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Readers

Wearable Book Lets Readers Feel Character Emotions Via Sensor

sensoryfictionIf you think eBooks are the latest technology in publishing, think again. Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have invented a new kind of technologically-enhanced book that readers can wear in order to physically experience the sensations that the characters are feeling.

The experiment has been named Sensory Fiction. Essentially, the book is outfitted with sensors. Readers can strap it on through a vest and as they read, the emotions of the characters are expressed not only on the page, but through the sensors.

The book has LED lights, air pressure bags, vibration patterns, and a heating device to help influence the experience of the reader. Check out a video demo after the jump. Read more

Somerset Books Introduces the 50 States Reading Challenge

usaLooking for some new books to read this year? How about reading a book from every state? Somerset Books is challenging readers to do this with the 50 States Reading Challenge. The idea is to encourage the reading of American authors from all over the country.

The blog has put together a couple of rules on how it works, such as an author’s state is the state in which he or she was was born. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota.

Here is more about how it works from the Somerset Books blog: “Keep in mind that each state only counts once; Mark Twain and Jim Butcher are both from Missouri, but if you read the entire Dresden series and Tom Sawyer it only counts as one state visited (even if you detoured into Kansas in between). But this also shows the flexibility of this challenge: fans of the classics and fans of Sci-Fi/Fantasy both have options in Missouri.”

Reading Novels is Good For Your Brain: Emory University Researchers

books304As book lovers, we can all appreciate that reading a novel can help inspire and stimulate thinking, but now there is science available to actually prove it.

In a new report from Emory University, researchers revealed that reading a novel heightens the reader’s level of brain activity and these neurological changes last for at least five days after reading. Reading has an effect on muscle memory in the brain, the same way that exercise does on the body.

The Guardian has the story: “The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain. Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition – for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.”

Journalist Ann Morgan Read a Book From Every Country

annmorganBritish journalist Ann Morgan has accomplished a big goal as a reader, she read a book from every country around the world. That is 196 books from authors from Swaziland to Nicaragua.

She came to the decision after she realized that most of the books on her bookshelves were written by British and American authors. To help find titles from various places around the globe, she set up a blog called A Year of Reading the World and got many suggestions about good reads from readers and writers around the worlds.

Here is more about the project from the blog:

It wasn’t easy — according to the Society of Authors, only 3 per cent of the books published in the UK each year are translations. There are plenty of languages that have next to nothing translated into English. Then there are all the tiny tucked away places like Nauru and Tuvalu (I know, I hadn’t either), where not much is written down at all.

You can check out her reading list here. (Via The Christian Science Monitor).

Doctors Prescribe Books to Treat Depression

books304Doctors in Britain are experimenting with a new form of therapy to fight depression that involves reading books. It’s called bibliotherapy and the goal is to help people overcome their disorders by prescribing self-help books including: Overcoming Depression, Mind Over Mood, or The Feeling Good Handbook.

According to a report in The Boston Globe, this new form of therapy goes beyond doctor’s offices. In fact, some booksellers and curating reading lists for people to help them cure their depression. Check it out:

In London, a painter, a poet, and a former bookstore manager have teamed up to offer over-the-counter “bibliotherapy consultations”: after being quizzed about their literary tastes and personal problems, the worried well-heeled pay 80 pounds for a customized reading list. At the Reading Agency, a charity that developed and administers Books on Prescription, a second program called Mood-Boosting Books recommends fiction and poetry. The NHS’s public health and mental health budgets also fund nonprofits such as The Reader Organization, which gathers people who are unemployed, imprisoned, old, or just lonely to read poems and fiction aloud to one another.

Downtown Boston to Become the First Literary Cultural District in the U.S.

27888_10151611296351031_1933499669_nThe downtown Boston area will become the first literary cultural district within the United States. The coordinators behind this initiative will work on boosting tourism, taking part in literary events, and offering for families within the neighborhood.

The initiative came into fruition after a team of book-related organizations won the Adams Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This group includes the Grub Street nonprofit, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the City of Boston, the Drum and the Boston Book Festival.

Read more

World Book Night Titles Announced for 2014

lwqzpyn7y8q8dmnbh44f-292x300On April 23, 2014, thousands of bibliophiles will give away half million books in the United States to celebrate World Book Night.

Below, we’ve listed the all of the titles that will be given away. To take part in this event, follow this link to learn more details and fill out an application to be a book giver.

Shelf Awareness reports that this year’s selections “includes the first graphic novel, first university press title and first Asian-American authors. As before, one book is in English and Spanish, and two are available in large-print editions. In addition, the 35 titles were an increase from the previous years’ 30, allowing more authors and publishers to be represented.”
Read more

How Technology Empowers Blind Readers

Legal scholar and activist Ron McCallum gave a TED Talk called “How Technology Allowed Me to Read.” Born blind, McCallum is “a voracious reader.”

We’ve embedded the video above–how has technology empowered you as a reader?  McCallum explored how reading technologies helped him become a successful lawyer, an academic researcher and a lifelong reader. Here’s more from the TED blog:

In this talk, McCallum takes us on a tour of the people and technology that allowed him to read — from those who transcribed into braille to the maker of the first blind computer with speech synthesizer, to the inventor behind the Kurzweil reader that scan books and reads them aloud. It’s a fascinating look at something sighted people tend to take for granted.

47% of Adults Engaged in Literary Reading Last Year

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The National Endowment for the Arts released its annual Public Participation in the Arts report, revealing that 54 percent of adults read books that were not required for work or school last year. Are you surprised?

Beyond that figure, 45 percent of adults read novels or short stories. As you can see by the chart embedded above, electronic media was the dominant medium for art consumption. Check it out:

Adults are included in this category if they did at least one of the following types of reading in the preceding 12 months: Books not required for work or school (54 percent of adults) Literary reading (47 percent of adults). Types of literature may have included: Novels or short stories (45 percent of adults) Poetry (7 percent) Plays (3 percent) … adults’ rates of literary reading (novels or short stories, poetry, and plays) dropped back to 2002 levels (from 50 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2012).

What Books Should You Read By Age 30?

What books should you read before turning 30?

Glo surveyed 500 people and its editors to compile a list called “30 books every woman should read by 30.” The list includes titles from fifteen different genre categories.

Some of the books that made the cut include Bossypants by Tina Fey (celebrity memoir), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (biography), and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (mystery). What titles would you add to this list? Do you think this list also applies to men?

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