Rankin and Higgins-Clark offers

About to throw into the recycling bin the usual vast quantity of marketing material that accompanies the Saturday paper and The Week, my eye was caught by a flyer from The Book People. I have long been a fan of their excellent children’s books arm, The Red House, so I flicked through. And I’m glad I did, as they are selling a set of 10 of Ian Rankin’s superb Rebus books for £9.99. That’s a pound each!

Titles included are: Strip Jack, Dead Souls, Knots & Crosses, Mortal Causes, The Hanging Garden, Hide & Seek, Let It Bleed, Tooth & Nail ,Black & Blue and The Black Book.

Details of the Ian Rankin offer are here.

Looking round the site a bit, I found another collection of 10 books for £9.99, this time by Mary Higgins Clark. I think MHC is a greatly under-rated crime fiction novelist (under-rated by the critics, that is, she sells very well). True, one should avoid her comedies, but her crime novels are so readable that you just can’t do anything once you have started one until you’ve finished. The plots always involve a heroine who is an independent, resourceful woman, usually coping with some adversity (eg widowhood); sometimes the central character is a mother, sometimes not, sometimes the plot centres on the main character’s profession, other times it is straight suspense. I adore them. I would freely admit that MHC has become somewhat formulaic in later novels, but a formulaic MHC is a lot more readable than many other crime fiction books.

Details of the Mary Higgins Clark offer are here. The books included in the deal are: The Cradle Will Fall,  Before I Say Goodbye, A Cry In The Night, Stillwatch, Daddy’s Little Girl, Remember Me, On The Street Where You Live, Where Are The Children?, Second Time Around and Night-Time Is My Time. (No "comedies" in that lot.)

If you haven’t read either Rankin or Higgins Clark, I recommend that you snap up these incredible bargains as soon as you can. I don’t know what the international shipping rates are, but worth checking out at the prices they are charging for the books, I’d think.

The Book People website.

The Red House website (children’s books).

What the doctor (and librarian) ordered?

I’m trying again on a post I actually wrote and even spell-checked a couple of days ago before some Internet glitch caused or necessitated a shutdown, reboot and hence loss. It’s hard to dredge up the enthusiasm to do it all again as it is never as good the second time. But oh well, here goes.

On a day when the headline news in all the papers is that Google fares pretty well as a medical diagnostician, getting the disease right between 50 and 60 per cent of the time, Meredith Farkas of Information Wants to be Free sounds a note of caution. In a post slightly confusingly entitled "Whatever you do, don’t use Google", librarian and "Queen of the wikis" Meredith provides a guide for how to find reliable research sources, and gives some extremely useful links. I highly recommend reading Meredith’s post if you are someone who does Internet research, because her advice is very sensible and her collection of freely available recommended sites is a great resource in itself. The reason I write that the title of her post is slightly misleading is because she is not actually saying "don’t use Google" , rather:

"I get very nervous when I hear professors and librarians telling students not to use the Web when they do research — though it usually comes out in the form of “don’t use Google to do your research!” Sigh. There are so many incredible resources on the Web in so many different subjects… we need to make it easier for patrons to find the best ones out there rather than making them afraid of anything they find on the Web."

This is echoed in the medical diagnosis story — a report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that Google can be incredibly helpful in diagnosing or narrowing down medical conditions via typing in the symptoms. But nobody — newspaper headline-writers excepted — The Times’s, for example, shouted: "Baffled GPs urged to try Google" — is suggesting that Google should be used as a substitute for professional medical knowledge, but as an additional tool.

In conducting research into any topic on the Internet, Google (and Google Scholar) are extremely useful as we all know. But Google (and/or Wikipedia) should certainly not be the only type of Internet research that someone undertakes before writing an essay or reaching any hard conclusions. Meredith’s post is a very helpful collection of resource links to reliable sources that are freely available on the web.

Stubbs eat your heart out

An email I received this morning has solved the problem of what to get for that hard-to-buy-for person this Christmas:

"Greetings from Amazon.co.uk,

We’ve noticed that customers who have expressed interest in books by Darcy
May have also ordered "Horse Anatomy Coloring Book" by John Green. For this
reason, you might like to know that this book is now available.  You can
order your copy for just £3.95 by following the link below.

Horse Anatomy Coloring Book
John Green

Price: £3.95

To learn more about Horse Anatomy Coloring Book, please visit the following
page at Amazon.co.uk:

I checked out why they thought I’d be interested in this book, and it turns out that Darcy May is the author of "glitter fairies sticker book" which I purchased a year or two ago for someone’s stocking filler. Fairies, horse anatomy ….. yes, very similar topics.