The 10 Greatest Books Ever, According to 125 Top Authors (Download Them for Free)

Earlier this month, we highlighted The 10 Greatest Films of All Time According to 846 Film Critics. Featuring films by Hitchcock, Kubrick, Welles and Fellini, this master list came together in 2012 when Sight & Sound (the cinema journal of the British Film Institute) asked contemporary critics and directors to name their 12 favorite movies. Nearly 900 cinephiles responded, and, from those submissions, a meta list of 10 was culled.

So how about something similar for books, you ask? For that, we can look back to 2007, when J. Peder Zane, the book editor of the Raleigh News & Observer, asked 125 top writers to name their favorite books — writers like Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Michael Chabon. The lists were all compiled in an edited collection, The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, and then prefaced by one uber list, “The Top Top Ten.”

Read the full article at Open Culture…

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Turnitin Webcast

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So I’m not totally certain whether or not just anyone can actually sign up for this, but it’s probably worth a try…

Building a Community Around Integrity: Academics and the Ethical Elephant in the Room

Whether it’s Wikipedia or crowd-sourced answer websites, it is by now no surprise that students are taking advantage of the immediacy of information online. More than just that though, they are incorporating the information they find in their papers in ways that are short of appropriate (also not surprisingly). How do we start to tackle this ethical elephant? What are some strategies for engaging students in building a community around the ethical use of information they find online?

Join us for an engaging session with Gill Rowell, who will share tips and best practices for enlisting students in building a community of integrity.

View all Turnitin webcasts…  and register…

Banned Books Week



(Poster courtesy of Random House)

It’s Banned Books Week.  Apologies, I have not had time, and am not going to have time, to put up my usual display celebrating banned books.

But, if you wish to engage in a conversation with me, please feel free.  Drop by, or simply check out a banned book.

Visit the American Library Asociation (ALA) website dedicated to the issue:  Banned Books Week.

(I make no apologies for duplication by way of my cross-posting.  This is really important!!)

Giller Anniversary Contest @ CBC Books

Thirteen Canadian authors are on the longlist for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize. We want you to weigh in on which of these writers should make it to the shortlist. Click on the form below to enter your five picks for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2013 shortlist. You will be entered in a random draw for great prizes, including a weekly prize of a $50 Chapters-Indigo gift card and a grand prize of a set of all 13 longlisted books! You have until Tuesday, October 8, at 11:59 p.m. ET to select your shortlist. contest rules apply.

Go to CBC Books to fill our your selections.

Is opening the Man Booker Prize to U.S. writers a bad idea?

Earlier this week, the trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation announced that in the future, English-language writers from around the world will be eligible for the prestigious literary award. Previously the Man Booker was open only to authors from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth countries. Not everyone is applauding the rule change. Writer and critic Philip Hensher who has been shortlisted for the prize (for his 2008 book The Northern Clemency) and has also served as a judge in the competition, is among those who think it’s a bad idea.

Listen to Philip Hensher on Q, Sept 20th, 2013.

Robert Heinlein on the Year 2000

Two giants of 20th century science fiction: Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov… Like every young sci-fi geek, I read them both assiduously, got lost in their dizzying universes that stretched across novels and significant teenage milestones. Even as an awkward kid, I could clearly identify an essential difference in tone between their forecasts of the future. Heinlein, the Navy man forcibly retired from service by tuberculosis, had the darker vision, in which the brute force of mass militarism continued to thrive and heroic men of action carried the day. Asimov, the practicing scientist—whose “Norby” series of kids books might be the cutest introduction to sci-fi ever written by an American—favored a future that, if still quite dangerous, was managed by robots and their creators, the technocrats.

Read more at Open Culture…

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Letters of Note

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(Screenshot from Letters of Note website)


Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated as often as possible; usually each weekday.

George Orwell’s 1984: Free eBook, Audio Book & Study Resources

Written between 1947 and 1948 on the Scottish island of Jura while its author recovered from tuberculosis, George Orwell’s 1984 is perhaps the most persuasive and terrifying dystopian novel ever published. It’s also perhaps the most culturally relevant, contributing terms like doublethink, thoughtcrime, historical revisionism, memory hole, and Big Brother to our everyday language as signifiers for the behaviors of totalitarian states. In the novel, the world has been carved up by three such perpetually warring superstates. Ruled by the very Stalinist-like ideology of “Ingsoc” (English Socialism), the state of Oceana is home to everyman protagonist Winston Smith, who briefly battles to assert his individual will against the inexorable mechanism of total state control.

Read more at Open Culture…

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Allen Ginsberg Gets Heckled

Gregory Corso was kind of the Joey Bishop of the Beats—a member of the inner circle of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg, but never quite achieving their degree of notoriety. Nevertheless, he outlived them all, and he was also arguably the biggest comedian in a group of inveterate pranksters (see him crack up an interviewer in this clip). A streetwise Greenwich Village kid, Corso learned his craft on the streets of Little Italy, and briefly in a psych ward and a prison cell, as much as in Harvard classes and the San Francisco poetry scene, where he relocated along with Allen Ginsberg in 1955, arriving just one day too late for Ginsberg’s historic Six Gallery reading of “Howl.”

Read more, and watch the video, at Open Culture.

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See F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Handwritten Manuscripts for The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise & More

We rarely think about where F. Scott Fitzgerald’s hard-living, often tragic generation of American writers went to school. This year, however, Fitzgerald’s own almost-alma mater merits a note: the novelist began his studies at Princeton exactly one hundred years ago this fall, beginning classes on his birthday, September 24, 1913. To mark the occasion, that Ivy League institution has digitized their The Great Gatsby-writing alumnus’ manuscripts.

Read more at Open Culture.

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