Monthly Archives: January 2007

Amazing Photography

From Chris Jordan‘s website:

This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. […]This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed photographic prints assembled from tens-of-thousands of smaller images. The series is still in its early stages, and new images will be posted as they are completed.

And this is what it means:

“Cans Seurat, 2007
Digital C print, 6×7 feet

Depicting 106,000 aluminum cans, equal to the number of cans consumed in the US every thirty seconds.”

“Partial zoom”

“At full size”

Chris Jordan has other equally amazing photos based on statistics on his site. Worth the visit.

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Currently Reading…

Dragon LoversDragon Lovers, by Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh and Barbara Samuel
New York: Signet Eclipse
ISBN 10: 0-451-22039-0

Dragon Lovers is a collection of four stories by four well-known romance authors. Each story is uniquely different; what unifies them is the magic of dragons– and romance.

In Jo Berverley’s The Dragon and the Virgin Princess, Princess Rozlinda, the long suffering SVP (Sacrificial Virgin Princess), cannot pass on her post to someone else until a dragon comes. When one arrives, though, she finds herself being sacrificed for real, instead of in ritual. In The Dragon and the Dark Knight, Mary Jo Putney offers us a dark, mysterious knight hired to kill a dragon, and a lonely damselnot so much in distress as in need of help to save herself and her dragon. Karen Harbaugh takes us to 17th century Japan in her Anna and the King of Dragons, where a stranded Dutch girl is saved from destitution and death by a mysterious stranger and a bargain with a dragon. In Dragon Feathers, by Barbara Samuel, a young couple falls in love and accepts the most important mission of their lives.

Each author makes us fall under the spell of dragon lore and sweet romance, with resourceful, intelligent heroines and mysterious, kind-hearted men. Best selling author Jo Beverley succeeds brilliantly in mixing humour, mystery, and romance; in little more than a hundred pages, she makes us believe in love, and magic, and courage. Mary Jo Putney’s story starts out as a classic but develops a twist that startles and delights. Karen Harbaugh and Barbara Samuel use old legends in a new, fresh way.

Dragon Lovers is an enchanting book that makes us fall in love with love and dragons; it is a balm over an often frenetic and seemingly senseless life; it brings pleasure and a renewed belief in happiness. Well worth the read.

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Hearts and Flowers

Already I’m beginning to see the hearts and flowers and chocolate that augur Valentine’s Day. This is one of the things I despise about our society: we can love and goodwill into specific events so we can feel good and righteous. Love mankind at Christmas, love your spouse at Valentines. Only have to do it once.

Lest we forget that there are millions on this Earth who are not worried about hearts and flowers, but simply about survival, I’m offering this horrifying, Pulitzer-winning picture. We might want to transfer all this feel good stuff into concrete acts.


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Library Journal’s Most Borrowed Books in US Libraries

I guess I’m into lists these days. Here is the list of the books most borrowed in U. S. Librairies, for 1 February 2007. Now, you’ll say, how can they predict that? Well, most librairies have a reserve system, so they will look at who has requested the books during that week. So we’re talking about borrowed books, not books read. Still, the list is quite different than the best sellers lists in the previous post.

  1. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards
  2. Cross, by James Patterson
  3. Candy Licker: An Urban Erotic Tale, by Noire Noire
  4. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
  5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by See, Lisa
  6. The Collectors, by Baldacci, David
  7. Echo Park, by Connelly, Michael
  8. Dear John Nicholas Sparks
  9. Wild Fire, by DeMille, Nelson.
  10. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  11. Getting’ Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II, by Zane Zane Atria
  12. The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger
  13. Judge & Jury, by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
  14. Skyscraper, by Zane Zane Atria
  15. Nature Girl, by Hiaasen, Carl
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The Real Best Sellers List

I was very interested to learn that New York Times’s respected Best Sellers List isn’t quite based on sales alone. Rather, the list is based on how many books are ordered from bookstores. So, obviously, the giants like Barnes and Noble, who have a lot of ordering power, will radically influence the list. However, if the books don’t sell, the bookstores simply return the covers (not the books, they’re thrown away) to the publisher but the list isn’t adjusted. Booksense, on the other hand, bases its Best Sellers list from actual sales from a number of independent bookstores’ reports.

To illustrate the differences, here are both lists for January so far:

NY Times Booksense
1. Plum Lovin’, by Janet Evanovich 1. You Suck, by Christopher Moore
2. Cross, by James Patterson 2. Plum Lovin’, by Janet Evanovich
3. For one more day, by Mitch Albom 3. Water for Elephants, by SaraGruen
4. The Hunters, by W. E. B. Griffin 4. Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra
5. Shadow Dance, by Julie Garwood 5. For One More Day, by Mitch Albom
6. Exile, by Richard North Patterson 6. Dust, by Martha Grimes
7. Next, by Michael Crichton 7. Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
8. Stalemate, by Iris Johansen 8. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
9. Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks. 9. Next, by Michael Crichton
10. Hannibal Rising, by Thomas Harris 10. Exile, by Richard North Patterson

Quite a difference, although we find a couple of the same books on each list (but not at the same place on the list). As for amazon’s best sellers list, it is based solely on their own sales, and is updated daily rather than weekly.

As far as I’m concerned, I have more faith in the booksense list than in the NY Times List, even though the latter is more prestigious.

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