Amazon’s Around the World in 80 Books

around“Hand-picked Reads for Every Traveler” is the way Amazon pitches its new e-book discovery tool. Their book editors have selected 80 of the world’s most famous novels, memoirs, or travel books in an attempt to give readers a sense of “being there.”

Simply put, it’s like travel but it’s not. Continue reading “Amazon’s Around the World in 80 Books”

Queen Portrait Vandalized

queenA portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was vandalized with spray paint Thursday at Westminster Abbey by a 41 year old man, who was a member of Fathers 4 Justice, a protest group that campaigns on behalf of fathers denied access to their children.

The man wrote “Help” on the 9-foot by 11-foot portrait of the British monarch.

[via Huffington Post]

Music as therapy against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

Music might turn out to be extremely beneficial to people suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, a study suggests. Frank Russo, a cognitive scientist at Ryerson University in Toronto, is trying to determine whether there is an actual link between sound and the parts of the brain that control movement.

Apparently music helps Parkinson’s patients walk and people with Alzheimer’s remember, the brain being able to remember song lyrics long after it’s has lost the ability to recognize relatives or friends.

December book sales confirm: the paperback is not dead

After Amazon reported in Autumn that it was selling more e-books than paperback, sales of physical books went up over the Holiday season.

But the paperback is not dead, even though sales have gradually declined since reaching an all time peak in 2007. This year was the best for print books since 2009.

Even though in the first ten months of the year, sales followed the usual pattern, as the paperback lost ground against e-books, consumer trends changed during Christmas season.

Statue of praying Hitler sparks controversy

A statue by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan that shows Adolf Hitler praying on his knees sparked heated debates, mostly because of its location in the Warsaw Ghetto, a place where many Jews were killed by the Nazi regime.

Organizers say that the statue is intended to make people reflect on the nature of evil, while many groups consider the statue’s placement an insult.

Others are seeing the artwork not as a provocation or denial of the Holocaust, but more as a way of delivering a strong emotional message. The work can only be seen through hole in a wooden gate; thus only the back of a small figure praying in the courtyard is visible.

Art insurers face $500 million in losses after Hurricane Sandy

Even though it’s still a rough estimate, it appears that after Hurricane Sandy flooded many galleries in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, art insurers are facing half a billion dollars in losses. The bulk of this sum appears to be related to pop artist Peter Max, whose works were stored in a warehouse that was flooded. This single claim is estimated at $300 million.

If the current estimates are true, this would mean a serious drawback for art insurers, as they would lose a whole year of revenue.

Archaeologists uncover 2,750 year old temple near Jelusalem

The discovery was made at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles west of Jerusalem. during work on a highway. Alongside the newly discovered structure, archaeologists found pottery and clay figurines. Apparently, the site served as a ritual temple in the 10th century B.C.

Within the construction, they found what they consider to be a square altar, with a number of ritual items nearby: pottery, clay figurines, and decorated ritual pedestals.


French museums: crowdfunding is the way to go

Because of economic constraints, French museums are trying out different methods of obtaining much needed funds. They’re now relying on art connoisseurs.

For instance, the Pantheon in Paris needs to be restored. You can contribute to that cause here. Or maybe you’d like to help the Louvre buy a pair of 13th century sculptures. There’s more to it than the cause. These institutions are also offering rewards to those who contribute, such as invitations to certain events.


Amazon deletes book reviews in an attempt to stop self-promotion

After a couple recent scandals about writers buying reviews or writing them under various pseudonyms, Amazon has been purging their website of suspicious reviews.

Thousands of reviews have been deleted so far, without Amazon offering any explanations as to why those particular reviews are being taken down the website or how are they choosing which reviews are genuine and which ones are fake.