Tag Archives: books

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Looking for a new author to read?

Say you like Raymond Chandler, Günther Grass, Tana French or Jane Austen or whomever.

Go to, enter then name of a writer you like and Voila! you’ll see an animated map of writers whose work is like that author. The closer the author’s name is to the one you like, the more people have indicated they like both writers.

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So Carol Shields fans also have reported liking Elizabeth Berg, Alice Munro and Anne Lamott most often, but also like writers farther from the center.

Powered by AI, you can add to the data by going to, entering the names of three authors you like and then answering questions about how much you like other authors.

I find I can play with this site for hours.

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Posted by on March 10, 2019 in book lovers, fiction, teen lit


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Sepia Saturday: Reading

Sepia Saturday 460 : 9 March 2019

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and it’s this week’s inspiration for Sepia Saturday. Look what I found on the theme.


Source: Nationaal Archief, Flickr Commons, 1951

I didn’t know ostriches liked to read.


Mennonite Archives, Flickr Commons, n.d.


Florida Memories, Flickr Commons, 1940

Woman in Sarasota reading (with schadenfreude) of the harsh winter weather up north.

I started wondering about what artists have done to portray reading. Here’s what I found.


“The Reader,” B. Morisot, 1888


Reading, Picasso, 1932


Nurse Reading to a little Girl, M. Cassat, 1895

To see more Sepia Saturday posts from this week, click here.

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Posted by on March 9, 2019 in 19th Century, history


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National Book Day

National Book Day was this past week.

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Posted by on April 26, 2015 in fiction


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I hope this catches on!


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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in humor


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T’is the Season

books gifts

I’m one of those aunts that likes to give books as gifts. For years though, I’ve usually just given an Amazon gift certificate, but this year I’m tired of giving gift cards. I can see their merit, but I wanted more challenge. Besides with all this library knowledge I’m accumulating, I felt I should test out what I’m learning.

So with the help of the American Library Association’s lists of books for young readers, I’ve spent a few hours selecting books for nieces and nephews. I used their list of books for the college bound and notable children’s books. They’ve got lots to choose from. Booklist also offers information that helps

NPR’s Book Concierge led me to a title I think my mother will like. I’ll give it as part of a bundle of gifts.

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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in book lovers, Children's Lit


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Digital McLuhan, Part One

While Marshall McLuhan is a well known scholar and most people have heard his phrases, “global village” and”the medium is the message” bandied about, I admit that was the extent of my knowledge. After reading our first course module, I decided to learn more. I started with Paul Levinson’s Digitial McLuhan as an updated look at McLuhan’s ideas relate to social media.

I must thank Levinson for introducing more of McLuhan’s concepts to me. Here are a few:

  • McLuhan’s tetrad, his four questions of media:
  1. What does it enhance or amplify in the culture?
  2. What does it obsolesce or push out of prominence?
  3. What does it retrieve from the past, from the realm of the previously obsolesced?
  4. What does the medium reverse or flip into when it reaches the limits of its potential? (p.16)
  • Hot and cool: McLuhan uses hot to describe “loud, bright, clear and fixed” media or subjects (e.g. political candidates) while cool media or subjects are “soft, shadowy, blurred and changeable.” For example, movies seen in a theater are hot, while television is cool; radio is hot, while telephones are cool. Cool media engage us more because there’s more to pour over and consider.In this system, social media with its messiness and interactive possibilities are cool.
  • Discarnate: an interaction that does not involve the body (much*). This notion denotes the disconnect between the body and the message. Our voices are “disconnected” from our voices when we talk on the phone. When a dancer’s performance is uploaded to YouTube we can see the dance has been severed from the dancer in a sense. The term virtual has become the most popular expression for this idea. However, McLuhan’s discarnate seems more powerful to me because it emphasizes the message severing from the person who expressed it.
  • Light-through media: hypnotic media in which animated light comes through the media to the viewer, e.g. stained glass windows, television, computer screens, the sky. Such media hypnotize in a way and have a certain religious intensity.
  • Light-on media: light bounces off the medium so we can perceive it, e.g. books, magazines, paintings. Even the most glossy, vivid, masterfully done images and words don’t produce that little buzz that TV or computers do. It’s always easier to put down even the best book than it is to turn off an iPad that’s got a banal game or message. The iPad’s a light-through, whereas your favorite book is light-on.

These trenchant concepts help me understand my own experience using media. They explain why I can watch TV hour after hour, but can’t read all the books I’d like to in a week. I will use McLuhan’s questions in every reading and media I examine throughout the course.

Related: Video interview of Digital McLuhan author, Paul Levinson.

Levinson, P. (1999). Digital McLuhan. London, UK: Routledge.



Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Theory


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