Children’s Book Week Tuesday, May 14 2013 


Children’s Book Week began in 1919 and it is “the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country” according to their about page.  Sponsored by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council the focus is on developing a child’s love of books and reading.

Looking around the web for online children’s books Ravenous uncovered a vast storehouse full of hours of reading, listening, and viewing. Check out the International Children’s Digital Library or the Rosetta Project from Children’s Books Online. We liked Barnes & Noble free online story-time page where authors read their animated stories and many children’s books publishers have YouTube Channels.

Virtual options are grand but don’t forget to walk into any library, including the Providence Athenaeum, to find wonderful children’s collections, especially this week.




The Great Gatsby Wednesday, Apr 10 2013 

Next month the latest film adaptation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby, will be in theaters:

It appears to be filmed with 21st century panache, over-the-top special effects and 3D, but Ravenous fondly remembers the 1974 incarnation with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, filmed at the Newport (RI) Mansions:

There have been other Gatsby films according to Wikipedia and Open Culture includes a “trailer” from the 1926 silent film version.

If you’d like to read the book before the premier on May 10th try this crisp ebook version from the University of Adelaide in Australia. Or next time you’re in borrow our copy!


Charles Dickens, Bicentenary Thursday, Jan 19 2012 

The 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birthday is on February 7th 2012 and the planned celebrations abound. One of England’s greatest 19th century novelists, Dickens has contributed much to the world, as Alex Hudson writes in this BBC News article.

Abe Books has pulled together some interesting tidbits below:

And many of Charles Dickens titles are available in electronic format from Project Gutenberg.  The Providence Athenaeum has an extensive collection of Dickens works including many 19th century editions.

WatchMojo has produced a three minute video montage of films produced from Dickens works. The most popular being A Christmas Carol. Take a look:


Soundtracks for Books Monday, Aug 29 2011 

The innovative energy that surrounds the book these days is incredible. Here is the latest:

Now Moby Dick is a tome, would a soundtrack full of whale cries and surf be interesting? You’ll have to buy an iPad (ie. Apple product) to find out. I’m sure other vendors will follow. Check out Booktrack. My question continues to be should we call these books?

Thanks Twittersphere


Pottermore Friday, Jun 24 2011 

Last week, J.K. Rowling released a teaser for her new project, the website Pottermore, which initially contained a countdown and little else. Speculation regarding the nature of the project was widespread, with theories ranging from a fan-fiction community hub to an online game to a comprehensive encyclopedia of Harry Potter universe lore. The announcement at the end of the countdown is the included video: an online bookstore for the digital audiobook and purportedly DRM-free e-book versions of the Harry Potter series (coming in October), and not much else in the way of concrete details. I’m actually far more interested in how Rowling’s decision to forgo DRM in the Harry Potter e-books will affect the larger digital publishing field than anything she had to say about the website itself (which was honestly very little). I’ve seen the “digital watermarking” process that will be used instead of traditional DRM put to use in niche markets, but never on this scale.

Gizmodo compared the ebook release of HP to the Beatles being available on iTunes–cultural icons appearing in new formats legitimizes the technology.

An Interactive Book Wednesday, May 4 2011 

Mike Matas from Push Pop Press demonstrates an amazing book:

Currently it only works on Apple products but other vendors will follow suit. At first I thought that interactive books were gimmicky but they are reaching a level of sophistication that is hard to overlook. Should we call them books?

The Last Ring-Bearer Monday, Feb 14 2011 

Kirill Yeskov, a Russian scientist, wrote a re-imagined version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy as a single novel, titled The Last Ring-Bearer. Released in 1999, the novel re-frames the events in Tolkien’s most famous works as a gritty war story told from the perspective of the troops of Mordor. Yisroel Markov has translated the nearly 140,000 word novel into English, and made it available through his blog. No commercial release is planned due to “fear of the Tolkien estate, which rigidly controls all derivative works, especially in English.” I always enjoy seeing impressive fan-made works like this (I count both the novel and the translation, in this case), and I’ve been enjoying The Last Ring-Bearer thus far. The picture is of a no-less-impressive Lord of the Rings fan-work, a model of Minas Tirith made entirely of matchsticks. AB

Publishing Industry on EBooks Tuesday, Feb 8 2011 

The Book Industry Study Group has shared slides from it’s survey of ebook consumers and the results are both fascinating and predictable. Kindle is king with 85% of the ebook market but Barnes and Noble’s Nook is winning second place and is the preferred ereader in terms of  design, display, and overall reader experience. The iPad is in third place. At this point, most ebooks are read on dedicated ereaders, not multipurpose devices.

The industry is worried by the fact that 51% of the ebooks obtained by customers in the survey were free, but I think it’s a perception problem, the glass is half full, 49% paid for content and they will continue to.

Thanks to  the Resource Shelf

Worldreader: Books for All Monday, Nov 15 2010 is concerned with books and literacy in the developing world. They want to get books into the hands of those who have none. Here’s the twist they are using e-readers, specifically the Kindle. They have completed two trial studies and are now engaged in a year long iREAD project in Ghana. You can read their research content note here. There are a number of videos and news reports available on the Worldreader website. I found this one on the challenges they face interesting:

But this is an amazing sight:

Thanks to the Resource Shelf

The Diary of Samuel Pepys Wednesday, Jun 30 2010 

The re-creation of The Diary of Samuel Pepys in blog format is an example of the wonderment of technology.  A page a day is posted and annotated. If you are unfamiliar with the work, it is the diary of a famous 17th century Londoner, Samuel Pepys.

The above site is run by Phil Gyford and it includes embedded  maps, links to articles, photographs, an encyclopedia, a discussion group and Twitter updates! The text itself is taken from the Project Gutenberg copy. They have been posting daily entries since 2003. The diary begins in January 1660, which makes 2010 the 350th anniversary. An event indeed. What would Mr. Pepys say if he could see what has become of his diary?

The Athenaeum has a 19th century copy of the diary in our Special Collections. Thanks John.

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