Books | Texas Public Radio

Books

Ilna Colemere holds an iPad over a children's nonfiction book about the solar system. 

"So we're gonna access the camera and you hold it over and eventually" Colemere trails off while maneuvering the iPad over the page.

As we watch, suddenly the music fades up from the iPad, and a three-dimensional sun rises from the two-dimensional book with the planets quickly orbiting it. 

This is augmented reality. Using a smartphone or iPad and an app from the book's publisher, you can see a wealth of unseen content, self-narrating books, or ones with 3D models. 

It all began rather simply.

"Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform," goes the opening line in the opening book of Michael Bond's Paddington Bear series. Readers, for their part, first met the orphan bear from Peru in 1958, in the pages of A Bear Named Paddington.

I need a book doctor.

If you haven’t heard that term before, a book doctor is someone who will take a presumably moribund manuscript, put it on a strict regimen of big picture prescriptions – a look with a tongue depressor down the throat of the thing, shining a light there to see about improving development, structure, organization, and flow. The closer, more surgical examination to get at finer, more granular line edits can go to an editor or proofreader. A book doctor looks at the macroeconomics of these created worlds.

 

In the 1950s and '60s, if there were any children's books in a house, at least one of them was likely to be a Little Golden Book. With their golden spines and brightly colored pictures, they begged to be grabbed off a shelf by a curious child — which is exactly what their creators intended. Those beloved books celebrate their 75th birthday this year.

First introduced shortly after the start of World War II, many of them — such as The Tawny Scrawny Lion, The Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Poky Little Puppy — have become classics.

Wikimedia Commons/Adam Jones, Ph.D.

Rather than Elvis Presley, it was his first producer Sam Phillips of Sun Records of Memphis who has been credited with creating rock 'n' roll.

While that may be an exaggeration, it would only be a slight one. Phillip's role in the discovery and development of the founding artists of that and other genre's is incalculable. In addition to Elvis Presley, there was Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin' Wolf, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash.

HarperCollins Publishers

"'Shock and Awe' is about the power of make-believe," writes music critic Simon Reynolds.

His book, about the lasting influence of glam rock – also known as "glitter" in the United States – as a movement, was known for its memorable stars and outrageous style.

It has been a crazy few days for Ryan Griffin, the guy behind the Read-to-a-Barber program we wrote about on the NPR Ed blog last week. He says the phone at The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti, Mich., has been ringing nonstop since the story ran.

Beverly Cleary has sold 85 million copies of 41 books and — if those numbers weren't impressive enough — she turns 100 on Tuesday. Though the world was a very different place when Cleary was a child, she has always maintained that kids pretty much stay the same — which explains the ongoing popularity of her beloved characters, like Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Ralph S. Mouse.

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

Pages