct pronunciation for J. N. Coetzee, Pulitzer, and others. There are some good links here to other pronunciation guides. This is no doubt apocryphal, but I once heard that a university student had misheard “Pulitzer Prize” and wrote that a certain author had been awarded a “pullet surprise.”

The Reader's Bill of Rights


Daniel Pennac has a new book forthcoming called The Rights Of The Reader. It sounds like it's going to be good. Here's the Reader's Bill of Rights which he has put together. It features such items as "the right to read out loud" and "the right to escapism."

Via Rebecca's" Pocket.

So You Think You Know Jane Austen?


Here’s a fun quiz for fans of Jane Austen: So You Think You Know Jane Austen?

The quiz is based on the book by the same name by John Sutherland.

Jane Austen is my all-time favourite author, so I wasn’t real surprised by my result:
You scored 17 out of a possible 18. Are you, perhaps, a time-traveller from the 18th century? Congratulations: have ten thousand a year. You are more than ready to tackle the quiz book itself.

New Coleridge Archival Material Soon To Be Available To The Public


The family of Samuel Taylor Coleridge has donated important archival material to the British Library. The collection holds letters and a manuscript of a previously unknown work. It’s a significant acquisition—there are “350 bound manuscripts and 29 cardboard boxes of loose correspondence.” Via

Searching For New Authors To Read


I’ve recently re-discovered a handy tool for finding new authors to read. The Literature Map: The Tourist Map of Literature tells you what authors are similar to authors you already enjoy. If you type in the name of a favourite author, the map will generate a cloud of names of other authors who write in a similar style. The authors who are closest to the centre are those who are most similar. For example, if I type in Jane Austen, the following authors appear close to the centre: Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Harper Lee. A little further away I see Anthony Trollope, Anne Tyler, and Agatha Christie. If I type in James Lee Burke, I get Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, and Lee Child as close matches.

Combining Book Titles and Band Names


The people at Coudal Partners came up with an amusing challenge: they asked visitors to combine the name of a band with the name of a book. Some samples were “Of Mice and Men At Work” and “Courtney Love In The Time of Cholera.” The winners were The Invisible Manfred Mann, Fleetwood MacBeth, and Captain Beefheart of Darkness. There are many other entertaining submissions listed; it’s a great read.

Oppel Auctions a Character Name For Charity


Kenneth Oppel, the Governor General award-winning author of the Silverwing series, is doing his bit for charity. He will be auctioning off the opportunity to name a character in his next book. The fundraiser will benefit the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Via

What Kind of Science Fiction Writer Are You?


Michael Cassutt has put together a light-hearted little quiz that asks What Kind of Science Fiction Writer Are You? Even those of us who will never write a word of SF can answer the questions. I turned out to be most like Ray Bradbury, R.A. Lafferty, Roger Zelazny, or Harlan Ellison. I can live with that. Via Hassenpfeffer.

Naguib Mahfouz Gravely Ill


Egyptian Nobel Prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz is gravely ill. According to the CBC, Mahfouz is in a Cairo hospital suffering complications from a liver dysfunction. Via

The Authors Who Dominate My Shelves


Frank Wilson at Books, Inq. reported a while back on an interesting list we could compile: Those Authors Who Dominate Your Shelves. The rules for the list are simple; if we have five books or more by or about an author, we include that person. Here’s my list (in alphabetical order): Douglas Adams Margaret Atwood Jane Austen Maeve Binchy Geoffrey Chaucer Charles Dickens George Eliot James Lee Burke Agatha Christie Raymond Chandler Robertson Davies Dick Francis Sue Grafton Henry James P.D. James Margaret Laurence Naguib Mahfouz Ngaio Marsh L.M. Montgomery Alice Munro Robert B. Parker Sara Paretsky Ellery Queen Ruth Rendell J.K. Rowling Dorothy L. Sayers William Shakespeare Rex Stout J.R.R. Tolkien Anthony Trollope Anne Tyler Evelyn Waugh Minette Walters Laura Ingalls Wilder These are also the authors I re-read frequently. Now, if only I had all the money to buy all the books I’d like to have, the list would be significantly longer.

Stump The Booksellers


Here’s a useful resource for those who have fond memories of their childhood reading but who can’t remember the name of a particular book: Stump the Booksellers. For $2.00, readers can submit descriptions of books they read and now want to locate, and the site’s owners or its readers will supply the names of the books (if they know). Not all mysteries are solved immediately; here’s one that they’ve pulled from the archives:
Children's books, probably read during the 1940s, about a young honey bee who searchs for a good shape to use for building a honeycomb. After experimenting, he comes up with a hexagon as an ideal shape and goest back to the hive to suggest that they use this shape - not knowing that is what they already use! Sort of a "re-inventing the wheel," or "doomed to repeat the past" thing. Thank you.
If you think you know the answer to this, you can send in an answer via this page. This site is run by Loganberry Books, a used bookseller in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Via Weblog V2.

100 Years of the British Newspaper


The British Library has a nifty exhibition right now: Front Page: Celebrating 100 Years of the British Newspaper 1906—2006. The online component of the exhibition allows us to read 29 of the most memorable front pages from the last 100 years (ranging from “Titanic: No Lives Lost” to “9/11: The News That Everyone Already Knew”). There’s also a digitised archive of the Penny Illustrated Paper (which was published from 1861—1913).

Montgomery Home Now an Historic Site


The homestead where Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables has now been designated as part of a national historic site. According to the CBC, “The new designation also includes land surrounding the home where Montgomery lived: Lover's Lane and the Haunted Woods.” Via

Reading Books Very Quickly


Matthew Cornell has a post explaining how to read a book quickly. He actually has several methods listed; the one he proposes comes from Jason Womack. It involves reading the following sections in this order:
· table of contents, glossary, index. · anything in bold, titles, and subtitles. · first line of every paragraph. · entire book
I don’t think this would work for me; I prefer the old-fashioned approach. I’m not averse to looking at the table of contents and flipping through the book to look at items in bold, but trying to skim through the book otherwise just confuses me. Via randomWalks.

Dumbledore Will Not Pull a Gandalf, Says Rowling


J. K. Rowling spells out what we can and can’t expect from her last book (at least in terms of Dumbledore). Rowling has said that more characters will die in her seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series (likely forthcoming next year). My predictions for the next book (at least in terms of deaths)? Hagrid and Snape will die, and the plot will develop in such a way that we will mourn Snape. Via What’s New For Book-Lovers.

Comma Error Results In Millions of Dollars Lost


This is not a joke: a comma placement in a contract may cost Rogers Communications Inc. $2.13 million dollars. Via Hassenpfeffer.

Fiction Featuring Math


Here’s a nifty list: fiction that features math. Site owner Alex Kasman says, “The Mathematical Fiction Homepage is my attempt to collect information about all significant references to mathematics in fiction.” Well, he’s certainly making a thorough job of it. You can look at the complete list here. You can also search by title or by author. Starting in 414 B.C.E. with Aristophanes’ The Birds and ending with books forthcoming in 2008, the list encompasses such books as Stephen Baxter’s Godel’s Sunflowers, Robert J. Sawyer’s Factoring Humanity, Mark Cohen’s The Fractal Murders, and Matt Selman’s The Simpsons: Girls Just Want to Have Sums. Via Rebecca’s Pocket.

A Ruckus Over Hemingway’s Cats


Check out the Guardian article titled ”Claws Out Over Hemingway’s Six-Toed Cats”. The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to start fining the owners of the musem that was once home to Ernest Hemingway. Apparently nearly 50 descendants of Hemingway’s cat Snow White roam through the author’s former home. They’re a hit with visitors, but not, obviously, with the USDA. Via Quill and Quire.

The Domesday Book Online


The Domesday Book is now online thanks to the National Archives in England.

I especially liked browsing through the list of names of Essex landowners. I saw the names of Countess Judith; Walter the Cook; Goscelin the lorimer; Frodo, brother of the abbot; and Roger God-save-the-ladies (I swear I'm not making this up). The National Archives has a good website about Domesday. You can read about the background to it (what it is, why it was created) and you can find out what the information in it can tell us about Anglo-Saxon England. There is also an online Latin tutorial that’s suitable for complete beginners. There is a section for children, too—they can play a game that asks them to count the animals on the farm (and then there’s an explanation about why that was important for Domesday). For some analysis of Domesday, you can check out J. J. Cohen’s comments about Domesday and colonialism. Via In The Middle.

Franz Kafka’s Trivia Challenge


Do you have a little time on your hands? Check out Franz Kafka’s Trivia Challenge. Here’s Round 1:
For the last thirty years, M-----'s gait has been gradually slowing under an accruing burden of recollection and regret. Fifteen years ago he walked at half normal speed. Today, while shambling tediously across an intersection, he is about to stop forever, right in front of oncoming traffic. For ten points: make a sort of nervous, almost spasmodic gesture commenting on his fate.
Via Unmanageable Imaginations.

Belated Birthday Greetings To P.D. James


Fans of P.D. James might be interested to know that it was her birthday yesterday. The woman who is the master writer of mysteries has an interesting web page that includes an ”About The Author” page that tells us, among other things, what her favourite meal is, the items on her desk, and her favourite place to visit. For those who are interested in writing mysteries, she has a page with good advice to follow. There’s also an article on why she chose to write mysteries and a FAQ. This site is definitely worth a visit.

Watch As Ancient Writing Revealed Today


Today scientists will be revealing the original words on a manuscript written by Archimedes. A medieval monk had scraped away the text and diagrams by Archimedes and created a prayer book instead. Thanks to technology, we’ll now be able to see some of the original writings by Archimedes. The process will be as follows:
an intense X-ray, produced in a particle accelerator, will be scanned across a page of the document, causing the iron in the original ink to glow, or fluoresce. A detector will record the fluorescent glow, producing a digital image of the original letters and diagrams in the 1000-year-old manuscript onto a computer screen.
Watch it unfold today on the live webcast (starting at 4:00 p.m. PDT) . Via Yahoo! Picks.