The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘bestsellers’

The World Just Wasn’t Ready, and Other News

December 11, 2014 | by

webvan mark coggins

Rest in peace, WebVan. Photo: Mark Coggins, via Flickr

  • Tim Parks was dismayed to find that his students were so enthralled by “the printed word and an aura of literariness” that they’d miss obvious absurdities in what they were reading. His advice? “Always read with a pen in your hands, not beside you on the table, but actually in your hand, ready, armed. And always make three or four comments on every page, at least one critical, even aggressive. Put a question mark by everything you find suspect. Underline anything you really appreciate. Feel free to write ‘splendid,’ but also, ‘I don’t believe a word of it.’ And even ‘bullshit.’ ”
  • On a similar note, Oxonians are obsessed with finding marginalia in their library books: on Facebook, the Oxford University Marginalia group “now has two thousand five hundred and three members, making marginalia to Oxford something like what a cappella is to Princeton. ‘The Oxford libraries are still heavily used, and the curriculum remains relatively stable, so you have so many students reading the same texts’ … ‘The books are thrashed, basically.’ ”
  • Not many people are managing to slog through literary best sellers, experts say: “A study has shown the most downloaded ebooks of the year were not necessarily ever finished by hopeful readers.” Just 44 percent of readers made it through The Goldfinch, and 28 percent got through Twelve Years a Slave.
  • Crummy computer news, part one: they’re better at flirting than we are. “Women were okay, able to judge with 62 percent accuracy when a man was flirting with them. Men were worse, accurately guessing that a woman was flirting just 56 percent of the time. The Stanford guys’ flirtation-detection system, in comparison, was able to correctly judge flirting with 71 percent accuracy.”
  • Crummy computer news, part two: all the seemingly horrendous dot-com ideas of the nineties were actually pretty decent. Remember WebVan? No? They wanted to use the Internet to deliver fresh groceries to your door—just as dozens of profitable companies are doing today.

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The Best-Seller Algorithm, and Other News

January 9, 2014 | by

Computer Reading

  • Scientists have developed an algorithm for writing a hit novel. Go easy on the verbs and the clichés, and you, too, may see the best-seller list. (Consider calling your book “The Best-Seller Algorithm,” which has the bold ring of a blockbuster.)
  • An endearingly earnest infographic defends librarians in the digital age. Look out for such phrases as “portal to archive” and “techy-savvy librarianship.”
  • Strange things are afoot in New Mexico, where Cormac McCarthy’s ex-wife has been arrested for threatening someone with a gun after “a domestic dispute over space aliens.” Apologies for burying the lede, but: she produced the gun from her vagina.
  • Earlier this week, an arsonist burned Tripoli’s Al Sa’eh Library, destroying an estimated fifty thousand books.

 

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Meet Your Literary Hero, and Other News

February 20, 2013 | by

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  • #IWishICouldMeet, the popular Twitter hash tag, gets a literary twist as readers tell the LA Times which characters and authors they would love to meet #IRL. (And for the record, #ReuvenMalter.)
  • Paul Muldoon—poet, professor, Poetry Society macher, New Yorker editor, librettist, and Rackett guitarist—lists his favorite rock books.
  • This list of best sellers from around the world is fascinating and shaming.
  • In fact, next, the blogger reading one hundred years of best sellers might want to tackle the Indonesian list.
  • “The second half of the nineteenth century saw the rise of amateur press associations (ASAs)—small groups of writers, often without professional training, who would produce individual articles, pamphlets, or magazines mailed to all other members of the association; in other words, a progenitor of subscription-based blogging, and yet another example of primitive versions of modern social media.”
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