General

Go Read This | The REAL ‘Stuff White People Like’ « OkTrends

I’m lucky enough to know very little about the online dating world or what it can teach us, that said, finding a new source of data about self expressed interests IS a fascinating thing.

The folks at the OKTrends blog from OKCupid have a thoroughly interesting post about the differences between races, as expressed by self selected groups of those races. Very interesting indeed!

As for the interests of white women, you have romance novels, some country music, and a broad selection of Good Housekeeping type stuff. It’s also amazing the extent to which their list shows a pastoral or rural self-mythology: bonfires, boating, horseback riding, thunderstorms. I remind you that OkCupid’s user base is almost all in large cities, where to one degree or another, if you find yourself doing much of any of these things, civilization has come to an end.

via The REAL ‘Stuff White People Like’ « OkTrends.

photo (3)

The Founder Of Waterstones & The Publisher Of The Life Of Pi Discuss The Future Of Books

I’m chairing an absolutely amazing panel of speakers this weekend at the Mountains To Sea book festival.
The discussion is about books, readers and writers in the digital age. I’m including the description below and tickets can be booked HERE

Readers, Writers and the Digital Revolution
Recently, Jeff Bezos reported that Amazon now sells more e-books than new hardbacks. What does this portend for the future of reading? Are traditional bookshops, the paperback, the novel itself facing extinction? A stellar panel of experts debates the question – how will we be reading in the year 2020?

Tim Waterstone was the greatest bookseller of his generation. Founded in 1982, the Waterstone’s chain changed our reading and book-buying habits fundamentally. He sold Waterstone’s in 1993 and is now a novelist and business speaker.

Rachel Cooke is a writer and columnist at The Observer and The New Statesman. In 2006, she was named Interviewer of the Year at the British Press Awards. She is an impassioned champion of books and libraries.

Jamie Byng is among the most dynamic of UK publishers. In his mid-twenties he bought out Canongate Books, and turned it into an ultra-hip haven for writers as diverse as Yann Martel, Nick Cave and Barack Obama.

Matthew Kneale is the author of five novels the most famous of which,English Passengers, won the Whitbread Award in 2000. He was born in London, read history at Oxford and now lives in Rome.

The discussion will be moderated by Eoin Purcell Editor, Irish Publishing News.

Quick Link – The Tyburn Angling Society

Great article this!

The Society’s architect, David Gaunt, has prepared a detailed map of the proposed demolition zone as well as renderings showing South Molton Street and Berkeley Square as watercourses. Bowdidge has descended into the sewer itself in order to report on the river’s condition (“Members were concerned by my reports on the poor level of fish stocks and the Honorary Ghillie was taken to task.”).

via The Tyburn Angling Society.

Some Excellent History Podcasts

First and foremost I thought I’d remind us all that we live in times historic. A time that despite enormous change and significant scientific achievement can still be grounded by natural causes and nature itself.

But what this blogpost is about is three great history podcasts. New Books In History, Don Carlin’s, Hardcore History and 12 Byzantine Rulers.

For a long time, I missed the potential of podcasts. I didn’t own an mp3 player of any kind and I love radio so I was happy enough to listen to whatever was on air when I was walking, reading or working. Then I got an iPod Touch!

Since then I’ve found four podcasts that I listen to nearly everyday, some for short period like Mattins, a wonderful daily short reading by James Bridle and sometimes for more than an hour.

These three offer different things, one, New Books In History, is very focussed and about a single topic per episode with an obvious connection to the book being discussed. Hardcore History is much broader and covers topics in depth sometimes stretching over multiple episodes. The last, 12 Byzantine Rulers, is focussed and precise yet covers a huge sweeping history over a series that lasts about 17 episodes.

I heartily recommend them all!
Eoin

Christmas Books Special – 2009 – Part 2 of 4

Sci-fi & Fantasy today
It is a difficult thing to hold my list to three books in this post (and so cheekily I’ve chosen some series based books). I have read some incredible sci-fi and fantasy books over the last year, some of which have really broken through to the mainstream of sci-fi readers and some of which have only done passably well. The three I’ve selected simply ran away with my imagination.

Fire Upon The Deep

Fire Upon The Deep
Vernor Vinge is by many people’s standard one of the modern greats of Science Fiction. Until I read a post by Jo Walton about his book Fire Upon The Deep on Tor.com the emerging online hub of science fiction and fantasy, (which goes to show the value of a good educational role for online communities). There was so much in the post that appealed to me that I went out and bought the book and have since bought another, I will probably buy anything and everything he writes or has written. Fire Upon The Deep is an absorbing read with strange and wonderful characters, exciting and yet extremely limiting realities (FOR THE AUTHOR THAT IS). What a book to read if your creative insights are running dry, it is sure to spark imagination and profound thoughts.

Empire in Black & Gold

Empire In Black & Gold (The Shadow of the Apt Series)
I was not convinced at first by this book. The pace seemed slow, the language stilted. Yet it was good enough for me to keep reading. And then, boy did it take off like a rocket. Perhaps THE most exciting and inventive series I’ve read in a while. It offers new perspectives on a host of fantasy memes. I was sent book two and three by another fan and I’ve decided that it is that kind of series, the kind that converts readers into zealots. I think you should all become zealots! Read the first four in rapid succession and you’ll feel bereft when it comes to the last page and you’ll be dying for the next book!

The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself (The First Law Trilogy)
Joe Abercrombie is a fine writer. One who knows a lot about fantasy. In this remarkable series he pretty much subverts the accepted narratives of fantasy while creating new and exciting versions around the carcass. A berseker (and an evil one at that) central hero, a torturer who holds our pity, respect and I suspect for most people, our admiration and a wise central enigmatic character that is almost the exact opposite of your Belgarath or Gandalf.

Tomorrow, History,
Eoin

Honourable Mention: The Long Price Quartet, by Daniel Abraham (AMAZING)