Oregon 3

The PBS Newshour recently ran a story about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. I’ve heard about it for years, but have not had an opportunity to attend.  A British friend of mine – a Shakespeare fanatic – raved about it, so you might consider attending it next time you’re on the west coast.

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The Selfish Gene

In his book The Selfish Gene author Richard Dawkins writes that the mother cuckoo bird doesn’t build a nest.  Instead, she lays her eggs in other birds’ nests.  Unbelievably the other birds incubates the cuckoo eggs along with their own. However, the baby cuckoos hatch first and actually push the other eggs out.  Here is a video demonstrating exactly what Dawkins described in his book.  Note: if you’re disturbed by things like this, please skip the video.

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Murders in mystery novels are common and don’t bother people much, but murders in real life are different.  Every time I open a product that has a “safety seal” I think about the people who died in 1982 when they took Tylenol that someone had laced with cyanide.  Everybody was scared.  Nothing like that had ever happened before, and we all wondered if anything was safe. That incident caused manufacturers to come up with the array of safety seals that are everywhere today. Forget about the small inconveniences they cause and be happy that many copycat murders may have been foiled by the manufacturers’ pesky safety precautions.  Now, get back to that murder mystery you were reading.

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The reading habits of millennials are different from those of their predecessors, so the book industry has changed, too – even from the late twentieth century.  The bestseller lists are much more fluid also.  A qz article explores the monumental changes that have occurred.

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I grew up with strict rules about how you should treat books.  Well, you may want to ditch some of those rules after you read 11 Book “Rules” That Everyone Should Just Give Up On for Good from Bustle.  Rule 4 is “Read a Book All the Way Through.”  If you’ve followed my blog for a while you probably know that I like the guidance that Nancy Pearl (“America’s librarian”) follows in her own reading: Subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages of a book.  If you’re not hooked by then, set the book aside and move on to something else.  If you’re 40 years old, read 60 pages (100 – 40 = 60) and then decide if the book is worth reading all the way through.  If you’re 70 years old read only 30 pages (100 – 70 = 30) before deciding what to do.  You can always go back to the discarded books later.

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Goodbye to All That

Last summer Medium published an article by the late Senator John McCain in which he listed his all-time favorite books.  As you might expect, his list contained many books that were military in nature – both fiction and nonfiction.  Regardless, many of the books have stood the test of time and deserve your consideration.

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Each Wednesday Alex Johnson of The Independent writes about a unique library of books. They include the personal libraries of Barack Obama, David Cameron, Oscar Wilde, Art Garfunkel, David Bowie, Osama bin Laden, and Charles Darwin.  He also writes about the books that are most left behind in the Travelodge chain of hotels, books that JPMorgan recommends to its clients, what books students are told to read at top universities, the top reads on BookCrossing, and the books that British soldiers read in the trenches during World War I.  There are some fascinating lists to be perused and lots of books that will appeal to you – no matter where your reading interests lie.

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The next edition of the live author interview program In-Depth on Book TV (C-SPAN2) will air Sunday, August 2, 2018 from noon to 3:00 p.m. EDT.  The featured guest will be novelist Cory Doctorow.  His books include Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother, and Walkaway.

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