Lagniappe

“Lagniappe is a Cajun French word that means “something extra.”  In the old days when you bought groceries at a rural south Louisiana store the grocer might throw in something free like a candy bar or some inexpensive cookies as a thank you.  When my wife bought a tablecloth in France a few years ago, the clerk gave her a lavender potpourri.  I mentioned the word lagniappe, and found that the clerk had never heard of it.

So, lagniappe is a little something extra I’m posting to thank you for following my blog each month.

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The Wall Street Journal asked 50 people what they read in 2012, and got a very interesting list from a very diverse group of people including Tom Brokaw, Jeb Bush, Rahm Emanuel, Tony La Russa, and Jim Webb.

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The Goodreads Choice Awards are the only book awards decided by the readers.  The winners for 2012 in 20 different categories have been announced.  If you go to a particular category such as fiction and click on the word “fiction” above the winning book, you will get a list of all nominated books in that category and the number of votes each received.

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Through my local library I now have access to dozens of magazines online.  You view the magazines just as you would if you were holding them in your hands – advertisements and all.  My library subscribes to Zinio, a digital magazine service that makes magazines including Audubon, Backpacker, Consumer Reports, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Field and Stream, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, and The Economist available at no charge – no charge to me, that is.  I don’t know how much the library pays, but the service is awesome.  Check with your local library to see if it offers Zinio to its patrons.  You will love it.

Here is an article about two new services – Zinio and Recorded Books.

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There is a popular book series that includes 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.  If you like books like that you will enjoy the homepage for the series.  Once there you can choose a title in the series, and then see a list of all items in that book.  If you click around, you can see as many as 100 of the 1001 entries at a time, and get some information on each entry.  They have branched out a bit so that there are now three books in the series that are not “Before You Die” titles.  The three are 1001 Days That Shaped the World, 1001 Inventions That Changed the World, and 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

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In an effort to sell even more copies of Stieg Larsson’s books (over 14 million sold to date) Knopf has now produced a boxed set that contains Larsson’s three novels, and an 85 page book, On Stieg Larsson, that gives a lot of background information about him.   A recent New Yorker magazine article gives us a sample of the background information that On Stieg Larsson contains.  We learn about his early life, his hatred of extremist and racist groups, his books and the movies made from them, his rumored fourth book and much more.  For instance, you may know that he died from a heart attack after walking up seven flights of stairs to his office, but did you know that he only walked up the stairs because the elevator was broken?  If the elevator had worked he would probably still be alive and writing!  Also, some people claim that he was a lousy novelist.  They believe that his companion of 30 years, Eva Gabrielsson (who is both an architect and a writer), must have done a lot of editing on his manuscripts.  Yet she got no credit for whatever she did, and his entire estate went to his father and brother because Larsson and Gabrielsson were not legally married.  All of this sounds like the intricate plot of a novel, doesn’t it?

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The next edition of the live author interview program In-Depth on Book TV (C-SPAN2) will air Sunday, February 3rd from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. CST.  The featured author will be Randall Robinson.  He is a law professor at Penn State Law School, the creator, co-producer, and host of the public television human rights series World on Trial, and the author of numerous books including The Debt, The Reckoning, Quitting America, Defending the Spirit, An Unbroken Agony, and Makeda.  He was an opponent of apartheid in South Africa, and an advocate for Haitian immigrants and former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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If you are familiar with The Great Courses, you must be familiar with Professor J. Rufus Fears.  He has presented some of the best courses on history, literature and historical figures that you will ever find, and his presentation style is unique.  He died on October 6, 2012 in Enid, Oklahoma.  His obituary was printed in the Enid News.  He will be missed by everyone who loves those few truly charismatic teachers who come along only once in a great while.  Well done, Dr. Fears!  Well done!

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