lunes, 27 de enero de 2014

Holocaust-Gedenktag - 69 Jahre nach Auschwitz

Gemeinsam mit mehr als 20 hochbetagten Holocaust-Überlebenden gedachten Mitglieder der israelischen Regierung in Auschwitz der sechs Millionen Opfer des Holocausts. Soldaten der Roten Armee hatten das Konzentrationslager am 27. Januar 1945 befreit.


You might think the rise of e-books will put the printed book in danger of extinction, but you would be wrong. There's no reason to worry, as a couple of studies have recently found.

According to an American survey, 'Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.” Overall, 89% of those who had read an e-book had also read a book in print.' (Read the article).

This echoes another British study, accoding to which, perhaps surprisingly, 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer traditional books over their digital equivalents. The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: "I like to hold the product" (51%), "I am not restricted to a particular device" (20%), "I can easily share it" (10%), "I like the packaging" (9%), and "I can sell it when used" (6%). (Read the article).

DRM: Digital Rights Management
The “’real books’ vs. ebooks’” debate has been around for years, of course. And, unlike other types of media, there are good reasons to prefer the old medium. Paper books don’t need electricity. You can resell them or give them away without sparking a battle over copyright infringement. They can suffer a coffee spill without completely crapping out. It is impossible to get distracted by pop-up emails and other apps. Paper books can’t disappear from your library due to company policy, technical malfunction, or technology obsolescence. And no matter how handy an ebook is, its intangible nature strips its ability to evoke the sentimental memories a dingy, dog-eared paperback can elicit. (Read more)
I'm a happy user of an e-book reader. I find it very useful and convenient. It's light and easy to hold when I read lying on my bed. It's also easy to carry on holiday or to a doctor's appointment. The books are cheaper and there are loads of classic works in the public domain, if you care to read them. I no longer need storage space in my cluttered bookcases. Having said that, I enjoy getting a printed book for my birthday. So, this is my experience. How about yours? Feel free to leave a comment.

For a wider perspective, have a look at these infograms on the business side of the issue.

lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

Amiri Baraka, 1934-2014

Poet and political activist Amiri Baraka died earlier this month at 79. Mr Baraka was a founder of the black arts movement in the 1960s, in the context of the Civil Rights Movement.
Baraka "adopted a confrontational style for his poetry, drama, fiction and essays. With intent to create awareness about the concerns of African-Americans, his writings ... on one hand have been praised as a voice against oppression, on the other hand, have also incited controversies." (CNN)
His poem Somebody Blew Up America, about the 9/11 attack, was controversial indeed and cost him his position as New Jersey's poet laureate. (Read and listen more on this story)

Amiri Baraka gave a reading of his poetry in Huesca in 2009.

For more information, read this New York Times article.

More poems by Amiri Baraka.

miércoles, 15 de enero de 2014

Praise for female readers

What do men look for in women? Some (many?) are attracted by looks, others by intellect, as explains today's poem by a teacher who beat a student at a rap contest. For more info, visit 

So, what do you go for in a girl?”
He crows, lifting a lager to his lips
Gestures where his mate sits
Downs his glass
“He prefers tits
I prefer ass.
What do you go for in a girl?”

I don’t feel comfortable
The air left the room a long time ago
All eyes are on me
Well, if you must know

I want a girl who reads
Yeah. Reads.
I’m not trying to call you a chauvinist
Cos I know you’re not alone in this

I want a girl who reads
Who needs the written word
& uses the added vocabulary
She gleans from novels and poetry
To hold lively conversation
In a range of social situations

I want a girl who reads
Who’s heart bleeds at the words of Graham Greene
Or even Heat magazine
Who’ll tie back her hair while reading Jane Eyre
and goes cover to cover with each waterstones three for two offer
but I want a girl who doesn’t stop there

I want a girl who reads
Who feeds her addiction for fiction
With unusual poems and plays
That she hunts out in crooked bookshops for days and days and days
She’ll sit addicted at breakfast, soaking up the back of the cornflakes box
And the information she gets from what she reads makes her a total fox
Cos she’s interesting & unique
& her theories make me go weak at the knees

I want a girl who reads
A girl who’s eyes will analyse
The menu over dinner
Who’ll use what she learns to kick my ass in arguments
so she always ends the winner
But she’ll still be sweet and she’ll still be flirty
Cos she loves the classics and the classics are dirty
So late at night she’d always have me in a stupor
As she paraphrases the raunchier moments from the works of Jilly Cooper

See, some guys prefer asses
Some prefer tits
And I’m not saying that I don’t like those bits
But what’s more important
What supersedes
Is a girl a with passion, wit and dreams
So I’d like a girl who reads.