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What Are Librarians Reading?

When it comes to voracious readers, we know no better example than librarians. These are the people steeped in the day-to-day curating, maintenance and knowledge of the collections in the stacks of our local libraries. We couldn’t help but wonder – when immersed in endless books day after day, how do you choose what to […]

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The Most Expensive Book Ever Sold On AbeBooks

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks at AbeBooks. We’ve been in operation since 1996, and in that nearly two-decade history, the two most expensive sales ever placed on the web site both hovered around the $65,000 mark – one was a 1937 first edition copy of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and one was a 1644 […]

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Go Set a Watchman, A New Book From…. Harper Lee!

Five years ago we put together a feature called “To Kill A Mockingbird and Other Literary One-Hit Wonders“. As it had been 50 years since the publication of her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lee, in her 80s, seemed to want nothing more than for people to stop badgering her, we felt it […]

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Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: A Computer-Generated Cookbook

This is fascinating to me as a food lover, a tech employee and member of the book industry. Jeopardy devotees may remember the 2011 episodes in which Watson – IBM’s famed cognitive computing system – was pitted against human contenders on the trivia show. Brad Rutter, who first appeared on Jeopardy in 2000 and is […]

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A Handbook on Hanging by Charles Duff

If you’re in the mood for some scathing, dark and wickedly barbed satire, look no further – A Handbook on Hanging by Charles Duff will fit the bill nicely. First published in 1928, this slim volume is a withering condemnation of capital punishment and the bloodthirsty nation that condones the practice, disguised as a helpful […]

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Canada Reads 2015: The Five Finalists

Earlier in January we posted that the CBC’s  Canada Reads competition for 2015 was kicking off and the longlist had been announced. Now, two thirds of that list has been whittled away, leaving just five remaining titles. Sadly, the single entry on the list that I had read did not make the cut, so I’m […]

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Guantánamo Diary – Mohamedou Ould Slahi Writes From Captivity

Portions (heavily, repeatedly redacted portions) of the diary of a Guantánamo Bay prisoner have been released – even if the author hasn’t. Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been detained at the infamous facility since August, 2002 after turning himself in to the Mauritanian authorities for questioning months earlier. Slahi, who admits to past Al Qaeda ties, […]

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Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius – Conscious But Paralyzed

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, like it must be invented by a tortured imagination. But Locked-in Syndrome is a real affliction, a rare neurological disorder. It is characterized by total paralysis of muscles throughout the body, excepting the muscles that allow for eye movement. South African man Martin Pistorius – whose 2012 book […]

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Oxford Junior Dictionary Says: Goodbye Apricot, Acorn, Holly, Hamster

Interesting and distressing read on the Melville House web site this morning. It seems that since 2007, Oxford University Press have been quietly making some editorial changes to the Oxford Junior Dictionary that have a group of authors up in arms. Nature-associated words such as almond, blackberry, crocus, hamster, gerbil, ferret, goldfish and similar have […]

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Helpful Traffic Sign Nevertheless Has a Foul Mouth

I really wanted to post about the downtown Los Angeles traffic sign that someone hacked. However, the hacker, while clearly of the literary sort and probably someone I’d like to grab a beer with, also seems to have a penchant for the swearsies, so I thought better of it. Basically what happened is that some […]

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