Monday News: PBS-NYT Book Club, Fitbit tattoo, adapting Holmes, and post-Harvey book drive
Introducing the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club, ‘Now Read This’ – I greeted this news with wan curiosity, although that’s probably unfair. It’s just that I’ve been so disappointed by the undoing of the NYTBR that I don’t know what to make of a Facebook-grounded book club. If any of you decide to participate, please report back. The first book is Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, which will include an interview with the author at the end of the discussion. The club appears to be premised on reading a book a month, with readers helping to pick future books.
So, the best way to join the book club is through our Facebook group Now Read This. We want everyone to sort of be able to join together there as they read and discuss the book in real time with members of our staff and fellow readers and send in their questions even for the author.
And, also, we will be posting so much there from discussion questions to help guide them as they read the book, to writer’s advice from the author, to sort of an inside look at how the book was written. – PBS
Is The Next Fitbit A Tattoo? – We talk a lot about data privacy, but fitness tracker apps and devices are collecting vast chunks of data that is not only personal, but potentially profitable, both to insurance companies and health product marketers. So imagine a variety of tattoo-like devices, wearable technology that is so thin and lightweight that you won’t even register it on your body. Sounds great, right? Or creepy, depending on your perspective (and the potential for hacking).
At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Materials Research Laboratory, YuHao Liu has tested tiny sensors on human volunteers and published promising results. “For skin-mounted tattoo sensors, users would not feel them, as their thickness and weight are comparable to human skin,” Liu told The Daily Beast via email. . . .
In addition to the work of Liu and Pharr, a recent Florida A&M University College of Engineering study forecasts wearable electronics monitoring everything from heart rate to sleep quality will be razor-thin in the future. The study authors are researching human-hair-sized sensors that might even be woven into bedsheets to monitor sleep quality. – MSN
These writers are putting a new spin on the legendary Sherlock Holmes – Lakshmi Gandhi interviews Sherry Thomas and Joe Ide about their Sherlock-inspired books, partly in recognition of Holmes’s January 6th birthday (that sound you hear is the Conan Doyle estate’s anguished screams at the fact that much of Holmes fiction has passed into the public domain). The character’s popularity endures for a number of reasons, and new interpretations keep all of the versions alive to some degree. As Sherry Thomas remarks:
Growing up in Qingdao, China, romance novelist Sherry Thomas was also introduced to Sherlock Holmes at an early age. “I was no more than 10,” Thomas said over email. “That was long enough ago that I can’t remember which came first into my life, the translated editions of the original stories or the British television series starring Jeremy Brett, whose face is still the one that comes to mind when I picture the classic Arthur Conan Doyle character.”
The brilliance of the character also immediately made an impression. “I remember marveling that anyone could be that smart, that completely self-assured,” she said. “And of course, to a girl from a completely different background, Victorian London was also exotic and interesting in and of itself.” – NBC
12-year-old organizes book drive for kids affected by Harvey – Hurricane Harvey dealt a lot of devastation to hundreds of neighborhoods, and a simple question pondered by one young girl eventually grew into a book drive for kids who had lost their books in the storms. These stories give me hope for the country’s future.
What, she wondered at the time, had happened to all her classmates’ novels? How would she have felt if her home had been damaged?
It was a simple question that, in the chaos of the storm, probably wouldn’t have been considered by any adult.
“We were all too focused on homes and safety to really think about what the storm would mean for kids,” Brooke’s mom, Jamie, said.
And so Brooke decided to act.
On Sunday, she transformed the executive room of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center into a makeshift library for kids affected by Harvey. With bags in hands, a steady line of children pored over the 1,500 or so books that were donated or bought with a $500 grant Brooke secured from Youth Service America. – Houston Chronicle