September 27, 2013

Guilty Secrets - what are you really reading?

Is Fifty Shades of Grey the most embarrassing book on your Kindle?

Everyone reads books on a Kindle that they wouldn’t be seen dead with if other people could see the cover! A new survey of over 2000 people, commissioned by the RNIB, has revealed that at least quarter of ebook readers admitted to having some guilty pleasures on a Kindle or similar device.

35 per cent of people said they would normally feel too embarrassed to read erotic fiction in public, yet it’s the most common genre of choice! Romantic novels like Mills and Boon were next at 32 per cent, with men the most likely to be coy about reading them! Men were generally more sensitive than women about being caught reading the wrong book in every category except erotic fiction and true crime.

It’s interesting that only nine per cent of people felt silly to be caught reading a children’s book in public. Having said that, the Harry Potter books were level pegging with ‘anything by Jeffrey Archer’ in the list of guilty reads. The top most embarrassing book to be seen with was Fifty Shades of Grey, which was cited by one in seven people.

It seems ironic that just 11 per cent of people said they judged others on the book they are reading. Talk about ‘not judging a book by its cover’!

September 26, 2013

Royal Society Winton Book Prize For Science Books Shortlist

The six books on the shortlist for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books are competing for a much larger cash prize this year. The shortlisted books are vying for the world's most prestigious award for popular science writing. The prize money for the winner has increased from £10,000 to £25,000, while the authors of each of the shortlisted books will receive £2,500.

The shortlist is composed of:

Bird Sense 
by Tim Birkhead, published by Bloomsbury

The judges said: "Bird Sense opens new worlds to the imagination through a wealth of passionately observed science. It succeeds in conveying a feeling of what it is like to be a bird."

The Particle at the End of the Universe 
by Sean Carroll, published by OneWorld Publications

The hunt for the Higgs and the discovery of a new world
The judges said: "This book invites you to imagine the unimaginable. It tells an extraordinary tale of scientific discovery and stands out by its ability to speak to people who are not scientists."

Cells to Civilizations 
by Enrico Coen, published by Princeton University Press

The judges said: "Cells to Civilizations presents an exciting challenge to our thinking on how evolution works. It is unbelievably alive and we could feel our brains growing as we read."

Pieces of Light 
by Charles Fernyhough, published by Profile Books

The judges said: "Our memories of reading this book are exceptionally good ones! It challenges much of what we think we know about memory. It's a bit like reading a novel, personal and compulsive!"

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings 
by Caspar Henderson, published by Granta

The judges said: "Henderson taps into forgotten wonder we first felt as children discovering the creatures of our world. It borrows its format from ancient bestiaries and its title from Borges' extraordinary tales. The book itself is a beautiful object and brings barely imagined beings to life."

Ocean of Life 
by Callum Roberts, published by Allen Lane (Penguin Books)

The judges said: "Roberts sets modern conservation in context. For instance he has taken fisheries science and channelled it into the mainstream debate. This book is thrilling: a delightful mix of anecdote, research and polemic."

The winner will be announced at a public event at the Royal Society on 25th November 2013.

William Hill's odds for the shortlisted books are as follows:

3/1 Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead
7/2 The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll
4/1 Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts
5/1 Cells to Civilization by Enrico Coen
5/1 Piece of Light by Charles Fernyhough
5/1 The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

The first chapter of each book is available to download for free at The Royal Society.

September 25, 2013

Publisher bites back!

Toby Young, writing in The Telegraph, says, "you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this." I have to agree! 

Iain Dale is the owner of Biteback Publishing, the publisher of Damian McBride's controversial poke at the Labour Party, Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin

Rather than hovering discreetly in the wings whilst a news crew from Channel 5 interviews McBride, Iain Dale completely upstages his author by wrestling a harmless anti-nuclear protestor to the ground so he won't appear in the background! To the sound of the poor man's dog barking, all cameras focus on the unseemly scuffle...and it's that that hits the news!

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