Book of the Week: Peanut of Blind Faith Farm (Jim Thompson)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Peanut of Blind Faith Farm

Jim Thompson and his wife Laura live on a hobby farm in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. An Air Force veteran, Jim returned to Wisconsin in 1983, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Zoology. He spent the next 20 years with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, mostly as a Lake Michigan Fisheries Technician. Semi-retiring in 2007, he took up hobby farming. Not long after, he and Laura acquired five Shetland sheep as an experiment, to help keep the farm’s vegetation under control. The flock of five soon turned to 15, including a tiny blind lamb named Peanut, who inspired Jim and Laura to name their property Blind Faith Farm.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Introducing The Short Story Project: A whole new way to discover, curate and appreciate short stories

Literary short stories rarely, if ever, get a chance to make an impression on their own terms, as they are usually buried in print anthologies that get lost quickly in an ever-expanding universe of published content. When short stories are given a new life in digital format—not only by extracting existing texts and migrating them online but also by translating them into several languages and adding original audio elements to each—as is the case with The Short Story Project—their impact is undeniable.

Professional reviewer Michael Rogers here sheds light on this mighty new entrant into the digital publishing and library market. NSR is pleased to publish this review and we look forward to following TSSP’s progress and development in the months and years to come.—Ed.


Stories that cross the line

Launched in 2015, The Short Story Project (TSSP) hosts a wide selection of short fiction from noted international authors. The acclaimed site—nominated for the London Book Fair’s Literary Translation Initiative Award in 2016, among others—also co-exists as an app of the same name for Androids and iOS devices. It was founded upon the belief that “reading is an experience that can make a difference. An experience that enables reflection on the human condition, inspires empathy and encourages examination; that reading is more than a pastime; it is an activity that can serve as a bridge between people and cultures, a sounding board for voices and ideas.” This belief is evident in many details, including TSSP’s tagline (Stories that Cross the Line).

TSSP endeavors to promote that philosophy through the “lively, stimulating presence of short fiction in contemporary culture,” enabling the “voices of writers from across the world be heard and resonate.” It is the creation of Iftach Alony, an Israeli-born business man with a history of successful entrepreneurial ventures. Alony is the author of two novels (2009’s Thief of Dreams, and 2012’s best-selling Spare Parts), the short story collections, Garuda’s Gaze and Plagues (of Egypt) Now (2015 and 2017, respectively), as well as the poetry collections, Let the Thorns Die (2013) and Gravity (2014). He also is the founder and coeditor of Block Magazine, a producer of several travel-films, and has served as a judge for short story competitions and other literary endeavors. Continue reading Introducing The Short Story Project: A whole new way to discover, curate and appreciate short stories

An Auspicious Day to Use Your Words—and Learn More

An essential aspect of early education, formal and informal and in every human culture, is coaching the very young to communicate articulately. Through explicit means, such as the preschool teacher’s
reminder to “Use your words [rather than slap the kid who just hurt your feelings]” to the implicit demand that responding when asked a question is required, we work at sharing, preserving, and refining language to serve our purposes as a social fabric.

With Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday noted by Google and other less pervasive sources today, it’s a good time to consider how audiobooks and listening to language both maintain and expand each generation’s capacity to understand, speak, and choose the most appropriate words each individual can to keep that social fabric strong and dynamic.

It’s important to note at the outset that Johnson did not exclude himself from a rich social life, nor limit himself to a single neighborhood. He traveled. He made and maintained friendships. He read widely as well as writing. For Johnson, articulation wasn’t a sterile exercise but a garden to work, feed, and celebrate.

Listening to rich language, crafted by authors who make their characters both credible and relatable, and performed by narrators who understand both the rhythms of the writer and the needs of the audience, serves as a direct route to vocabulary building, flexibility in personal expression, and empathy development. Audiobooks ensure language as a lived experience, without regard to whatever verbal poverty or carelessness a child’s home might afford. For many, listening to audiobooks may be one of the few occasions when spoken language is both directed at them and demands no immediate action, simply inviting the warm bath of soaking in words, phrases, meaningful intonations that range across a wide spectrum of emotions and intentions, and opportunities to be held rapt.

While more American parents claim to understand and follow the advice that reading aloud to children from a young age is important, Scholastic’s 2017 Kids and Family Reading Report shows a drop off in following this advice from about age 6, just as kids are developing a deeper capacity to understand how to use words and phrasing independently and increasing in their emotional capacity for empathy That poor timing in pulling away from family-shared reading aloud can find some mitigation in access to hearing increasingly sophisticated narrative lines, more varied accents, and exposure to situations that are unfamiliar to any one individual listener by making sure that listening to books is not considered done and dusted for the school aged child.

If we want to assure a future in which understanding is more readily available through verbal communication than through physical power assertions, let’s share the joys of listening to language.

 

Artificial Intelligence transforms discoverability of 17th and 18th century manuscripts using handwritten text recognition

Just in from Adam Matthew:

Adam Matthew Digital is the first primary source publisher to utilize artificial intelligence to offer transformative search capabilities with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for its manuscript collections.

The first new collection available with this enhancement is Colonial America, Module III: The American Revolution. Sourced from The National Archives UK, Colonial America offers access to thousands of documents on North America from 1606-1822. Described as an indispensable resource for researchers of the early-modern Atlantic world and winner of Library Journal’s Best Reference Award, scholars and researchers have clamoured for access to this material for years. Now for the first time, all handwritten documents within the entire Colonial America series are full-text searchable. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence transforms discoverability of 17th and 18th century manuscripts using handwritten text recognition

This week in Literature and Arts

Birthday greetings to Brian De Palma, born September 11, 1940, in Newark, NJ. I assume he’s best known for the crime thrillers Scarface and “The Untouchables,” but I prefer the scary stuff like Carrie, The Fury, and Dressed To Kill” Eye of the beholder.

Happy 77th Brian. Thanks for the chills (the slow razor through Angie Dickinson’s hand creeps me out every time!).


Happy birthday to Henry Louis Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, born September 12, 1880, in that city. I don’t know if many read him anymore, although he is well worth it. And remember that he and George Jean Nathan created Black Mask magazine in 1920. For that and more I thank him.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Multnomah County Library is setting a powerful example with the Library Writers Project

What happens when you take a world-class public library system, mix in hundreds of indie authors, power up with Smashwords, and use OverDrive to top it all off? You get Multnomah County Library’s Library Writers Project.

As I have researched the issues and realities of indie authors in libraries, I have found that the intersection of indies and libraries is potentially a much nicer place than I had originally thought. The technology and distribution problems have been solved, and the solutions comes from reliable vendors. No doubt there will be new developments, but existing technology and distribution systems are more than adequate to empower libraries to add indie ebooks to their collections and to promote them to their patrons.

Continue reading Multnomah County Library is setting a powerful example with the Library Writers Project

Book of the Week: Survivor – The Benny Turner Story (Benny Turner with Bill Dahl)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

SURVIVOR – The Benny Turner Story

A veteran musician of more than fifty years, Benny Turner has played everywhere from the Chitlin’ Circuit, to Europe, Japan, Australia, and all points in between.  Content to be a sideman in support of the many giants he has worked with, in 2010 the time came for Benny to take his rightful place in the spotlight on center stage, to the delight of blues fans worldwide. In recent years, Benny returned to the studio to produce and record three albums, showcasing his strong and soulful vocals, his signature bass style and his creative songwriting and arrangement skills.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Canadian libraries and academic institutions join forces to give access to sources exploring Canada’s history

Institutions across Canada can now benefit from full access to Frontier Life: Borderlands Settlement and Colonial Encounters, a digital collection of primary sources offering a glimpse into Canada’s historic past.

Consortia Canada, Adam Matthew and 18 leading academic institutions have collaborated to open this content to libraries and educational institutions across Canada, including all library types: public, post-secondary, special, archives, museums and K-12 schools. The collaboration unlocks important primary sources to provide the broader community with a comparative view on the various colonial frontiers across the globe. Continue reading Canadian libraries and academic institutions join forces to give access to sources exploring Canada’s history

Page to Stage, with Every Attributive

For nearly a quarter century, the actors’ troupe Word for Word has been staging narrative stories and chapters, with every word of the author’s original maintained and spoken by the actors. With several different productions each season, they’ve shown how such written-for-the-page as Edith Wharton’s short story “Xingu” and the opening chapter , “The Ride,” of Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!. Contemporary authors are well represented as well, with Colm Töibín’s “Silence” on the boards this year and past performances of Dorothy Bryant, Angela Carter, Sandra Cisneros, David Handler, and Alice Munro among many others. Langston Hughes, Toni Cade Bambara, Bernard Malamud, Rudyard Kipling, and Armistead Maupin also have gone from page to stage with the every-word treatment Word for Word employs in its dramatizations.

Continue reading Page to Stage, with Every Attributive

This week in Literature and Arts

“…and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”

Happy 60th anniversary to Kerouac’s On the Road, released by Viking Press September 5, 1957. A singular moment in America’s literary history.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

NSR’s Free to Read column has set new standards for publishers and libraries. A year since launching it, we highlight the best posts.

Since launching the Free to Read column a year ago and sponsoring the Free Reading Zones project (founded and run by NSR Director, Mirela Roncevic), NSR has morphed into a portal that no longer merely keeps up with press releases, emerging ebook and econtent technologies and new products and services for readers, publishers, and libraries.

It is now a place where ideas are shared about the future of books, publishing, and libraries, and a place where those of us who work with books come together to inspire each other, learn from each other, and bring out the best in each other through action. Continue reading NSR’s Free to Read column has set new standards for publishers and libraries. A year since launching it, we highlight the best posts.

NC LIVE Partners with Credo to provide users with a research tool to combat fake news

Just in:

Conducting research in the 21st century often means navigating fake news sites, biased media, and contradictory online information. Information literacy has emerged as a critical skill to achieve academic, professional, and personal success. Thanks to a partnership between the state’s library consortium NC LIVE and Credo Reference, Credo Online Reference Service will offer North Carolinians a starting point to find information about their research or personal topics of interest.

Credo provides background knowledge, illustrates relationships between topics, and cites the information they provide simply and consistently. North Carolinians won’t need to worry that what they are reading is bogus. Continue reading NC LIVE Partners with Credo to provide users with a research tool to combat fake news

Book of the Week: Androgen Deficiency in the Adult Male (Prof. Malcolm Carruthers)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Androgen Deficiency in the Adult Male: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment, 2nd Edition

Founder and chief medical consultant to the Centre for Men’s Health with clinics in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh, Prof. Malcolm Carruthers is a highly respected men’s health specialist and world authority on testosterone deficiency. He is adjunct professor at the Alzheimer’s and Aging Department in Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Having spent over thirty years in diagnosing and treating androgen deficiency, he has extensive knowledge of the practical clinical measures needed for its treatment as well as the background theoretical information on which that is based.  Alongside over 120 refereed papers in medical journals and editorials in the American Heart Journal and the Lancet, he is the author of nine other books.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

De Gruyter will digitize the entirety of its backlist. All the way back to 1749.

De Gruyter has taken the decision to digitize the entirety of its backlist all the way back to 1749. The decision to make this significant investment to complete the prestigious archive was taken earlier this year and the digitization process will begin shortly.

Many treasures are among works to be digitized, including Noam Chomsky’s “Syntactic Structures” as well as versions of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” to name but two. The project is expected to conclude in 2020 with 3,000 additional titles to be available by the end of 2017. Of those titles digitized during the rest of this year, up to one hundred of the most important series will have priority, to allow librarians to complete their holdings. Continue reading De Gruyter will digitize the entirety of its backlist. All the way back to 1749.

Who’s Testing Listening Comprehension?

With the new K-12 school year under way or on the verge, American elementary and middle school administrators are focused on “proving” that the kids in their districts are learning or “know” how to read. Several corporate entrepreneurs are on board to continue to make money through mass, data-driven program packages that administrators buy as a demonstration that care is being taken to “prove” kids are able to think about what they read. Lexile® leveling and Renaissance’s Accelerated Reading programs are probably the ones most commonly recognized both by families and library staff who are regularly asked to find books that respond to company profiles created of their students.

Individual student Lexile assessments are drawn from state testing results. The circularity is obvious and is discussed at length and critically in scholarly and popular publications. Renaissance’s Star Reading™ assessments are presented as “guiding” developing readers through increased skill levels by diagnosing their readiness through prepackaged tests. This approach, of course, has, like Lexiling, its proponents, as well as an increasingly voluble number of professional detractors. Continue reading Who’s Testing Listening Comprehension?

This week in Literature and Arts

August 28, 1978: John Huston, 81, dies of pneumonia linked to a variety of heart and lung ailments associated with heavy smoking.

A remarkably talented man, who, by numerous accounts, also was a real son of a bitch.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

No better time for teachers and librarians to introduce teenagers to self-publishing than now

We live in an age in which the resources necessary to self-publish are readily available. Many adults self-publish their books and see them distributed to online retailers and libraries. Some libraries are beginning to facilitate this, especially with seniors who are memoirists, but what of students? What of adolescents whose hearts are filled with passion for life and who need to express their thoughts and feelings, to know that their words can find readers, and that their ideas matter to others? Now, thanks to Smashwords with its technology and how-to guides, educators and librarians can help these young people find their voices and speak to the world.

I send a big thanks to Tonya McQuade, poet, teacher and pioneer in both ebook publishing and in educational leadership.  Tonya McQuade began writing poetry as a child. She has won awards for it, published a book of her own writings, and appeared in anthologies. She has taught high school English for over 20 years. But in 2014, she found herself inspired her to go into self-publishing with her students. Continue reading No better time for teachers and librarians to introduce teenagers to self-publishing than now

Odilo celebrates back-to-school season with the addition of Sesame Street titles

ODILO is celebrating the back-to-school season with a collection from their newest publisher, Sesame Workshop.

ODILO’s  eBook platform, content, and flexible lending models (One-Copy/One-User, Pay-per-Use, Simultaneous, and Subscription) help schools and libraries better serve their students, educators, and families. With a strong international presence, ODILO’s marketplace offers over one million titles in multiple languages from more than 3,500 publishers; subjects range from popular fiction and nonfiction to educational titles. Continue reading Odilo celebrates back-to-school season with the addition of Sesame Street titles

Book of the Week: City of Ghosts (J.H. Moncrieff)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

City of Ghosts

J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure. She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class. Continue reading Book of the Week: City of Ghosts (J.H. Moncrieff)

When teachers forget how to listen

With the new American school year either poised to open or already entering its fifth or sixth day (depending on local practices), many classrooms are hearing the voice of just one of the room’s occupants. Teachers need to manage both their students’ learning opportunities and their interactive behaviors and, most typically, this is achieved in the 21st century by word of mouth: orally delivered directions, admonitions, and that warning shot of calling out a particular student by name.

Or calling out some syllables that the teacher is has decided suits the need for a name as well as does the actual name of the student. In the multilingual, multiethnic classrooms—and even in the comparatively homogenous one in which not everyone bears a three- to five-letter moniker shared by generations of English speakers—the expert in what to call the students isn’t the teacher. The wise would-be classroom manager simply asks. And then listens to what the student with eleven syllables and only four consonants pronounces.

Continue reading When teachers forget how to listen

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