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April 13, 2010

iPhones are helping dyslexics read

My iPhone has revolutionised my reading | Education | The Guardian The smaller screen aids their focus.
I was hopeless at school, messy and terrible at spelling. And although the term dyslexia was not something I came across until much later in life, when I did I understood immediately that I had a number of its symptoms. My writing often had a jumbled logic. The advent of computers, of course, brought spell-checkers, but even so my word blindness can carry such conviction that I sometimes find myself staring incredulously at the red line underneath words, before finally realising that "during" does not begin with a "J". I'm reasonably well read but I read slowly; books have always been a struggle. I read one sentence, which sparks a thought, maybe causing my eyes to flicker, and I lose my place. Recently, at the age of 57, I got an iPhone. Like many, I spent the first few hours loading up apps, including a Classics book app. Some weeks later, while mending a client's computer, waiting for the blue line to progress slowly across the screen, I began reading. The first thing I noticed was that, while familiar with many of the books on the app, having seen a film version or been read them as a child, I had not myself read a single one. Books which would have been part of many a youthful literary diet had passed me by. Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer – I hadn't read any of them (but I have now). The first title I selected was The Count of Monte Cristo. I raced through this on my iPhone in just over a week, my wife asking why I was continually playing with my iPhone. When I'd finished I enjoyed the story so much that I went to buy a copy for a friend. In the bookshop I was amazed. It was more than 1,000 pages! Had I been presented with the book in this form I would never have read it. It would have been too much like climbing a mountain.

April 12, 2010

A new literary journal devoted to publishing the unpublishable

about | the incongruous quarterly
The Incongruous Quarterly is an online literary magazine devoted to publishing unpublishable things. “Unpublishable” is a scary word. Some people think it means “unreadable.” We don’t. Unpublishable writing can be too long or too short. It can be too weird or too conventional. It can defy genres or description. It may have been rejected by other magazines, websites or publishers. It generally receives low grades and strange looks. It may be confusing. It may be something we haven’t thought of yet. It’s never just one thing, and it’s usually pretty hard to describe. But it’s always worth reading. Each issue has two guest editors – one for fiction and one for poetry. Guest editors are extremely kind and talented individuals who pick the themes, set the tone for each issue and help select the pieces we publish. Check back soon or subscribe to our newsletter for a list of guest editors the Quarterly will feature in future issues.

Green Apple books donates all the money from Palin's autobiography to save wolves

The Green Apple Core: Sarah Palin and Green Apple team up to save the wolves!
When Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue, came out back in November, we at Green Apple thought it would be nice to put the proceeds to good use. So we decided to donate 100% of the profits of the book to The Alaska Wildlife Alliance, an organization that works to prevent aerial hunting of Alaska's wolves, among other good causes. It also worked out to be a pretty good publicity stunt (see here and here and here and here). In the end, we sold 12 copies. Several people who bought the book from us told us that they were buying it as a gift, but that they were glad to be able to buy it from a place where the money would do some good. One customer even wanted to buy the book and not take it with them- we just told her to make a donation directly! So a big thank you to Green Apple customers who bought the book from us. Today we cut a check to The Alaska Wildlife Alliance for $139.15, and maybe there will be one more wolf roaming Alaska than there otherwise would have been.

March 24, 2010

Recommended Reading: Explorers of the New Century by Magnus Mills

It's a little hard to talk about this slim...