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Reading in Summer

The summer vacation is probably the best time to catch up on reading. You can create some time for yourself and sit down and enjoy all your favourite books.

There is a Chinese saying, “To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.” So this summer make the most of your holiday and read stories that will open up new vistas of adventure, fun, mystery and laughter.

It’s summer again, and my bookshelf is filled with all the books I wish to read during the vacation. Through the year, I collect books and then during the holidays I park myself on my favourite chair in front of my bookshelf and read!

I have picked up some rather interesting books by Indian and non-Indian authors. There is a book called The Burmese Box. It was written by Lila Majumdar in Bengali and translated into English by Subhadra Sen Gupta. Actually it is a novella with two short but rather exciting stories. One, of course, is about the Burmese Box and the other is Goopy’s Secret Diary.

I have a collection of books by Ruskin Bond. What I would read first is Escape From Java and Other Tales of Danger. It is a collection of five stories, all about danger and adventure.

Have you heard of an author called Pseudonymous Bosch? His books are very different. Of course Pseudonymus Bosch is not his real name. But that’s the name under which he prefers to author his books. He has written the Secret Series. Five books, each dealing with one sense. His first book The Name of This Book is Secret is based on smell, the next If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late is based on sound, This Book is Not Good For You is based on taste, This Isn’t What It Looks Like is based on sight and the last one You Have To Stop This is based on touch. I couldn’t get all the five, though I did manage to pick up This Book Is Not Good For You. It’s all about chocolate — but believe me, it’s not sweet and syrupy!

Great variety

I managed to find a book called Attacks of the Volcano Monkeys by Wiley Miller. I really don’t know much about it but it does promise a lot of action.

It’s not only new books that fascinate me. Sometimes I go back and re-read my old books. And the ones I plan to read again this summer are The World’s Funniest Folktales, Just So Stories, Tales from the Arabian Nights, Pride and Prejudice, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and of course The Wind in the Willows. A friend gifted me with a book called The Pearls of Wisdom. It is set in the water world and there are characters like a Black Magi and a Secret Service vampire agent called Count Drunkula, Va- Suki a thousand headed serpent and more. Should be fun I think.

I wonder if you have heard about Feluda? He is a detective created by Satyajit Ray. Feluda and his cousin Topshe stumble upon one mystery after another. Feluda with his super-sharp brain usually unravels the secret and finds the truth. There are a number of Feluda books. The Emperor’s Ring, The Curse of the Goddess and Trouble in the Graveyard some of them. Don’t miss the Feluda series. They are amazing. Satyajit Ray has also written short stories. Words cannot describe these stories, as they take you away from the mundane every day life into something not only bizarre but sometimes even scary. He has trees that eat flesh and people who make friends with aliens.

R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days is always a favourite summer read. Set in sleepy Malgudi it takes you through the days of Swami and his

friends. It’s good to have a mix of genres and so Wordygurdybook! The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray, could provide a few laughs. Scary stories are fun too. I have with me Jerry Pinto’s The Puffin Book of Spooky Ghost Stories. Thirteen stories of hauntings, frightening creatures and spirits.

The last shelf of my bookcase has all the old favourites. Gullivers Travels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Black Beauty, King Arthur, Doctor Dolittle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Best of Tagore – Kabuliwalla, The Scarlett Pimpernel…

I have also nicked some books from my mom’s childhood collection – school stories, mystery stories and adventure stories too. Most of them are by Enid Blyton. And I also found a couple of worn copies of books by Angela Brazil. My mom says they are school stories and she loved every one of them. I also have a few from the Chalet School series. These books were written by Elinor Brent-Dyer. It’s all about a girl called Jo and how her sister starts a school in Austria. These books are simply fantastic.

So that’s my reading list. Let me get started.

 

By

NIMI KURIAN

Courtesy: http://www.hindu.com

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Filed under: Reading Tips, ,

Are ebooks the future?

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by

Pradeep Sebastian

Courtesy: The Hindu

Now that Kindle and other digital reading devices are hitting the mainstream, how will virtual words impact the reader and the experience of reading?

Waiting for a poetry reading to begin, Critic A can’t help eavesdropping on a conversation in progress: someone in the room can’t remember a line from a Wallace Stevens poem, and her neighbour ‘Kindles’ the quote, and in a few seconds supplies the line. All present are duly impressed except Critic A, who wonders if the Kindle has become to literature what Wikipedia is to information: “a one-stop outlet, a speedy and irresistibly efficient leveler of context”. That is, the poet Wallace Stevens had been taken out of his historical flesh and blood literary context, and his poetry turned into a piece of information.

Critic B, noting A’s dismay, observes that Blackberrying or Kindling Stevens instantly doesn’t deprive him of his historical and literary context — only forgetting him can do that. And if young people, say his 14-year-old son, can ‘call up’ a poem on his Blackberry in a matter of seconds, then a difficult poet like Wallace Stevens, always in danger of not being read enough, will actually find new readers. “Such liberation of access”, notes Critic B, “can only enrich and deepen the historical imagination — extending its nourishment to new audiences”.

It’s here now

It was perhaps several months ago that I chanced on this exchange — one resisting the Kindle, the other defending it — and thought to myself: why should we agonise over something that we don’t have in India — namely, the Kindle. But now that Amazon’s international version of this e-reading device is actually here (some Rs. 17,500 later), does it mean digital reading is finally becoming mainstream? I asked two prominent Indian publishers what they made of the eBook, and found them prepared and geared up for the revolution.

Thomas Abraham, Hachette India’s managing director is convinced (partly by how easily and frequently he uses an eReader now) that eBook conversion will happen faster than was supposed in India, but will remain a niche interest with the current device format. “The day real convergence occurs — when your phone, mp3 player and eReader are one device — is when you’ll see real mass usage. Hachette is a big believer in the future of the digital medium, both for content as well as distribution platforms. It has therefore set up a central group Digital division which will manage its whole eBook strategy.”

HarperCollins worldwide has for some years now been exploring ways to work closely with digital publishing partners including Amazon. HarperCollins India hopes to learn from their experience to create and partner similar initiatives in India. Its publisher and chief editor, V.K. Karthika is emphatic that “there is no getting away from the fact that digital publishing is the future of the written word. It could mean rethinking processes from scratch, including typesetting and design, not to mention sales and marketing. And of course, as an editor I may have to reinvent my role to adapt to the new technology.”

Neelini Sarkar, editorial assistant at HarperCollins added, “I think being part of traditional book publishing means that we tend to be somewhat skeptical of new-fangled reading formats and insist that e-books just don’t ‘feel’ the same. But they are certainly a convenience, some years down the line a necessity, and at the end of the day e-reading will probably make book-publishing a simpler process.” Listening to them, I realised what they were getting at would probably be echoed by most other publishers, and that it was time for even the fetishistic bibliophile, namely me, to recognise that the printed book and the digital book must co-exist.

But as a longtime reader of the printed book, I can tell you exactly what I’ll miss from an eBook: a particular memory of reading a book, that specific copy, in a certain way; when you return to re-read a book, the act of reading from the same wel- thumbedcopy. Of lending that edition to a friend. The smell of old ink-and not just a generic book smell but the familiar smell of thatcopy. Writing in the margins, bookmarking and shelving it. As a reader who has cared for books in their physical beauty — fine editions, memorable dust jackets, and lovely typefaces — I cannot help but feel that it will not be easy to replace the sensual ritual of feeling paper as you turn a page.

Inertia

However, the digital book industry is racing to reassure us: CaféScribe, a French on-line publisher, hopes to satisfy the traditional reader by providing customers a sticker that “will give off a fusty, bookish smell when it is attached to their computers”, Amazon Kindle’s screen uses e-paper so you won’t miss white-cream paper, and the Tablet PC has the dimensions and shape of a book. From a long use of the printed book in our lives we know its aesthetics. In time, I feel that the eBook will acquire its own history, aesthetics and culture.

Robert Darnton, book historian and author of the recently published The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future describes at least one way the e-book enhances reading. “An ‘e-book’ unlike a printed codex, can contain many layers arranged in the shape of a pyramid, Readers can download the text and skim through the topmost layer…if they come upon something that especially interests them, they can click down a layer to a supplementary essay or appendix. They can continue deeper through the book, through bodies of documents, bibliography, historiography, iconography, background music…”

But Darnton also points out that there’s nothing still wrong with Movable Type — it has just lost a little to Code in speed and practicality. (Amazon’s most recent ad for Kindle is ‘In the time it takes to read this article, an entire book would have been downloaded’). Once — and for a very long time — the printed book was the fastest and most practical thing (compact, portable, no batteries required) having edged out manuscripts. Darnton believes that learning will ‘remain within the Gutenberg galaxy — though the galaxy will expand, thanks to a new source of energy, the electronic book, which will act as a supplement to, not a substitute for, Gutenberg’s great machine.’

Lingering confusion

I realised my initial skepticism — the skepticism of most traditional bibliophiles — comes from an old but lingering confusion that eBooks equal the decline of reading. We forget that reading itself is in no danger — the freedom experienced in reading is too addictive for that whether on page or screen. Besides, reading makes all forms its own. Consider: the form of the book is always morphing — from vellum manuscripts to wood pulp to pixels, from movable type to the printing press to code, and what remains constant is the experience of reading itself.

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14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit

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By

Leo Babauta

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham

Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.

Other than that, try these tips to cultivate a lifetime reading habit:

  • Set times. You should have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone). And if you also read every time you’re sitting on the can, and when you go to bed, you now have four times a day when you read for 10 minutes each — or 40 minutes a day. That’s a great start, and by itself would be an excellent daily reading habit. But there’s more you can do.
  • Always carry a book. Wherever you go, take a book with you. When I leave the house, I always make sure to have my drivers license, my keys and my book, at a minimum. The book stays with me in the car, and I take it into the office and to appointments and pretty much everywhere I go, unless I know I definitely won’t be reading (like at a movie). If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s office or at the DMV), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time.
  • Make a list. Keep a list of all the great books you want to read. You can keep this in your journal, in a pocket notebook, on your personal home page, on your personal wiki, wherever. Be sure to add to it whenever you hear about a good book, online or in person. Keep a running list, and cross out the ones you read. Tech trick: create a Gmail account for your book list, and email the address every time you hear about a good book. Now your inbox will be your reading list. When you’ve read a book, file it under “Done”. If you want, you can even reply to the message (to the same address) with notes about the book, and those will be in the same conversation thread, so now your Gmail account is your reading log too.
  • Find a quiet place. Find a place in your home where you can sit in a comfortable chair (don’t lay down unless you’re going to sleep) and curl up with a good book without interruptions. There should be no television or computer near the chair to minimize distractions, and no music or noisy family members/roommates. If you don’t have a place like this, create one.
  • Reduce television/Internet. If you really want to read more, try cutting back on TV or Internet consumption. This may be difficult for many people. Still, every minute you reduce of Internet/TV, you could use for reading. This could create hours of book reading time.
  • Read to your kid. If you have children, you must, must read to them. Creating the reading habit in your kids is the best way to ensure they’ll be readers when they grow up … and it will help them to be successful in life as well. Find some great children’s books, and read to them. At the same time, you’re developing the reading habit in yourself … and spending some quality time with your child as well.
  • Keep a log. Similar to the reading list, this log should have not only the title and author of the books you read, but the dates you start and finish them if possible. Even better, put a note next to each with your thoughts about the book. It is extremely satisfying to go back over the log after a couple of months to see all the great books you’ve read.
  • Go to used book shops. My favorite place to go is a discount book store where I drop off all my old books (I usually take a couple of boxes of books) and get a big discount on used books I find in the store. I typically spend only a couple of dollars for a dozen or more books, so although I read a lot, books aren’t a major expense. And it is very fun to browse through the new books people have donated. Make your trip to a used book store a regular thing.
  • Have a library day. Even cheaper than a used book shop is a library, of course. Make it a weekly trip.
  • Read fun and compelling books. Find books that really grip you and keep you going. Even if they aren’t literary masterpieces, they make you want to read — and that’s the goal here. After you have cultivated the reading habit, you can move on to more difficult stuff, but for now, go for the fun, gripping stuff. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown … all those popular authors are popular for a reason — they tell great stories. Other stuff you might like: Vonnegut, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Nick Hornby, Trevanian, Ann Patchett, Terry Pratchett, Terry McMillan, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All excellent storytellers.
  • Make it pleasurable. Make your reading time your favorite time of day. Have some good tea or coffee while you read, or another kind of treat. Get into a comfortable chair with a good blanket. Read during sunrise or sunset, or at the beach.
  • Blog it. One of the best ways to form a habit is to put it on your blog. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s free. Have your family go there and give you book suggestions and comment on the ones you’re reading. It keeps you accountable for your goals.
  • Set a high goal. Tell yourself that you want to read 50 books this year (or some other number like that). Then set about trying to accomplish it. Just be sure you’re still enjoying the reading though — don’t make it a rushed chore.
  • Have a reading hour or reading day. If you turn off the TV or Internet in the evening, you could have a set hour (perhaps just after dinner) when you and maybe all the members of your family read each night. Or you could do a reading day, when you (and again, your other family members if you can get them to join you) read for practically the whole day. It’s super fun.

Filed under: Reading Tips,

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