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Friday, November 26, 2004

The Literacy Site

This is a new addition to the Animal rescue site's good causes, please help and spread the word.

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About The Literacy Site

Remember the magic of your first book? Perhaps you were nestled in the arms of a parent, or sharing a giggle with a friend. Whatever your first memory of a book, books are a powerful tool; they stir the senses, inspire the imagination and spark a love of reading that can last a lifetime. But what of children who have no books? The Literacy Site gives you a way to share the magic of books and promote the love of reading among children who might otherwise never discover the joy of their first book.

Your click on the red "Give Free Books" button at The Literacy Site generates books for children in need, funded by site sponsors and provided through our award winning charity partner, First Book. In the last three years, First Book has distributed over 20 million books to children in hundreds of communities.

The number of books we put in children's hands depends on the number of visitors who click the "Give Free Books" button on The Literacy Site. Please click every day, and encourage friends and family members to do the same.

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Christmas Preview Evening

Not to be missed!

Hatchards 187 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LE 020 7439 9921

invite you to a special CHRISTMAS PREVIEW EVENING
on Thursday 2nd December 2004 6.00-8.00pm

Browse through our extensive range of Christmas books and enjoy our festive
entertainment.

There will be high-profile authors in all departments including:

Annabel Goldsmith, Gyles Brandreth,
Flora Fraser, Robert McCrum,
Michelle Paver, P.B. Kerr,
Michael Dobbs, Ken Follett, William Boyd, P.D. James,
Monica Ali, Tracey Chevalier,
Robert Lacey, Adam Zamoyski, Peter de la Billiere,
James Muirden

-----------

Sting will be signing copies of his candid autobiography Broken Music at Waterstone's, 24-26 Birmingham High Street, B4 7SL on Tuesday the 23rd of November at 1pm.

Please note that due to time constraints Sting will only be signing copies of the promoted title and no other merchandise. We are unable to take reservations for this event. Free, no ticket required. Please ring 0121 633 4353 for more details.

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Places of Peace and Power by Martin Gray Reviewed by KJR for Bookzen

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Places of Peace and Power is a book about the ancient sacred sites around the world and why they are so interesting. Enjoyable and stimulating on many levels, this is a travel journal describing the process of researching, traveling to, and searching out a variety of the world's oldest, sacred religious sites; yet it is also an exploration of various forms of Eastern religion and meditation practice; as well as a guide to a variety of obscure historical notes and esoteric philosophies.

Martin Gray's overall thesis about why ancient sites are important today is based on a series of visions he had while on his journey to the sites known to the ancients for millennia. Gray believes that by using a kind of telepathic mental, spiritual, and cognitive power, humanity will figuratively join hearts and minds to create a force field that will empower us to make it through the social, political, and environmental crises that loom just over time's horizon. And humanity wll not be entirely alone in this effort. Aiding us to overcome our current low coping threshold will be the earth itself. Planetary energy fields, according to Gray's visions, emanating from the sacred places of power, will act as acupuncture points, to transform a critical mass of "seekers," igniting a chain reaction of enlightenment that will echo round the globe.

Gray's thoughts about his "unified being awareness and the age of global awakening" are not entirely new. Some of this is similar to the so-called 100th monkey theory of distance learning, which holds that as a critical mass of members of a species learn a new coping strategy, others in the species simultaneously learn it, too, possibly through a kind of shared telepathy. Gray's idea about humanity sharing a vision, his "unified being awareness," is also much like the planetary awakening foretold by Arthur C. Clarke in his novel "Childhood's End." It is even shares concepts with the events foretold in newspaperman and Internet guru Dan Gillmor's book, "We the Media," also reviewed on this site. According to Gillmor, as a critical mass of bloggers, chatters, and mobile photo phone users establish and maintain alternative communications channels that criss-cross the globe, we are shifting our perceptions of social and political events, as well as our perceptions about ourselves.

Humanity's coping with the ecological and political disasters confronting us is also the basis for much of classic science fiction, from William Gibson to Frank Herbert to H.G. Wells. Gray is almost like a latter-day Buckminster Fuller, whose message is that humanity must and will cope successfully, with mother earth's help. In a refreshing way, though Gray's thesis is spiritual, he is not offering an apocalyptic vision or simply saying "god will provide," nor is he turning his back on society's problems as has been the tendency of late. His message is similar to that of the Gaia movement. As Gray himself notes, even Carlos Casteneda, writing about mystical power in the don Juan books, discusses similar concepts about the energy our earth has to offer us. Perhaps the universality of Gray's concepts only goes to prove his point that the "unified being awareness" is already occurring.

Despite its currency in the culture, Gray's thesis will still be implausible, possibly laughable to many, as he himself admits. Nevertheless, the book is greatly enhanced by Gray's down-to-earth good sense and straight-forward narrative. Gray is credible and sounds authentic, like someone who is truly well-educated, with the common sense of a man who has been successful in business. He is an anthropologist, a professional-level photographer, and has travelled around the world several times (largely on a bicycle, no less!), meditating and listening to the messages the places of power have to offer.

According to Gray, you will know well enough by now, reading this review, whether this book is for you. If you have had a hankering about visiting a particular cathedral or mountain hot spring or runic dolman, you might want to read this book. If you have stood at the rim of the Haleakela volcano in Maui and felt the earth's energy surge through you, if you have looked out at the jungles from atop a pyramid in Mexico and felt the awesome vision of the architects who built them, or if you have heard unseen heavenly choirs while standing in the small stone stall where Saint Francis of Assisi sold cloth as a young man, things I myself have experienced, or even if you just have wondered how the people of the earth are going to surmount the gordian knot of troubles that face us, you will find in Martin Gray a kindred spirit.

Mr. Gray also gives slide shows about the places of power and the visions he received there. His book and more information, including photographs, are available online at sacredsites.com and nomadics.net

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

55th Annual National Book Awards

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The National Book Foundation
Non Fiction
WINNER:
Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
(Henry Holt & Company, LLC)

Young People's Literature
WINNER:
Pete Hautman, Godless
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Poetry
WINNER:
Jean Valentine, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003
(Wesleyan University Press)

Fiction
WINNER:
Lily Tuck, The News from Paraguay
(HarperCollinsPublishers)


Read the New York Times' Review
South America Epic Wins the National Book Award By EDWARD WYATT

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Blogexplosion

This seems to be working, it can be addictive...



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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Reviewed by KJR for Bookzen

Mrs. Dalloway

"Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf is a thoughtfully written, often amusing indictment of Western culture in general and of the inappropriate, suffocating, snobby stuffiness of upper class English culture in the twentieth century, the mid-1920's in particular. "Mrs. Dalloway" is told through a headlong rampage of free associations, non-sequitors and streams of consciousness from its half dozen characters and omniscient narrator, all woven together to tell what went on in the lives of these people on one day. It is the day, and evening, that Clarissa Dalloway plans the final preparations and gives her big party. In telling the story of this one day, of course, the narrator tells us more or less everything of any significance about each of the characters: their fears, failings, disappointments, illusions, and longings.

In the hindsight of fully eighty years since it was written, "Mrs. Dalloway" seems contemporary for its audio-visual cinematic quality. Whole parts of the book are mere sights and sounds, loosely tethered to the story, more as omens, as examples of the randomly ordered forces of nature at work in the world. In this regard, the novel is very modern and naturalistic, self-consciously so.

Insanity, respectability, rank and power, boredom, personal worth and the meaning of life are brought up repeatedly. With such a juxtaposition of disparate ideas, we are tempted to smile at the comic poetry of description; yet we are uneasy with the frantic pace of manic depression so clearly evident. There is too much being thrown up at us, and little of it is grounded. As it describes humanity's relentless pace toward obvious and meaningless oblivion, Mrs. Dalloway reminds me of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" or "Fall of Amerika." The momentum and cynicism of the free associative stream of consciousness is clearly very close to Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and to James Joyce's "Ulysses." There is here a craziness, however, zany, perfect, articulate and implacable, that is haunting, and unsustainable, like the madness of Malcolm Lowry's "Under the Volcano."

In saying that the work itself is the deft creation of a human being on the verge of madness, I do not intend any criticism of the book or of Virginia Woolf. There is too great a tendency, given her unhappiness and eventual suicide, to declare that Virginia Woolf was unbalanced and that her imbalance shows through in her works. I would say rather that she clearly describes here a world that is mad. She proposes further, that those who try to square the contradictions and horrors of modern life, of loneliness, injustice, war, human frailty and chance, may seem completely mad, but only to those too stupid, insensible or caught up in the madness to notice what is really going on.

This last point forms the indictment of Western culture at the core of this book. It is an indictment of our failures, not necessarily with a suggestion of solutions. It is an indictment of our inability as educated, civilized human beings to be comfortable with our own needs and feelings. It is an indictment of our preference for denial and ignorance, of our preference for form over substance. She herself wrote in her diary about two years before the book's appearance, when it was still entitled "The Hours":

19 June 1923--I want to give life and death, sanity and insanity;
I want to criticize the social system, and to show it at work at its most
intense. . . . Am I writing The Hours from deep emotion? Of course the
mad part tries me so much,

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Salgado

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Sahel:The End of the Road


Salgado - reviewed by KJR for bookzen


Finally after twenty years, Sebastiao Salgado's images are being published, as described in an excellent article in the New York Times. Considering himself a photojournalist of the world's less fortunate, the Brazilian photographer uses the camera to bring information to others. He says of photography,that it is only a language: what is more important, is what is being discussed. Though Salgado, like Atget, Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams, Lee Miller, Robert Frank, and Stieglitz, can say this since the language his Leica produces in his hands is highly articulate.


Reportedly, this book Sahel:The End of the Road, was not published earlier because agents and publishers who saw the images were reduced to tears, and felt that no one would want to buy such a book. Salgado, who has taken photos in Vietnam, India and Africa, responded that it is our moral obligation to understand the fate of the others! So much for spin, design over content, ignoring what is really going on, and Fox News. Perhaps, quite tellingly, the book is not being published in the heartland, but by that bastion of eccentricity (thank god!), The University of California Press, as a joint project between the departments of photography and journalism at Berkeley. Not surprisingly those bystanders to the War on Terror, France and Spain thought the book important enough to be published way back in the mid-eighties. (Is there a connection between that event and recent international headlines?)


---------------
The Instituto Terra, a non-profit organization created by Sebastiao Salgado and Lelia Wanick Salgado, proposes a highly innovative approach to Brazil's deforestation crisis.

How to help
--------------

Power: Auction at Bloomberg, Nov 17th 2004 - An auction of
prints by world-class photographers


Mighty names from the world of art and documentary photography have donated 60 power-inspired prints for a charity auction on Wednesday 17 November at the Bloomberg auditorium in the City.

For the second year running, PhotoVoice has invited world-class photographers to contribute to this prestige event whichwill raise money for its projects around the world.

Among the contributors are Sebastiao Salgado, Juergen Teller, Sarah Moon, and Philip Jones Griffiths. Particularly compelling are images of George W. Bush (Larry Downing/ Reuters), Kevin Spacey outside the Old Vic (Nobby Clark) and Yann Arthus Bertrand’s magnificent ariel shot of the Kenyan Savannah. Thomas Hoepker (Magnum Photos) has donated his iconic image of Muhammed Ali from 1966.


Wednesday 17th November 6.30-9pm £10 donation

Bloomberg L.P
39-45 Finsbury Square London EC2A 1PQ

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Guardian First Book Award 2004

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Readers groups help pick first book award for five novices. The five are a mix of genres, in keeping with the £10,000 award's choice from fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Guardian shortlist
- Ground Water by Matthew Hollis is a collection of poems
- Natasha by David Bezmozgis is a book of short stories
- Susanna Clarke is shortlisted for her novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- Rory Stewart's non-fiction is represented by The Places in Between, and Mutants
- Armand Marie Leroi On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body
via...the Guardian

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Bhutan - the book

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Photo - Kottke

Bhutan Book
According to Guinness World Records, at over five by seven feet (and 133 pounds), this staggeringly beautiful photographic book is the largest published book in the world about one of the world's smallest countries. A limited edition of 500 copies will be produced. The $10,000 "price" (less than $100 per page) is a donation to Friendly Planet The worlds largest book can also be ordered on Amazon via...Kottke

The book was on display at poptech see more photos on Flickr

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- latest posts -
 
- bookzen reviews -
Reviews by KJR for Bookzen
A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham
Google Hacks, Tips & Tools for Smarter Searching By Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest Google Hacks, Tips & Tools for Smarter Searching By Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest
 Mind Hacks Tips & Tools for Using your Brain in the World By Tom Stafford, Matt Webb Mind Hacks Tips & Tools for Using your Brain in the World By Tom Stafford, Matt Webb
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Places of Peace and Power by Martin Gray
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Sahel:The End of the Road by Sebastiao Salgado Sahel:The End of the Road by Sebastiao Salgado
Brightness Falls by Jay McInerney Brightness Falls by Jay McInerney
We the Media : Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People By Dan Gillmor We the Media : Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People By Dan Gillmor
The Ecology of Eden by Evan Eisenberg The Ecology of Eden by Evan Eisenberg
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lysergically Yours by Frank Duff Lysergically Yours by Frank Duff
Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim
Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim
Summer by Edith Wharton
Chekhov
Chekhov
Couples by Jophn Updike Couples by Jophn Updike
Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoevsky
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
 
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Foyle's
Foyles 113 - 119 Charing Cross Road, London
- events
Foyles Literary Luncheons Enquiries and ticket info tel: +44-(0)870 420 2600 luncheons@foyles.co.uk Online booking form.
700th Foyles Literary Luncheon 2004 photos
Hatchard's
Hatchards the oldest bookshop in London est. 1797. 187 Piccadilly, W1J 9LE, Tel: 020 7439 9921
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Waterstones 203 Piccadilly, London
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- National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
 
The Man Booker International Prize
- The Man Booker International Prize will recognize one writer for their achievement in fiction. The prize will be awarded once every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English, or generally available in translation in the English language.
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- World Book Day 2005 Thursday 3 March World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and was marked in over 30 countries around the globe last year.
---
Glasses for humanity
- Glasses for humanity will remove a significant barrier to literacy, education, productivity and economic well-being for tens of millions of people each year.
- The Royal Literary Fund is a British benevolent fund for professional published authors in financial difficulties.
- Bookcrossing is Ron Hornbaker's super idea. If you have books that you no longer want you can liberate them. Leave them somewhere so that they can be read by others. Catch books from bookcrosssers. You can write reveiws on the site rather like at Amazon. There are also Bookcrossing MeetUp's on the second tuesday of each month.
Free book
for members - Wild Animus by Rich Shapero Wild Animus is a novel about obsession and surrender, set in the wilderness of Alaska’s Mt. Wrangell.

- Project Gutenberg is the most wonderful resource. thousands of books have been put online, you can download them for free, in many different languages. This is very important for the whole world. Advanced search >>
Gutenberg author Sam Vaknin has written a UPI News Wire Story addressing our 10,000th eBook, DVD and CD giveaways, and more!

- A9 the Amazon book search engine, includes the search inside the book feature.
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- RSL magazine 2004
- The Royal Society of Literature is the senior literary organisation in Britain, founded by George IV in 1820 to 'reward literary merit and excite literary talent'. Today, the leading living writers are elected to its Fellowship; lectures, readings and literary discussions are arranged, and we have a doughty record of campaigning on behalf of the writer and the written word.
- Join the Society.
- Contemporary Writers in the UK This unique, searchable database contains up-to-date profiles of some of the UK and Commonwealth's most important living writers - biographies, bibliographies, critical reviews, prizes and photographs. Searchable by author, genre, nationality, gender, publisher, book title, date of publication and prize name and date.
- Fundamental Digital Library of Russian Literature and Folklore (known by its Russian acronym, FEB).
- Open Access News - News from the open access movement
- Indiana University has launched an OA repository for / sheet music.
- Bartleby great free online books.
- USA Today bestseller search weekly bestsellers, going back 10 years.
- Google has just offered the facility to search over 60,000 books - print.google.com
- Allconsuming is a great site, you can reveiw books that you are reading etc. You can choose your book list to show up on your site, with just a bit of javascript, as I have done below. Thank you!
- Caderbooks publish an annual entertainment almanac in conjunction with People Magazine which presents a storehouse of useful and interesting facts and features about the entire world of entertainment. Included in the book is Publisher's Weekly's list of bestselling hardcover books for the entire century. This archive presents all of those bestsellers from this century.
- National Trust Bookshop – buy NT publications online
- Summarise a Novel in 25 Words
- globalbooksinprint
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- Edward R. Hamilton bargain books

- Books Online – buy any book in print from the National Trust, this helps them.
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- books -
We the Media : Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
We the Media : Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People By Dan Gillmor
Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover.
In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news. [Full Description]
Buy it from O'Reilly >>
Good luck Dan : From we the readers
 
 
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