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'Alphabetical' Tells The Story Behind Every Letter, A To Z

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. But how did they get there, and why do they look the way they do? Michael Rosen tackles these questions and more in his new book <i>Alphabetical.</i><p>Nobody knows exactly why people started writing down sounds, Rosen tells NPR's Scott Simon. "All they can say is …

Language

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แค่กล้า ก็ถือว่าประสบความสำเร็จไปหนึ่งขั้นแล้ว ^^<br>Cr. rakjung

Chaos of the human brain: How our random thoughts inspire genius — and self-destruction

Visionaries throughout history reported that intrusive ideas helped them create and caused them anguish. Here’s why<p>The obsessive thoughts of OCD are different to those that tend to dominate other types of mental anguish. Recurring and distressing thoughts are not always an obsession – at least not …

Cognition

12 books that make you want to travel

From Cheryl Strayed's Wild to Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, here are our picks for books that make you want to pack your bags and trot the globe<p>Evoking jagged landscapes, mysterious cultures, and mouth-watering dishes, literature has the power to make us yearn to travel. Here are our picks of …

10 magnificent minimalist GIFs by Florian de Looij

GIF: gif.flrn.nl<p>Here are some of my favorite very simple animations by artist and GIF-master Florian de Looij.<p>More from him: portfolio, and GIF …

GIF Animations

"To Kill A Mockingbird" sequel to be published in July

After a 50 year break, Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, will publish her second book, titled Go Set A Watchman.<p>Written in the mid-1950s …

Best children's books of the year

Dan Santat's The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for the best American picture book for kids. Here are a …

Books

PERPETUAL PIZZA

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Cory Doctorow

Portraits of every U.S. vice president in history but with an octopus on their head

If you want to succeed in publishing, write a biography of an American president. They sell. If you want to succeed in visual art, draw a portrait of …

Octopuses

The life-changing trick author Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker, Moneyball) wrote on a Chipotle cup

I don't know how much wisdom you expect to find on the side of your Chipotle soft-drink cup, but when I pop into one of their more than 1,600 …

Malcolm Gladwell

What the Last Five Years of Best-Picture Winners Can Tell Us About This Year’s Oscar Race

Plus, why John Goodman should have been in Selma.<p>During this welcome lull in awards season, with the Golden Globes and guild and critics’ awards behind us, and the Academy ceremony still two weeks off, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to re-watch the last five best-picture winners, …

Harvey Weinstein

9 Books Steve Jobs Thought Everybody Should Read

Because, Steve Jobs said while introducing the iPad, the Mac maker was never just a tech company.<p>"The reason that Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we've always tried to be at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts," he said.<p>Jobs' lifelong interest in the …

Literature

18 Bookstores Every Book Lover Must Visit At Least Once

Bookstores can be a destination.<p>From Venice to Mexico City, check out some of the most interesting book retailers out there.<p><b>1. Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy.</b><p>This bookstore features classic volumes of American and Italian books packed in traditional Venetian gondola boats. But the show-stopping …

Books

10 authors of color to read in 2015

Your book list is going to get a bit longer.<p>For 2015, we want to shine a light on a few diverse authors whom everyone should know. Though not …

3 Books to Read This January

Photo: Emily Kate Roemer/Studio D<p><b>Tantalizing Topic</b><p>John McQuaid's <i>Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat</i> (Scribner) mixes science, literature, history, and anecdote in the service of his stellar inquiry into the inner workings of taste, also called flavor, which McQuaid finds to be the most …

The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of 2014

Books of the year 2014

It is New Year’s Day and I should be looking forward but I’ve been busy – and delayed by the flu – so I’m not yet done looking back. Listed below with potted reviews are the 23 books I read in 2014. This continues a tradition I started last year, when I decided to read less internet and more …

Books

Why Mark Zuckerberg's First Book Club Choice Makes Total Sense

It is not surprising that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chose Moisés Naím’s <i>The End of Power</i> as the first book in his new -- and possibly the world’s largest -- book club.<p>Naím, former editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine and a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International …

10 Essential Coming-Of-Age Novels For Adults

Because nearly half of the stories in my debut collection, <i>By Light We Knew Our Names</i> (Dzanc Books, $14.95), are told from the perspective of adolescent narrators, I spent a lot of time thinking about how childhood is represented in literary fiction and how young protagonists can engage adult …

Books

The Most Highlighted Passages From Classic Books

Earlier this year, Amazon's Kindle team revealed which passages are highlighted most frequently across all of their ebooks. Unsurprisingly, lines from Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games trilogy topped off the list of most-highlighted quotes, followed by passages from Jane Austen's <i>Pride and …

10 Books That Shaped Our Teenage Years

<i>SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue</i><p>By Linda Bernstein<p>Let me begin with this: The kind of YA (Young Adult) books that are marketed to teens these days (think <i>The Hunger Games</i>) didn’t exist when we boomers were in our teens.<p>In fact, I’d argue that the first actual YA book wasn’t published until 1967. I’m …

9 Best Bets for This Month

<i>Originally published on Kirkus</i><p>January is full of temporary doldrums: you have to pick yourself up from the holidays, trudge back to work and reckon with your goals and the time that’s passing by since everyone won’t stop talking about their New Year’s resolutions. Leave all that by the wayside with …

Books

The Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2014

After the year’s best reads in science, children’s books, psychology and philosophy, and art, design, and photography, here come the finest memoirs, biographies, and history books of the year — our most inviting bridge between past and present, personal and universal.<p>1. A LIFE WORTH LIVING<p><i>“To</i> …

Bookstore Workers Pick Top Manga to Read in 2015

After polling 2,360 workers from around Japan, bookstore/media retailer Honya Club has announced their annual clerks picks list of manga for readers …

Bookstore staff across Japan vote for the 15 most recommended manga for 2015

Recently the 10th annual <b>Nationwide Bookstore Staff Recommended Comics tallied votes from over 2,250 bookstore workers across Japan</b> to decide which …

Want to be happy? Slow down

In 1972, Matthieu Ricard had a promising career in biochemistry, trying to figure out the secrets of E. coli bacteria. A chance encounter with …

15 Stephen Hawking Quotes That Will Change Your Life

<b>Update</b>: Stephen Hawking turns 74 today. And, while we originally celebrated his best quotes along with the release of his biopic <i>The Theory of</i> …

Artist Amusingly Adds Strange Details to Old Photos

Artist Colin Batty puts an amusingly strange spin on photographs of the past. Taking cabinet cards from the early 1900s, he uses acrylic paint and crafts entirely new and surprising scenes directly on the image. His additions are often hilarious but also creepy, and he does a fantastic job of …

Art

Beautiful olde-timey GIF art from the Gif Opera Cabinet

Lovely, evocative animated GIFs from classic source materials.<p>Newly assembled gifs regular uploaded by Gualtiero at The Gif Opera Cabinet. Worth a …

Xeni Jardin