“This is the first time I am writing about Tiananmen Square. I am telling my story now because 20 years later — the anniversary is June 4 — two facts have become more apparent. The first is that the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests amounted to a one-time release of the Chinese people’s political passions, later replaced by a zeal for making money. The second is that after the summer of 1989 the incident vanished from the Chinese news media. As a result, few young Chinese know anything about it.”—20 Years after Tiananmen Square
“Time wanted to print a magazine just for me! First, I had to choose several popular Time publications and answer a few odd questions about my interests. (“Which do you crave more—sushi, or pizza?”) Then, every two weeks, I would get an issue, curated just for me, filled with articles from different magazines. The process seemed hopelessly anachronistic, like if the horse-and-buggy industry decided to compete with cars by letting me pick my buggy driver. Doesn’t Time know that I already have a way to get a magazine tailored to my interests? The Web isn’t just faster and cheaper than print; it also doesn’t need to know what I ate for dinner in order to let me read exactly what I want to at any time.”—Get Mine
“A few readers e-mailed me after Barkley commented that Melo was the best “pure” scorer in the NBA (wondering what that meant), and my answer is this: It means Melo gets his points easier than anyone else does. There are six ways to score in a basketball game: Make 3-pointers, post up, beat guys off the dribble, score in transition, score in traffic and get to the line. He can do all six without breaking a sweat. That’s what makes him special. But he figured out this season that he doesn’t have to score 30-plus every game for his team to win; he can help them just as much with rebounding and defense. I don’t think he cares about scoring titles. That is a good thing.”—Bill Simmons’ Playoff Mailbag
“For YA readers (mainly girls) who want something enjoyable to read and like stories about fame (or just a lifestyle that’s different from their own). However, if you don’t always like fame-related books, don’t toss this one aside just yet. You might enjoy it.”—Ten Cent Notes review of Exclusively Chloe
“Specialty coffees are very popular these days, attracting millions of consumers, every single one of whom is standing in line ahead of me whenever I go to the coffee place at the airport to grab a quick cup on my way to catch a plane. These consumers are always ordering mutant beverages with names like “mocha-almond-honey-vinaigrette lattespressacino,” beverages that must be made one at a time via a lengthy and complex process involving approximately one coffee bean, three quarts of dairy products and what appears to be a small nuclear reactor.”—Decaf Poopacino
“You’re about twenty-five years old, and you’re no more than, shall we say, intermittently employed, so you spend a great deal of time talking with friends about trivial things or about love affairs that ended or never quite happened; and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you fall into bed, or almost fall into bed and just enjoy the flirtation, with someone in the group. This chatty sitting around, with sex occasionally added, is not the sole subject of “mumblecore,” a recent genre of micro-budget independent movies, but it’s a dominant one. Mumblecore movies are made by buddies, casual and serious lovers, and networks of friends, and they’re about college-educated men and women who aren’t driven by ideas or by passions or even by a desire to make their way in the world. Neither rebels nor bohemians, they remain stuck in a limbo of semi-genteel, moderately hip poverty, though some of the films end with a lurch into the working world. The actors (almost always nonprofessionals) rarely say what they mean; a lot of the time, they don’t know what they mean. The movies tell stories but they’re also a kind of lyrical documentary of American stasis and inarticulateness.”—Youthquake: Mumblecore movies
“Once Mischel began analyzing the results, he noticed that low delayers, the children who rang the bell quickly, seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home. They got lower S.A.T. scores. They struggled in stressful situations, often had trouble paying attention, and found it difficult to maintain friendships. The child who could wait fifteen minutes had an S.A.T. score that was, on average, two hundred and ten points higher than that of the kid who could wait only thirty seconds.”—Don’t! The secret of self-control
Recommending movies that customers will enjoy is a complex business. The easy part is gathering the data, which Netflix now accumulates at the rate of some 2 million ratings a day. Much tougher is to find patterns in the data that tell the company which movie a customer would enjoy, if only the person would watch it.
Netflix developed Cinematch to tackle this job using a well-known prediction technique (described below), which it designed to handle the billion or so ratings it had already logged. However, while incorporating so many ratings added to accuracy, it also took a lot of work just to keep up with the increasing scale, let alone to test alternative prediction schemes.
“So, this post answers FAQs about writing and getting published. If those topics don’t interest you, I promise that this will be the most boring post ever. Well, okay, even if those topics DO interest you, chances are you’ll get bored, because I wrote SO MUCH! I apologize up front for length.”—Kristin Cashore, FAQs on Writing & Publishing
“Oh, how we whinge, we pampered parents of the West, attacked by choices, condemned to strive always to do the right thing, to get it right. We complain about money; we complain about lack of sleep; we complain about our partners, our co-workers, the newspapers, social networking sites, the government. We stamp our feet and shout at the usurers in the banking corporations and the swindlers and avaricious cheats on Wall Street, but most of all we complain about our own children.”—The Idle Parent
“When fantasy author Robert Jordan died, it fell to one of his fans to finish Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series. Brandon Sanderson explains why he split the last novel into three — the first of which, The Gathering Storm, will be released this November.”—The end of the Wheel of Time
Characters. How real are they? Are they likable? Are they, even more importantly, relatable?
Relationships. Are they realistic, not forced?
Premise. You know. How awesome is it?
Voice. Probably one of the most highly subjective elements, but I have to include it because it’s also one of the most (in my opinion) important.
Ending. I’ve been thinking for a while that endings are so important – in a lot of cases the feeling the ending gives you is the feeling you associate with the entire book, so I’m giving them their own category.
Setting. Setting is defined as “time and place,” and I’m taking a page from Donald Maass with this one. I identify strongly with settings in books – whether the setting is a particular region, a school, a culture, a family, a time – any or all of the above. I love seeing it incorporated into the story, the characters, and the atmosphere of the book.
Theme. Ah, another page from Mr. Maass. Themes are often overlooked in our reviews, but I’m consistently amazed by how often and how well authors tackle hugely universal themes in specific, personal stories.
Recommendability. Basically: how willing am I to recommend this to someone else? Do you NEED to read it or should you steer clear? This is the objective/subjective (gawd I make no sense right now) part of the thing.
Fangirly. How crazy am I about the book? As in: how much do I LOVE this book?
When I was a kid, only a handful of other kids in my school looked like me. And, growing up in the Midwest, the numbers never rose much higher. So I was just used to going to the movies or watching TV and seeing no one who looked like me staring back. That was just how things were. Then, while still in gradeschool, “The Karate Kid, Part II” came out. I make no apologies for the rampant stereotypes the film perpetuated. The concept of honor. The Far East exoticism. That all Asians know karate. That we would ever condone the use of cheesy Peter Cetera music. But I didn’t care about any of that. I cared that Tamlyn Tomita kind of looked like me. And there she was with her amazing hair and her almond eyes playing Ralph Macchio’s love interest Kumiko for everyone to see.
“Just the other day I had a very interesting conversation about the dating/marriage scene in China, but as I said then, I don’t even know how to blog about the subject. It’s complicated. It’s probably controversial. And I’ll likely be talking about it, in small bits and pieces, over the next several weeks. Because it’s also fascinating. I mean, I write romance novels, right? I do have some interest in the topic of interpersonal relationships and how culture affects that sort of thing.”—On being single in China…
Perhaps for the first time ever, the White House jammed and slammed last night.
Poets and playwrights, actors and musicians packed the ornate East Room, delivering cool jazz and glorious spoken-word poetry, sprinkling a bit of hip-hop and a bit of the heroic couplet. And through it all, the president and the first lady watched — and applauded.
"We’re here to celebrate the power of words," President Obama said. Words "help us appreciate beauty and also understand pain. They inspire us to action." He introduced the first lady as his poet.
A five-eyed monster under the bed isn’t what worries most kids. Experts say young people fear a lot of what’s in the news — from kidnappings to murders to salmonella.
It’s good for teens to fear the negative consequences of risky behavior, one expert says.
A study on more than 1,000 children and adolescents in grades 2 through 12 found that some of the 20 most common fears include “terrorist attacks,” “having to fight in a war,” “drive-by shootings,” “tornadoes/hurricanes” and “drowning/swimming in deep water,” based on self-reports of how scary each of 98 events or concepts seems. The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Counseling and Development.
“I had no idea a female intellectual über-capitalist anarchist genius writer preceded Ayn Rand. Most people do not know this. “For all the fervor that Rand inspires, little notice is paid to the woman who most inspired her”: Isabel Paterson, novelist and literary critic who believed in the old Republic. Cox provides a curious picture of Rand, who “sat at Paterson’s feet, learning about economics, politics, and American history.”—I Openly Love Ayn Rand
“I really don’t see why a lot of guys get “yellow fever” and start wanting to date Asian women. Yeah, our culture is exotic, but I’ve always thought that Asian girls really aren’t that exciting. For the most part (there are exceptions), the Asian girls I know are pretty dull and boring. Sure, we get along fine, and it’s way easier for me to make friends with Asians than anyone else (I guess it’s the similarities we have growing up). But after all growing up with them, I feel kind of bored when I’m near them.”—Asian girls are boring
Exclusively Chloe was a wonderful story. I was unsure of it for the first half of the book, I was really into it for the next fourth, and I was very pleased with the ending.
Chloe was an interesting character. It seemed as if she wasn’t really affected by all the money and fame. I don’t think that most people would react so calmly, even if they were that kind and as “involved” in the situation as she was.
I don’t think that the book took enough time in the new school. There was a lot of pre-make-under. There wasn’t enough new school time to really get used to it. The ending was filled with a lot of action in a very little amount of time.
Ultimately, I don’t think the pacing wasn’t quite right, but overall I really enjoyed the book. It was interesting and a great idea that I haven’t read before. I recommend this book!
All [Ursula K. Le Guin’s] books of this period have powerful images that suggest her importance to the environmental movement: a forest world, a harsh desert moon, flooded cities, island planets.
Her breakthrough novel was “A Wizard of Earthsea,” the coming-of-age tale of a young sorcerer who possesses great power but has also, through reckless pride, done damage to the world. After it came two undisputed SF masterpieces: “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “The Dispossessed.”
Le Guin started writing the former as a book about a planet caught in an ice age. It evolved into the tale of a race with no fixed gender: Every month, people go through a process in which they take on masculine or feminine characteristics.
This world is fully imagined, its texture coming from myths and folk tales wrapped around the narrative.
Small floater, you stay above the fray,
a wink at nothing’s nod, a raised brow
watching p’s and q’s, a selfless mote
between I and m, a little horn of plenty
spilling plurals, disdaining the bottom line.
Unlike your twin relatives—groupies of wit
and wisdom, hangers on in the smallest talk—
you work alone, dark of a crescent moon.
Laboring in obscurity, you never ask why,
never exclaim, never tell anyone where to go.
Caught up between extremes, you are both
a turning away and a stepping forth,
a loss and an addition. You are the urge
to possess everything, and the sure sign
that something is missing.
And I will also say that I don’t believe that big trade publishers don’t respect midlist authors. If you go through any new catalog from a large trade publisher, what you’ll see primarily IS midlist. There will be a lead and a sub-lead title, and then a lot of midlist. Because most of the backlist gets built by nurturing midlist writers. Sure, some writers get cut loose because they stop selling completely. And that’s a business decision. But look at the backlist catalog of any large publisher and you’ll see a slew of midlist authors who never really make it big, but sell decently enough every year that they stay in print.
I think that publishers have always had to look toward the bottom line and bestsellers pay the bills. Look, this is an industry with a notoriously low profit-margin. It’s a business and a business exists to make a profit. Thus, bestsellers are necessary. And the truth is…bestsellers can build reading community just as much as any other book.
“David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful—in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.”—-Malcolm Gladwell, “How David Beats Goliath”
“Placing women — especially celebrities — under the microscope is certainly not new. Neither is the fact that women can be mean to each other. What’s different now is how new media — blogs, social networks and YouTube — have encouraged and escalated public participation. Where it might once have been considered déclassé to remark on someone’s appearance, at least publicly, today it’s done with the same ease as sending a text message.”—The Rise of Bodysnarking