Tag Archives: read

Celebrate the freedom to read – Banned Books Week – Sep 30 – Oct 6

source: Banned Books Week

 

Everyday in America someone tries to ban a book. The American Library Association reports 326 challenges in 2011. A challenge is more than a person being annoyed with a book, it is a person telling the library they don’t want anyone else to read the book. That is censorship in its most basic form.

And these books are not always the most controversial ones – sometimes they are classics that have been on the shelf for years. Here are the most challenged books of 2011:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
  2. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
  3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (series)
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  6. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  9. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Celebrating Banned Books Week is about the freedom to read and that takes us beyond the printed paper. For the internet it means supporting free and open access to information – a fundamental right and need in countries all around the world.

So take a chance this week, read a banned book and support someone else’s right to do so.

A final word from David Brin on freedom of speech:

Freedom of speech is not a gift from on high. It was not declared by God. It is not holy, or even natural. No other human society ever practiced it. Even we, who are loony enough to consider it sacred, don’t practice it very well. Yet, although it runs against every tyrannical impulse of human nature… impulses to suppress whatever that loudmouth fool over there is saying… the fact is that we try to live by it. Not because free speech is holy, or natural, but because it works. Because it is pragmatic. Because it allows the rapid generation of a multitude of ideas, most of which are chaff, and then allows those notions to be criticized by other egotistical people, so that a fair percentage of the best ideas rise, and most garbage eventually sinks.

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Amazon releases a Kindle competitor to Instapaper, Pocket

There is a booming market for apps that allow you to read while offline. The two most popular of these apps, Instapaper and Pocket, let you save an article for later like on an airplane or in your underground nuclear bunker.

Now, Amazon is entering the game by offering the same service for the Kindle. A new app for Mac and PC allows you to “Send to Kindle” and then read on your e-reader or on a smartphone/tablet.

I think this gives the Kindle an edge in two big ways. One, most of us are likely to carry our Kindle with us when going into non-internet zones. That’s why we bring it, to pass away those long hours with books, but now we may be able to do so with articles and blog posts as well.

Two, we all know reading on an e-reader is preferable than doing so on the backlit displays of smartphones and tablets.

It will be interesting to see how this Kindle competition affects the market. I always thought that Instapaper and Pocket had a niche market. They must be scared to see the 10-ton behemoth, Amazon, entering the fray.

The rise of e-reading in America

28% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one specialized device for e-book reading – either a tablet or an e-book reader.

The holiday season saw a huge boost in ownership for both e-readers and tablets. Both jumped 9%, meaning that nearly one in ten Americans received a device over the holidays.

The average reader of e-books says she has read 24 books in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.

78% of those ages 16 and older say they read a book in the past 12 months.

Overall, those who reported reading the most books in the past year include: women compared with men; whites compared with minorities; well-educated Americans compared with less-educated Americans; and those age 65 and older compared with younger age groups.

30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now. 

The longer people have owned an e-book reader or tablet, the more likely they are to say they are reading more.

The prevalence of e-book reading is markedly growing, but printed books still dominate the world of book readers. 

In our December 2011 survey, we found that 72% of American adults had read a printed book and 11% listened to an audiobook in the previous year, compared with the 17% of adults who had read an e-book.

There are four times more people reading e-books on a typical day now than was the case less than two years ago.

10x more stats at – The rise of e-reading, Pew Internet

 

And, a fun ending:

Why people like to read. 

Dr. Seuss quotes to live by (infograph)

1. Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you.

6. Think and wonder, wonder and think.

7. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.

9. Think! You can think any think that you wish…

13. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

14. It is better to know how to learn than to know.

24. Teeth are always in style.

26. Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.

 

The full Infograph at Holy Kaw
 

Thx to Michele Weslander Quaid

Since the recession began in 2006 – blogging has exploded, growing 500%

Do you ever wonder how many millions of people, before the days of the internet, kept journals?

Do you think the numbers would compare to the millions who are now blogging, tweeting, and social networking…

On to the real story:

Millions More Bloggers and Blog Readers

Here is another interesting fact about the recession. Since it began in 2006, the number of blogs in the world has risen from 36 million to 173 million. That is a near 5x growth.

Do you think that has any relation the recession or is just a correlation?

That same data shows that 2x as many people blog on social networks as compared to traditional blog websites. So perhaps the rapid growth is due to the rise of social networks?

Ah, well the data shows that the majority of bloggers are women, half of whom are moms. Another 20% of bloggers are fathers. Something about parenting drives a person to blog…

More stats at neilsenwire

5 reasons to love the Kindle

This is a personal piece about my experiences owning a Kindle for 2 years. There were many early fears and unknowns but they’ve since been wiped away. I am able to do everything I want with it and more.

Here are my 5 favorite things about the Kindle:

  • Saves time
  • Lighter, easier on the hand
  • Cozying up with it
  • The classics
  • Exotic books

Saves time

Let’s talk about the entire Kindle buying experience. I lay back on my comfy pillow, browse the online store, purchase and begin reading.

Now, compare that to the bookstore experience. Hop in a car, drive in traffic, park in traffic, walk to store, hang out in a cozy cool community-friendly store, wait in line, purchase at cashier, and then reverse the walking, parking, and driving.

I’m just saying. It’s a whole lot easier on me and my stress level.

Then there is the free trial which allows you to read the first few chapters without buying. A perfect way to purchase books, after all, if you’re not ready to buy after the second chapter then it’s not worth it. Plus, I don’t have to sit on an awkward couch in a crowded store to read those chapters.

Lighter, easier on the hand

Sometimes when you really get going, a real page-turner and finish 100 pages, your hand gets sore. It’s not that books or e-readers are heavy, it’s that holding them steady for a few hours is like some ancient torture session.

To compare the weight of different books, the Kindle weighs 8.5 ounces and, on average, hardcover books weighs 20 ounces and paperbacks about 12 ounces.

Add that up over the long run and you get the idea.

Cozying up with my Kindle

Believe it or not, but, on cold nights it is nice to cozy up with an e-reader. The hot cocoa, warm blanket, and my Kindle.

I don’t miss the smell nor the look of paper books. I just like to lose myself in the story.

Of course, there is one more important reason why I enjoy cozying with it. The e-reader allows me to increase the font size on any book, which saves my eyes, and allows me to read for much longer than I could with a paper book.

The Classics

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Edgar Allen Poe, Sun Tzu, Edith Wharton, William Shakespeare

All their works are free and sometimes you can get their entire life works with one click. Yes, the classics are all free. Thousands and thousands of books, it’s like a modern-day Renaissance.

I could read for years, not spend a dime, and become incredibly educated. I love this because I grew up in an era when the classics were banished from the classroom. We were asked to read maybe 1-2 books a school year and most were contemporary novels.

There is so much I don’t know about the enlightenment, greek philosophy, romantic literature, modern economics, and even early 20th century pieces.

Exotic Books

I cannot write a piece on e-books without the inevitable nostalgia for real, physical books. I have that feeling too, but with a Kindle everything changes: I actually buy the books I always wanted.

It turns out there are two kinds of books: ones you read and ones you keep. The first, you finish and put on the shelf to collect dust. The second, you pick up every few weeks when you’re bored.

With the Kindle I am able to save money (space too) on the books to read and then spend the savings on the special exotic books (which always cost more).

I call them exotic books because they are oversized or rare, often with glamorous pictures. Basically, they are coffee table books but since I don’t, and have never owned, a coffee table I don’t like that term.

My exotic collection of books is growing and I am absolutely in love with them. Here are a few:

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Tartine

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The History of Surfing

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Japanese Caligraphy


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Photos by: Tim D (coffee), Stephen (girl reading), 3Water (close-up nickel)