October 31st, 2008
Just in case you might be undecided or need more information than the 24 hour news coverage of the candidates:
- Ballotpedia – this is a great source if you are looking for information on propositions. They have information on all 50 states. There are also links.
- OpenSecrets.org – If Campaign finance is your interest, you will find that here.
- Project Vote Smart – This a big site with tons of information on candidates and campaign finance.
- Smart Voter – Smart voter has non-partisan info on national candidates, state propositions, local ballot measures, and also judiciary candidates.
October 30th, 2008
In the next two weeks, Netlibrary will be releasing a new Media Center to
expedite downloads from their site to a user’s computer or player. The
Media Center will appear as an optional download when users log in to
Netlibrary. When they install it on their computer, and authenticate
once, they will have full access to our Netlibrary subscription and will
not have to authenticate again.
The new Media Center features:
* a completely new user interface
* downloads with one click transfer to devices
* full searching capabilities
* three minute previews
* progressive downloads
* favorites list
* download history (available in the January release)
* 1 hr ‘chunking’ of files to speed up download times
If users do not want to download the Media Center, they can still use the
existing Netlibrary site as usual.
AND NOW FOR THE REALLY EXCITING NEWS!
In First Quarter 2009, 500 of the existing core titles will become DRM
free (iPod compatible) Multi-access titles. Yes, IPOD! Finally
October 29th, 2008
5min for DIY videos from Phil Bradley’s weblog by philipbradley
5min is a place to find short video solutions for practical questions and a place for people to share their knowledge.The idea behind 5min is very simple: any solution can be visually explained in no more than 5 minutes. I tried out a few different searches and came up with something useful everytime. Their video examples were slightly less information orientated than ‘creating RSS feeds’ (one of my searches), but they are interesting – how to order wine, better skateboarding, buying a business suit, how to brush your dog’s teeth and so on. Fun engine!
October 28th, 2008
There was an owl on one of the teepee poles at my ranch last night and, if you’re lucky enough to live adjacent to Indian Country, you pay attention to such things. The Cheyenne see the owls as messengers from the other side, and I couldn’t help but wonder who it was that was sending something a little more than special delivery.
I always thought he looked a little like an owl, even before I met him. The way the tufts of hair perched up on his head and the pointed nose—but most of all it was the eyes; not so much the eyes of an eagle because those carry a self-concern, but more like the eyes that see past self-interest.
He was 83, and he lived in Albuquerque with, in his own words ‘now-and-then rhematic arthritis, in-remission cancer, a minor heart-attack, a mediocre eye, one tricky ankle and two unreliable knees…’ He began teaching at the University of New Mexico in 1967 and, with a wife and six children, he struggled to make ends meet. The story goes that he was typing away in his office late one night and an associate enthused, “You must be the hardest working professor we have here at the University.”
He looked up with the twinkle his eyes always carried, his glasses perched at the end of his nose. “Actually, I’m writing a book.”
Undaunted, the woman remarked. “How wonderful, what’s it about?”
“It’s a mystery.”
She was crest-fallen. “With all your knowledge of Navajo art, culture, society and history—why are you wasting your time writing a mystery novel?”
His response, like the man, was eloquent and authentic. “Because I want someone to read the darned thing, that’s why.”
I was fortunate enough to win a short story award in combination with the writing conference that is named after him and Cowboys & Indians Magazine. He’d written seventeen books in his series when I met him, was a New York Times Best-selling fixture, and had won every award you can imagine. I’d written one novel and was facing the daunting task of trying to write my second, so I asked him how you keep it fresh. He smiled the small grin that reflected the admiration, adoration, and respect that everyone had for him. “At the risk of sounding like a bad sports analogy, you gotta write ‘em one at a time—and just remember to tell a good story.” It is invaluable advice.
At a time when you usually have to beg most big-time authors to remember what it was like when they were climbing up the ladder, he wrote me a blurb for not only my first novel, but my second, because he said he’d enjoyed them so much. I still have the voice message on my answering machine where he read the jacket quote because his email was on the fritz. “Umm, Craig, I can’t get this email thingy to work, so I thought I’d just call you and tell you what to put on your book…”
One of the last times I saw him was when he was being feted at the Los Angeles Times. They gave him their Life Achievement Award, and the hall where he was interviewed was standing room only, and the line to have him sign his books was about a mile long. He was a storyteller whose owl-like eyes saw further than the genre and farther than himself.
Perhaps the best words to describe his legacy are those of his protagonist Jim Chee, “Everything is connected. The wing of the corn beetle effects the direction of the wind, the way the sand drifts, the way the light reflects into the eye of man beholding his reality. All is part of totality, and in this totality man finds his horzo, his way of walking in harmony, with beauty all around him.”
Tony Hillerman, 1925-2008
Craig Johnson’s new book is “Another Man’s Moccassins” a Walt Longmire mystery.
October 27th, 2008
In appreciation of Tony Hillerman
By Marjorie Kehe | 10.27.08
“Tony Hillerman’s place alongside such great mystery writers as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is certain,” wrote Monitor Book editor Jim Bencivenga in 1997. Today, as readers worldwide mourn Hillerman’s death at the age of 83, there are many who would agree.
Hillerman wrote “lyrical, authentic and compelling mystery novels set among the Navajos of the Southwest,” books that “blazed innovative trails in the American detective story,” writes Marilyn Stasio in an obituary in today’s International Herald Tribune. “Hillerman’s evocative novels, which describe people struggling to maintain ancient traditions in the modern world, touched millions of readers, who made them best sellers.”
Hillerman’s childhood prepared him well for the books that would eventually make him famous. Born in Sacred Heart, Okla., in 1925, he grew up surrounded by native Americans and their culture. Eventually he landed in New Mexico, where he worked as a journalist till the age of 40 when, restless, he decided to try his hand at writing fiction.
Read more here.
October 27th, 2008
Last week, Lifehacker asked their readers to share the books which made a difference in their lives. After 250 comments, they compiled a list of the most voted for books along with summaries and links to Amazon. Here are the top-voted books within the LifeHacker readership:
- The Bible
- The Works of Ayn Rand
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
- The Stranger
- The Works of George Orwell
- The Works of Richard Dawkins
- The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings Trilogy
- Ender’s Game
What books were life-changing for you? I would have to agree with LifeHacker readers and go with The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings Trilogy myself, please leave yours in the comments! – Ellyssa
October 24th, 2008
First Book has teamed up with Eight O’Clock Coffee to promote their Accumul8 Rewards Program Through November 30th, Eight O’Clock Coffee will make a donation to First Book every time a customer registers for the Accumul8 Rewards program or logs a qualifying code from a recent coffee purchase. Candlewick Press will match Eight O’Clock Coffee’s donation book-for-book to bring a total of 8,000 new books to children in need nationwide.
Register for Accumul8 Rewards and help supply new books to children who need them most. To learn more or make an additional donation, visit www.firstbook.org/eightoclockcoffee.
First Book was delighted to be highlighted at the DC premiere of Fox Searchlight’s The Secret Life of Bees starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys. You can join the celebration — and support First Book — by visiting SueBee.com and purchasing a jar of limited edition Black Madonna Honey or the limited edition Secret Life of Bees cookbook. 100% of proceeds benefit First Book. Don’t forget to see the movie in theaters now!
The next time you’re at the grocery store, check out the cereal aisle for . . . BOOKS!
That’s because First Book’s longtime partner, Cheerios is again serving up five million wonderful children’s books — free inside boxes of Cheerios cereal.
In fact, for the past seven years, Cheerios, through its Spoonfuls of Stories program, has been featuring award-winning and popular books from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. For the first time ever, three million of the books are specially printed in both English and Spanish.
The books featured this year are:
- Duck for President, written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin;
- When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, written by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small;
- Romeo and Lou Blast Off, written and illustrated by Derek Anderson;
- Monkey and Me, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett;
- Diego’s Wolf Pup Rescue, adapted by Christine Ricci and illustrated by Art Mawhinney.
Through Cheerios’ support, First Book is giving a year’s worth of children’s books to reading programs serving disadvantaged children across the country. First Book selected one reading program in each state, plus Washington, D.C., to receive books.
Since the launch of the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, Cheerios has donated nearly $3 million to support First Book and distributed more than 35 million books inside boxes. To learn more about the Spoonfuls of Stories program, please visit www.spoonfulsofstories.com
Saturday, October 25th is the 18th annual Make A Difference Day! First Book will be doing our part to make a difference by joining Greater DC Cares, Hands On Network, USA Weekend and Washington Parks and People to clean up Marvin Gaye Park and distribute new books to neighborhood Washington DC Public schools.
No matter where you live, you can make a difference in your community. Visit the Make A Difference DAYta Bank to find a project to participate in or visit First Book’s Web site to learn how you can get involved with First Book on Make A Difference Day and everyday!
This holiday season, First Book is once again participating in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign providing federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
If you are a Federal civilian, postal or military employee, please consider making a pledge to support First Book (CFC #10189) to bring the gift of reading to children in need this holiday. Pledges can be made for CFC campaign season now through December 15th. Find a CFC fair near you, or make your pledge today.
October 24th, 2008
Karen Breen, 2008 Caldecott chair, presented the Caldecott Honor:
Breen presented the 2008 Caldecott Award to Brian Selznick for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic.
Nina Lindsay, chair of the 2008 Newbery committee, presented the Newbery Honor:
- to Christopher Paul Curtis for Elijah of Buxton, published by Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic
- to Jacqueline Woodson for Feathers, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
- to Gary D. Schmidt for The Wednesday Wars, published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin
Lindsay presented the Newbery Award to Laura Amy Schlitz for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, illustrated by Robert Byrd, published by Candlewick Press.
Next Page »
October 22nd, 2008
Traffic Why We Drive The Way We Do and What It Says About Us by Tom Vanderbilt
Would you be surprised that road rage can be good for society? That most crashes happen on sunny dry days? Or that you can gauge a nation’s driving behavior by its levels of corruption? These are only a few of the remarkable dynamics that Tom Varnderbilt explores in this fascinating tour though the mysteries of the road.
The First Billion Is The Hardest by T. Boone Pickens
Now eighty years old, T. Boone Pickens is a legendary figure in the business world. Known as the “Oracle of Oil”, he built Mesa Petroleum, one of the largest independent oil companies in the United States. When Pickens left Mesa, after a downward spiral in the companies profits, many counted him out. What followed for him was the loss of 90 percent of his investing capital. But Pickens was far from out.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
In the remote reaches of northern Wisconsin, young Edgar Sawtelle and his family raise a unique breed of intelligent, companionable dog. Into this idyllic setting strolls Uncle Claude-a charmer with a touch of menace. When Edgar’s father dies, Edgar and a loyal pack of dogs escape to the backwoods-suspecting Claude has committed murder. But no matter where they run, they cannot avoid the creeping hand of fate.
The Likeness by Tana French
Years ago, Cassie and her boss in narcotics Franck Mackey created Alexandra “Lexie” Madison’s persona from scratch as a disguise for an undercover drug sting. Now a woman answering to this name is found stabbed to death in a two-room backwoods cottage outside of Dublin. In a surreal twist, the victim looks exactly like Cassie.
The Candy Bombers The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour by Andrei Cherny
On June 25th, 1948, the soviet Union cast its eye on West Berlin, an island of freedom in a sea of communist oppression. With U.S., British, and French troops virtually gone, the Soviets severed West Berlin’s land and water links with the free world. Cut off from food and fuel, 2.5 million West Berliners were doomed-unless 1,534 tons of food and 3,475 tons of fuel miraculously dropped from heaven each day.
The Comforts of a Muddy Sunday by Alexander McCall Smith
After a patient dies accidentally, an impeccably credentialed doctor is accused of fraudulent involvement with a new drug. Isabel launches an investigation, concerned that a good man’s reputation will be ruined. Could the doctor be taking the fall for someone else’s mistake? Or did a nefarious pharmaceutical company put its lofty ambitions ahead of safety?
The Way of The World A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism by Ron Suskind
In this compelling and layered expose, Suskind details how the U.S. has lost its moral authority in a world boiling over with conflict and growing anti-Americanism sentiment. these revelations propel the narrative into a discussion of many dirty government secrets, including the falsehoods leading up to the Iraq
War and other destructive world events.
Hounded to Death by Rita Mae Brown
Master of the Jefferson Hunt Club, “Sister” Jane Arnold takes her dogs to Lexington, Kentucky, for the Mid South Hound Show But the merriment evaporates when a deeply disliked master is murdered just after the show. A few weeks later, a beloved veterinarian takes her own life. And as the competitors head to the Virginia Hound Show-the biggest event of the season-a wealthy manufacturer of dog food disappears.
The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory
Blessed with Exceptional Beauty, a brilliant mind, and magnificent red hair, the six-foot Mary is striking and unforgettable. She is also Catholic-and a legitimate heir to the thrones of France, Ireland, Scotland, and England. When Mary seeks refuge in her cousin Elizabeth’s realm, the English queen arrests her and holds her captive under the watchful eye of Elizabeth’s shrewd accomplice Bess Harwick, recently married to the powerful Earl of Shrewbury. But what marriage can withstand Mary’s bewitching charm or treason’s haunting allure?