Archive for Book Blogosphere

Letters of Early Explorers and other goodies

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Today I’m doing some more browsing through search engines, and this week the search term I’m using is “book information.” And again I’ve been finding some little things that are interesting. [Author’s Note: the one I think is the neatest is #4 below, so if you don’t want to read anything long, skip to that!]

1) For example, I was amused to see a search result that simply said “Internet Book List.” That couldn’t possibly mean what it sounds like — could it? Someone’s trying to make a list of all books??

Well, no, actually. Just all fiction in English.

Isn’t that great?? So far they’ve got 63,000 books from 19,000 authors. You can register on the site and list books, write reviews, and all sorts of other things. I love the ambition of the site. I think even they know they can’t possibly accomplish their originally stated task, but I love that someone wants to do it. This looks like a site with aspirations perhaps similar to or in their beginnings.

New place for me to register and write reviews. Riiiight. ‘Cause I’ve got all this TIME. 🙂

2) Meanwhile, I also found a really interesting site called BookTrust. It’s a U.K. charity that promotes reading for all ages and to all cultures. They review and recommend books, and send books to people who can’t afford them. They give out prizes, and work in partnership with publishers.

BookTrust is also a co-founder of the Free Word Centre, whose mandate is described like this:

the charity Free Word, whose mission is innovation and collaboration, pushing boundaries to promote, protect and democratise the power of the written and spoken word for creative and free expression. It brings together organisations across literature, literacy and free expression to enhance their work and the profile of their sectors.

Isn’t it great to know such organizations exist?

3) Another interesting information site, which isn’t actually a book but is still really valuable, is The World Factbook from the C.I.A. Yes — the CIA. It provides an outline of basic information for most of the countries of the world, so if you’re looking for something like that, for reference purposes, this is where to start. But it’s just some basic info, from a very American point of view.

For example, looking at Canada, I roll my eyes that they list only two “Transnational Issues” for us. The first one is a very limited summary of border issues, touching on perhaps the most important one at the moment, that of the Northwest Passage. But the second “transnational issue” paints us as a haven for druggies and traffickers. *sigh*

So the phrase “grain of salt” does need to be floating in your mind a bit, at some of the interpretations. But for finding out basic geography, flags, type of government, economy, and so on, it’s a good starting place.

4) Another very cool site that makes me extremely excited is the Hakluyt Society. I’m cheating, because I found this one earlier this week, though I did do it via search engine, so it counts. This society, that’s been around since 1846, publishes the writings of early explorers.

I first discovered this book series at the University of Calgary library. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The first book I checked out had personal accounts written by some of the people who had sailed with Ferdinand Magellan. I mean, this was serious history!

I read a few, but then moved quite a distance from the library and didn’t get back for a while, and then moved to Toronto. And discovered, to my horror, that the University of Toronto library didn’t have the series. So I’ve been checking off and on over the years to see if any of the books have ever been put online instead.

And! On Thursday I discovered that several of them have. I am over the moon!

For example:

a) Select Letters of Christopher Columbus

b) The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake

c) India in the Fifteenth Century: Being a Collection of Narratives of Voyages

And that’s just a small sample. I am so happy, I can’t describe it! If you’re interested in history, there may be stuff in here that will be really interesting or useful to you. After all, nothing like getting it from the people who were there, right?

And that’s my browsing for now. I hope you found something interesting here too. Happy reading this week!

Browsing and Books


You may have noticed that I haven’t been able to do my Sunday morning browse through my blogroll in recent months. Life has just been too packed with STUFF, unfortunately. I may see if I can do a couple peeks at a time every day or two, rather than end up spending the 2 or more hours on Sunday doing it. It was meant as something I could do quickly, and yet promote the blogs I’m linked to,  but alas, turned into something more time-consuming. I’ll see how I can tweak the practice.

But in the meantime! Doing a genuine, more leisurely browse today just by entering “book blogs” into Google and seeing what comes up. And there are some interesting tidbits.

For example, Bill Clinton’s reading list from this past August. I found it on Quill & Quire, Canada’s big publishing and literary magazine, but it was originally posted on the LA Times’ Jacket Copy blog, after Mr. Clinton wrote to them. Always fascinating to see what a really intelligent person is reading.

Then there’s Cake Wrecks. You must have seen this brilliant blog by now, surely? And enjoyed – with delicious horror – some of the cake decorating debacles pictured there? Well now you’re in for an even greater treat: Cake Wrecks. First the blog, now the book.  That’s right – Jen Yates, the proprietor of the Cake Wrecks blog has produced a book featuring some of the…well, can you really say “best”?…cake wrecks out there. Can’t wait to see it! All that gooey horror in one place!

So, those are a couple of quick tidbits from the book world this week. I’ll try to do more over the next few days, and get this thing running properly again. We’ll see if Life will allow it.

Meanwhile — happy reading! And if you’re a writer, remember, NaNoWriMo is in 13 days! Eeeek!

What my bookish pals are up to this week

A nice cup of tea as we browse

A nice cup of tea as we browse

And it’s a nice quiet Sunday again. Time to have a little browse, and find out what our Bookish friends have been doing in the last few days.

For starters — and before I go backwards alphabetically through my blogroll — Flit at Flitting Through Canadian Fiction could use some help if you know anyone in the 18-25 age group, male, preferably Canadian but not necessarily — who is on Facebook and uses the weRead, Shelfari, or other book application there. For her research on emerging adults and their reading, she needs a wide sampling of books in their collections. If you know of anybody, go visit her blog and leave a comment.

Stacy at Stacy’s Bookblog just finished the “Southern Challenge,” where she had to read three books set in the American south in three months (she did it in two). That sounds like a good idea, like the Canadian book challenge I’ve joined (and must remember to do!!). It’s a good thing to read in areas you haven’t read much before, not just books set in parts of the world you haven’t read about, but also parts of your own country. So congratulations, Stacy!

At Puss Reboots, Sarah continues her “book a day” reviews. On Twitter recently, I confirmed that she does indeed read a book a day, which makes me weep. Sometimes I can barely manage a book a week, and a month where I’ve recorded six finished books is a good month. An interesting post from the last few days, though, is from the Weekly Geeks challenge this week, asking people their favourite, or best, movie adaptations of books. Hm…I could certainly make a list of those. Must try.

And coming back to the Canadian Book Challenge, Melanie at The Indextrious Reader has done her first book, set in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in Canada. This alone would make it interesting, because there aren’t a lot of books set in that province or town. Even more intriguing to me, Melanie points back at an article in the Library Journal about books that are “bibliocentric:” that is, they take place in libraries or other book settings, or with characters who are in love with books. Melanie makes her own list of such books. Another one to try, perhaps.

Carrie S. at Dark Novels is branching out. She’s still blogging about her lovely dark novels, but has also become a Pure Romance products salesperson, and has started another blog (Carrie’s Romance Tips and Products) to promote those products. If you’re over 18, go have a look.

At Book Bird Dog, Harvee reviews a “fen shui-interior decorating mystery,” which makes my eyebrows raise before I even get to the review. Have you noticed there are a lot of renovation and decorating mysteries lately? I was astonished, the last time I was at the library. But I digress. Harvee also engaged in the “I Cannot Tell a Lie” meme, where you tell seven whoppers about yourself (based, it seems, on the Seven Deadly Sins), and anyone who comments is automatically tagged to do the same. I haven’t commented, but…

Meanwhile, Nicola at Alpha Heroes does something hilarious: on Thursday she took a blogging break, and instead posted her “Thursday Thirteen” of hilarious YouTube videos some of her friends had posted at YouTube. I’m just going down the list now, and just seeing the “Mahna Mahna” title of the one at the top of the list, I am seriously earwormed! *shakes fist at Nicola* Ah, the hours my brothers and I tormented each other with that tune! (And I’ll never forget when my brother was driving through various U.S. states on a vacation, and he sent me a postcard from Menomonie, Wisconsin, and on the back of the postcard, all he had written was “Menomonie, do doo do doodoo, Menomonie, do doodoo do!” Etc. etc. Hilarious times. Thanks for the reminder, Nicola!

And that’s my sort-of-quick sweep through some of my bookish friends’ blogs today. I’m going to try to add two or three new blogs to my blogroll (and perhaps reduce the font size!) this week, and catch up on some comments, awards and stuff, but for now, this is it. (And once the blogroll gets longer, I may have to start doing every second name or something; we’ll see)

I hope you all have a very good week!

Quick stroll through the book blogosphere


Good day! Just a quickie today, I think, before I settle in to watch the men’s final at Wimbledon. (Go Federer! Sorry to my American friends, but my ancestors were Swiss. And he’s just so cute! But I digress…) Let’s have a swift peek at what some of my bookish friends have been up to lately.

I’m having a nice chat with Kiirsten at A Book a Week, on the merits of Terry Pratchett and of his book, The Wee Free Men in particular. She loves it, and I didn’t like it at all when I read it. But since it was so long ago that I can’t remember why, I’m thinking I may have to reread it to see if my dislike remains.

Meanwhile, I share Nicola’s opinion of a certain romance novel cover, wherein we discover (and wish the publishers would too) that a fully-clothed man can be sexy indeed! (Have a peek over at Alpha Heroes. Oooh, and I just saw that the author of the book herself posted about the cover as well. Dontcha love when authors show up to respond to posts about their books? *waves at Seth Harwood*)

Over at Book Bird Dog, Harvee continues his reviews of books that (when I check over there, anyway) always seem to involve exotic locations. I get so I’m as eager to see what the latest locations are as I am to read the reviews themselves. This week, as well as reviewing Songs of Blue and Gold by Deborah Lawrenson, he had an interview with Ms. Lawrensen herself. Way cool.

Joanne at The Book Zombie reviews Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, and I want! this! book! The names of the two cats (Cagney & Lacey) would make me want it just on their own, but Joanne’s description makes me very excited.

Melanie at The Indextrious Reader is always doing such interesting reading, and involved in such cool projects. One of my recent interests is Canadian history (yes, we do have it and yes, it is fun and interesting), so I was excited by her review of Gatekeepers by Franca Iacovetta, which describes the middle-class institutions that “Canadianized” European immigrants during the Cold War.

Melanie also inspired me to join the Canadian Book Challenge, where you read and review 13 books about Canadians from July 1st to June 30th. By coincidence, my review of the Trudeau book was posted on July 1st, so I’ve got one finished already. 🙂

At Minds Alive on the Shelves, Lisa posted a link to the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for 2009. That’s the contest where people submit the worst possible opening line for an imaginary novel. As you can imagine, some of them are absolute doozies.

At Puss Reboots, Sarah has begun to read In Search of Lost Time, Volume 1: Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust. Ambitious much, Sarah?? I’m actually tempted to read along, since it’s been years since I’ve read it. (I loved the challenge of seeing if one of Proust’s sentences would really go an entire page, ha!) Sarah also posted a YouTube video of the Monty Python “Summarizing Proust” sketch. Which set me off on a wee Python video binge for a bit.

Stacy at Stacy’s Bookblog is busy with a lot of things but I took particular note of the fact that she’s joined her 4th reading challenge of the year: to read six Austen books because she hasn’t read any Austen at all yet! Wow. Can’t wait to see what she thinks!

So that’s what everyone’s been up to in the past week. I know I’ve been delinquent with my Sunday browse, but to say I’ve been busy is a major understatement. But I was determined to do something this week.

Now! on to Wimbledon!

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