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Books

How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer

Girl Reading In ParkIf you’re sleeping in until 1 p.m. or spending your evenings watching the television, you’re probably wasting away summer break. The first day of school will be here before you know it. So instead of staying home to watch your favorite daytime talk show, try to be productive, and do the things you didn’t have time to do during the school year.

Here’s a list of activities that will help you make the most out of your summer:

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Best Foreign Books

like for chocolateI have had the great fortune of studying abroad this summer. Part of studying abroad is, obviously, taking classes. I decided to take a Spanish literature class. Now, I have never been a fan of literature classes, mainly because I do not like having to memorize the teacher’s opinions about the work and accept them as fact, even if these opinions differ from my own. However, it is very interesting to read literature about a different culture and country. I feel like I know more about Spain and its development as a country from reading these literary works than from what I learned in my Spanish history course.

Here’s my challenge to you: I challenge you to read at least two books this summer by authors who are from a foreign country. These works of world literature will open your eyes to a way of life that is different from your own. Here is my list of the top world literature works to read for summer 2010.

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High School Summer Reading List

reading outsideAs you start cleaning out your lockers and spending a couple more hours at Starbucks studying for finals after school, you can’t help but update your Twitter account about how excited you are for the quickly approaching summer vacation.

But before you start planning your beach trips and afternoons basking in the sun, maybe you should stop by your local bookstore and check out their recommended list of summer reading.

Studies have shown that summer reading can boost academic performance by 50-67 percent in high school students, and that those students who don’t read over break tend to fall behind their peers in other subjects in addition to literature and language arts.

Here are some of the most recommend books for summer reading across the country:

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Attic Journals Offers Creative Notebooks and Journals

attic journalsThe start of a new semester means brand new school supplies. And the best part of school supplies for me is the new notebooks. They are full of blank pages that I can fill up with doodles when I’m bored in class, or I mean blank pages to take notes on during class.

Either way, I like notebooks. I also use them to write down my thoughts before I go to bed at night. I usually look for interesting or unique notebooks. Sometimes I take a regular spiral-bound notebook and design my own cover.
I’m actually in need of a new journal for 2010. I went to a local bookstore where I usually get my journals, but I couldn’t find one I liked. I had decided to make my own, but then I found Attic Journals.

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Rent Your Textbooks to Save Money

textbooksMy favorite part of the semester is the end. Not because I am finished with classes – although that is a plus – but because I get to sell some of my textbooks back to the bookstore and get some of my money back. Sure, I still end up spending a ton of money buying my books and coming up with a deficit no matter how much money I get by selling them, but at least I get a little cash back.

But what if there was a way to avoid the whole spending-way-too-much-money-for-books-I-plan-on-only-using-for-a-semester-anyway thing? What if I could rent my textbooks for next semester? Well, actually, I can.

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New England Prep School Gets Rid of Books

digital libraryAt the prestigious prep school, Cushing Academy, just about 90 miles from Boston, the library is getting a complete makeover. The once traditional library at the 144-year-old school has gotten rid of its collection of 20,000 books in order to make room for a new digital library, according to The Boston Globe.

Book stacks are being replaced with flat-screen TVs, laptop study cubes, and electronic reading devices. And you can’t have a digital learning center without coffee, right? So Cushing Academy is also shelling over $50,000 for a cafe that includes a $12,000 cappuccino and espresso machine.

“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’

Talk about keeping up with the times.

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Don’t Get Lost in the Top 10 Largest College Libraries

The Bizzell Library at the University of Oklahoma might not be in the Top 10 Largest Libraries, but it sure is pretty!

The Bizzell Library at the University of Oklahoma might not be in the Top 10 Largest Libraries, but it sure is pretty!

I go to the University of Oklahoma and we have a big library! When you combine all eight of our libraries on campus, we have slightly under five million books. I have gotten lost in the main library, Bizzell Library, on way more than one occasion. Usually, I won’t even venture into the library unless I have a friend to go with me or a map to guide me to my location. I know it seems pathetic, but unfortunately, I am being completely serious.

Imagine my surprise when I found that the University of Oklahoma was not in the Top 10 Largest College Libraries. It’s not even in the Top 25. Personally, I’m terrified of what I’m about to show you, but…

I now present, for your viewing pleasure, a list of the Top 10 Largest College Libraries in the USA, complete with how many books they have in their collection.

1. Harvard University: 15,826,570 (Cambridge, MA)

2. Yale University: 12,368,757 (New Haven, CT)

3. University of Toronto: 10,536,868 (Toronto, ON) Read the rest of this entry »



Kindle Lawsuit Awards Wronged Student

kindle lawsuitIn July 2009, Amazon decided to remove some content from thousands of Kindles. They removed every copy of George Orwell’s 1984, including the notes high school student Justin Gawronski’s had taken for his summer assignment.

Amazon deleted two books by Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm, from their inventory when the publishing company decided they did not want their books to be electronically available. In addition to just removing the books from being able to be purchased, Amazon deleted those books from the Kindles of users who had already purchased the books. In this process, they also deleted any notes or comments that users had made in their personal Kindles about the book that they had purchased.

Some have called Amazon the homework-eating-dog of the 21st century. Gawronski decided to sue Amazon for destroying his homework. And on October 1, 2009, he won. He won big, earning $150,000 in the lawsuit. Read the rest of this entry »



Oprah’s Free Book and Top 25 Summer Book List

We all know of Oprah‘s insatiable appetite for books, and she rarely steers us into a bad one. This summer she’s got 25 books that she says you won’t be able to put down. The first of which is available totally free!heroic measures

For 48 hours beginning July 20, Oprah’s making available the new release “Heroic Measures” for free! That’s right, if you log-in to your Oprah.com account you’ll be able to download the book in its entirety via PDF. Author Jill Ciment tells the story of, as O Magazine describes, an elderly couple very much in love facing changing times.

After a lifetime together, 70-something Alex and his wife, Ruth, are still smitten—with each other (“He has loved her for so long that he can no longer distinguish between passion and familiarity”) and with their elderly dachshund, Dorothy. About to sell their Manhattan walk-up, the couple is caught up in crisis: Their dog is suddenly paralyzed, a truck jackknifes in a tunnel, news channels click into terrorist-hype overdrive. Read Jill Ciment’s Heroic Measures (Pantheon) for its painterly depictions of a rattled city, its deliciously biting satire of media and real estate madness, its tender knowledge of the creaturely ties that bind.

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The Evolving Google Library

Google is underway in its enormous book digitization project, collaborating with university libraries in what is said to be the “ultimate combination of technology and scholarship.” It will make millions of volumes and journals available to audiences that would otherwise be unable to visit these major research libraries in person. To some, the project represents a “dangerous centralization and corporatization of content.”

www.google.com

Complicating the debate has been uncertainty about how Google would make the new library available. Google is pledging free “preview” access to all books in the collection, inexpensive ways for individuals to purchase digital access to a full book, and pricing that would make it possible for colleges to buy site licenses to the collections. Read the rest of this entry »





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