Posts tagged ‘Books’

August 21, 2011

Obama: Reader-In-Chief

by Vince

Click on the image to view the enlarged version. I own Ghost Wars and tried reading it a few months back but ended up putting it down.

August 9, 2011 and Paying Taxes

by Vince

John Judis at The New Republic has an interesting piece on Amazon’s intentional efforts to avoid taxation in several states that direly need revenue. After all, Amazon’s ability to avoid charging sale’s tax provides you and I opportunities to buy books (as well as plethora of other items) for dirt cheap.

This subject, which has been intensified lately due to Borders declaring bankruptcy, may be a good time for us all to question when to buy books online and when to buy in a store. What logic comes into play when we choose one outlet over the other? For me, if I can find a book for a penny plus ~$4 s&h on Amazon, I will go with that option over a store that may charge anywhere in the upward vicinity of $27 plus tax. If I can find a book in a store for a few dollars more than Amazon, I will go with the store. Judis elaborates on the ripple effects of the latter choice: “local realtors sustain neighborhoods and suburban malls; they fund local newspapers and theater groups. They are part of a community in a way that Amazon or Overstock—its Utah-based partner in fighting state sales taxes—will never be.” It is also worth noting that Amazon would not me Amazon without bookstores or trading houses who originally sell the books that we find online for a low price.

June 22, 2011

100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books

by Vince

This isn’t an exhaustive list (and many would argue over which books made it or didn’t) but enjoy. It is organized by category (which is helpful). I thought the memoirs looked good.

May 31, 2011

Summer Reading

by Vince

As they say, with the passing of Memorial Day weekend, we now enter summer. With that, here are some books mostly geared towards education and information. I have churned through a few fiction (Ordinary People) and nonfiction (Underboss, the History of God, which I am only 70 pages in) lately and am on the lookout for some others for the summer.


We live in a culture that puts a premium on customization, but this ultra-personalization has its price when it comes to the information we’re being served. That’s exactly what Eli Pariser, founder of public policy advocacy group, explores in his fascinating and, depending on where you fall on the privacy spectrum, potentially unsettling new book, The Filter Bubble — a compelling deep-dive into the invisible algorithmic editing on the web, a world where we’re being shown more of what algorithms think we want to see and less of what we should see. (Did you know that Google takes into account 57 individual data points before serving you the results you searched for?) Implicitly, the book raises some pivotal questions about the future of the information economy and the balance between algorithm and curator — something I feel particularly strongly about.

May 23, 2011

eBooks Are Surging

by Vince

There are the obvious defenses for traditional books, but what the downsides, which can play into pro-defenses for eBooks? eBooks, by the way, are outselling traditional books in some markets.

Stray bits of paper fall out of books, and then you’ve lost your place. You can’t access your highlighted passages when you’re at the office and your book is at home. You can’t read your matchstick etchings two months after they were written. A ripped out page gets quickly lost. The natural shield against distraction means that if you do want a quick distraction, you have to put the book down entirely — and then you may not pick it back up.

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May 15, 2011

“A library is a good place to go…”

by Vince

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book,”- E.B. White, writing to the children of Troy, Michigan, congratulating them on their new library in 1971.

H/T: A.S.

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March 11, 2011


by Vince

A website totally dedicated to bookshelf design.

March 3, 2011

Adapted Reading List

by Vince

Thanks, Ted, for the idea.

Now that I am teaching, lesson planning, and actually working, I hardly have the energy to devote myself to reading in the same way as a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, here are some books that I am currently reading and would like to soon:

To Know as We Are Known by Parker Palmer*
Beyond Tolerance by Gustav Niebuhr*
The Conservative Soul: Fundamentalism, Freedom, and the Future of the Right by Andrew Sullivan
Theology for Liberal Presbyterians And Other Endangered Species by Douglas F. Ottati
Love Wins: About Heaven, Hell, and the fate of every person who has ever lived by Rob Bell**

* I am almost done these two fine books.
**This one has already received the typical shit storm from universalist labelers.

November 29, 2010

From Martyrdom to Book Deals

by Vince

“The most famous Christians of the early church were martyred. The most famous Christians of the church today get book deals,” –Steve McCoy

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November 24, 2010


by Vince

Gah, my eyes hurt yesterday. I finished off Shane of the Nation and am looking forward to watching Kozol speak here. Look for as thorough of a book review as I can do in the coming week.

The holiday season is upon us. I am not sure what book I will read next. For the meantime, I am reading the new Atlantic issue and I may pick up one of MJ’s novels.  What are you reading?

September 30, 2010

Books Enhanced By Media

by Vince

A group named IDEO has three neat ideas. Watch their video below. I like Nelson.

H/T: swissmiss

September 18, 2010

Book Candy

by Vince

I went on an excursion with MJ today. On our trip, we stopped at a book sale in downtown Lancaster and a used academic bookstore in Harrisburg. MJ found some kids books from yore, some religion books, and I found the following:

Death at an Early Age by the Harvard Professor Jonathan Kozol

The Worst Case Scenario Almanac to Politics by David Borgenicht and Turk Regan

Leave it to the experts of the best-selling Worst-Case Scenario series to ferret out the most scandalous, dangerous, incompetent, and downright awful people to ever seek power. The most lavish palaces, the bloodiest coups, the stupidest declarations. . . . Plus all the lists, charts, maps, and profiles that have made the Worst-Case Scenario Almanacs such a success. Which country had more governments in the past 175 years Italy or Bolivia? What ever happened to all those people who ran for vice president of the United States of America and lost? Illustrated, step-by-step scenarios describe how to respond when confronted with misfortune or challenge, including how to give a concession speech, kiss a drooling baby, escape a sex scandal, and evade the truth.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

I read this article and I then wanted to find this Whitman book.

The whole day was capped off by a meal at Red Robin, some of the PSU football game, getting lost, talking to a guy named Ronald outside of the HBG bookstore, seeing a wedded couple get their pictures along the outskirts of HBG, and getting to blog about it all.

September 14, 2010

Your Brain on Google

by Vince

Hat tip: swissmiss

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August 14, 2010

Literature and Statecraft

by Vince

This article makes me want to go read Walt Whitman’s Leaves in the Grass:

In short, literature shows its relationship with statecraft to be reciprocal. Literature informs leaders whose actions may later become the stuff of literature. Imperfection — the conflicts, stratagems, and surprises of world affairs — can convey an ineffable, transcendent sense of things. Clausewitz called it the coup d’oeil: an integration of experience, observation, and imagination that “constructs a whole of the fragments that the eye can see.” Imprinting it “like a picture, like a map, upon the brain.” The approach is like a poet’s, involving the quick recognition of a truth that the mind would ordinarily miss, or would perceive only after long study and reflection.

August 10, 2010

Plagiarism: Variances Depending on the Eye of the Beholder

by Vince

Stan Fish ties together Golf, stealing bases in Baseball, and someone at the same college he was a dean at plagiarizing two full pages of his own book:

The rule that you not use words that were first uttered or written by another without due attribution is less like the rule against stealing, which is at least culturally universal, than it is like  the rules of golf.  I choose golf because its rules are so much more severe and therefore so much odder than the rules of other sports.  In baseball you can (and should) steal bases and hide the ball. In football you can (and should) fake a pass or throw your opponent to the ground. In basketball you will be praised for obstructing an opposing player’s view of the court by waving your hands in front of his face. In hockey … well let’s not go there.  But in golf, if you so much as move the ball accidentally while breathing on it far away from anyone who might have seen what you did, you must immediately report yourself and incur the penalty.

Plagiarism is like that; it’s an insider’s obsession.  If you’re a professional journalist, or an academic historian, or a philosopher, or a social scientist or a scientist, the game  you play for a living is underwritten by the assumed value of originality and failure properly to credit the work of others is a big and obvious no-no.  But if you’re a musician or a novelist, the boundary lines are less clear (although there certainly are some) and if you’re a politician it may not occur to you, as it did not at one time to Joe Biden, that you’re doing anything wrong when you appropriate the speech of a revered statesman.