Sunday Links, December 29, 2013

It’s your last links column of the year! Get ‘em while they’re hot! And happy new year to each and every one of you. May the new year bring you lots of good reading.

Books to PrisonersThese 10 charities encourage reading. They strike me as a very good place to make that year-end donation.

Samuel DelanySamuel Delany has been named as the newest Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. It’s about time, too. The Guardian didn’t even mention Delany in its article preceding the award that speculated on who was available for the honor — a shameful omission.

The New York Times has issued its list of 100 notable books of the year, as well as a separate list of the notable children’s books published in 2013.

The InterestingsNPR’s list of the best books of the year seems somewhat more lively than does the New York Times list, even with substantial overlap.

The best books of the year as decided by actual readers are listed at Goodreads, along with the nominees. Lots of good stuff here.

Library Journal lists the best books of the year in a great many categories. (Be sure you look for “previous posts” at the bottom of the webpage if you don’t immediately see your favorite.) I was nonplussed by their selection of science fiction and fantasy; I have nothing against any of the books listed, but they sure didn’t make my “best” list.

Coldest GirlThe Kirkus list of the best books for teenage readers is here.

Salon gets into the act by listing the 10 best graphic novels of the year. The A.V. Club has its own list of the best mainstream and superhero comics of 2013.

The New Yorker has a two-part list of the best books of the year. Part One is here, and Part Two is here.

New York Magazine has a list of best books, too.

LexiconAnd here you’ll find Time Magazine’s top ten fiction books of the year.

The Observer’s critics and other friends of the publication offer their opinions about the best books of the year.

The editors of Atlantic Magazine list their favorites of the year.

Tor reviewers list their favorites in science fiction, fantasy and horror for 2013.

MaddAddamPaul Di Filippo lists his choices for the best SF of the year in an article for Barnes & Noble.

BuzzFeed has its own ideas about the best fantasy of the year.

Brain Pickings lists the 13 best science and technology books published in 2013.

The MillionsThe Millions offers a long list of contributors who have their own recommendations for the best reading in 2013.

The Guardian lists the best science fiction and fantasy of the year. Writers and critics polled by that publication list their favorites of the year in all genres. Care to know what the Booker Award winners liked best this year? This is the place to find out.

FoodIf gastronomy is your thing, Huffington Post offers a list of the best food articles of the year, with links.

Here’s another way to look at what was on offer in 2013: the best designed books of the year.

All those lists still not enough for you? Try the Largehearted Boy’s list of lists. Holy cow, everyone gets into this act, doesn’t she?

Cabinet of CuriositiesBook recommendations come in from all sides at this time of year, but it isn’t often that a fictional character suggests a new book. Barnes & Noble channels a few such characters and their suggested reading. If you’ve been on the lookout for what Humbert Humbert would read, this webpage will give you a good answer.

You still have a few days to load up your e-reader with inexpensive science fiction, fantasy and horror novels from an enormous list of books available for $3.99 or less.

The CormorantIf you’ve had enough of 2013 books, and are sick and tired of reading about Donna Tartt everywhere you turn, take a look at this list of the most anticipated science fiction and fantasy books of 2014. There is much to be excited about here, and I’ve even pre-ordered a few of the books listed.

Still have a writer on your gift list for whom your gift will be a New Year’s present instead of a Hannukah or Christmas present? Chuck Wendig has some ideas for you. I’m particularly taken by his suggestion that you buy books for the reader in your family. My family pretty much refuses to buy me books as gifts because I have so many books already; I understand this, but the fact remains that I’d rather get a book than just about anything else!

Hunger GamesThis textual analysis of The Hunger Games is a fascinating look at different types of young adult literature. It’s easy to see why someone who wants to read Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games would be less interested in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series — and why J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has more in common with the former than the latter.

Erotica can keep you warm on a cold winter night. If you’d like something with a bit more pizzazz, not to mention literary worth, than 50 Shades of Grey, Flavorwire has a list of some of the classics for your perusal.

Ramsey CampbellIf you’re relatively new to the horror genre and would like to read the best stuff (because goodness, there is a lot of horrible stuff out there, and not in a good way), Kristen Lamb’s multi-part recommendations should help you figure out what to read. There were quite a few names here that were new to me; the “want” list grows ever longer.

AwardHave you ever wondered what the literary awards you read about look like? Book Riot has photographs of many of them, from the Man Booker to the Hugo.

My price point for electronic books is considerably lower than it is for print books; that is, I’ll pay considerably more for a book made of paper than a book made of electrons. Generally, I’m reluctant to pay more than $5 for an e-book. Is that a good judgment or not? Adam Jury says there is no real reason e-books should cost less than paper books, as the prejudice toward paper books is “rooted in emotion and history” and not in logic. I don’t think I agree with him — and statistics would seem to bear me out, as I’ve seen plenty of press lately about a slowdown in e-book sales and an increase in paper book sales. And there’s also some recent press stating that paper books are still the most durable way to store information. What say you?

Do you feel smarter after you read a novel? That’s because you actually are: brain function is boosted for days after reading a novel.

Los Angeles libraryI’m a sucker for the lists of libraries (with photographs!) that appear on the internet with surprising frequency. Here’s a Lifehack list of some of the most magnificent libraries in the world.

Have you ever wondered how reading works, exactly? What goes on in your brain when you’re reading? PsychCentral has the answers to those questions, discussing the fairly new field of literary neuroscience.

SuitcaseBooklovers are like to recognize themselves in this BookRiot list of things that happen when you’re a book nerd. Of particular use for me: “You wish you could call in ‘curled up with a good book’ to take the day off work.”

The Huffington Post has its own thoughts on stereotypes about readers.

thumbs-up7BookRiot thinks there’s nothing wrong with liking most of what you read. I tend to like just about every book while I’m reading it — my default setting is enjoyment — and the critical faculties click into place only after I’ve turned the last page. But I also agree with BookRiot that almost every book has something likeable about it, even if the overall experience isn’t top knotch.

When you’re not reading, you might like to take in some science fiction or fantasy on your television. There is much to look forward to in 2014. I’m curious about offerings from Brannon Braga and M. Knight Shyamalan, myself.

HogwartsHere’s some literary inventiveness: literary gingerbread houses. Me, I’d rather spend all the time it took to assemble any one of those with a good book in front of my face! But they are pretty to look at, aren’t they?

We need some new punctuation marks. I’m particularly longing for sarcastises, myself.

If you’re looking to spend some of your downtime this holiday season learning something new, Lifehack lists 25 websites that will make you cleverer. I’d love to go back to school, myself, but since that’s not an option at the moment, these websites make a nice substitute.


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