Monthly Archives: April 2014

Where Do Babies Come From?

29 April 2014

Top 10 Funniest Books According to the British

29 April 2014


The British sense of humour is famous around the world but what kind of literature makes us laugh? It seems the ideal amusing read would be a mind-boggling combination of PG Wodehouse’s sublime wit, a liberal dose of Joseph Heller’s black humour and a slice of Douglas Adams’ galactic comedy. recently asked 555 of its customers to name the funniest book they had ever read. Right Ho, Jeeves,Catch-22 and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were the top three.

. . . .

 Just one female author, Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones and big pants infamy, is on the top 10. Most of the main protagonists in the top 10 are also male. Three Men in a Boat still makes readers smile 120 years after publication. Three novels in the 1970s are there as well as a pair of Wodehouse books from the 1930s.

. . . .

 The alcohol-fuelled speeches made in Right Ho, Jeeves and Lucky Jim were identified as passages capable of raising more than just a smile. Wodehouse’s story features a drunken Gussie Fink-Nottle speaking at Market Snodsbury Grammar School’s prize-giving event. The Kingsley Amis novel climaxes with intoxicated Dixon’s ‘Merrie England’ lecture where he mocks his pompous boss. Clearly, there is delight in hearing inappropriate comments at the most inappropriate time – shades of the formula that has helped turn The Office‘s David Brent into comedy’s biggest name in recent times.

Link to the rest at

Harper Lee okays ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ e-book on her 88th birthday

29 April 2014

From engadget:

An important piece of American literary history, and one of the few missing selections in digital libraries, is finally becoming an e-book. On her 88th birthday, Harper Lee agreed to let her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird to be released in electronic form.

Link to the rest at engadget and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Recycling Your Royalties

29 April 2014

Amazon has just announced its Wearable Technology Store, another place where you can recycle your royalties.

Users are Reporting the New Comixology App is Missing Old Purchases

29 April 2014

From The Digital Reader:

Amazon ignited a storm of protest when they removed the in-app store from the Comixology app on Saturday, but the story isn’t over yet.

Numerous comic fans have reported on Twitter that the new Comixology app has lost many of their existing purchases. In addition to no longer being able to buy content inside the app, they are no longer able to even read some of the content they already bought!

. . . .

 If you have not checked your Comixology app yet, I suggest you do so. Based on the pattern of Comixology’s responses on Twitter I am not sure that they are aware of a systemic problem, and I don’t think they will notice until more people complain.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to SFR for the tip.

PG says this sounds like a misstep by Amazon.

UPDATE: PG received the following email from a Comixology person:

“Since the launch of the new Comics iOS reader application, there have been reports from a small group of customers who have purchased books from comiXolology that are seemingly not showing up in their account. This problem is occurring because customers have books tied to more than one comiXology account, and/or a separate iTunes account, and/or did not restore their purchases. If you have experienced any of these issues, please contact and we will be happy to fix the problem.”

Musical Drones

29 April 2014

Nothing to do with books, but interesting.


Kindle on Sale

28 April 2014

If you want to jump into a Kindle Wi-Fi ereader for $49, Amazon has them on sale. This is $20 off the regular price.

Amazon is pitching them for Mothers Day, but Mama PG already has one (she loves the large print), so PG will have to figure out something else.

Screens on the Subway: The Rolling Library Is Going Digital

28 April 2014

From The Millions:

At 8 a.m. on a recent Monday, my first morning back in New York City after a year and a half away, I looked up from my newspaper – a Wall Street Journal, given away for free at my Financial District hotel – and saw that I was the only rider on the R train leaving South Ferry at the base of Manhattan reading print. Every other rider on the subway car was staring at a screen.

In 2004, when I first moved to Brooklyn, the commute on the New York subways was a world of paper. In the evenings most people read books or magazines, and in the morning it was newspapers. Riders from the outermost neighborhoods read the Post and the Daily Newswhile those closer in read the Times and the Journal, fussily folding the broadsheet pages into quarters for easy reading on crowded trains.

. . . .

A decade later, like real libraries across the country, New York’s rolling library is going digital. That first morning on the R train turned out to be an extreme example, but on every train I rode during my week back in New York, screens outnumbered printed pages, sometimes by a factor of two to one. When I’ve peeked, some of those screens have been displaying news stories and magazine pages and even a few books, but far more often my fellow subway riders were watching TV shows or playing Candy Crush on their phones.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. The demise of the printed newspaper is by now very old news and it’s hard to imagine a venue where the shift from printed pages to screens makes more sense than on a crowded subway. Still, the speed and starkness of the change is a shock.

. . . .

When we talk about books, we tend to think in terms of great works of art and forget that for most people books, like newspapers and magazines, are merely a handy thing to have around for that idle moment when there isn’t something else better to do. Now, more and more often, those idle moments – on subway cars, on airplanes, in dentist’s offices – are being filled by games and movies and social media. By screens.

Link to the rest at The Millions

The strange case of the ‘time travel’ murder

28 April 2014

Maybe a writing prompt.

From the BBC:

It was a real-life mystery that could have come straight from the pages of a modern-day detective novel.

A woman had been brutally murdered in London and biological material had been found under her fingernails, possibly indicating that she might have scratched her attacker just before she died.

A sample of the material was analysed and results compared with the National DNA database and quickly came back with a positive match.

The problem was, the “hit” identified a woman who had herself been murdered – a full three weeks before the death of her alleged “victim”.

. . . .

It was 1997 and I was the national account manager for the Forensic Science Service at the time, so it was my responsibility to find out if a mistake had been made at the laboratory.

My first thought was that perhaps the second victim’s fingernail clipping had been mislabelled and had actually come from the first victim all along. As soon as I started to look at the samples, I could see this wasn’t the case.

The victim had painted her nails with a distinctive leopard skin pattern and the cuttings that had been taken bore the exact same pattern. There was no doubt that they were the correct ones.

. . . .

It was while I was examining the mortuary records that I came across a possible answer. It transpired that the body of the first murder victim had been kept in the freezer for several weeks while the police carried out their initial investigation.

It had been removed from the freezer to allow the pathologist to take additional nail clippings the day before the body of the second murder victim had arrived at the mortuary.

The following day, the same pair of scissors had been used to cut the nails of the second murder victim. Although the scissors had been cleaned between uses, I couldn’t help but wonder whether sufficient genetic material had survived the cleaning process to transfer onto the second victim’s nails and then produce a DNA profile in the subsequent analysis.

. . . .

Modern DNA analysis is now so sensitive that contamination is a major issue, with the potential to send criminal investigations spiralling off in the wrong direction.

Link to the rest at BBC and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

An explanation about the Hugo awards controversy

28 April 2014

From author Larry Correia at Monster Hunter International:

A few days ago the finalists for the Hugo were announced. The Hugos are the big prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy. One of my books was a finalist for best novel. A bunch of other works that I recommended showed up in other categories. Because I’m an outspoken right winger, hilarity ensued.

Many of you have never heard of me before, but the internet was quick to explain to you what a horrible person I am. There have been allegations of fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts. The character assassination has started as well, and my detractors posted and tweeted and told anyone who would listen about how I was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.

. . . .

Of course, none of this stuff is true, but it was expected. I knew if I succeeded I would be attacked. To the perpetually outraged the truth doesn’t matter, just feelings and narrative. I’d actually like to thank all of those people making stuff up about me because they are proving the point I was trying to make to begin with.

Allow me to explain why the presence of my slate on the Hugo nominations is so controversial. This is complicated and your time is valuable, so short explanation first, longer explanation if you care after.

Short Version:

  1. I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.
  2. So I got some right wingers on the ballot.
  3. The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.
  4. Point made.

I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut. Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has become far more important than entertainment or quality. I was attacked for saying this. I knew that when an admitted right winger got in they would be maligned and politicked against, not for the quality of their art but rather for their unacceptable beliefs.

. . . .

We always hear about how fandom is supposed to be inclusive… Only apparently my fans are the wrong kind of fans. They don’t care about the liberal cause of the day. They don’t care about Social Justice. They like their books entertaining rather than preachy. They probably vote incorrectly. That sort of thing.

. . . .

Bias and Motivation: In this business, most writers who are conservative, republican, libertarian, or devoutly religious have needed to keep their head down so as to not rock the boat and damage their careers. This damage comes from two directions, the publishing industry which is based in Manhattan and which is uniformly left wing, which will hurt careers out of spite, and also from the small, but extremely vocal left wing fans who swoop in to crush all dissent. I like to call them the Social Justice Warriors.

If right wing authors share their opinions, they will be openly chastised and attacked by very vocal, very angry people. Any deviation from the approved narrative is met with scorn, mockery, character assassination, and because the author doesn’t want to damage his career, he will usually fall back into line and shut his mouth. Basically if you step out, they form an angry mob and attack you until you roll over and apologize for something that shouldn’t be apologized for. Once you’re apologizing for your principles, they own you. They really don’t know what to do about people like me.

Link to the rest at Monster Hunter International

PG has read some of Larry’s books and enjoyed them. If you check out Larry’s Amazon Author Page and the books listed there, you’ll discover he’s prolific and libertarian.

PG is opposed to ad hominem political attacks on authors whether those attacks originate from the right or the left.


« Previous PageNext Page »