Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all visitors to my blog. I hope that 2012 proves to be a happy and peaceful year for you, full of happiness and great adventures, and of course filled with lots of wonderful books.

kia hari te tau hou
bonne année
felice anno nuovo
ath bhliain faoi mhaise
feliz año nuevo
a gut yohr
gelukkig nieuwjaar
prost Neujahr

Apple's Jonathan Ive gets knighthood in UK honours list

Jonathan Ive 

Mr Ive has been behind many of the iconic gadgets of the last 15 years - BBC

Jonathan Ive, Apple's head of design, has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.
Mr Ive, who can now style himself Sir Jonathan, has been made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE).
Raised in Chingford, Mr Ive began working for Apple in 1992 and since then has been the brains behind many of its products.
He described the honour as "absolutely thrilling" and said he was "both humbled and sincerely grateful".
Mr Ive added: "I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making.
"I discovered at an early age that all I've ever wanted to do is design."
Mr Ive has been lauded for the tight fit between form and function seen in Apple gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone.
Born in February 1967, Mr Ive inherited a love of making things from his father, a silversmith, and reportedly spent much of his youth taking things apart to see how they worked.

recent biography of the Apple co-founder written by Walter Isaacson. However, it also said that Mr Ive was "hurt" by Mr Jobs taking credit for innovations that came from the design team.

Mr Ive's eye for design combined effectively with Mr Jobs' legendary attention to detail and the products that have emerged from the company since the late 1990s have turned Apple into the biggest and most influential technology company on the planet.
Full story at BBC.

Introducing Cartoons About Ebooks and Digital Reading

December 30th, 2011 | By Piotr Kowalczyk
As I’m collecting at Ebook Friendly cartoons about ebooks and reading, I’ve noticed that there is a shortage of new stories on the web. Most of the great ones were created months – or years – before.
Ebooks are now on their way to become mainstream. Users need tips to address their questions, but they also need something to address their concerns. I think cartoons are a great way to help ebooks become part of people’s lives. Embracing by having fun always works:-)
The first cartoon is live. It’s called Books for Christmas (you may already expect what it is about).
As you’ll see, this story is not told from a perspective of an ebook enthusiast. It’s just not a good perspective. Please let me know what you think of it (and what you think of an idea of ebook-focused cartoons in general).
It’s not the first cartoon series I’ve created, but it’s the first one done completely on the iPad, which, by the way, works really well as a drawing tablet. Tablet pen and one good app do it all. It’s SketchBook Pro (AppStore link).
The cartoons are available with Creative Commons license, so feel free to share them on your blog. To make it even easier, an embed code can be grabbed from under every cartoon.
If you want to get new cartoons, simply subscribe to Tips & More feed by RSS or email.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards - nominations sought

The Sir Julius Vogel sub-committee of SFFANZ is currently accepting nominations for science fiction and fantasy works first published or released in the 2012 calendar year.

Nominations open on 1 January 2012 and close on 31 March 2012 at 8pm.

To make a nomination please email  sjv_awards@sffanz.sf.org.nz.  Anyone can make a nomination, and it is free of charge.
Please send one nomination per email and include as many contact details as possible for the nominee as well as yourself.
You can find full details about the nomination procedures and rules, including eligibility criteria at http://sffanz.sf.org.nz/sjv/sjvAwardsRules_2012.shtml. .

The voting will occur at UnCONventional, http://unconventional2012.wordpress.com/ - the national science fiction convention being held in Auckland, New Zealand over the weekend of the1st – 3rd June 2012.

Pico Iyer’s Kinship With Graham Greene

By LIESL SCHILLINGER - New York Times -  December 30, 2011

242 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $25.95.

Left - Kurt Hutton/Getty Images - Graham Greene

“Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork.” Those who love Graham Greene — and their numbers are legion — will recognize this sentence, the first line of his quietly devastating novel “The Heart of the Matter,” published in 1948.
Why didn’t Wilson deserve an honorific? What terseness, scorn or unceremoniousness did the omission of “Mr.” imply? Why was a grown man wearing shorts, and why were his knees pink? Where was the Bedford Hotel and where, to be precise, was Wilson? Was he in England, the country of Greene’s birth? Hardly. Like the author, Wilson was spending a stretch of World War II in West Africa. And who was Wilson? That would take longer to answer. This same aura of enigma-disguised-as-directness hovers over the meditation Pico Iyer has written about his lifelong obsession with Graham Greene, numinously titled “The Man Within My Head” — a nod to Greene’s first novel, “The Man Within.”
Iyer, a journalist and world traveler, the author of seven books of nonfiction and two novels, begins his own memoir this way: “I was standing by the window in the Plaza Hotel, looking out.” Where is this Plaza Hotel? In New York? Hardly. It’s in La Paz, Bolivia, a country where Iyer and a friend nearly died in a car crash on a mountain road one New Year’s Day. And who is Iyer? The answer to that question unfolds in the ensuing pages, emerging from behind a scrim of other characters — not only Greene, but the author’s philosopher father, Raghavan Iyer, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as Iyer’s old traveling companions and school friends and the women he has encountered along the way.
Iyer is far from the first Greenite to write about this prolific figure, whose long and illustrious career encompassed scores of novels, essays, short stories and plays. Greene’s official biographer, Norman Sherry, devoted more than 2,000 pages, gathered in three volumes, to an exploration of the author’s boyhood and manhood, his conflicted Roman Catholicism, his love affairs and friendships, his devious psychology.
Full review at the New York Times.      

Short stories: Angela Carter and Roddy Doyle

In our special Christmas short story series, we're parcelling up two of our most popular short stories each day – one to read and one to listen to. Today…

• Listen to Helen Simpson reading The Kitchen Child by Angela Carter

• Read Roddy Doyle's short story The Plate
Helen Simpson and Angela Carter
Helen Simpson and Angela Carter. Photograph: Graham Turner/Jane Bown
Helen Simpson reads Angela Carter's short story The Kitchen Child, which "shows her stories can be sunnier, funnier and altogether more high-spirited than her more minatory, gothic tales might suggest."

Listen to The Kitchen Child by Angela Carter

Link to this audio

Read The Plate, a short story by Roddy Doyle

The Plate
 'He was in hell and he'd never recover'. Photograph: Wassink Lundgren

–I love you but I think I'm dying.
This was what he said as he came in the back door. Then he turned around and walked back out. Maeve thought he was leaving her. He'd said he was the night before. Until she saw the way he was walking. And she knew it: he was dying. He walked like he'd been stabbed, away from the door, out into the garden. It was after nine but still bright enough, early September. His back to her, crouched, he moved quickly, sideways, clutching something – his stomach. The back door was a slider, all glass. She watched him move down the garden. She waited for him to fall. She waited for the blood.
But he didn't fall.
–Are you all right?
She stayed at the door.
He'd gone to the end of the garden. The sun was down, behind the high back wall. He was dark, crouched, still moving. She saw now; he was coming back.
Read more…

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery Exhibited New Collages by Poet John Ashbery

Art Knowledge News - : 30 Dec 2011 
artwork: John Ashbery - "The 'Little' Tower of Babel", 2010 - Collage, digitized print - 6 3/4" x 8 1/4" - Courtesy the artist and Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

New York City.- The Tibor de Nagy Gallery presented an exhibition of new collages by acclaimed poet John Ashbery. This is the gallery’s second solo exhibition devoted exclusively to Ashbery’s collages, following his hugely successful debut with the gallery in 2008. "John Ashbury: Recent Collages" Ashbery was fascinated in his youth by the collage novels of Max Ernst and the partly collaged Cubist paintings of Picasso and Braque. He started making collages as an undergraduate at Harvard, and has continued the collage process in both his visual and literary creations ever since. Influenced by such collage giants as Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, and more directly, Joe Brainard, Ashbery’s work combines equal doses of art historical and contemporary pop culture references. These recent works are more inventive and confidently his own than ever before. Ashbery continues to explore the collage medium, pushing the imagery into increasingly amorphous shapes with unexpected and often humorous juxtapositions, in much the same way that he has consistently pushed the boundaries of poetry. 


Want a fun kidlit calendar for the New Year?  Here are some offerings from Calendars.com.

HybridBooks & Ginger Nuts Junk Food--Zesty!

In the last couple of days I've come across two intriguing articles on ePublishing. One talks about a hybrid of the traditional and the eBook, the other speaks to the new ability (or nightmare), with the proliferation of digital text, to incessantly revise and update your work. Shades of Winston Smith's rewriting of history in 1984?
Read for yourself:
From The Wall Street Journal
Books That Are Never Done Being Written
By Nicholas Carr

From the New York Times
The Book Beyond the Book by David Streitfeld

Streifeld speaks of Melville House, an innovative publisher that advocates a sort of hybrid between eReaders and traditional books: "On the physical side, the hybrids are attractive, stripped down paperbacks... the electronic element comes in with the ancillary material at the end. The last page directs readers to a website."

These links enable the full experience to go on after the reading is done. For instance, a Melville story leads to a website that shows an 1852 map of lower Manhattan and a recipe for Ginger Nuts, all elements in the actual story. The publisher learned after the fact that Ginger Nuts were considered America's first junk food!

HybridBooks, eReaders, paperbacks, it's all good!
As for me, I'm thrilled with my brand new Kindle Fire.

What's your fave holiday gift?

Gourmand World Cookbook Awards - two NZ titles make the finals......

Cookbook of the Year – 12 Finalists
Canada – The Art of Living According to Joe Beef ,Meredith Ericson (Ten Speed-Parfum d’Encre)
Chile – Patagonian Cuisine , Francisco Fantini (Gourmet Patagonia)
Colombia – Vida y Sabor Judio, Perla C.Gilinski (Gilinski)
Iceland – Stora Bokin um Villibrad, Ulfar Finn Björnsson (Salka)
Italy – Nuovi Cclassic, Diego Crosara (Reed Gourmet)
Malaysia – The Best of Chef Wan (Marshall Cavendish)
Mexico – Una Herencia de Sabores, Susanna Palazuelos (Random House Mondadory)
Monaco – J’aime Monaco (Alain Ducasse Editions)
Netherlands – Kookaravaan, Yassine Nassir, Marcel van Silfhout (Zilverstermedia)
New Zealand-Wanaka-,McKay,Myer (Random House NZ)
Peru – La Ruta de la Papa , Sara Beatriz Guardia (Universidad San Martin de Porres)
USA – The Cooks Illustrated Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen (Cooks Illustrated)

New Zealand – Free Range in the City, Annabel Langbein (Harper Collins)
South Africa – Cooked out of the Frying Pan, Justin Bonello (Penguin)
UK – Baking Made Easy – Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins)
USA – Food Network Star (William Morrow)

Hollywood has lots of new literary movies scheduled for 2012. Here are five upcoming literary movies to look forward to in the new year.

By Maryann Yin on Galley Cat, December 30, 2011 

Walt Disney Animation Studios will rerelease Beauty and the Beast in 3D. The film’s story comes from Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont‘s version of the fairy tale called La Belle et la Bête. It arrives in theaters on January 13th.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the sequel to the 2007 film, once again stars Oscar winner Nicholas Cage as the Marvel Comics antihero. The movie comes out on February 17th.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters picks up where the Grimm Brothers left off. It explores the aftermath of how this sibling duo fared following their escapade with a cannibalistic hag. The movie hits theaters on March 2nd.
The Raven, a fictional action-adventure film, stars John Cusack as legendary mystery author Edgar Allan Poe. It’s headed for the big screen on March 9th.

The Hunger Games, arguably the most anticipated adaptation of 2012, adapts the first book in Suzanne Collinspopular young-adult trilogy. The movie will be released on March 23rd.
Link here to view the trailer for The Hunger Games

Hunger Games, Nicki Minaj, and More Most-Anticipated of 2012 (Photos)

The Daily Beast picks the most-anticipated releases in culture for 2012.

Read the rest of this article on The Daily Beast

Christmas in New Zealand

San Francisco resident Jules Older spends Christmas in New Zealand.

100 years on: The best books of 1911

The Scotsman - Published on Saturday 24 December 2011

Stuart Kelly on what The Scotsman said about books of a century ago -

IT IS always a mixture of the quaintly predictable and the downright astonishing, to leaf back through The Scotsman’s pages for the issues 100 years ago. Although I was looking for the book recommendations for 1911, it’s difficult not to be sidetracked onto articles with headlines like “Leith Town Council Tackles Diphtheria Outbreak” and “Immorality in Glasgow”, or be diverted by the “Men Of The Year” caricatures (Thomas Hardy, but also Franz Joseph I of Austria) – or linger over the adverts for charcoal pills, Evo’s tonics, a range of furs and Alice’s Return To Wonderland in Robert Maule & Son’s emporium, Princes Street, where she encounters “Caterpillars that REALLY DO CRAWL”, “dolls of all nationalities” and “CLOCK-WORK contrivances”. (Maule also advises that male sweethearts might like a Fancy Vest, or “if he has not yet tried one, a Razor of the safety kind”).
A number of books were published in 1911 that are still in the canon today, and The Scotsman was quick to review most of them. Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson, his satirical wheeze about a girl so beautiful all of Oxford falls in love with her, was warmly received: “persiflage in perfection is the keynote of Mr Max Beerbohm’s effort in fiction” which is described as “a book of intense smartness”. Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes was called a “painfully fascinating and exceptionally well-recorded” work of “psychological study and present-day Russian political conditions” despite “certain tones of cynicism and even moral negation”.
GK Chesterton’s The Innocence Of Father Brown was given qualified praise – “a book of less weight, indeed, than the best books of this kind, but one which no-one who likes a good story will read without enjoying and admiring” while noting Chesterton’s “characteristic felicity in inventing and suggesting paradox”. DH Lawrence’s The White Peacock merited but a brief notice. “The reader”, the reviewer opined “in search of problems will turn in vain to the comparatively simply story that serves as the plot of this novel”. Rather spoiling that plot, it concludes “there is none of the traditional living happily ever after; for the marriages have a disillusioning effect on the contracting parties, and one of the husbands becomes a drunkard”.
The full piece at The Scotsman.

The Royal Ontario Museum to Host "Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008"

Art Knowledge News: 29 Dec 2011 
artwork: Julianne Moore portrayed as Ingres’s ‘Grand Odalisque’ by Michael Thompson - Vanity Fair Photography Exhibition
TORONTO.- The Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 from September 26, 2009 to January 3, 2010. The exhibition, which garnered record-breaking attendance in its recent European engagements, showcases 150 portraits, including classic images from Vanity Fair’s early period and photographs featured in the magazine since its 1983 relaunch. 
A collaboration between Vanity Fair and the National Portrait Gallery, London, the exhibition is curated by Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, and David Friend, Vanity Fair’s Editor of Creative Development. Vanity Fair Portraits is presented by the Bay and will be displayed in the Roloff Beny Gallery on Level 4 of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The ROM will be the only Canadian venue to display Vanity Fair Portraits, and this will be its first showing in eastern North America.

Throughout its 95-year history, Vanity Fair magazine has helped define the public persona of some of the most influential individuals in the world. The exhibition brings together a collection of captivating images of cultural icons from the magazine’s vintage and modern periods. Sitters range from Claude Monet, Amelia Earheart and Jesse Owens to David Hockney, Arthur Miller and Madonna, as well as legendary Hollywood personalities from Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo, to Demi Moore and Tom Cruise. The magazine’s mix of artistic seriousness and popular celebrity means that portraits of writers, artists and leaders of the avant-garde will be displayed alongside images of actors, musicians and athletes, providing a fascinating range of high and popular culture.

“We are delighted to bring Vanity Fair Portraits to the ROM. Across its history, the magazine has been a barometer of the cultural mood of the time. This exhibition succeeds in channelling a mixture of the bygone days of Hollywood glamour, as well as newsmakers in art, business, politics and sport - all captured by some of the best portrait photographers in history. We are grateful to the National Portrait Gallery in London and Vanity Fair magazine for the opportunity to show this beautiful exhibition in Canada. It will be the centrepiece in an upcoming series of programming on the nature of celebrity,” said William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO.

artwork: The April 2007 edition of Vanity Fair had a cover story on the SopranosVanity Fair Portraits was mounted to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the modern-era magazine and the 95th anniversary of the original magazine’s founding. The exhibition is divided into two parts, 1913-36, the magazine’s early period, and 1983 to the present. In addition to the portraits, the exhibition will include vintage and modern editions of Vanity Fair magazines.

The magazine was launched in 1913 by visionary publisher Condé Nast and editor Frank Crowinshield. From its inception, the magazine strove to engage its cosmopolitan and discerning audience with the vibrant modern culture that sparkled at the beginning of the 20th century. The birth of modernism, the dawning of the Jazz Age, and the 1913 Armory Show that introduced avant-garde art to the American public, all marked the beginning of this sophisticated new era. Vanity Fair magazine became a cultural catalyst, introducing and providing commentary on contemporary artists, personalities and writers.

In these early years, Vanity Fair was the showcase for what was to become the most accessible art form in the 20th century, and an alluring array of portraits were commissioned from the greatest photographers of the period. Edward Steichen (1879-1973), the magazine’s chief photographer for 13 years (from 1923 to 1936), became America’s leading photographer of style, taste and celebrity. Steichen is best remembered for his timeless images of actors, whose likenesses in print and onscreen helped shape popular culture during the first quarter of the 20th century. A selection of his iconic photographs will be shown in the exhibition.

From the magazine’s beginning, British, Irish and American literary figures were frequently profiled in the magazine along with their writings. Among the vintage portraits shown in the exhibition are iconic images of H.G. Wells, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Rebecca West, Ernest Hemingway and George Bernard Shaw.
Vanity Fair Portraits offers a rare opportunity to see some of the definitive portraits of the Jazz Age. Memorable images of men and women of the day are presented, such as Albert Einstein, Collette, Pablo Picasso and English playwright Noel Coward, whose images were captured by legendary photographers such as Martin Hölig, Cecil Beaton, Baron De Meyer, Man Ray and Edward Steichen.

In 1936, Vanity Fair suspended publication, laying dormant for almost half a century. In the early 1980s, the vibrant cosmopolitan spirit streaming through the culture of the time persuaded Condé Nast Publications to resurrect the magazine. Once again, the magazine succeeded in immortalizing the newsmakers of the day - individuals of talent, stature and culture who were firmly embedded in the popular culture. And, as in the early period, portrait photography was the graphic bedrock of the magazine. Tina Brown, editor from 1983 to 1992, notably imbued the magazine with a mixture of personality profiles and first-rate reportage. When Brown moved on to the New Yorker in 1992, Graydon Carter took the editorial reigns at Vanity Fair and expanded the magazine’s coverage of news and world affairs, and, amongst a variety of new franchises, inaugurated the now annual Hollywood Issue along with the much-celebrated annual Oscar party.

The section of the exhibition representing the period 1983 to the present illustrates how the revived monthly followed in the tradition of its first editor, Frank Crowninshield, and commissioned the world’s leading portrait photographers, among them Helmut Newton, Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Harry Benson, Mario Testino, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair’s principal photographer since 1983. Leibovitz, the most famous imagemaker of her generation, first came to prominence while she was working as a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, eventually becoming chief photographer. Her Vanity Fair covers have left us with unforgettable images of prominent figures in American pop culture. 

Short stories: David Nicholls

• Listen to David Nicholls read his short story Every Good Boy

David Nicholls storyPhotograph: Charlie Surbey
David Nicholls reads his own story Every Good Boy, in which the gift of a piano has unexpected consequences for a nine-year-old boy.

Listen to Every Good Boy by David Nicholls

Link to this audio

12 days, 12 books, 12 illustrators

one - jan brett
 two - jane ray
 three - laurel long
 four - louise brierley
 five - robert sabuda
 six - gennady spirin
 seven - brian wildsmith
 eight - joanna isles
 nine - ilonka karasz
ten - don daily
eleven - rachel griffin
twelve - little golden book

Which illustrator is your favorite?
I hope you're enjoying these "12 Days of Christmas", which end on January 6th, with the celebration of Theophany, or Epiphany.

Amazon Sold a Million Kindles A Week In December

By Dianna Dilworth on Galley Cat, December 29, 2011 

Amazon announced today that 2011 was the best selling year ever for the Kindle. While they didn’t say exactly how many Kindles they sold, the company revealed that throughout December, they sold more than 1 million Kindle devices per week.
Kindle eBook sales were up too. According to the Amazon press release: “Gifting of Kindle books was up 175 percent between this Black Friday and Christmas Day compared to the same period in 2010.” As in the past, Christmas Day was biggest day for Kindle book downloads.
This news extended to Amazon’s international sites as well. eBookNewser has more: “And Amazon’s good news extends to their other sites, as well. The Kindle is also the best-selling product on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it this holiday season.”

Interlitq goes into abeyance

Following second negative funding decision by Arts Council England, Interlitq is to go into abeyance, in terms of publishing, with immediate effect

Peter Robertson writes:
“Following the second negative funding decision by Arts Council England, I am sorry to have to say that Interlitq is to go into abeyance, in terms of publishing, and with immediate effect. I very much hope that you have enjoyed Interlitq‘s 16 issues, which have set out to showcase outstanding literature in 93 languages, and including work by both Nobel laureates and new writers. We at Interlitq would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and fruitful 2012.”

Books and beer

The Spotty Dog Books and Ale is an independent bookstore and lounge/cafe, where we share our passion for books and writers with our customers in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and the Berkshires.

Situated in a beautiful old firehouse, We carry over 10,000 new books in all categories, including a large section of unique books and toys for kids, preteens, an expanded local section, history, gardening, food & wine, G/L/B/T, and sections featuring local writers and interests.Whether you’re looking for a classic or cutting edge, we’re constantly adding new titles, so stop in to see what we have!

The above is the opening statement on the website of The Spotty Dog Books and Ale website.

This amazing bookshop, which I have visited on each of my four visits to this part of NY state, is a rare and wonderful thing - an independent bookstore with a bar. And no ordinary bookstore either - a wonderful eclectic range of books awaits the serious browser. Mainly single copies, the most I have ever seen of one title is three, I always go away with a bag of books. Yesterdays purchases were:

FOOD RULES - an eater's manual
Michael Pollan with illustrations by  Maira Kalman
The Penguin Press - Hardcover - $23.95
Gorgeously illustrated new expanded hardback edition of the paperback edition published in 2009. Couldn't resist it!

REREADINGS - Seventeen Writers Revisit Books The Love
Edited by Annw Fadiman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux - Hardcover - $22
The second author featured is Patriacia Hampl and her choice to reread is Katherine Mansfield's Journals and Letters - how could I not buy this?
Is a book the same book---or a reader the same reader--the second time around? The 17 authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. Published in 2005 and still in print. Enough said.

Nathaniel Philbrick
Viking - Hardback - $25

Joseph Keller
50th Anniversary Edition
Simon & Schuster - Large Format Paperback - $16
It must be 40+ years ago I read this contemporary classic and I feel bad that I can recall so little detail that I decided I need to reread it. It has a new thoughtful introduction by Christopher Buckley which is all I have read so far.

Lane Smith
Board Book - Roaring Brook Press - $7.99

Is it for chewing?
Is it for wearing?
Is it for calling?
NO .... it's for reading.

A new book for Sonny's library.

The Spotty Dog Books & Ale,
440 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12 534
www.The SpottyDog.com

Bestselling books of 2011: the top 5,000 listed

Nielsen's bestselling books of 2011 are dominated by paperbacks and elderly novels. See what came top

2011, ONE DAY
Elderly bestseller: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in the film version of One Day. Photograph: Allstar/Focus Features/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar
What were the most popular books in the UK in 2011? Thanks to Nielsen Bookscan, we have the answer. Which is? By and large, books we've already read.
Of the nearly 5,000 books detailed in the 2011 charts so far, 35% of them, or 1,695, were published before 2010. In an analysis published today, John Dugdale writes that the charts are dominated by movie tie-ins and older books with the number one slot held by One Day, followed by Christmas number one chef Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-Minute Meals .

Shirley Hughes: Alfie, 30 years on - audio slideshow

Shirley Hughes, the author-illustrator of children's classic Alfie and many other picturebooks, talks about her much-loved character, her inspiration and her style of illustration and storytelling

Your books of the year

Illustration: Clifford Harper/agraphia.co.uk
From SF to politics, cartoons to history, Guardian readers choose their favourite reads of 2011 -guardian.co.uk
Jeff Alderson, Oxford
John Madeley, Let Live: A Bike Ride, Climate Change and the CIALet Live: A Bike Ride, Climate Change and the CIA by John Madeley (Longstone Books). John Madeley is a well-known author and broadcaster on issues relating to development and social justice. This his second novel focuses on climate change as it has affected small farmers and others in Africa. He bases it on the experiences of a British journalist who sets out to bicycle through six countries. It is truly a thriller, with so much relevant to what is already having severe, indeed crippling, consequences for millions in rural Africa. The interplay with the powers-that-be, often of a dastardly nature, adds to the drama. It deserves to be read by those who remain unmoved and cynical about the reality of climate change, and too by those committed to mitigating its effects. Kate Anderson Sheffield
Penelope Lively's How It All Began (Fig Tree) is honest but not mawkish about being elderly, and the frustrations of being physically more dependent. One expects the supreme prose, but this book has depth with a lightness of touch. In hardback it has one of the loveliest covers, epitomising for me an ideal retirement.
Kenneth Baker, Lord Baker of Dorking, House of Lords
Death in Florence: the Medici, Savonarola and the Battle for the Soul of the Renaissance City by Paul Strathern (Jonathan Cape). This is a brilliant history of how the wealth and power of Florence was challenged by a radical monk so successfully with the Bonfire of the Vanities that they had to burn him at the stake – Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Ludovico Sforza, and Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope, are in the premier league of Italian politics and make Berlusconi seem a mere pot boy. My second book is The Case for Working with Your Hands: Or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good by Matthew Crawford (Penguin). This bestseller in America is the bible for those who work with their hands. Crawford, a philosophy don, also runs his own motorcycle workshop in Richmond, Virginia, and that is his inspiration and his satisfaction. Practical, technical, hands-on learning is behind the new University Technical Colleges.
David Berry London
Sherry Turkle, Alone TogetherIt is a golden age not of fiction but non-fiction, one reason why we set up a reading group in north London where novels are banned. Two books that produced much discussion this year were Sherry Turkle's Alone Together (Basic Books) and Luke Jennings's Blood Knots (Atlantic). Turkle, a psychologist at MIT in Boston, brings a psychoanalytic eye to an investigation into the meanings of the digital world. Her dissection of the absences and tyrannies of social networking made me decide not to get an iPhone. Jennings writes about "fathers, friendship and fishing" but his subject is really mentoring, and his elegant narrative would shame many contemporary novelists.
Full list of choices at The Guardian