Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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I've been away for a bit, but now I'm back, and...oh!...I've brought you some porn. (It's not that kind, you dirty bugger.)

Google illiterate?
Here's a really odd thing. What is the origin of the word "ipad"? Apple, right? Well, when I learned (c/o The Guardian) of a new website developed by Google which will plot on a graph the occurrences of any given word or phrase searched against a database of 5 million books published between the years 1800 and 2000, of course I had to play around with it. I decided to shove in a thoroughly modern word—ipad—with the expectation of getting a flat line. But actually, here's what I got. Are you thinking the same thing I'm thinking? What the hell is with that giant spike in the early 1800s? (To say nothing of all the other minor occurrences over those 200 years.) Well, if you go in and have a closer look, what you'll see is that the database is actually littered with errors. Click the dates across the bottom of the graph to see listings for specific search results, then click on the particular results to see the actual scans of the pages Google used to build the database. Common words such as "load", "road", "Bad", and "made", as well as less common constructions, sometimes in unusual fonts or languages other than English, are often mistaken for "ipad" by whatever pseudo-magical method Google has devised to try to recognise characters in print. I still don't know why exactly there is a giant spike in the early 1800s in particular, but what I do know now is that Google can't read.

DIY ebooks DIY!
Maybe Google needs one of these.

Jisui your books to free up some space
That, according to Bloomberg, is what people are doing in cramped apartments in Japan. "customers are turning to scanners to make room in a country where average living space per person is about 37 square meters (398-square feet)"

But enough about books on the Internet!
The ever-provocative Laura Miller, in a fascinating piece for the Guardian, wonders: Where the heck is the Internet in books (novels, specifically)?

Who knew?
I am loathe to even mention these people, but I do delight in the failure of their books. Seems that—who would have guessed?—fans of Snooki and The Situation don't like to read.

And in closing
American Book Review spoils the endings of some great novels for you with their 100 Best Last Lines from Novels.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page