Delightful dozen

Conscious that I have only another hour or so of the weekend left to try and catch up on the blogosphere’s doings in my absence (have already "marked as read" all my unread bloglines subscriptions three times since my return), I’m going to post some links in brief — to a dozen blogs whose posts have struck some sort of chord.

Sian at Ichabod is Itchy has a practical and beautiful use for marmite jars. Drat, I must have recycled hundreds as Cathy and Malcolm are both marmitaholics. Oh well, never too late to learn.

Check out the latest reviews and updates from the consistently excellent Eurocrime. What a great blog.

Joe Wickert says yet again, and I couldn’t agree more, that "new media" (blogs et al) and regular media (newspapers et al) have to coexist. Joe says: "If the new media guy’s blog is doing such a nice job of covering the local scene, why doesn’t the old media guy join forces with him and list it on his paper’s website? " This is different from newspapers hosting their own blogs such as Comment is Free (Guardian) or Comment Central (Times). Until they do what Joe suggests, the blogosphere and search will just be doing it instead. Maybe that’s OK, but see Joe’s post and links for why it might not be.

Tim Coates of Good Library Blog posts about the magic of Amazon (I agree, even though their own search engine A9 is not a patch on the old one, which was powered by Google) and on the ever-forthright  Richard Charkin’s speech to the UK national librarians’ conference, as reported in Publishing News. (Richard Charkin is CEO of the publisher Macmillan.)

While still on the topic of library blogs, here’s Library Stuff on why "rss still rocks". I agree (less of the "still", please), though I would not have put it in such patronising tones as "Steve" — "because my wife can use it without caring what it is". Yes, rss is beautiful because you don’t have to know anything about it in order to use it, but less of the public "wife put-down" would have been nicer.

Hastily moving on, Amy on the Web has made her own Macdonald’s sign. You can, too.

Astronauts, anyone? Lee? Bloggers blog reports that the first "woman space tourist" is blogging about it. And, very belatedly on my part, before I left for my holiday the same blog posted about the Google upgrading of Blogger. The post summarises the new features and provides some helpful links.

On the scientific blogs, Cognitive Daily asks whether we all mean the same thing when we talk about colours.

Eva of Easternblot has interviewed five science bloggers for an article she’s written for Hypothesis Journal. You can get to the PDF from the link. I haven’t read the article yet but will do — I expect it will be good, if Eva’s blog is anything to go by. And one of the subjects is Oliver Morton, now on the staff of Nature.

And Carl Zimmer of the Loom posts about Chris Mooney’s Republican War on Science coming out in paperback, and Chris’s troubles with the Discovery Institute.

Great post here from Chris Anderson of the Long Tail (book, blog and everything) "When spreadsheets are not enough". All you want to know about analytical tools (with links) if you want to get back into it again after a break — thanks, Chris!

One blog nobody could ever keep up with is Problogger. Just a couple of the many good posts there that caught my eye: 5 ways to building a better blog and communication skills for bloggers. The latter post starts out: “To have a successful marriage you only really need two skills – communication skills and conflict resolution skills.” How can you resist the rest after that opening?

OK, that’s it for tonight.

Book bizarre

The most requested books by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are the Harry Potter series, according to the US Department of Defense (via Bibliophile Bookpen). Previously, I didn’t have a view one way or the other on these prisoners, but now I rather like them. I suppose the books are popular with the prisoners partly because they can at least be thankful they aren’t incarcerated in Azkhaban.

Kim of Reading Matters has spotted an Oscar Wilde action figure doll in London. Don’t ask…..

In the "po faced" category, Galley Cat reports that "serious literary women agree: chick-lit is just a marketing tag". What took them so long? Is it being serious or being literary that prevented them from seeing what’s been obvious to the rest of the world for about 10 years? (I won’t contemplate that their being women had anything to do with it). According to the Times, packaging anything as chick lit is how publishers try to get "people who read women’s magazines" to read books. Hence the pink Jane Austen covers, etc.

Finally, for now, though not a fan of memes, I did like John Baker’s (L. Lee Lowe has a nice set of answers to it over at Lowebrow), but here’s a great one at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. The challenge is to change one letter in each of three book titles. Sarah’s answers are "The Billing Floor", "The Mercy Seal" and "Every Secret Thong". Read her blurbs! Hope to see your own answers on your blogs — especially Frank the headline king. I’m busy pondering.

More shameless self-promotion

Frank Wilson on Books, Inq. posts about today’s book reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The interesting collection includes my  review of Henning Mankell’s book The Man Who Smiled. I like the title of the review (not mine): "Nabbing the villain is the weakest part of a strong book". Here’s a direct link to the review. Thank you very much to Frank for asking me to write it — what a truly kind and generous man.

Mankell’s book is published in the USA by The New Press: I hadn’t previously heard of this outfit before receiving the book, but having checked out its website during the course of writing the review, I recommend a look. Here is what it says about itself:

"Established in 1990 as a major alternative to the large, commercial publishers, The New Press is a not-for-profit publishing house operated editorially in the public interest. It is committed to publishing in innovative ways works of educational, cultural, and community value that, despite their intellectual merits, may be deemed insufficiently profitable by commercial publishers. Like the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio as they were originally conceived, The New Press aims to provide ideas and viewpoints under-represented in the mass media."