Tag Archive: Reading


“We had a room with some books but nobody ever went in there.” This is a quote from Alan Cohen, P.S. 69’s principal. Imagine being a student in NYC and not having access to a proper library? Many students in low income communities face this issue daily. Rooms that are dedicated to being libraries, are often  found bare and deserted due to low or no funding and lack of materials- mainly books. With the economy tumbling and still uncertain, many budgets for NYC public schools have put Libraries at the bottom of the list. It seems there just isn’t enough money to support a program that is so essential to students.

There may be hope! A foundation known as the Robin Hood Foundation is looking to change the direction and image of many poverty stricken NYC public schools. The foundation over the past nine years has been:

 “dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City, and the city’s schools administration have built, with the help of private donors, libraries in 62 schools in low-income neighborhoods.”

The Foundation has had such success that many of the libraries that have been built in these schools have been adorned by murals from famous artists. These libraries and pictures have transformed schools that once seemed headed in a one way direction with the students having no choice but to follow the same dooming direction.

Another example of this transformation is Public School 47, located in the Soundview section of the Bronx. The school is in need of space. So much so that the gym has been transformed into classrooms and administrative offices have been created from bathrooms. Yet with the help of the Robin Hood Foundation, the school now seems to have a promising future- thanks to the addition of the new library located on the second floor. The room is described as expanding in a somewhat magical way. Above all, the new library (home to roughly 7,000 books) is the first “proper” library that the school has had in many years. All thanks to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Please visit their site to learn more information about how their program works and how their efforts have helped to keep literature within the NYC public school system. Foundations such as this one and books such as A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente, My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi Cerebro no Va a Salir Flotando, and A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) aim to improve and inspire reading among young students and children.

Editorial Campana is pleased to announce the first event for MARCH 2009.  In Celebration of International Women’s Month with Margarita DragoJacqueline Herranz BrooksSonia Rivera Valdés(Casa de las Américas Award winner) and  Paquita Suárez Coalla.  The authors will read from their new works and chat with the audience. The event will take place Thursday March 5th, 8:00 p.m. at Librería Caliope, NY. PLease visit editorialcampana.com for more information and for directions.

 

 

Google and Amazon have just recently announced that they will be pushing many books to be released into cell phone format. As many of you may know from our last post, the iPhone has many applications that allow you to read books, and there are other devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. Yet as many of these devices are still expensive, people don’t want to spend more money at a time when most are watching what they spend. Knowing this, Google and Amazon have decided to make books available on many cell phones. 

Keep in mind that this news comes at a time when Amazon has announced that they will be releasing a newer version of their popular Kindle- the Kindle 2. Maybe Amazon hopes that even though mobile phones will allow you to read books, the new Kindle will offer features that will make consumers want a Kindle to read “Stories of Grown-Up Girls and Little Women,” written by Sonia Rivera-Valdès  Kindle already offers over 200,000 titles and with the release of the new Kindle, many  more are sure to follow. So why then would Amazon decide to make mobile phones have access to this library- exposure and profits. Although the Kindle is costly, it does make reading an electronic book easy. It’s large screen makes the reader feel as though they are reading an actual book than a cell phone would or even the iPhone.

But just as camera phones have not replaced digital cameras, smartphones are not likely to replace dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle or the Reader from Sony, analysts said. These specialized devices have screens about the size of a paperback book and use a technology that does not require backlighting, which makes them easier to read in most light conditions. They also have longer battery life.

The point however is that e-books are taking over. Although the future is still unknown, every day, e-books are proving that they will most likely become the new standard. With the growing popularity of Kindle, Sony’s Reader, applications, and now cell phones that can access books, it is just a matter of time when we will know libraries as digital vaults and monitors will become the new pages that we bookmark and instead, readers will say they can’t wait to find out what happens on the next screen. Books seem as though they will soon be found in museums (if they aren’t replaced by something digital) and maybe holding onto a couple may be a good investment as they might easily become collectors items.

If you live in Washington and read the Washington Post, you might notice something different with the Sunday edition. It’s Book World (a book review section of the newspaper) is moving and being integrated into the newspaper instead of having its own section. The Post launched Book World in the 1960s, folded it as a separate section in 1973 and was reviewed in the early 1980s.   Instead book reviews will be found in the outlook section of the newspaper on Sundays, and in the style and arts section during the week.  As well, Style will have a daily Book World review and touch upon literature and publishing topics. The section will also house interviews and profiles of authors more prominently than in the past. So ends another chapter in book review history.

The Washington Post has decided to shutter the print version of Book World, its Sunday stand-alone book review section, and shift reviews to space inside two other sections of the paper.

Book World, aside from the book review section in the NY Times was one of the last standing book review only sections found in a newspaper across the country. Why has the newspaper decided to make this change? In a nutshell, advertising decreased making the section no longer practical:

“The advertising in Book World didn’t justify the amount of space that we dedicated each week to books coverage,” [stated] Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of The Post, in a phone interview.

The last “issue” of Book World is scheduled to be between February 15-22. It will continue to be published online as an independent section. When rumors arose that the section would be turning it’s last page, many signed a petition in hopes of bringing back the section. The Book World section, as many suggested, honored books and highlighted their significance simply by having a section to itself. Although the attempts to keep Book World alive failed, many were happy that section would at the very least be available on the internet.

Yet there are some who are saying that like other media that gets support, so should book review sections in newspapers:

Douglas Brinkley, the historian, suggested that the book industry and book reviews deserved some kind of public bailout. “I think that just like public television — I think book review sections almost need to get subsidized to keep the intellectual life in America alive,” Mr. Brinkley said. “So if we can do that for radio, and we could do it for television, why can’t we do it for the book industry, which is terribly suffering right now?”

Despite the state of the economy, should newspapers be subsidized in order to make sure sections are kept in print? As he states, the book industry is suffering dramatically right now, and this change could have even more negative implications. If there is no book review section to inform the public about must-reads and new books, how are they to know about them (especially if they do not have access to the internet)?

Luckily, the NY Times still has it’s own section for book reviews. This change by the Washington Post makes the NY Times Sunday section the largest:

publishing at least 24 and as many as 30 or more pages a week with a staff of 15 and contributions from dozens of freelance reviewers. In addition to being included in the Sunday paper, the Book Review is sold as a separate section to 23,500 subscribers. An additional 4,200 copies of the section are sold in bookstores across the country.

Unless you live in NY, it may be harder to find book reviews in your favorite newspaper (or any newspaper).

With the increase in technological advancements, it’s hard to imagine that reading would be rising in popularity. Maybe not quite as it was in 1982, but a turn for the better at the very least.

picture-1According to the new finding, the  National Endowment for The Arts both men and women are reading more, young adults reading rose about 21%, and Hispanic’s were found to have the highest reading increase among ethnic groups- over 20%. This comes at a crucial time when many bookstores are fearing the worst with the condition of the economy. There may be hope after all. Although the same study found that roughly 15% are reading online, the fact that reading (in fiction, novels, and short stories) is on the rise may help to increase profits for publishers, authors, and even bookstores.

“Four years ago the endowment released the report “Reading at Risk,” which showed that fewer than half of Americans over 18 read novels, short stories, plays or poetry.”

As you can see from the chart on the right, since 1982, reading took a heavy hit up until 2002. This finding may have also helped support why reading scores were decreasing within the same group. So what caused the jump to 50.2%?

The answer might surprise you. 

“Reading is an important indicator of positive individual and social behavior patterns. Previous NEA research has shown that literary readers volunteer, attend arts and sports events, do outdoor activities, and exercise at higher rates than non-readers.”

Reading seems to be an outlet for positive activities. Maybe some good has come out of the state the economy is in and the fact that “bad” news seems to be abundant. People need a way to feel good about themselves. By reading, people feel smart, journey to far off places, and get a sense of accomplishment when turning that last page. This is what people need right now, when everything else seems to be chaotic.

Yet we must keep in mind that even though reading is on the rise, it is still not at all where it used to be. We need to find a way to get back to the day when people read and over read. Despite technology- in fact technology should be helping with devices such as the kindle, reading needs to become more of a norm. 

Even if this finding is due to the fact that books such as “Twilight,” “The Lord of the Rings, and other popular titles have hit the hearts of young readers, maybe authors are finally getting to their public. A book needs to be fun and interesting if it is going to be read for pleasure.  

Editorial Campana and Campanita books publish a variety of books, in English and Spanish. We are doing our part to make sure that reading continues to rise. If you are an avid reader or just love to read, please check out our books- they are sure to keep you entertained are a great read.

Using Google’s book search, you can search for a book, read details, and in many cases, read several pages of the book. This is a remarkable tool for those looking for hard to find titles and for just about any book lover. Until recently this book search was limited to books that are still published. However, what about books that are no longer published? These books may still be under copyright yet are no longer in print, making it difficult for the public to get their hands on them. Until now.

“Ever since Google began scanning printed books four years ago, scholars and others with specialized interests have been able to tap a trove of information that had been locked away on the dusty shelves of libraries and in antiquarian bookstores.”

This applies to currently in-print books. A settlement that took place in October, may breathe life back into many books that are no longer in-print. The settlement would allow for a greater collection of books to be searchable and read using Google’s book search- including many that are still under copyright. As well, this settlement would allow authors and publishers (as well as google) to make profit from digital versions of books:

“Revenue will be generated through advertising sales on pages where previews of scanned books appear, through subscriptions by libraries and others to a database of all the scanned books in Google’s collection, and through sales to consumers of digital access to copyrighted books. Google will take 37 percent of this revenue, leaving 63 percent for publishers and authors.”

How does all this connect to books that are no longer in print but are still under copyright? This settlement could allow out-of-print books to be born anew in digital format and at the same time allow authors to make money from titles that have been out-of-print for years. Currently, Google has scanned roughly 7 million books into digital format. Books that have been long out of reach (but not forgotten) may soon be available simply by doing a Google book search. Losing the traditional book format, these books will be available online for readers. This method may even help increase revenue due to the fact that the publishing cost will be eliminated. 

This all sounds great. Readers will be able to get their hands (or eyes) on out-of-print books: ” Google users will have an unprecedented ability to search (for free) and access (for a fee) books that formerly lived only in university libraries.” Authors and publishers will make a profit, and Google will continue to provide a wonderful service. Even the settlement itself seemed to allow a peaceful disagreement: 

“When the agreement was announced in October, all sides hailed it as a landmark settlement that permitted Google to proceed with its scanning project while protecting the rights and financial interests of authors and publishers. Both sides agreed to disagree on whether the book scanning itself violated authors’ and publishers’ copyrights.”

Some, librarians in particular, did express fears that as this service grows, Goggle may end up increasing subscription fees. Although there are other services available, none provide the assortment of books allowed by Google. Ever since Microsoft closed it’s doors on a similar book program, Google currently monopolizes the digital book search world.

Revenues generated from Google book search, may be small but are still noticeable.

“So far, publishers that have permitted Google to offer searchable digital versions of their new in-print books have seen a small payoff. Macmillan, the company that owns publishing houses including Farrar, Straus & Giroux and St. Martin’s Press and represents authors including Jonathan Franzen and Janet Evanovich, offers 11,000 titles for search on Google. In 2007, Macmillan estimated that Google helped sell about 16,400 copies.”

It might take a while before an author with an out-of-print book notices any sort of profit. Yet there is still another service that this settlement will allow. Maybe it’s not so much the monetary aspect that will make this service so remarkable, but the cultural impact it will have. As this new service continues and expands, hopefully many titles, especially out-of-print Spanish titles will become accessible to those seeking to open a book that no longer exists.

Did you know that google allows you to view a preview of the book? http://books.google.com/ sends you to a page (that uses googles famous search ability) where you can search for just about any book you can think of. If the book is part of the preview program, you can digitally preview the book. Previews come in the following forms: Full View (if the book is out of copyright), Limited Preview as in the case of Editorial Campana’s books, or Snippet View. The preview is limited to about 20-25 % percent of the book and google informs the viewer that all the content viewed is copyrighted. An article on Cnet noted that:

Click on the preview below to see how this program works.


So what does this mean for publishers and authors? A reader can now read parts from a book to decide whether they are interested in buying the whole book. This means that a book can get more exposure, which is often the hardest part about the publishing industry. At the same time, reading some of the book allows readers to make a better decision as to whether to buy the book or not. On the flip side however, by giving that much of the book away, many may decide that they have read enough of the book and there is no need to read the rest of the book or the pages that have been omitted from the preview.

 

In the end, does it just come down to the publisher’s/author’s choice? Click Here to read what other people have said about this digital preview program.

 

Since 1989, the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents has been working to promote the Latino culture and its people.  The center was established by Dr. Isabel Schon and hopes to answer one of many questions including:

How do we motivate reluctant and struggling Spanish-speaking and Latino children and adolescents to become readers?”

Editorial Campana and Campanita (publisher of My Brain Won’t Float Away/Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando) are also promoting Latino culture and its people. There is a great need for reading material that caters to the many Hispanics living in the United States. Yet aside from libraries and schools, there is still more English literature readily available when you walk into a book store. Making sure that children and adolescents have access to books not only gives them the opportunity to read and learn, but can help them stay out of trouble and encourages positive behavior. Editorial Campana publishes literature in English and Spanish written by Latin@s that dare to challenge the literary canon, conventional social thinking, and that believe in culture as patrimony for everyone. The Barahona Center targets children and adolescents and strives to accomplish the following:

You can read the full article here

The Barahona Center and Editorial Campana are two examples of how we need to make sure that Latino’s have access to reading materials- especially literature that Latinos can relate to.

 

 

Margarita Drago provides her testimony of being imprisoned during the military dictatorship of Argentina in the 1970’s through a series of talks in Puerto Rico

New York, N.Y., April 21, 2008–Margarita Drago was arrested at her house in Rosario during the military dictatorship that ravaged Argentina from the middle of the seventies until 1983. She was accused of political crimes and was imprisoned for 5 years, with no right to a legal defense. In Drago’s first memoir since she got out almost thirty years ago, she recounts being terrorized, witness and victim of multiple interrogations, tortures and rapes. The book, titled Memory Tracks: Fragments From Prison (1975-1980) (Editorial Campana, September 2007) was published simultaneously with it’s original Spanish version Fragmentos de la memoria: Recuerdos de una experiencia carcelaria (1975-1980). “When I got out of jail in September, 1980, one idea drove me: to denounce the crimes and violations of the military dictatorship, and to provide testimony to the resistance of the Argentine political prisoners in the cells of the regime,” Drago said in an interview in May, 2007.

Despite their horrific situation, Drago and her fellow prisoners focused on compassion, hope, encouragement, and further resistance. They told stories and recited poetry. They collected bread crusts and sugar from their rations to make special desserts. They even began a subversive newspaper, printed on cigarette wrappers and smuggled to the outside. “Amidst the precariousness, we led an organized life of clandestine work and study. We did it all because we were convinced that jail wasn’t a parenthesis in our lives, but rather a space of resistance to the dictatorship,” she stated. Drago’s opposition landed her in solitary confinement then, and it still persists in her now. She remains a marginal writer because she refuses censorship.

Just last month, Margarita Drago participated in a series of talks about her book from March 3-8, 2008 in Puerto Rico, organized by El Comité Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico (The Puerto Rican Committee for Human Rights) and La Comisión de la Mujer del Colegio de Abogados (The Women’s Commission of the School of Lawyers). The series of events that took place were, in part, to commemorate El Día Internacional de la Mujer Trabajadora (International Working Woman’s Day). Drago not only sets one of the strongest examples of a woman’s courage and strength, she also wishes to “emphasize the role of women as political leaders, and exalt the determined way in which they offered themselves to the revolutionary cause.” And she believes “in terms of gender, these stories greatly contribute to the affirmation of women’s outstanding role during one of the darkest periods of Argentine history.”

Read the full interview here: http://www.editorialcampana.com/HTMLeng/interviews/MargaritaD_1.html

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