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Tuesday, September 4, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Today was Manuscript Day-the day I finally placed the manuscript of my book, Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia, in the mail to my editor. As many of you know, I have been working on the book for almost two years, and am extremely pleased to finally have the full draft completed on it its way. Now I wait for the reviewers comments, revisions (hopefully not too many!) and on to the presses.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Here’s more on the aforementioned book survey, this time looking at partisanship and reading: Book Chief: Conservatives Want Slogans

The AP-Ipsos poll found 22 percent of liberals and moderates said they had not read a book within the past year, compared with 34 percent of conservatives.

Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five.

By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.

A couple of things strike me. First is that by conflating “moderates” with “liberals” creates a false category to use in comparing to “conservatives”-so what that first paragraph above tells us is hard to say, unless one is simply trying to make a political point. The analysis is especially sloppy, because in the next paragraph we switch from liberal, moderate, conservative to Democrat, Republican and Independent—are these categories to be construed as the same or as different?

Ultimately, I am not surprised by the notion that liberals would, in the aggregate, read more books than conservatives, as liberals tend to be more educated, in the aggregate, than conservatives. Indeed, I would tend to think that the operative issue here is not partisan/ideological self-identification, but rather one of educational attainment. I suspect that if one compared libs and cons of similar educational level, that the reading issue would end up being similar regardless of ideology.

The funny thing about the story as written is that there is an inherent assumption that we are somehow talking about political books here, and the first couple of paragraphs are focused on the notion that conservatives read less because they have simpler ideas about politics:

Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry’s trade group says she knows why—and there’s little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

“The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes,’” Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. “It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress’ most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who “can’t say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion.”

Egads, it’s Karl Rove’s fault! And really, Schroeder isn’t exactly an unbiased observer and to lead the story with her “assessment” isn’t exactly a study in good reporting.

Another major problem overall is that the poll is about reading in general, not reading of political books. Indeed, surely we are talking predominantly about fiction., not political manifestos.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: One in four read no books last year

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.

Of course, I am such a bibliophile that my views are skewed in a particular direction.

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Friday, May 25, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Fascinating: What is reCAPTCHA?.

Signifying Nothing.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Steve Bainbridge’s new book is now out and you can check out a description here: Complete Guide to Sarbanes-Oxley .

Congrats to Steve on completing the book!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Kewl: Inside Google Book Search: Welcoming Princeton University to the Library Project

Over the next several years we will work with Princeton to identify approximately one million public domain works to digitize from their library system, which consists of the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library and thirteen special libraries located around the campus. Because the books being digitized with Princeton are out of copyright, readers will be able to view their full text online, download them for leisure reading or research, or print them for later reference.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I was sent a copy of Orson Scott Card’s new book Empire, which I finally finished last week.

Given that there has been some Blogospheric discussion of the book today and yesterday (for example: here and here), it seemed like a good time to post my review.

The proximate cause of the discussion was a review in yesterday’s LAT of a number of dystopian novels (including Empire and Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin which I have a proof of, but have not yet read). The LAT’s review wasn’t kind (but then again, neither is mine).

Below the fold are my thoughts on the book, including some spoilers.


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Saturday, December 16, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Publisher behind O.J. Simpson book fired

“Judith Regan’s employment with HarperCollins has been terminated effective immediately,” HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman said in a statement late Friday. “The REGAN publishing program and staff will continue as part of the HarperCollins General Books Group.”

Getting fired yet the imprint named after you lives on.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Simpson tells AP he did book for money

Oh, the things you learn by reading the news!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via WaPo: News Corp. Pulls Plug On O.J. Book, Fox Special.

In all seriousness: good to see public revulsion means something every once in a while.

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