Category Archives: On the Web

BookTV is Featuring Fiction

BookTV has aired, on CSPAN2, every weekend since 1998 focusing on non-fiction books. That focus shifts a little in January 2018 when their 3-hour-long show In Depth will begin featuring fiction authors as well.

They are going to feature one fiction author, on the first Sunday of each month, all year long. These segments will be conducted as all In Depth shows are, allowing viewers to watch live and call or send in questions via social media.

They haven’t shared the whole line up for the year, but there are some big fiction authors slated to be on the show:

  • January 7th: David Ignatius
  • February 4th: Colson Whitehead
  • March 4th: Jeff Shaara
  • April 1st: Walter Mosley
  • May 6th: TBD
  • June 3rd: Gish Jen
  • July 1st: Brad Thor
  • August 5th: Cory Doctorow
  • September 2nd: TBD
  • October 7th: Geraldine Brooks
  • November 4th: TBD
  • December 2nd: Brad Meltzer

What a great lineup! Those are some smart folks who are writing about big and small topics all over the place. BookTV has chatted with fiction authors before during their coverage of literary festivals or industry events like Book Expo of America. In fact they’re airing a conversation with George Saunders about his book Lincoln in the Bardo, which is a segment I plan on watching.

If you don’t keep up with BookTV, it is well worth your while to check the lineup every weekend. They’ve had some great interviews over the years and they broadcast many author readings, book parties, and book festivals. It’s one of the coolest things our government has every spent taxpayer dollars on. The BookTV YouTube channel is worth a subscription too.

 

FREE Rare Book School Lectures

There is one thing readers enjoy almost as much as reading and that is talking about books. And if the topic is rare books, then all the better. There’s something about the study of preservation and the hope of an amazing find at a used book store that stirs reader’s hearts at a deep level. This is why the Rare Book School exists.

The folks at the Rare Book School readers’ and book collectors’ hearts all too well. I’m sure it’s part of the reason they have made 100+ lectures available for FREE online. Most are audio-only and play in your browser, but some link to YouTube videos where you can see the lecturer and artifacts. All of the sessions last around an hour.

The oldest lecture is from 1973 and the Rare Book School just added another class session from August 3, 2016. Just click through and check out the lecture topics. It’s amazing how specialized the roster of speakers are.

The topics are very very focused and toe the line of strictly academic every second. I happen to think this makes them all the more valuable and interesting. These are real lectures by practitioners and researchers in the fields of preservation, biography, collecting and antiquities. It’d be fun to hang around after one or two of these classes and see what everyone talks about.

Rare Books SchoolIf this kind of thing strikes your fancy then I’d also recommend Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places by Rebecca Barry. I just picked it up and am only a couple stories into, but it’s a fun collection of stories. They are all in the “that time a Hemingway 1st edition was found at a yard sale for $1” vein of wishful thinking. Dare to dream.

Reading Ability Tied to Ice Cream

Ok, so this one has a bit of a “cars with umbrellas in them get into more wrecks, so umbrellas cause wrecks” kind of feel to it, but hey, it was reported by The Economist. Which is pretty legit and their paywall is more profitable than what I’m running here at Headsubhead, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

But the numbers do track just about the same: countries that consume large amounts of ice cream treats also score very very well on literacy tests.

reading_Ice_Cream

No doubt there are many other factors here, but doing a quick and dirty back of the napkin confirmation…

Business Insider lists these ten as the top ice cream eating countries:

  1. New Zealand
  2. United States
  3. Australia
  4. Finland
  5. Sweden
  6. Canada
  7. Denmark
  8. Ireland
  9. Italy
  10. United Kingdom

And according to a Washington Post article, the most literate countries in the world are:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Iceland
  4. Denmark
  5. Sweden
  6. Switzerland
  7. United States
  8. Germany
  9. Latvia
  10. Canada & Netherlands (tie)

So that’s 50%. Of course, while it’s easy to count ice cream cones, it’s much harder to measure literacy. No doubt some formulas would track this trend higher or lower, but it’s still pretty fun.

So, averaging the info from Business Insider, in order to maintain a high level of literacy you should consume 13.5 liters (3.6 gallons) of ice cream per year.

All of that probably isn’t true, but it sure is fun to say. And there’s math behind it! Everything with numbers is true, right? Just ask any of these politicians running for office. However if science could tell us which flavors of ice cream help us most with reading comprehension…. then we’d be on to something.

Free Science Fiction Magazines

Sometimes the internet shows up to the party dressed to impress. This past week was one of those times as the Internet Archive made the entire original 175-issue run of the science fiction magazine IF available for free download.

If vintage pulp or vintage magazines are you thing, then is is something you definitely want to check out. The magazine ran from the early 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Each cover is like a time travel capsule to a different age. I think many are worth framing.

Science Fiction Magazine

There even seems to be a “bonus issue”? The very last issue posted at the Internet Archive is listed as Fall 1986 and declares a relaunch of sorts for the magazine, which closed in 1974. Not sure what happened to the rest of the run.

IF magazine published  serialized versions of many well-known science fiction authors like Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven and Harlan Ellison.

According to the Internet Archive, IF magazine won three Hugo Awards for “best professional magazine” in the late 60’s. At the end of its run IF magazine was folded into the Galaxy Science Fiction magazine.

Science Fiction Magazine Science Fiction Magazine

So check them out, if science fiction is your thing. I’m also anxious to take a look and see who designed these covers. Too many great representations of vintage science fiction artwork here not to dig in deeper.