Summary of “Cold Discovery”

Books increasingly don’t have covers: The rapid rise of tablets and e-readers has led to more books being read on screens, which de-emphasize the cover as both a visual identifier and a physical delimiter.
Now, on screens, covers persist as vestigial rectangular images, superfluously ornamenting search results or PDFs. Does that shift in emphasis mean readers engage more directly with texts themselves, rather than judging books by their covers as the cliché warns? Fifty Shades of Grey and self-help books boomed in popularity on post-cover devices.
While the design of libraries and bookstores prioritizes the coherent visual display of book covers and spines so that people can navigate collections and find the singular physical objects the covers signify, the endlessly rewritable surface of the screen dispenses with that arrangement.
Covers aren’t essential for discovering content on platforms.
If covers can be construed as misleading or superficial wrappers, platform algorithms are hardly more honest.
These dynamics highlight how, on platforms like Spotify and Netflix, specific artists and their works are not the objects offered to the users for consumption – a focus that covers supported.
A book’s cover belonged traditionally not to the book itself but rather to the retail or public environment in which a book is deployed and displayed, in which it claims its place among other books, and in relation to the public eye and mind of the citizen-reader.
While a book cover wrapped an individual work – an independently defined, freestanding unit of content – a platform interface wraps the entire collection of works that users can access through it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Best Books of 2018”

It’s a Japanese word that doesn’t translate cleanly into English but it basically means you buy books and let them pile up unread. The end-of-the-year book lists coming out right now won’t help any of us with our tsundoku problems, but there are worse things in life than having too many books around.
I took at look at a bunch of these lists and picked out some of the best book recommendations for 2018 from book editors, voracious readers, and retailers.
Tyler Cowen, who samples upwards of 1800 books every year, has led me to many of my favorite reads over the years.
He has two lists this year: the best non-fiction books of 2018 and the best fiction of 2018.
Amazon’s This Year in Books is also worth a lookit is definitely not the critic’s view of what we read: the most-sold fiction book was Ready Player One and the most-sold nonfiction book was Michael Wolf’s book about Trump, Fire and Fury.
NPR’s 2018 Book Concierge contains hundreds of books in more than two dozen categories.
For The Guardian’s Best Books of 2018, a group of authors including Hilary Mantel, Chris Ware, and Yuval Noah Harari share their top picks of the year.
Bill Gates’ 2018 list is pretty eclectic, with books about meditation and military AI. A more standard pick for him is 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Teaching kids to code: I’m a developer and I think it doesn’t actually teach important skills.”

On a recent late-night formula run, I passed by a large display of books about teaching children to code.
These books are part of a flood of resources-summer coding camps, after-school code clubs, apps designed to teach kindergarteners the rudiments of JavaScript-aimed at equipping children with future-proof skills.
If learning to code is good, then learning earlier is better.
While these products may teach kids specific coding languages, they actually have very little to do with the work of creating software.
The description in one popular book says starting coding early is “Essential to prepare kids for the future.” This gives the impression that not teaching kids to code is somehow equivalent to not teaching them to read. That is, of course, ridiculous.
Coding books for kids present coding as a set of problems with “Correct” solutions.
Early in my career, I wrote some code to configure and run a group of remote servers.
Well-designed code feels good to work with, and ugly code will make developers involuntarily cringe.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Edward Gorey’s Enigmatic World”

In his little books of sinister whimsy, Gorey was true to his belief in leaving things out, so that the reader’s thoughts could flower.
There is a new book out on Gorey, the first biography, by the cultural critic Mark Dery, titled “Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey”.
Look at the book’s title, “Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey.” In what sense was Gorey born to be posthumous? To me, he seems to have done O.K.-found some happiness, created some admirable art-while still living.
Strangely, the avowal just seems to make Dery madder, probably because this question, which he has tracked obsessively in his book-and which is the center of his claim that Gorey was an unfathomable mystery-is waved away by Gorey so casually.
Maybe Gorey is the one who’s right, by refusing the “Whole business of constructing identity … around sexuality.” Dery quotes the choreographer Peter Anastos, a friend of Gorey’s, who says that, starting in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, “People let their homosexuality become the absolute center of their lives and there was nothing else. I’ve known a lot of guys Ted’s age and … they just see it in a whole different way. Being gay is not the center of their lives…. Ted never struck me as closeted; he was just who he was.”
Gorey took endless pains over these funny and melancholy books.
First, in 1967, the Gotham Book Mart, a small, musty midtown bookstore that had been the main purveyor of Gorey literature, was bought by a book dealer, Andreas Brown, who believed in promotion and was good at it.
What the posters advertised was not “Dracula” but “The Edward Gorey production of Dracula.” Gorey’s contract gave him ten per cent of the profits, and this helped to support him for the rest of his life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Velocity of Being: Illustrated Letters to Children about Why We Read by 121 of the Most Inspiring Humans in Our World – Brain Pickings”

If eight years ago, someone had told me that A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader would take eight years, I would have laughed, then cried, then promptly let go of the dream.
The gesture is inspired in large part by James Baldwin’s moving recollection of how he used the library to read his way from Harlem to the literary pantheon and Ursula K. Le Guin’s insistence that “a great library is freedom.”
Growing up in communist Bulgaria, the daughter of an engineer father and a librarian mother who defected to computer software, I don’t recall being much of an early reader – a literary debt I seem to have spent the rest of my life repaying.
Some of my happiest memories are of being read to – most deliciously by my grandmother.
Very notion of reading – of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual surrender to a cohesive thread of thought composed by another human being, through which your own interior world can undergo a symphonic transformation – was becoming tattered by the fragment fetishism of the web.
What better way of doing that than by inviting people cherished for having such lives – celebrated artists, writers, scientists, and cultural heroes of various stripes – to share their stories and sentiments about how reading shaped them? After all, we read what we are as much as we are what we read. So began an eight-year adventure of reaching out to some of the people we most admired, inviting each to write a short letter to the young readers of today and tomorrow about how reading sculpted their character and their destiny.
From these micro-memoirs and reflections by lifelong readers who have made extraordinary lives for themselves emerges a kind of encyclopedia of personhood, an atlas of possibility for the land of being mapped through the land of literature.
I invite you to enjoy A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader and gift it to every reader in your life, young and grown, knowing that each copy will contribute to the thriving of the public library system that ensures equal access to books for all, and that the letters and art on these pages will – I hope, I trust – long outlive us all, delighting and inspiring generations to come.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do Scholastic Book Fairs Live Up to the Nostalgia?”

For some, Scholastic book fairs provided a distinct brand of uncontaminated joy that exists only in childhood.
I’ve spent my whole adult life chasing the high of a scholastic book fair.
It is with this high in mind that I walked into a Scholastic book fair at Woodfield Elementary, a school of about 300 students in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. When my tour guides, a pair of regional Scholastic sales representatives, arrived, they led me from the main office, down hallways covered in posters and drawings, to the library.
A person dressed from head to toe as Clifford the Big Red Dog, the star of a well-known Scholastic-made book series, waved his fluffy red paws enthusiastically.
Unlike the fairs I attended in elementary school, the sight was underwhelming.
Memories are notoriously malleable, and my recollection of Scholastic book fairs had become warped over the years.
I didn’t have much time to process my reaction anyway, because the students, a group of fourth graders, wanted to give me a tour of the fair and talk about their favorite books.
There were Picture Books, for the younger readers; Chapter Books, for older readers ready for some narrative; Friendship Tales, stories of kids and their furry companions; Fearless, stories of adventure and survival; Fun Facts, for a hint of science; and Girl Power!, a section I didn’t remember from my own experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “George Saunders on the Best Writing Advice He’s Received”

George Saunders’ new book Fox 8 is available now.
How do you tackle writer’s block?I like David Foster Wallace’s notion that writer’s block is always a function of the writer having set a too-high bar for herself.
So: writing is of you, but it’s not YOU. There’s this eternal struggle between two viewpoints: 1) good writing is divine and comes in one felt swoop, vs: 2) good writing evolves, through revision, and is not a process of sudden, inspired, irrevocable statement but of incremental/iterative exploration.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?Once, when I was a student, I cornered my mentor and hero Tobias Wolff at a party and assured him that I had sworn off comedic sci-fi and was now writing “Real literature.” I think he sensed, correctly, that 1) this was not an attitude that was going to produce my best work but 2) there was going to be no arguing me off of that position.
The new writing was fun and ostensibly entertaining-it came out of a place of joy and orneriness, instead of a place of stiffness or control or pedanticism.
Catnip! The book is the first one I read that really had style-I could feel that Forbes had been paying attention to every line and also could feel the benefit of that-the book had a physicality I’d never experienced before.
Gogol somehow manages to make us feel sympathy for the main character without that character needing to be a saint.
He’s a stinker, kind of-someone we wouldn’t want to be around and yet, by the end, we feel so protective of him.

The orginal article.

Summary of “George RR Martin: ‘When I began A Game of Thrones I thought it might be a short story'”

Strict instructions are issued before interviewing George RR Martin: do not ask about The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the one fans keep haranguing him about and Martin has been writing since 2011.
Written in the voice of a maester of the citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn, a “Crotchety old guy with strong opinions” who is telling his story hundreds of years after the events he’s chronicling, the structure allows Martin to play about with the unreliability of his narrators, as Gyldayn sorts through his primary sources.
Martin has always loved popular history; Game of Thrones was loosely inspired by accounts of the wars of the Roses.
“If I were 30 years younger I could easily write a series about the Dance of the Dragons” – the Targaryen civil war – “Or I could write the story of Aegon’s conquest. Every one of the 13 children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne has a story that could be told about him or her, their rise, their fall, their triumphs, their deaths It was a lot of fun to create, a lot of fun to live in that world again.”
Martin studied journalism at university – he went to Northwestern in Illinois – continuing to write and sell short stories through his time as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, a chess tournament director and a teacher.
“When I began, I didn’t know what the hell I had. I thought it might be a short story; it was just this chapter, where they find these direwolf pups. Then I started exploring these families and the world started coming alive,” Martin says.
“He wrote a huge dark space opera and a vampire riverboat story and a murder mystery rock’n’roll fantasy novel. Each book and each story was different and each was deep. I was delighted that the public discovered his genius with Game of Thrones, but I wish they’d read the other books too,” says Gaiman, who describes himself as “Famous in the world of George RR Martin for a blog post”, in which – way back in 2009 – he took Martin’s fans to task over their demands for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel, telling them: “George RR Martin is not your bitch.”
As well as writing the books, he is working with the writers of the five different prequels to Game of Thrones that HBO is developing, , including Jane Goldman, whose The Long Night takes place 5,000 years in the past.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds”

A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise.
A new book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created.
“For some writers making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale.”
The book includes the map from Thomas More’s Utopia, which when published in 1516 contained the first fantasy map in a work of fiction, as far as anyone can tell.
There are more private treasures here, too: J.R.R. Tolkien’s own sketch of Mordor, on graph paper; C.S. Lewis’s sketches; unpublished maps from the notebooks of David Mitchell, who uses them to help imagine the worlds of his books, such as The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Jack Kerouac’s own route in On the Road. Among these maps, the one for Treasure Island is a landmark, “One of the most iconic literary maps of all,” Lewis-Jones writes.
In one essay, Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon, writes of being inspired by maps drawn by the Brontës as children, “In tiny, beautiful books that were in themselves a fascination, for the writing was as small as if created by mice.”
Philip Pullman: “Writing is a matter of sullen toil. Drawing is pure joy. Drawing a map to go with a story is messing around, with the added fun of coloring in.”
A map helps shape a reader’s or a writer’s idea of a fictional place, but ultimately its boundaries are limited only by their joint imaginations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to start your own cookbook club”

If you like the idea of joining a book club but would really rather not debate pacing and character development in the latest best-selling novel over overly garlicky spinach dip, there’s another option: a cookbook club.
In a cookbook club, you still get to see friends, while gathering to commune over and discuss a book.
You’ll try books you may not have considered picking up.
Books from this season I would nominate for future club dinners include: “Carla Hall’s Soul Food” by former “The Chew” co-host Carla Hall; the widely praised “Season” by Nik Sharma; my friend Chandra Ram’s upcoming “The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook”; and “Zahav” author Michael Solomonov’s latest “Israeli Soul.”.
To get you started, here are some things we’ve learned along the way to cooking the books – a highly opinionated guide, that in spots casts aside dumb advice offered by some other media outlets.
Limit your group to six to eight people: large enough to try a number of dishes in a book, small enough to manage the dinner party.
Getting the book: We all want to support cookbook authors, but buying several books a year might be too steep a price for some members.
Plus, what if it turns out you don’t like the book? Share.

The orginal article.