Just some bits and bobs I’ve found interesting . . .

Books and Reading

Is your favourite book in the top 10 most read books in the world?

infographic by Jared Fanning

I don’t know how To Kill a Mockingbird didn’t make the list ;(

We’ve all chuckled over children playing at being some character out of a book they’ve read but have you ever thought about the influence of fiction in your [adult] life? According to a new study from researchers in the US, “when you loves yourself inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behaviour and thoughts to match that of the character.” As this Guardian article by Alison Flood speculates, that may be a dangerous thing!

I really like this graph showing the colour distribution of YA book covers published in the US during 2011.

The author, Michelle Andelman, has gone to a lot of trouble analysing YA covers further for representation of gender and minority groups. It makes for fascinating reading and you can persue the topic here.

It’s come as a bit of a shock to me that Johannes Gutenberg did not invent the first printing press using moveable type. Apparently, Chinese and Korean inventors had been producing printed books for centuries before Gutenberg was born. There you go!

Here’s a challenge I bet you  won’t be able to resist! What speed do you read at? How do you compare with the US average? Click on the red Start Reading button in the graphic below and take the test. Don’t cheat and skim the text because there are a few questions to answer to check.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

 According to the produceers of this test, 3rd grade students read about 150 words per minute, average adults read about 300 words per minute, and college students read about 450 words per minute. After 3 goes, I’ve been able to get into the 500s. That means I’d be able to read War and Peace in 16 hours and 12 minutes! But before I get all big-headed I need to put things into perspective; Anne Jones, six times winner of the World Speed Reading Championships (why was I never invited to that one?) reads an awe-inspiring 4700 words a minute!

This article, The millionaire author’s club, discusses the vagaries of the writer’s lot – according to this only 68 books have sold more than 1 million copies since Nielsen BookScan started keeping the stats in 1998. Can you  hazard a guess at who’s made the 1 million mark?  According to a survey by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the median annual income of a writer in Britain today is just £4,000 ($6400).

Libraries and Librarians

Librarian-turned-detective and historian, Kevin Morgan, helped gain a pardon for a man more than 80 years after his execution. Colin Campbell Ross was hung in 1922 at the Old Melbourne Gaol  for the rape and murder of a 12 year old girl. Morgan’s book, Gun Alley, which was instrumental in Ross’ 2008 pardon, has been followed up by the newly released Detective Pigott’s Casebook based on the scrapbooks of the detective working on the case at the time. Piggott was an outstanding policeman of his era and his scrapbooks document the first example of blood-spatter interpretation in Australian forensic history. “He uses an interpretation of the scene and where the blood landed, where the body was found in relation to where the shotgun was found and he was able to put those factors together with mathematical precision”, said Morgan. “It’s illustrated with photographs that are only here in this album. Read more here.

Now in double dip recession, Britain is having to economise hard and for some time Libraries have been under threat all over the country with many having been closed already, others scheduled for closure and some going over to the community to run using volunteer labour. So it’s heartening to know that in a recent surveyby the Carnegie Trust, the first such survey of public attitudes towards libraries across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, it was found that people in value their libraries highly.

Books on Screen

My friend Sharon was saddened when I told her that Charlaine Harris has announced that she will only be publishing one more Sookie Stackhouse novel. And my other mate Janet will be devastated for what this will mean for the True Blood TV series. This Guardian article explains how the True Blood author can suck no more out of the vampire series.

Filming has begun on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s harrowing novel about the Nigerian-Biafran War 1967-70, Half of a Yellow Sun.  The novel won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007 and was included in the New York Times ‘100 most notable books of the year’ in 2006.

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1 Response to Just some bits and bobs I’ve found interesting . . .

  1. E A M Harris says:

    I’d be interested to know how this list is compiled. If it were accurate I’d expect to see the Qu’ran on it. Also the Rig Veda. If it takes the past reading into account there must be lots of books that have accumulated more reads.

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