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Readers

Rich People Read More Than Poor People in the UK: Booktrust

booktrustSocioeconomic background has a lot to do with how much people read in the UK. According to a new report from Booktrust, which includes survey results from 1,500 adults, the more money you have, the more likely you are to read and vice versa.

Twenty-seven percent of adults from the poorest socio-economic backgrounds revealed that never read books, while only 13 percent of the richest people surveyed admitted to never reading books. In addition, the report found that 62 percent of richest respondents admitted reading daily or weekly, whereas 42 percent of the poorest respondents read that often. Not surprisingly, richer people own twice as many books as poorer people.

Despite discrepancies in access to books and the time spent reading, most of the interview subjects agreed that reading improves their lives. According to the report, 76 percent of survey respondents said that reading improves their lives. Broken down into socioeconomic background, 83 percent of rich adults and  72 percent of poor adults admitted this. (Via The BBC).

The Most Popular Books by State

usaeBook subscription company Scribd has tabulated the most popular book by state throughout the 50 states in the US.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is the top choice among readers in Illinois; The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee by Sarah Silverman reigned in New York; Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was the top choice among readers in Texas; and The Family Vault by Charlotte MacLeod led the list for Vermont. The list takes into account, not just book sales or downloads, but the actual reading habits of its 80 million monthly readers.

Parade has the entire list at this linkThe Washington Post has a great map to help you visualize who likes which books a

Happy World Book Day!

worldbookdayToday is World Book Day, a one-day event that takes place in the UK and Ireland in which kids come together to read. The reading celebration is currently in its 16th year.

“The main aim is to encourage children to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own,” explains the event’s website. “This may sound like a very simple idea, but unfortunately, many children do not have access to books in their homes.”

As part of the festivities, there are many reading activities at bookstores and schools around the UK and Ireland today. There is also a sale on books on the World Book Day site, in which many books are being offered for £1. The site breaks out books by age, making it easier to shop for children at different levels.

Bill Gates’ Reading List

billgatesEver wish you could read like Bill Gates? The entrepreneur has created a list of books on his virtual bookshelf which includes more than 130 books that he has read recently or is currently reading.

Books on the list include: Why Does College Cost So Much? by Robert Archibald and David Feldman; Interventions by Kofi Annan; The Cost of Hope by Amanda Bennett; World on the Edge by Lester R. Brown; and How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place by Bjorn Lomborg.

On his website, Gates includes images of these books along with the book’s description and sometimes his personal review. He also shares the status of if he has read the book yet. Readers can comment on his reviews, as well as on each of the book’s in the book’s listing page.

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.

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