Tag Archives: amazon

Teen Book Recommendations Needed

There is an increasing appetite among STJ bloggers for fresh books to read. At the STJ Library blog the list of books read and reviewed keeps increasing, however, I fear the lack of choice in our current library stacks may soon inhibit this momentum.

So, I’d like to try something to abate/assuage my fears.

In my vision, I’d like to have a solid list of “teen recommended books” in my hand that I’d like to have the library acquire … some day.

So here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Create a single “Top 10” post identifying and justifying in a sentence or two a top 10 list of books you would like to read.
  2. For each text you list, be sure the link has the book’s ISBN-10 number (ie. link to the book at amazon.ca).
  3. identify at least one Canadian author
  4. identify at least one “non-fiction” title
  5. justify your choice of text after considering course focus questions
  6. Bonus: Add a “Showcase Widget” to your sidebar that does the same.
  7. Optional Extra Bonus: Create a “Listmania” or “Wishlist” list at Amazon.ca
  8. pingback or leave comment with a link to your post here

I’ve added a few widgets to the Library blog with links to libraries, resources, and reviews to help get you started. However, I personally find Amazon’s “listmania” feature quite useful.

Book Reviews for LA 9

Today I was asked: “How do I write a book review?”

Here’s a quick trip about what I found: 

My first stop was at Amazon. With each book is a snippet of a responses from readers/buyers/sellers. The purpose of the reviews are simple – take a few seconds to write a sharply worded sentence or two and recommend the book for sale. In a few minutes and swift clicking I can read hundreds of reviews. The reviews are brief, many amounting to glowing praise or stark rebuffs. Some attention is made by review writers to carefully craft sentences, few reviews amount to more than a sternly worded paragraph. The reviews are focused on the text and personal preference, but with so many sweeping generalizations there was rarely a focus at all. Little is learned about the reviewer. These “pesky” reviews are not what we need to mimic.

My second stop was the more personally focused site, One Minute Reviews. The reviews here are written by one reviewer. The reviews range in length, depth. Some a few sentences to recommend a sale, others quite elaborately synthesize a variety of information. The summum bonum of the experience is to grow in an understanding of the reviewer. I like this approach to the book review better. However, I could not relate to the bulk of the experiences of the reviewer, and shared few if any common interests. The focus was too narrow and I lost interest in the site. 

Quality Book Reviews was just too busy. Too many links, too many distractions, too many book reviews. It would take a while to find a reviewer I liked as the “finding” would be left to chance. Something this big is more than I need. Searching for author, title, reviewer is useful, but I need a smaller focus, a more modest audience, a warmer welcoming.

Real Reader Reviews looked the most familiar to what I’d expect for beginning reviewers. But again, the focus was amiss. After a few clicks, it felt like I was reading the same review over and over again, with no real exposure to the personality of the reviewer.

The Teen Book Review is by far the best fit in my hastily assembled survey. I spent so much time reading and marveling, that I have run out of time to write much here.  The focus was clear. The text easy to read. The text linked/bolded. There were no distractions in the sidebars. The post layouts were simple and varied. The variety of posts reflected the author’s identity. The personality of the reviewer beams through: “Gone is a huge book, over 550 pages, but the time passed so quickly while I was reading it, and I just couldn’t put it down! Last night, taking a break from my history homework, I picked it up, intending to read a chapter or two and then  get my brain back on track. Instead, I read two hundred pages. That’s how absolutely engrossing this book is!”

Have a long close look at Teen Book Review. These are reviews we should mimic.

“These are Aliens, Dad!”

Some have noticed that some otherwise regular discussions in class eventually turn to a discussion of, um…, ahh… well …, poop.

The inspiration of such mudtimes no doubt erupt from experience with my three growing boys aged 6, 4, and 2. Several days may pass without reference to “it.” But when the subject rears its ugly head, we usually are moved by good humour.

Today I added a “Spelling Bee” widget. My efforts were sincere, scholarly, and academic. Here’s what I saw for my first word:

fecies.png

I’m going to get a book and settle down to a good read.

Out.

Hotlinking Images? We have all done it. Warnings!Warnings!Warnings!

When adding an image to your page on iblog.stjschool.org with a link to an image on another site, you may get unexpected results. This is called hotlinking: when images appear to be embedded on your page, but are simply linked to someone else’s page.

Advantages: no bandwidth or disk quota used from your account because you are not storing/delivering the image here.

Disadvantage: many “smart” sites forbid and display a 404 error. Some may just limit to a finite number, say 5 visits per day. Unscrupulous sites will surprise your visitors with a redirected hotlink path to images you didn’t want to show. YIKES! Hence, HOT- linking, as in play with fire? … gonna get burned.

The ethics of “hotlinking” can be equated to the ethics of stealing an image without the original author’s permission. Look for a “you are forbidden” message. But that’s not all, a web server can simply detect a hotlinked image and replace it with anything they like. Be warned, if I can program the snowotherway server to refer all attempts at hotlinking to a 404.html file, so can any other. Judge wisely, test and retest a “hotlinked” image before committing it to publication. Unscrupulous webservers fight this “theft” in unscrupulous ways, so be very careful.

Now, a smart web host, like snowotherway, will use server settings to eliminate the practice of “hotlinking” into your file folders to “steal” our bandwidth. And, no, I won’t refer redirects to “unscrupulous” images.

Commercial sites like Amazon.ca, and imdb.com, may even encourage the practice of hotlinking for obvious commercial reasons. But they are huge, have tonnes of bandwidth, and they may profit if you follow an image from their site.

Conclusion, a human is the only judge of what a picture image on the ‘net looks like. No computer or software can actually “see” an image. So be warned, what you tell another site to deliver in an image to your web page, may not be what your visitors get.

Out,

D. Sader