24 Oct 2012


How inspiring ..... Books, believes Hernando Guanlao, need to live and they're only alive if they are being readThought and effort, time and money went into making them; they will never repay it lying idle in a cabinet or on a shelf. Books need to be set free. So walk by his home on Balagtas Street in Makati, downtown Manila, and it seems books are pretty much all you'll see. Thousands of them, on shelves and in crates outside on the pavement, piled high in the garage and on the stairs, each one free to anyone who wants it. 

"People can borrow, take home, bring back or keep," says Guanlao, 60, a former tax accountant, ice-cream salesman and government employee known by all as Nanie. "Or they can share and pass on to another. But basically they should just take, take!" Guanlao reckons books "have lives, and have to lead them. They have work to do. And the act of giving a book …it makes you complete. It makes your life meaningful and abundant." More

Surely the novel many book bloggers would have given their eye-teeth to be the first to review, JK Rowling's first novel for grown-up's, The Casual Vacancy, was published on the 27th of September with pre-sale orders already placing the paperback at the top of the best seller list even before it hits the shops.

The question being, can it ever live up to all the hype? 

"On balance I would have to say no. not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature crammed down your throat.
J.K. Rowling likes to describe her new book as a comic tragedy, yet there are few laughs to pierce the blanket of gloom in this bleak and rather one-sided vision of life in modern England."- Jan Moir. More

 "Right from the start there’s no pandering to a young audience or those that might take offence at bad language.
The C-word is used as both a noun and a verb, while there are depictions of drug abuse, self-harming, domestic violence, and tragic, avoidable deaths.
It’s almost as if JK has been finally let off the leash to rail at the bleak horrors of real life.
This is realism, red raw. Yet The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read which might seem odd given the nature of the material." - Henry Sutton. More

'But they are so much cheaper than your old fashioned tree-books' - just one of the arguments my (naughty) little sister uses to persuade me to get a kindle.

Ah, not always so .........

Experts and consumers are outraged, saying, that if anything, electronic books should be far cheaper because they cost nothing to print, store or transport. 

Not surprising that they feel aggrieved after a survey of bestselling fiction and non-fiction sold by online retailer Amazon has found that in more than a third of cases ebooks are priced higher than the same books in hardcover. More

A graphic that shows what plot details make a great novel - just one of the  entries at the Information Is Beautiful Awards ceremony in London. 

The nominees of this year's Man Booker Prize were broken down by genre to find out what makes a great novel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, death is the most common plot device. More

And talking of the Man Booker Prize, for those of you who don't already know the winner is ........ (Drum roll please) 

The first ever British author to win the prize twice, you can read an extract HERE.

Considered too low brow, Agatha Christie, the Queen of British crime writers, missed out on a damehood  in the fifties because officials did not rate her stories according to newly released government papers. More

Hmm, interesting. First published in German in 1812 under the title  Kinder- und Hausm√§rchen (Child And Housemaid) Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's  Cinderella was known as Ashputtel. More

Reading Jane Austen novels closely activates the areas of the brain more commonly associated with movement and touch US researchers say as the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans looked as they would if readers were physically placing themselves within the story as they analysed it. More


John McElveen said...

These are some of the coolest graphs I've ever seen.

Great post Tracy!


Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I own an ereader and I've come across ebooks that are more expensive than print books and it really irritates me because I feel they should be cheaper, especially since technically we don't own them.

Love the graphic! It was very interesting.

Lilly said...

I loved the article about the free library, I actually want to go to the Phillipines just for that, I had to share the full article on both Twitter and FB.

I hadn't even heard of The Casual Vacancy until today, it would be interesting to read though just to see what Rowling is like outside the Harry Potter universe...

Thanks for sharing! :)

Suko said...

Enjoyed all your book news today!

Kelly said...

I love that first article!! It certainly makes me think twice about hanging on to books I know I'll never revisit.

While I'll never give up "real" books, I've certainly made room for e-books in my life. They are especially nice for those extra long books that are so unwieldy trying to read in bed!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I do want to read the new JK novel, but don't care to be the first. I will wait until the hype dies down. Oh and I don't always like the award winning books, but that one looks interesting.

NRIGirl said...

That graph is so cool!

NRIGirl said...

Thank you for the review on JKR's new book. I'd almost bought it. I wouldn't have liked it though!

DMS said...

I think the article about putting books out on the street for people to borrow, share, or take is awesome! I love it! I am also very curious about JK Rowling's new book- but I expect it to be very different from the HP series. I don't have an ereader yet. Mostly because they cost around $100 and the books cost money, too! For $100 I can buy a lot of books and I can trade them or share them. I think I would like an ereader for the free books that are offered...

Jenners said...

Oh I just love Hernando!! Long live the book!

And having just finished The Casual Vacancy, I feel I can weigh in. It is NOTHING like the Harry Potter books. It is set in a muggle world with muggles all over it. I got involved with it but people looking for Harry Potter will be left wanting. I need to work on my review

Shooting Stars Mag said...

That first story is really cool. I like the idea that books live when being read. Makes sense.

The Casual Vacancy might be much harsher than HP, but I'm still super excited to read it. I've been reading adult books for a long time, so none of what J.K. includes will shock me. :)


naida said...

way to go Hernando!
As far as Casual Vacancy, I have got to read that, I'm a fan of Rowlings.
Interesting bookish post :)

Mama Zen said...

I'm on the waiting list at the library for The Casual Vacancy. I'm pretty curious about it.

The Golden Eagle said...

That's an interesting graphic. Thanks for posting it!

I love those quotes from Guanlao.

Mamakucingbooks said...

we have something similar here too.
We drop off our books to Subang Jaya Book Exchnage Programme and pick up some that we would want to read.

The group meet every first and third sunday of the month. It;s fun

Betty Manousos said...

i loved the idea of free library.
and i applaud hernando's idea. how inspiring!

i really liked that graph too.
such an interesting graph!

big hugs!

fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I see you caught the piece about the coolest pop up library in town. I linked it to my current review of 'The Assignment' by Geraldine Solon, as the book was set in the Philippines, so it made a lighthearted footnote to the review. Being able to set up something on this scale, would be my dream come true!

Did you catch the piece on 'Watchdog' this week, where reports are coming in of Kindles which are freezing and dying, when placed through the airport scanners? It's at times like these that you have to ask yourself just how far advanced technology really is!!! At least my paperbacks won't frazzle and curl at the edges when they are scanned!!

Another great selection of newsworthy miscellany, thanks.