Birmingham Book Events

Book Events: Jan. 19th-Jan.26th

Things are starting to pick up around town. There are a lot more author events and book events appearing on calendars around Birmingham. Looks like 2014 is getting under way!

Here are three events this next week that would be of interest to book loving folks in the area:

January 23rd from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. – Theresa K. Thorn, author of Noah’s Wife will be speaking and signing at the Vestavia Hills Library.

January 23rd from 2 p.m. until 5 p .m.  – Gus Mayer will host a book signing with Jane Weitzman who will be there talking about her new book Heart & Sole, which focuses on shoes and clever “art shoes.

January 25th from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. - author Robert Inman will be at the Pelham Library signing copies of his latest book The Governor’s Lady. Inman will be signing any of his books… but you have to bring your own copies! The library will not have books there to sell.

ten books that stayed with you feature banner

Ten Books that Stayed with You

There is a neat thing going on over on a network of Tumblr book blogs where they are sharing Ten Books That Stayed With You. It all started on this site and hasn’t lost any steam. Lots of good books being mentioned.

I like the idea of “don’t think about this too hard” and “take a photo of the ones you have near you”. I don’t Tumbl (or is it Tumblog? How do the cool kids say it?) so I thought I’d just post mine here as I can’t find a way to jump in without being on Tumblr. These are ten books that I have found myself quoting or sharing more than others. There are a couple of others as well, but I borrowed those from the library. So they were cut from the running simply because they weren’t available for the photo shoot.

ten books that stayed with you

In no specific order:

    • Kavalier and Clay by Micahel Chabon
    • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    • The Information Diet by Clay Johnson
    • Book Business by Joseph Epstein
    • The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
    • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
    • So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid
    • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
    • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

How about you? Do you find you have books that have stayed with you?

Birmingham Book Events

Book Events: Jan. 12th – Jan. 19th

Here are three book events that I saw that might be of interest to all you book loving folks in the Birmingham area. Drop me a note if you know of an author signing or book-related event that I haven’t mentioned. I’m always looking for something fun to do!

Monday, Jan. 13th, from 4pm–6pm - author Clifton Meador will be signing his book fascinomas at the Little Professor in Homewood.

Thursday, Jan. 16th at 10am – author Pam Jenoff will be hosted by the Hoover Library for a skype Q&A session and discussion. Reservations are required! You can make them here.

Friday, Jan. 17th, from 5pm–7pm – author David Bridges will be signing his book The Broken Circle at the Little Professor in Homewood.

book lover shirt

Reading Exercise Book T-Shirt

This book t-shirt made me laugh… because, sadly, it’s kind of true:

book tshirt

For those not loading images on their mobile, the tee reads:

If turning pages is considered exercise then yes, I workout all the time.

This time of year is all about resolutions and this shirt certainly keeps it all in very honest perspective. Come to think of it, I know about 15 people who would wear this shirt too (I know some very cool interesting out of shape folks!).

Anyway, the shirt seems to be listed on just a few sites, but it’s only $30 on the Look Human site. Happy New Year and happy reading!

feature_reading-technology

Reading Technology in Education

A friend sent me this photo in an email:

reading technology

After Googling around it looks like it comes from a soon-to-be-released book Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age. The book seems to be about technology and schools and reading technology and education, but I’m not sure.

That’s a great find though. No doubt the same argument was made when slide rules gave way to calculators. And of course books to Nooks and iPads.

Though there has been some interesting research lately on how well reading technology devices serve kids and in what areas they fail the students. I wonder what these studies would have turned up had they been conducted when the chalk and slate were abandoned?

Not too mention that with the glut of books in the late Nineties (and Harry Potter) it wasn’t un-heard of for the publishing industry to run out of paper for a bit.

Maybe this principal from 1815 was onto something. Ain’t technology grand?

trilogies

Talking trilogies

Justin Landon asks a great question: why are there so many trilogies? He posts his research (much more than I’d ever do) over on the Tor blog. It’s worth reading. You should do so.

I have to admit to being flummoxed by the “trend” as it does seem new-ish to me. Of course, Landon shows that stories of three have been around a long while, but these days it just feels contrived and forced at times.

I’ve always thought that it was a sales and marketing decision, as whenever the “next in the series” is promoted and marketed, attention and sales naturally spike for the first book. Which, of course,  is a good thing.

trilogies_john-scalzi

I only bring this up because I read two books last year that ended (each after 400+ pages) with no resolution. And each looking towards the next book to be released sometime in the next 11-16 months. WHAT!? I was pretty ticked. Had I known they were the first in a planned trio I would have waited. This is what I did with Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. It was tons of fun and worth the wait as I could binge read all of them in one coherent flurry of pages.

trilogies_mira-grant

Don’t get me wrong. I love a book series. But it’s totally ok for one book to be one whole story. I want to dive deep. But I also want to know when I’m going to be reading one story over three books and two years. I’d be a proponent of a big sticker on the front that says “1st book in a planned 3 book series” or some such. But I imagine publishers wouldn’t go for that. I wonder if authors are of a different opinion? If three-book chunks are needed to keep folks like Scalzi and Grant at the keyboard, then please disregard this post.

Maybe I’m just immature and hate to wait. Or maybe I just need to do a little more research (of the Justin Landon quality) on that hot-off-the-press novel before picking it up to see if I’m going to be left hanging or not.

Or maybe I need to get comfy with the word “omnibus” and find some.

Book Hive Book Art

Moving Book Art

Check out this super-short promo video for a new book art installation over in England:

Isn’t that cool? I’m always impressed with what artists make of books. But the way this book art (which they’re calling Book Hive) interacts with the viewer is pretty impressive.  The way the books flap open and closed reminds me of all the flying and flapping books in William Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Which is a good thing.

Morris Lessmore as book art

The book art installation was put in place to bring attention to the 400 years of service that the Bristol libraries have been open over in England. Amazing. Both the Book Hive wall and the centuries of librarians doing their thing.

Book Events: Jan. 5th – Jan. 12th

Who knows what the new year holds for the Birmingham-area and book events. Lots of author signings and book launches popping up on calendars on into Spring. But what is there to do this upcoming week for all the Birmingham’s bookish folk?

Here are three events that you may be interested in:

January 9th 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – the Bessemer library will host author Julie Williams as she leads a discussion on her book Wings of Opportunity: the Wright Brothers in Montgomery, AL, about the Wright brothers opening the first civilian flight school in Alabama.

January 9th at 6:30 p.m. – the Church & Oak book club will have its first meeting of 2014. They meet in the upstairs room at Church Street Books & Coffee. They are reading The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.

 January 12th at 2:30 p.m. – the Avondale library kicks off its Adaptations group with a screening party for The Hobbit followed by a discussion comparing the J.R.R. Tolkien’s books with the movie.

bookend

Falling Books Bookend

If you are going to fall for a novel bookend at least make it humorous. And this one certainly floats to the top of all the choices on the interwebs and would be a great gift for book lovers.

Falling Book Bookend

It’s aptly called “The End” and features a little bookworm about to get squashed by the tilting titles.  It’s just under 4.5″ tall so don’t expect to hold too many books with this (or even one big book). But it will certainly be a great talking piece as friends peruse you shelves.

The price is all over the place, but averages around $15 as it’s listed here on the Mental Floss site.

Do chime in if you have found any clever bookends that top this one!

 

National Science Fiction Day

National Science Fiction Day

Today is officially the unofficially official National Science Fiction Day. So happy NSFD! I got this info from both Wikipedia and Slate… is it possible to get any more legit than that?

The day was chosen due to it being Isaac Asimov‘s birthday. Which is a pretty good reason. Asimov has written one book for every star in the sky it seems. And his Foundation Trilogy is one that sparked my reading interests many many many years ago.

different engines coverIf you are interested in the history of Science Fiction I do not think you can do much better than Brake’s and Hook’s Different Engines. This book may feel a bit dry at times, but it’s simply because it ranks well in the researched/scholarly category and you are learning stuff. But the book is fascinating and worth your time.

They convincingly trace the birth of Science Fiction to Johannes Kepler’s Somnium, which he was working on in 1593, but was published posthumously in 1634. Their sense of what is and isn’t Science Fiction is a good one and offers wonderful insights for any fan of the genre.

As a gift for National Science Fiction Day this year I’m offering you a link. A very sci-fi bookish/reading link. Click here to go to Project Gutenberg and download a free ebook version of Lyn Venable’s Time Enough at Last. This is the short story that inspired the classic Twilight Zone episode of the same name.

Henry Bemis

You remember it don’t you? The one where bibliophile Henry Bemis survives a nuclear bomb and stumbles upon a public library and finally has enough time to read! With no one around to bother him! But then… so sad.

Anyway, enjoy the quick read by Venable and then go watch that episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s fun, but his wife is really mean.

Happy National Science Fiction Day!

power of habot

Two Recommended Reads

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is off to a great start for you and that many great books are in your future. Here are two highly highly recommended reads for any functioning adult… who is on the internet… and wants to continue to be an effective and functioning adult. I’m serious about these two books. They are great reads.

InformationDiet_cover

The first recommended read is Clay Johnson’s The Information Diet (my review). This book is a short one, but it is jam packed with information and case studies about most of the places you interact and inhabit online. The book is eye-opening, but not in a scary “big brother is gonna git chu” kind of way. He just lays it out clearly. It’s all about understanding how algorithms and networks operate online and on sites like Facebook. Plus, he ends up with ideas and tips for turning your media consuming self into a more productive person and savvier consumer.

power-of-habit-cover

The second one is Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. This book is fascinating. He shares data and stories on why you probably tie the same shoe first every morning,  strategies to break your bad habits or reinforce your good ones. Not too mention interviews with the people at Target and music sites that are using our habits against us in efforts to market to us and lure in their shops. Amazing stuff.

Both these books are bursting with information that I think will make you a better citizen both on and offline. Plus, it’s just good to know what kind of a world you will be wading through in 2014.

typographic-calendar

Two 2014 Typography Calendars

The new year is upon us! Which means it is time to pick out another calendar to help guide me through another year. For 2014, I’m thinking about getting one of these typography calendars. I haven’t decided if I want to go with a tear-off day-to-day type deal or if I want the wall mounted inspirational calendar. Either way, I’ve found these two options.

typographiccalendarMOMA

This typography calendar is being sold at MOMA and sports a different font every day of the year. They are calling it the Typodarium calendar and it looks like it may get a tad cutesy, but it’s certainly unique. Plus, it’s on sale for only $12.50 (see waiting until the last minute pays off sometimes)!

typograhicalendar365

Of course, then there is the annual awesomeness that is Hinrichs 2014 Typography 365 Calendar. This favorite sports a new font every month and really concentrates on the design and typesetting of each month. It’s something that any typophile would truly appreciate. But the full-size wall calendar is going for $47, so it’s a bit more expensive. I’ve seen this one before and it was wonderful. Totally worth getting the bigger one (the smaller typographiy calendar is $29).

So what have I missed? I’ve seen a bunch on Etsy, but nothing really jumped out. Let me know if you know of a cool typography calendar that I need to consider before I pull the trigger on one of these.

Happy New Year to each of you! I hope that your 2014 is full of books and great reads.

Books, Publishing and Birmingham