Category Archives: Books

What to get the book lover in your life? The Little Black Classics Box Set from Penguin

As a book lover myself, I have coveted the collection of books above from Penguin. As they say:

This spectacular box set of the 80 books in the Little Black Classics series showcases the many wonderful and varied writers in Penguin Black Classics. From India to Greece, Denmark to Iran, the United States to Britain, this assortment of books will transport readers back in time to the furthest corners of the globe. With a choice of fiction, poetry, essays and maxims, by the likes of Chekhov, Balzac, Ovid, Austen, Sappho and Dante, it won’t be difficult to find a book to suit your mood.

Sounds great! For more information, including how to order it, go here.

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The story of how John Lewis ended up making a graphic memoir

Is told here: How John Lewis’s masterful illustrated memoir is a shining torch for the next generation – The Washington Post

It’s a great story about the life of a great man captured in illustrated form.

Once you read about it, you can buy it here and other places that sell graphic novels and other illustrated books.

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17 books to get you through the pandemic, or the summer, or even the weekend


I saved this at the start of the pandemic for a time when I could freely buy books again. Now is that time, in Canada. I think this is a fine list, full of old and new books: 17 books to get you through the pandemic – Free Candie

Summer is a great time to read. Try and do that. If you get stuck, I find sticking to short/funny/light books can help.

And ready the Free Candie blog. It’s great.

(Image from a link to the blog post)

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How to get started reading the classics


Well this advice is fraught with assumptions, but if you are hankering to read the classics and have an open idea of what “the classics” are, I recommend this:  So you want to read classic books during the coronavirus pandemic – Vox

Basically, there are quite a number of books that are considered classic, but not all classics are approachable. You might pick up one in anticipation, get stuck, and abandon the idea of ever reading such books. To prevent that from happening, read the advice given in Vox. Start slow, and go from there.

Finally, there has always been a debate over what consists of the classics. Many of them will not appeal to you. And other books not considered “Classic” by many might just be old enough for you to fill your appetite for something you consider classic. (e.g. A fan of science fiction might consider Jules Verne classic. ) I consider it good to read from different times: it gives you a better appreciation of your own time, among other reasons. So put down those contemporary writings and go find your own classics to read and love.

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Having problems reading? Then avoid these books

It’s always tricky posting a list like this, for the minute you do, many people will go over it and disagree with it. They will say, “but The Ambassadors is my favorite book”. Fine. Read this list and decide for yourself: 21 Books You Don’t Have to Read | GQ

Many of these books you will be familiar with. (Ahem, The Bible.) You may have them somewhere in your house. Perhaps on your nightside table. Hopefully this will save some of you from spend time struggling to read a book you shouldn’t even be reading.

Life is short. There is an endless list of books you can read. Read the ones you want to.

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Pandemic Challenge: read an entire book in a single day

I realize not everyone can do this, but if you are bored out of your gourd right now and are looking for a challenge, why not try to read an entire book in a single day.

If you think: there’s no way I can do that, then read this:  How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day.

As you can see, it’s quite possible to do it, and with that article, you have all kinds of advice on how to succeed.

The weekend is coming up. This could be just the thing you need to feel some sense of accomplishment.

Let me know what you read!

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You want short novels? The Paris Review got your back


As they say, here is: A Very Short List of Very Short Novels with Very Short Commentary.

Some of these you may have read, but chances are there are a few you haven’t. I recommend short novels to people who want to read more and are stuck with not having read anything recently. Better still, read good short novels. Every book on that short list is a good book.

Enjoy

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44 short books to help you overcome your reading difficulties

This is brilliant: 44 Short Books to Help You Reach Your Reading Challenge Goal – Goodreads News & Interviews.

It’s a great list of books, for starters. Second, they tell you how long they long they are and a number of them are under 100 or 200 pages.

If you are trying to reach a reading challenge goal, or if you are stuck trying to get started reading, or if you find you never finish books due to their length, then you should check out that list.

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Do you want to read more women writers but need suggestions? The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts has your back

How so? Here is a list of one hundred books by great women authors on a wide range of topics, including graphic novels like Persepolis. Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts – #VOTE100BOOKS. 

Regardless of the voting and which book gets the most, it is safe to say that everything listed is worth seeking out.

It’s unlikely even well read people haven’t read all these. If you find you want to read more women, you’re bound to find things on that list.

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Stunning Photographs of European Libraries

The photographs of European libraries at this link really are stunning! I’d love to take a tour of Europe that went to each one of them.

Lovers of libraries and books will want to check out Fubiz for more images. The above image is just one of many great photos.

For book lovers, here are some of London’s most attractive bookshops

Book store

John Sandoe Books Ltd is just one of the shops shown here:
London’s prettiest and most Instagrammable bookshops | London Evening Standard.

If you love books, this piece in the Standard will have you planning / dreaming of going to London and spending quality time (and money) there.

Enjoy.

Should you read Steven Pinker’s Enlightment Now?

I have my doubts after reading this: Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now is a huge hit. Too bad it gets the Enlightenment wrong. – Vox. 

I am a fan of the new wave of optimism being swept in by writers like Pinker. But misrepresenting the Enlightenment is a bad idea, and I am not sure why he did it. If you want to read it in the spirit of what out age needs now, then it is likely you should read it. If you want to learn about the Enlightenment, read the Vox piece and then go somewhere other than Enlightenment Now.

Before the Kindle, there was Napoleon’s travelling library

And what a library! Napoleon had asked for it to be as follows:

The Emperor wishes you to form a traveling library of one thousand volumes in small 12mo and printed in handsome type. It is his Majesty’s intention to have these works printed for his special use, and in order to economize space there is to be no margin to them. They should contain from five hundred to six hundred pages, and be bound in covers as flexible as possible and with spring backs. There should be forty works on religion, forty dramatic works, forty volumes of epic and sixty of other poetry, one hundred novels and sixty volumes of history, the remainder being historical memoirs of every period.

Even with slimmed down books, that is a lot of paper to be carrying around as your conquer Europe and other parts of the world. I’m sure he would have loved the Kindle.

For more details on this library, see: Napoleon’s Kindle: See the Miniaturized Traveling Library He Took on Military Campaigns | Open Culture

Bill Gates and his most recent recommended books

Bill Gates

Bill Gates picks great books to read, and Business Insider has his latest batch here: Bill Gates’ favorite books on science – Business Insider. Unlike other such lists from famous people, I can imagine Gates actually does read all the books he recommends. From other reviewers I’ve read, his book selection is solid.

Not just non-fiction, there is some fiction in there as well.