Tag Archive for books

This is a game of dominos I can get behind

Early in June, the Seattle Public Library did something wonderful to launch their Summer Reading Program. Two college students, Luke Greenway and Laura D’Asaro, came up with the idea of setting up a domino chain entirely of books and setting a world record. So the library staff and volunteers got together and set it up, while Playfish Media filmed some of the setting up process and the very satisfying knocking down process. Here’s the fun that resulted:

Note that the library posted this disclaimer with the video: “The books used to make this domino chain were either donated or are out of date and no longer in the library’s collection. They are now being sold by the Friends of Seattle Public Library to help raise money for library programs and services.  No books were harmed during the filming of this video.”

We probably could have assumed that they’d have seen to it that the books weren’t harmed. But don’t you wish you had been there?

Penguin using heavy social media ploy for “Likes” on anniversary

Well, you can’t say Penguin isn’t aiming for the younger crowd. (And they’re using social media so blatantly that I’m rather cynical about it.) Their Penguin Classics line is turning 65, so the company is starting a contest. As described in this USA Today Books article (Penguin Classics rolls out skateboard photo contest for 65th anniversary), it’s all about contestants posting a photo of a Penguin Classic book posing with a skateboard.

Fans can post the photos on Penguin USA’s Facebook contest page.  The three prize winners will get skateboard decks with Penguin-themed designs on them. First prize will receive  an Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Graphic Classic skateboard deck; second prize wins a Dharma Bums Graphic Classic deck; and third prize gets a We Have Always Lived in the Castle deck.

Penguin themselves won’t be deciding on the winners, though. This is a pure social media contest. Winners will be decided by public vote — that is, by visitors to the site expressing their vote on the page. So in essence, it’s not really a contest for the best photo of a skateboard and a Penguin Classic. Rather, it’s a contest to see how many people each entrant can drag over to the page to “Like” Penguin and vote.

You’ve got to admit, this is a prime marketing use of social media. It’s all about the number of “Likes” of the PAGE rather than about a) genuinely good contest photos; or b) the number of people who have actually heard of Penguin and really like Penguin BOOKS. They may get a few new book fans this way, but I suspect this will be more like a quick flash mob, hordes of younger people trying to help their friend get a skateboard, and then a ton of “Unlikes” after the contest is over.

Ah well. You do what you have to, I guess.

One thing to note, though, if you’d like to enter the contest because you love books, and you have a ton of bookish friends who will vote for you — the last day to enter the contest is July 31st, 2011. So you don’t have very long.

100 Best Last Lines from Novels


The American Book Review has published a list of what they consider to be the 100 Best Last Lines from Novels. Isn’t that the greatest idea?

The Unnameable, by Samuel Beckett, was placed number one on the list. It’s last line is, “…you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” It’s a very profound line that I’ve heard quoted many times.

gone with the windThere are many on the list that you’d expect. For example, Scarlett O’Hara’s exclamation at the end of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” Or of course there’s, “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And not surprisingly, the very chilling line at number seven: “He loved Big Brother,” from 1984 by George Orwell.

Others strike me, either those that I can’t remember, or ones I’m not familiar with because I haven’t read the books. Remembering much of the context of The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, I get uneasy when I read its last line: “Are there any questions?” And I can’t help but wonder about the intensity of the last line of Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner: “I don’t hate it, he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I don’t. I don’t! I don’t hate it! I don’t hate it!

return of the kingI’m not surprised to see that my own favourite last line isn’t there: “‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.” Do you recognize that? I once wrote a letter to a good friend, when I was away at school and very homesick, saying that what I wanted to do when I finally got to return home was say what Sam Gamgee said(**) at the end of Lord of the Rings. When I told her what it was, she said she didn’t believe that that was the last line of the book, and had to run to double check. And sure enough.

checkmateHave you ever thought about the last lines of the books you enjoy? Do you have any favourites? I have another one, from Dorothy Dunnett’s Checkmate, the sixth and crowning book of her Lymond Chronicles series: “We have reached the open sea, with some charts; and the firmament.” Got the goosebumps now.

(**In fact, it’s been the tagline of this blog since I restarted it after getting booted from its original site. It meant a lot to me, but I’m thinking of changing it, because I’m sure it doesn’t have quite the same resonance with most readers as it does for me.)

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!

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