Category: Internet (page 1 of 3)

Some Girls Do

Some Girls DoThe Internet is abuzz thanks to the steamy, revealing blog, Scenes of a Sexual Nature. The posts leave nothing to the imagination, detailing all sorts of delicious – and sexual – secrets. The author behind the blog, NiceGirl, is a bit of an enigma, but manages to catch the eye of Mark Bell, an up-and-coming London publisher. Little does Mark know that NiceGirl is really Claire Kennedy and her blog? More fiction than fact. When Mark offers Claire a book deal – and possibility of so much more, she panics, thinking that he’ll realize she’s a fraud with much less experience than her online persona. So Claire solicits the help of Luca, friend, artist, and commitment-phobe, to teach her how to live up to her alter ego. Strings-free sex with a friend? What could possibly go wrong?

Some Girls Do, the latest from Irish romance author Clodagh Murphy, draws on the world on blogging and imagines what might happen when Internet friends and real-life friends collide. I’ve read all of Murphy’s books, so I already knew I wanted to try this one, but I was also intrigued by the premise. I am, after all, a blogger myself, though not one who hides behind a fictional name or writes salacious things (unless, of course, my book reviews are somehow salacious in which case, that was totally unintended). In our 21st-century, Internet-obsessed world, so many people go online to try to be someone other than who they really are. Some Girls Do explores what might happen if our online self was suddenly dragged into the real world and forced to interact with (or as) our offline self. 

Claire is a woman after my own heart. She works in a bookstore, finds her creative outlet in writing, and thinks a quiet evening at home with a good meal, wine and some television is the perfect evening. But Claire also harbors a wish for so much more and when Mark walks into her life with the promise of everything she ever wanted, she decides to take drastic action. Murphy doesn’t shy away from the awkward or uncomfortable. Claire’s proposition to Luca is cringe-worthy and funny at the same time, as Claire has clearly never done that sort of thing before. Likewise, the realism continues once she and Luca do begin their “lessons.” Claire doesn’t automatically become a knowledgeable sexpot right away; it takes her time to grow her confidence and lose some of her inhibitions.

Though it was clear to see where the story was headed early on, I still liked watching polar opposites Claire and Luca learn about each other. And while I don’t think Some Girls Do develops Luca’s character as well as Claire’s, I did like watching him finally open up to someone and realize the benefits of having someone care for you. (Besides, who doesn’t like a reformed rogue, no matter what century he lives in?)

Fans of contemporary romances will enjoy Clodagh Murphy’s Some Girls Do, which is equal parts sweet and sassy. It’s got Internet secrets, friends-into-lovers, and a brooding starving artist. (And, as an added bonus, the excerpts from Claire’s blog are seriously hot). Give it a try – no one on the Internet has to know. It’ll just be between us.

[Photo Credit: Goodreads]


Book News, Dec. 11th

I don’t know about you, bookworms, but I’m ready for snow. It’s December and it’s cold. Snow should be involved or else this weather is just no fun. Plus, how else will Santa get around in his sleigh if there’s no snow? While I ponder that great question of our time, how about you ponder some book news?

  • She’s picked everything from blatantly false memories (James Frey) to guys who don’t want anything to do with her (Jonathan Franzen). This time, Oprah picked a guy who can’t complain back: her newest book club selections are classics A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I’m all for classic literature, but these selections just seem a little random to me. Then again, Oprah’s in her last season, so maybe she’s just phoning it in?
  • Though Hanukkah is now over, we still have the Winter Solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa to celebrate, so if you need book-ish gift ideas for the bookworm in your life, check our Novel Novice’s Holiday shopping guide. All this past week, NN published a series of posts chock full of literary gifts for the avid reader. They break it down by genre making it easy for you to get the perfect book this holiday season.
  • Of course, if you have, oh say $50,000 to spend, you might want to consider the vintage copy of The Wizard of Oz, signed by the film’s stars (including Toto), that’s currently up for auction. The cloth-bound book, originally a gift for the son of Jack Haley who portrayed the Tin Man in the film, has signatures from all the actors in the film and is expected to sell for about $50,000 at the auction held by Profiles in History on December 17th and 18th.
  • There is yet another social networking site in the world this week and this time, it’s designed for literary-minded teens. Figment is being described as “an experiment in online literature,” a site that provides teen authors and writers a place to share and read their own work with one another. Novels, short stories, poems and other literary forms make appearances; users can offer feedback to others and receive it for their own contributions as well. Officially launched this past Monday, Galley Cat reports that Figment had 4,000 registered users the first day.
  • Over on the Shelf Talker blog, they’re talking about some of the best first lines in young adult novels – the kind of first lines that grab readers’ attention and draw them into the story. Elizabeth lists some examples from upcoming 2011 books as well (including a few from books I’m looking forward to) while readers left their own suggestions in the comments. I’m pretty partial to the opening line of the first Harry Potter book, but that’s just me.
  • Hotty hot hot! Sarah MacLean – my favorite Rhode Island native historical romance author – revealed the cover art for her upcoming book Eleven Scandals to Start, which will be released in April. In addition to totally confirming my suspicions about who the hero would be, she’s also holding a give-away of signed coverflats. Just sign up for her mailing list to enter.
  • Holy contest of epic-ness, Batman! Beth Revis, author of the upcoming, buzz-worthy book Across the Universe (it’s on my TBR list!) is hosting – along with Penguin/Razorbill – an amazing contest of amazing-ness to celebrate the release of her book. Not only will the winners find out by opening their mail boxes and seeing their prizes, but there will be 100 winners. That’s right, 100. Cross your fingers!

As always, happy reading.

Flying Cars and Paperless Books

Reading used to be fairly straightforward: you open the book and read the words on the page. But as technology advances and all sorts of gizmos and gadgets make their way into stores, the once-simple idea of reading is changing as well.

A recent article in School Library Journal outlines the launch of a new web-based approach to reading that gives teens a direct say in how the story turns out. A new online reading experience (and eventual book) from Simon and Schuster teams author Jodi Lynn Anderson with the latest and greatest in web development.

The online story, Loser/Queen, is a partnership between Anderson, the publisher, JCPenny (as a sponsor and advertiser) and online community Living Social. The story will be presented on the web in weekly installments (the first seven chapters are available) and how the story continues will be determined, in part, by reader feedback. Teens will have the chance to vote on different options for continuing the story. Once the novel is finished, they’ll also get a say in the book’s cover design. The final book will be available online and, eventually, in paperback and e-reader formats available for purchase.

It’s a unique spin on the “choose your own adventure” stories of the past and a way of blending reading with the tech-savvy so many kids have today. In many ways, this interactive collaboration is an experiment to see how the process of reading is changing and how to use the resources of the Internet to engage more kids in the act of reading. Though it’s unlikely that “old-fashioned” paper books will go out of style any time soon, the Loser/Queen book shows that reading itself is changing with the times.

It makes sense, of course. Kids today are far more plugged in than generations past and the number of kids who are reading solely online is increasing. Tapping into those behaviors to encourage reading is a smart thing to do. A lot of experts agree: reading online is better than not reading at all. Moreover, the interactive nature of an online book could entice reluctant readers. Some kids avoid libraries or “traditional” books because they don’t like the options or feel bored by sitting still. Giving them the chance to actively participate in writing the story, as Loser/Queen does, may help them develop a taste for reading that will extend past this one experience.

Still, there are some concerns: reading online often means people (of any age) are only digesting small, bite-size bits of information. We miss the bigger ideas when we scan a web page. And the increasingly fast rate at which web pages reload and data is transferred means that kids (or adults) may have a harder time processing large amounts of information – something “traditional” reading, the kind of reading done for school, requires. There’s also evidence to suggest reading online decreases our attention span, making it more difficult for someone to sit and read a “regular” book.

I think like anything else in life, it’s a matter of balance. It can’t be all or nothing, one or the other. We should certainly encourage kids to read online and participate in these web-based books – because, again, it’s better than not reading at all. But we should also do everything we can to make sure they have access to and read paper books as well. Kids – and adults – need the ability to do both: to sit, read and process a chapter book and to skim a web page to find information.

It’s kind of fun to watch the world develop new ways of experiencing a familiar activity. At some level, I think reading itself – the actual act of seeing letters, putting them together and coming up with words – seems destined to stay the same, but the medium will change and adapt to the world around it. Maybe one day, we’ll read through osmosis. I am personally waiting for the day when I can get a flying car and a robot to do my laundry. Until someone manages to convince me otherwise, though, I’m going to remain firmly in the “books are here to stay” category, no matter what technology manages to come up with.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

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