Friday News: Reading for facts, Google’s tracking, 2015 books, and Star Wars wedding
The Best Facts I Learned from Books in 2015 – So Historical Romance readers aren’t the only ones who enjoy learning stuff from fiction. This list from Kathryn Schulz of the top ten things she learned in 2015 expresses what she refers to as the “literary pleasure of facts,” and I think she does a good job of articulating this particular reading pleasure (also, some of the facts are cool):
That kind of pleasure is most readily found in nonfiction, of course, but really you can experience it anywhere. I didn’t know the first thing about Japanese-Dutch relations until I read “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet,” a novel by David Mitchell, and I doubt there is a better or more beautiful way to learn about the life of Emily Brontë than by reading Anne Carson’s poem “The Glass Essay.” Other delights abound in books, of course—important ideas, beautiful prose, psychological precision, Newark-to-LAX-without-ever-looking-up levels of entertainment. Yet there are few things I cherish in a book so much as a wonderful fact artfully deployed; I read, in part, to be amazed by the world. In lieu of a list of my favorite books of 2015, then, here are some of the best facts I learned from books I read this year. – The New Yorker
Infographic: How Much Does Google Really Know About You? – The title says it all, really, and there’s quite a lot to say:
The following infographic details just how much information Google collects on you through its various services. Google is an ad company (so is Facebook), and it uses all of that data to better target you with adverts. As you read through the infographic, you might be amazed to see how much they know. – The Digital Reader
Some Surprises Stand Out in the Best-Book Lists for 2015 – I’ve been trying to avoid straight up ‘best books of 2015’ lists, but this one is interesting because it highlights books that did surprisingly well and books that were expected to do really well and did not. What makes some books seemingly come out of nowhere, while others that have all the advantages sink like the proverbial stone? Of the books that did surprisingly well, one is Lucia Berlin’s short-story collection, A Manual for Cleaning Women, published after the author died and modeled on some of her own life experiences:
Lucia Berlin was born in Alaska in 1936, raised in the mining camps and towns of Idaho, Kentucky and Montana, and spent her teenage years in Santiago, Chile. She was married three times, raised four sons and struggled with alcoholism, eventually prevailing over it. Her stories were inspired by her life, working as a teacher, switchboard operator, hospital ward clerk and cleaning woman. She died in 2004 at age 68, having gained only a modest readership.
The book’s appearance on so many favorites lists may double its hardcover sales, said Jeff Seroy, a spokesman for the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The publisher ordered two more print runs within the past week to meet the sudden increase in demand. Total print sales jumped 32% in the last two weeks to 13,375 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. – The Wall Street Journal
Photos: Two ‘Star Wars’ Fans Get Married At The Chinese Theatre In Hollywood – Ah, what would the Star Wars premier be without a gimmicky wedding? I didn’t even realize that there is now a company that organizes those lines of people eagerly waiting for days outside the theater. Is this a stunt to bring more women to the movie? Although the LAist story kind of makes it seem like the couple conceived and planned the wedding themselves, another story makes it clear that the theater sponsored the event to promote the new film (which answers my question about whether they had to pay a licensing fee to use all the characters and costumes). Still, if you’re a fan of the franchise or of theme weddings, you may get a kick out of the photos via the initial link. And there’s a charity aspect, as well.
Andrew Porter and Caroline Ritter of Australia were married outside of the famed TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood this afternoon in a “Star Wars” themed wedding.
“It was the theater’s idea,” Ritter told Mashable of the nuptials. “They asked if anyone was interested in getting married here on the premiere date.” – LAist and ABC News