Posts Tagged ‘books’

New York Public Library: I Have A Slightly Overdue Book… Part II: The Return

April 26, 2013 4 comments

New York Public Library 42nd & 5th

People who have read my blog for a while will remember that in June 2011 I wrote about a book taken out of the New York Public Library in 1971 which I found in Toronto. For those who don’t remember the post, here’s a link to it. As I mentioned in the previous post, the book was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and it was due back at the library on June 23, 1971. I wrote of how I intended to take it back to the Mid-Manhattan Library: Literature & Language Department at 5th Ave & 42nd St in Manhattan the next time I was in New York City but I didn’t foresee it taking this long!  Read more…

2012 Book A Fortnight Summary & Happy New Year!

January 2, 2013 6 comments


Happy New Year 2013. Remember my Book A Fortnight Challenge? Well not only did I complete it, I killed it! The goal was to read 26 books in the 52 weeks that were 2012 which ends up being a book a fortnight (a fortnight being 2 weeks). My final count for the year? 43 books read! That means that I read approximately 80% of a book each week (on average) throughout the course of the year! I have the full list of books read below but I didn’t include a 44th book I read – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – because I have read it a bunch of times before so wasn’t sure it should be included in the final tally.

I have organized the below in my own categories and subcategories. I have grouped together some books by series and kept books by the same author close to each other. As well, the links I have provided for the books – for anyone who wants to read them themselves – link mostly to the Toronto Public Library.

Without the Toronto Public Library this would have been an extremely expensive challenge and so I encourage anyone reading this who lives in Toronto to check them out (the library system as well as the books from the library). It is so simple to do that you don’t even have to go browse to find books anymore! Assuming you already have a library card/account just go to the link (or search the library site yourself), click “Place A Hold,” tell the system where you want the book to be held for you, and then just wait for them to email/call you (your choice) and go pick up the book(s) on a special hold shelf. Done! In and out of the actual, physical library in under 5 minutes!

I have also put books I highly recommend everyone check out in bold. Other books I have added my own $0.02 in on what I thought about them if I thought they were especially good or otherwise. Read more…

Physical Books & Links In Them. There Has To Be A Better Way!

April 1, 2012 4 comments


These days whenever I read a book that is on serious subject matter – as opposed to a novel – I notice there are a whole ton of links mentioned or footnoted over the course of the read. It’s great for learning more after you’re done reading, or even between chapters, but the problem for those of us who still like reading physical books is that those links aren’t clickable. For me, a person who loves to read physical books, it is often not an attractive prospect to be required to pull out a phone or tablet or go to a computer while reading a book. The other options, as far as I know, are to:

  1. Write down the link or links on a piece of paper and remember to look them up after you’re done reading that chapter.
  2. Bookmark the book on every page that has a link and remember to look it up later.
  3. Take a picture with your phone/tablet/camera of the footnote. Then, when you sync the pictures with your computer just read the links off the photographed pages.
  4. (If you can think of another option please let me know below and I’ll add it here.)

This problem also rears its head when reading a magazine these days. Especially, in my experience, I have found this to be an issue when reading tech publications. Of course, many magazines have links mentioned in them during stories/articles in reference to people and places mentioned or just to read more or see/hear additional audio-video on the subject being discussed.

URL Link in a book's footnote

My Solution

I have an idea which solves this problem in what is a pretty simple and cost effective way. Everyone and everything these days has a website and of course books are on that list. Authors and/or publishers can solve this issue easily by having a page on their sites with the list of links mentioned in the book. Make the existence of this links page clear in the beginning of the book and the end of it, maybe even throw in a reminder or two over the course of the book in the footnotes. The page would take a minimal amount of resources to create, run and host because it would be pretty much all text. As well, it could be organized by chapter so it can be easy for anyone to access repeatedly and find the links quickly while they read the book.

In terms of a magazine, the links can be organized based on the date of the magazine on the magazine’s website. If need be, there can be a code written into the magazine on one of the pages for people who have bought it to access the links and extended info. However, I don’t think it is really all that necessary because we aren’t talking about things that are in the magazine being printed, just links. You’d still have to buy the magazine to read the full article and understand the link in context.

What do you think? Is that not reasonable? I am surprised no authors or book, magazine, and even newspaper publishers have started doing this yet. Seems pretty simple and would give more value to the customers still buying their materials in physical print.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Top picture of stacked books via Microsoft Office Clipart.

Book with a link in it pictured above is “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” by Scott Stratten.

The Book A Fortnight Update

January 23, 2012 2 comments

books on a chair

Thought I would do some thoughts on reading and this 26 Books A Year or Book A Fortnight Challenge for 2012. You remember, the one inspired by Dave Fleet & Erin Bury I mentioned in a previous post a few weeks back.

I have read a  large number of books already putting me well ahead of schedule but the bulk have been novels. The books I have read thus far are:

  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow
  3. The War That Came Early: West and East by Harry Turtledove
  4. TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow
  5. The War That Came Early: The Big Switch by Harry Turtledove

I have already begun a sixth book but I am finding myself wanting to stick to novels more and more. I can say it is because they are all parts of series which makes it more desirable to do but I really have to push myself for more mentally stimulating reading in my opinion. Problem with that, of course, is it is way, way harder! One thing I am really finding out though is the massive amount of importance there is for the more hard data kind of books, or books that make you think, it is all the more important that you find the author with the right writing style. Then again, maybe that’s just me. Have you found this yourselves?

This is the end, beautiful friends. @PostADay 2011’s 365th Post. Beginning A New Challenge For 2012…

January 3, 2012 7 comments

Writing pad of paper and pen

January 3rd 2012. This is, as Jim Morrison of The Doors sang, The End. Not the end of this blog, no, this is the end of the 2011 Post A Day Challenge which I started on January 4th 2011 with this post, exactly 365 days ago.

I was proud to have the badge that said I was part of the Challenge which you can see below and on the right hand side of the page but didn’t know when I put it up if I would be able to do it justice. I am happy – and somewhat relieved to say that I made it and I did do it justice. I remember when I started the Challenge being told by other bloggers – specifically Casie Stewart comes to mind right now – how amazing it is and how it is a great diary when you want to look back on your year. As I look back on my year it amazes me some of the things I wrote and how I wrote them and a lot of the stuff brings a smile to my face. If I wasn’t working with the post per day deadline I probably would have tried to be more of a perfectionist and not gotten nearly as much content out there. Indeed, when I look back at some of my posts I realize I really, really need someone to proofread for me (I think we all do!) but I guess that simple mistakes a proofreader would find comes with the territory of writing a personal blog and writing it daily. If ever you see a simple error – like I mess up and write “it’s” instead of “its” please feel free to call me out on it via email.


What a wild ride it has been since I started this blog. My traffic grew at a pretty constant rate as you can see in the chart below…well constant except for the post I wrote in April about a certain French Canadian high school secretary who was moonlighting in pornographic movies and then got caught which drew A LOT of extra traffic (in retrospect this is not a big surprise). Finishing this challenge just gives me such a sense of accomplishment I cannot begin to describe it. It is just one of the most fantastic feelings in the world to be done something that was my idea (well, for me to take part in it), my commitment, and had no discernible benefit at its end in terms of reward.

LevyNewsNetwork Traffic chart

In that vein, I think my challenge for this year – aside from my silly New Year’s Resolution of living past December 21, 2012 – will be inspired by my friend Erin Bury‘s resolution for 2011 which was in turn inspired by another friend, Dave Fleet‘s, resolution for 2010: Read 26 books over the course of the year (this means a book every 2 weeks).

As I began writing this I thought I was already off to a great start in finishing John Varley’s “Rolling Thunder” and it is only January 3rd as I thought I had read the bulk of it New Year’s Day but looking back through my GetGlue history it seems I did the bulk of my reading of that book on December 31 so I cannot count it. Good thing I already started reading a new book – Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”. I’ve already made a 90 page dent in it too so I am happy. Looks like it is a good thing I started stocking up on books from the library and I will now get to embody – once again – what I wrote about a couple of days back. Writing this also reminds me I never have gotten to the Steve Jobs book just yet probably because of all the books I just got from the library.

The below is the method I am going to endeavor to employ through this task and is taken from Dave Fleet’s blog post about his own challenge in 2010.

26 books per year… how?

How do you go about reading a book every two weeks, all year?

It’s simple – 20 pages per day.

That equates to 140 pages per week, or 280 every two weeks – roughly the length of the average book. For me, I fit in 10 pages on my commute to work, and another 10 on the way home. You might prefer instead to read for 30 minutes in the evenings, or do all your reading over coffee in the morning. Either way, once you break it down like this, it’s not so bad.

I guess I sort of have a head start in that I have already read, as mentioned above, 90 pages of Gladwell’s book, but realistically I don’t have that much of one because we are already 3 days into 2012 which means I should be 60 pages into the book anyway – so I am only 30 pages ahead of schedule.

I am very excited for this new endeavor and look forward to how it develops. I think I may need a new tag for it too and am spitballing some ideas as I sit here. Right now I am thinking BookAFortnight or maybe 26Books or maybe just Books. I think I am going to follow in Dave’s lead and just stick with ‘Books’ because it is just simpler. (I hope you enjoyed that little stream of consciousness moment in my writing…that was all completely legitimate and I decided to leave it there as is.)

So it is time to go on to my next challenge. Are you trying out anything new this year? Setting any challenges for yourself? No matter how minute I would love to hear it! Let me know in the comments below.

Pre-Holiday Trip To The Library!

December 22, 2011 5 comments

Today, I stopped off at my local library because a Harry Turtledove book I had ordered was in and waiting for me. While I was there I did a little wandering and found two more books. I am stockpiling these books as the holidays season approaches. I will be well prepared for a whole ton of reading this holiday season. There are only so many television show marathons and movies a man can watch after all! More books I ordered are on the way too! I am excited.

Much As I LOVE Tech: There’s Nothing Like Reading A Physical Book

December 11, 2011 5 comments

bookshelf full of books

I love to read books. I have been reading ‘adult books’ (not that kind, you perverts!) since my mom gave me “The Client” by John Grisham when I was 10. As I mentioned in a previous article, I love Harry Turtledove books so you can see them represented in the picture above. I recently picked up the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson which everyone says is fantastic and the new Stephen King book “11/22/63” which is an alternate history book about what might have happened if JFK hadn’t been killed in Dallas that fateful day in 1963 as suggested by my man  aka @FunkyBarrister on Twitter.

Steve Jobs biography & Stephen King 11-22-63

I am also in the midst of reading “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin which is so far really, really good too. But it has been a long while since I have been reading more than one book at once. Heck, it has been a long time since I have actually read one physical book. Used to be I went from one book to the next and then to the next (and usually was reading more than one at once). As the years have progressed I have found myself staring at screens more often than not and rarely sitting down and reading an actual book. When I went to the Kobo Office Party I opined how much I liked the idea of the Kobo and having all your books with you at all times but at the same time I don’t know that anything can ever, in my mind, replace a physical book. There is just something about the ink and physically turning those pages that a reader just cannot replace.

As I typed the above I am aware that I sort of sound like people who maintain that listening to a record the music sounds ‘warmer’ and ‘more alive.’ Read more…

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