10 Cheap/Free Things for Book Lovers

Ready for Zero, a site dedicated to helping people pay down their debt for a life of financial bliss, just ran a blog article on 10 Cheap/Free Things for Book Lovers. The first item on their list, libraries, would certainly be on top of a list here at Bookish as well. But we would also not forget the Little Free Library movement (perhaps because there’s a LFL just a few blocks from Bookish HQ?) and Bookcrossing.

What would be on your list?

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April 10, 2014 · 10:00 AM

Live-Tweeting The Doris Diaries

If you’re interested, I’ve been live-tweeting the latest volume of The Doris Diaries on Twitter (@wildsheepchase) as I read. Time is sparse these days so the live-tweeting has been happening in spurts, usually about an hour long, and at different times of day.

In this volume, Doris has a less-than-ethical relationship with “Dr. Abel Scott,” an intern who treated her at what is now Good Samaritan Hospital in NW Portland:

Dr. Scott is the one name in the book that has been changed. Perhaps it’s because he practiced in Portland for many years, or perhaps it was because he was married at the time. At any rate, it’s a tantalizing mystery and I wish I had asked Julia Park Tracey about it when she was in town for the Doris Diaries release party!

In this volume the Baileys move to California, and Arizona shortly thereafter. Doris gets a horse named Mac, who she rides every morning if she can. Adventure at the corral:

Apart from her adventures and romantic liaisons, Doris does show the promise of being a decent writer. She’s also quite grateful for surviving a burst appendix:

We’ve got about half the book still left to go, and word on the street is the relationship with Dr. Scott gets even more interesting. We’ll also see Black Tuesday (aka the stock market crash of 1929). Join me for some Doris dispatches!

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October 5, 2013 · 12:00 PM

Exploring Mt. Hood Glacier Caves on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide

We had a few pretty common meditations in MPub, and two of them were about the future of digital media in publishing and how digital media could be used creatively to tell good stories. At the time many of my classmates were enthralled by The Wilderness Downtown, a song by Arcade Fire and HTML5 website.

Personally, I wasn’t that impressed.

This week though, I happened to catch a website that I thought was doing really interesting things how they told a story using a website. Thin Ice: Exploring Mount Hood’s Glacier Caves is a big project set to kick off the 25th anniversary of Oregon Field Guide. Click that link and read the story. Scroll down and take note of images appearing as you read, and how multimedia ancillary material is presented. Background images are possibly the most thrilling thing about this page, as the photography is beautiful and the background actually changes as you scroll into each new chapter of the story.

Bestill my beating heart! In my mind, this site is a far better use of digital media and way more compelling than ebooks. As an ex-employee of Oregon Public Broadcasting, I am not surprised they’re leading the way in terms of both quality content and innovative use of media.

If that’s not quite enough, check out this behind-the-scenes preview video of Thin Ice: Exploring Mount Hood’s Glacier Caves on Oregon Field Guide, airing October 12th.

Thanks to Ed Jahn for tweeting about his project at just the right time to catch my attention!

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October 5, 2013 · 8:00 AM

Giveaway! Two Tickets to The Doris Diaries Release Party and Film Screening

About this time last year I was geeking out on The Doris Diaries. If you found yourself interested in following the adventures of Portland teenager Doris Murphy as told through her diaries (ca. 1920s), you can now find the first volume of The Doris Diaries in either the Multnomah County or Clackamas County library systems.

Editor Julia Park Tracey is holding the release event for the second volume at the Hollywood Theatre, and I’ve got a giveaway for Bookish readers!

Doris at the Hollywood Theatre (Facebook event) on Wednesday, September 25th at 6:30pm, won’t be a normal book release party. Julia will be hosting a screening of Wings, a silent film from 1927 with “it” girl Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.

Thanks to Julia (thanks Julia!) Bookish is giving away two tickets to this book release party/film screening. To enter, leave a comment below with a favorite diary-related memory. (It doesn’t have to be your diary!)

Winner will be chosen after 6pm on Sunday, September 22nd, and will be contacted via email for ticket arrangements.

What’s your favorite diary-related memory?

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Publishing to Inspire: The Role of Publications at Adventure Cycling Association Finds a New Online Home

7174197632_70eedc5fdb_oOnline access to my thesis has been moved. Publishing to Inspire: The Role of Publications at Adventure Cycling Association is now held in the SFU institutional repository, called Summit.

Next week I’ll be using the work for a presentation I’ll be giving at a professional conference in Baltimore, Maryland. I was looking for the URL to share with any interested colleagues when I discovered its long-term home on the web.

Summit tracks monthly views of each record in its database, and downloads of each thesis. It looks like in just the first few days of April there have been ten views of my project report page, and six views of the full thesis—only one of which was me. Most of the views came from the US (unsurprising) and one from France. I wish they had longer-term web statistics! It would be nice if I could view past information as well. One of my ongoing goals is to promote this work so it’s not just sitting on a dusty shelf, electronic or otherwise, in Canada.

Are you one of the thesis browsers? I’d love to hear from you!

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Geek Cred (or: An Argument for Encouragement)

What is a geek?

Everyone defines it a little differently.

I think that nearly everyone has an inner geek. We all have some weird quirky thing that we get really excited about and have specialized knowledge of that most others don’t. Perhaps we could talk all day about Shang dynasty bronze or the films of “Gabby” Hayes. Get us going on our topic of choice and we’re at serious risk of finding that new acquaintance staring back at us with glassy eyes.

In the past I spent a lot of time with someone who used the “geek” label as a divider—they had an extremely narrow vision of what they thought a geek was and wasn’t…and I wasn’t it. In that sense, that person was using the geek label as an excuse to make someone else (me) a social pariah. My deep knowledge of The Monkees, music, theater, and history? Completely irrelevant since I couldn’t remember for certain which planet Alderaan was. (He acted like millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced… Yuk yuk yuk.)

Recently I had a conversation with one of my coworkers, a software developer for our company. He was telling me that some text I had provided had rekindled a debate with one of the other programmers about the purpose of various coding languages (specifically HTML and CSS). Chuck started telling me about his days working on SGML for the military, and about its original purpose to be a “container” language so it could adapt to various formats.

I asked: hey, isn’t that a lot like XML?

As it turns out, Chuck retorted, SGML essentially got eclipsed by HTML and XML, and yes, XML does the very thing SGML was supposed to do.

Didn’t I feel smart! Not only had I followed a conversation about things I am only barely schooled in, but I was able to connect it to something I was slightly more schooled in (MPub covered some rudimentary XML as it is the format most ebooks use, enabling them to work on a variety of devices). Adding to my imagined geek cred, I told Chuck that in MPub we had been lectured at by a gentleman (Keith Fahlgren) on the working group developing the next version of XML. Please—no autographs.

As it happens, my job is presenting plenty of opportunities to deepen my technical knowledge. Do you think that I would have felt encouraged to seize these opportunities if, say, Chuck had the same exclusionary attitude towards me as the other person? (“You’re not a coder—you couldn’t possibly understand.”)

Women get this message enough from society at large—we don’t need it from our peers and colleagues as well. This is one of the many reasons I get so excited about Ada Lovelace Day each year, which aims to raise awareness of the plight of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. You don’t have to be a professional engineer to see how underrepresented women are in certain fields, nor to have experienced some of the societal programming behind it. (Anyone remember the Barbie who exclaimed, “Math class is tough!“)

It often takes courage to keep pressing on with a challenge, and it’s doubly tough when the people around you say you can’t do it. Insults and condescending attitudes are not what is needed to cultivate an individual’s expertise in an area that may be challenging to them. This quasi-geek would like to see encouragement and a spirit of cooperative cultivation over negativity and squished promise.

That seems like a mundane idea, right? Yet looking around, the reality makes it seem pretty radical.

Want to read more about about women in tech and the publishing industry? Try “Pink Collar Geeks: The ‘Ladies Problem’ of Publishing” by yours truly…

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Bookish Happenings in January: Raggedy Man

January was a whirlwind here at Bookish HQ.

Fortunately there were books involved!

Clyde Curley, one of my dearest teachers, launched Raggedy Man on January 10th.  The launch party was hosted by Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland’s Multnomah Village. According to Clyde the bookstore sold out of their first shipment (before the launch) in just a week, and as of yesterday Annie Bloom’s employee Jeffrey Shaffer reported that copies are still “flying off the shelves.”

This seems natural given this mystery is set in Portland, Oregon, and Portlanders love to consume artistic interpretations of our fair city (Portlandia, Wildwood, and Grimm just to name some current examples). Whereas some portrayals of Portland use the city as just a place on the map, Raggedy Man is informed by Clyde’s intimacy of having lived in Portland for several decades. (During the reading, a few of his off-the-cuff remarks had the audience in stitches: “He was an anarchist from Eugene. (They’re all from Eugene!)”

While the novel was self-published, it has been garnering some big attention. It recently got picked up by Ingram (a large book distribution company) so it should be widely available through any bookstore, or you can order Raggedy Man directly through Clyde.

Give it a read!

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