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TED Video: The Magic of Books

In lieu of a regular review, I thought I’d share this great TED talk from Lisa Bu about the power of books and how they can help people revisit the things they thought they already knew.

“Books have given me a magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present. I know I shall never feel lonely or powerless again.” (Lisa Bu)

[Video retrieved from YouTube]

Book News, Apr. 19th

Happy Easter weekend, bookworms, for those of you who celebrate Easter. And a good Pesach to those of you who celebrate Passover. My own upbringing was a bit unconventional, so I’ve actually celebrated both Easter and Passover. As in years past, this year I’ll be with family and friends tomorrow, where we will have a hybrid Easter dinner / Passover sedar (and in doing so, probably thoroughly annoy some people, but oh well).  I hope that whatever you do this weekend, it’s as hopeful and full of possibilities as Easter is. Here’s the book news:

  •  Big news from the literary world: Donna Tartt and her best-seller, The Goldfinch recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The novel was acclaimed by critics and was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel follows a young boy who survives a bombing at an art museum, which also takes his mother’s life. In the panicked aftermath of the bomb, Theo takes a painting from the museum, which becomes an important symbol in his life. The Goldfinch was Tartt’s third novel. Pulitzer Prizes in Drama, General Nonfiction, History and Biography were also awarded.
  • Meanwhile, at the annual LA Festival of Books, the LA Times announced its winners for the 34th Annual Book Prizes. 50 writers in 10 different categories were honored for books published in 2013. Susan Straight received the lifetime achievement award, while YA kingpin John Green won the Innovator’s Award. Among the other winners were J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith for her thriller The Cuckoo’s Calling. The LA Times Awards are one of my favorites because of the diversity of categories (including a category just for graphic novels and comics) and because the finalists are also considered winners as well. Three cheers for everyone!
  • This past week also brought a lot of YA adaptation news: (1) at the MTV Movie Awards, John Green joined his younger pals to introduce the first clip from the upcoming film version of The Fault in Our Stars. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster. (2) Proving that MTV is the place to go these days for all things YA-related, the former music television network premiered the first trailer for Gayle Forman’s If I Stay movie, which will star Chloe Moretz. That movie is going to make me ugly-cry. I just know it. (The book reduced me to a sobbing mess, so odds are in the tears favor.) And lastly, (3) news comes that Hollywood is being predictable and dividing Veronica Roth’s Allegient into two movies, just like they did with Twilight and The Hunger Games. Entertainment Weekly has a great opinion piece on why this doesn’t actually work for Roth’s book, and may actually be a bad idea.
  • In other adaptation news, Jamie Fraser now has a best friend. Scottish actor Steven Cree has been cast in the Outlander television series as Ian Murray, Jamie’s best friend since childhood and his current brother-in-law. The series, which will air on Starz some time this summer, will follow the events in the first book of Diana Gabaldon’s series – a series that covers time-travel, history, warfare, clan politics and more. Outlander fans, you tell me – does Cree look like the Ian Murray you imagined? He sure looks pretty to me.
  • Lastly, some fun with real estate: if you ever found yourself wishing for a home like Winterfell or the Red Keep, real estate company Movoto has created a handy infographic to help estimate just how much money you’d need to afford a place in Westeros. So, if you have a spare $750 million lying around, you too can live in splendor like the kings and queens of the Game of Thrones world. Fair warning, though: a lot of people will probably try to kill you on their path to the Iron Throne.

As always, happy reading.

Word of the Week (155)

DictionaryToday’s intro is completely unrelated to words, language or even the book our Word of the Week comes from. That’s because today is my niece’s first birthday! Best of all, she already loves to read. She’ll follow along as people read to her, point at things on the page, and even turn the pages herself (sometimes before I’m finished reading the words – but hey, I like her enthusiasm). Family is great, but family that loves to read, especially at such an early age, is fantastic indeed.

Camphoraceous (“kam-fuh-ray-shuhs”)

Adjective; from Dictionary.com:

1. Of or related to any substance having medicinal or aromatic characteristics similar to those of camphor

When she was there, she slept in her old bed. She rubbed camphoraceous salves onto her arms and legs, and soaked herself in the bathtub. (The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri)

Camphoraceous is the adjective form of the noun camphor, which is a chemical found in the wood of the camphor laurel tree. The name of the tree and the chemical both come from the Latinized scientific name of the tree, Cinnamomum camphora. Camphor and its other forms (including today’s adjective) also likely have roots from the Sanskrit and Malay languages, as the camphor tree is native to Asia.

Your turn, bookworms – Science is great, isn’t it? It gives us all sorts of fun words. What’s your favorite word from science? (SCIENCE!)

[Photo Credit: Google Images]