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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Twist in the tale as bookshops shut | Companies - The Australian Financial Review

Luke Housego, journalist for The Australian Financial Review reports, It is eight years since the collapse of Angus & Robertson and Borders sent shockwaves through the market and left the nation's booksellers to contemplate whether this was the writing on the wall.

Hamish Alcorn and Dawn Albiner of Archives Fine Books launched an e-commerce portal for their store to boost sales last year.
Photo: Attila Csaszar
But when sales of e-books hit 20 per cent and refused to go higher, the narrative turned more upbeat. Until recently, that is, when a series of landmark bookshops began closing their doors up and down the east coast.

After 46 years serving Sydney's north shore, Lindfield Bookshop will close on August 24. In Mosman, Pages and Pages will end 20 years of trading in September, citing a looming recession. And Dymocks in Sydney's Lane Cove closed abruptly last month when the landlord retook possession,

In Melbourne, Embiggen Books shut its doors in June. In Brisbane a couple of secondhand bookstores have closed in recent months. And academic text specialist Co-op has closed more than two dozen stores since 2015.

It sounds like a tragedy. But despite the spate of recent closures, there is some cause for optimism...

With generational change, digital investment will become more important for retailers as more consumers move online, Ms Sanders said. Those able to seamlessly integrate their online and offline presence will be most likely to succeed.

But for smaller independent bookshop owners, a shortage of time and money means any significant investment is out of reach.

"You need an online presence in some form or another, even if your web store isn't the primary driver of sales, It's just that's the way the world runs now," said Australian Booksellers Association chief executive Robbie Egan.

Source: The Australian Financial Review

25 Books Every Woman Should Read | Books - Oprah Mag

How many of these are in your library? by Leigh Haber, Books Editor for O, the Oprah Magazine and Michelle Hart, Assistant Books Editor of O, the Oprah Magazine.

Women may not yet run the world but we do make for some of the most intriguing characters. Who are some of the most compelling all-time heroinesreal-life or fictional—ever to captivate our readerly imaginations? O’s Books Editor Leigh Haber, and Assistant Editor Michelle Hart offer their take on some of the best books every woman should read, a mix of classic and contemporary works that satisfy the bibliophile’s desire for total immersion.

Source: Oprah Mag

100 books to read in a lifetime — according to Amazon Books editors | Book recommendations - Business Insider

As of 2010, there were about 129,864,880 books in the entire world, according to Google's estimate

Photo: Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
Even if you quit your job, subsisted off of dewdrops, and spent every waking hour reading, the odds that you could read every one of them are not in your favor.

So, for book-lovers, it becomes important to choose your next tome wisely. Before slipping into a 500-page and many-hours-long disappointment that could have been invested into something more worthy of our finite time, we read reviews, skim Goodreads lists, ask bookstore staff and friends and family, and use myriad other tactics to narrow our choices down to the best and most impactful.

Below, you'll find 100 suggestions for books you should read in a lifetime, according to Amazon Books editors. Spanning beloved children's classics to searing memoirs to classics, the list has a little bit of everything. If you're looking for the Next Great Thing, here's a good place to start your search. 

The Festival of Books is a paradise for bibliophiles | Columnists - The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Liberty Station event on Aug. 24 will be a grand celebration of reading, says Richard Lederer, named International Punster of the Year and Toastmasters International’s Golden Gavel winner.

Linda Howley entertains the crowd at the Children’s Pavilion at a previous festival.
Photo: Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune file
Enjoy these four lines of wisdom written by San Diego’s own Dr. Seuss:
The more that you read,
The more that you know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go.

In other words, books prepare you for adventure without your making reservations or taking suitcases. Or as Emily Dickinson wrote, “How frugal is the chariot that bears a human soul.”

A week from today, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Union-Tribune will launch our city’s third annual Festival of Books. The celebration will be at 2620 Truxtun Road, Liberty Station, in Point Loma. Along with a galaxy of local authors, I’ll be signing my books in Author Alley. I’d love to meet you there.

The Festival of Books connects San Diego-area readers, booksellers, authors and businesses with their common love of the written word. For details about authors, exhibitors, book stores, panels, children’s activities, music and food please take a tour of the special section about the festival in tomorrow’s paper...

Books live. Books endure and prevail. Books are humanity in print. Books are the diary of the human race. By entering books, we become all that we have read.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Books that Will Help You Kick Your Tech Dependence | Books & Media - Outside

Four authors on paying attention, savoring silence, getting off the grid, and living peaceably with technology by Heather Hansman, Seattle-based freelance writer.

Photo: R_Tee/iStock
A few weeks back, I was antsy in a way that I couldn’t explain. My head was swimming from a bunch of weeks on the road for work, which turned into both too much and not enough time with people. I was tired no matter how much I slept. Inside all the time. Sucked into the cycle of: delete Instagram, then redownload Instagram and numb brain with other people’s stories of their shiny lives, feel shitty (repeat forever?). 
So one Saturday afternoon back home, annoyed with myself and unwilling to submit anyone else to my attitude, I took off for the woods alone. Wine can, sandwich, warm layer, book. South down the Pacific Crest Trail toward a lake I was pretty sure was pretty. At the lake, I set up my tent and shook out my sleeping bag, then sat on a log near the muddy shore and cracked open the can and the book. 
Before I even made it through the introduction, I realized I’d chosen well. Sometimes, I think, books show up in your life at exactly the right time...

Rain rolled in over the lake as I slept, and in the morning, I lay in the tent with How to Do Nothing, listening for a break in the storm. For the first time in a long time, I did not anxiously check my phone or internally berate myself for not getting up earlier. I just stayed. 

Source: Outside

It's back to the books for lifelong learners | Greenville Daily Reflector

At this back-to-school gathering, no one will be complaining about how short the summer break was or asking how to find the science hall. These seniors represent a different class of learners, continues Greenville Daily Reflector.

Participants in a Laughter Yoga class previously offered as part of ECU’s Lifelong Learning Program.

ECU's Lifelong Learning Program will welcome students with a fall semester kickoff on Saturday at the East Carolina Heart Institute. The event will give new and returning students ages 50 and older a chance to meet with instructors and learn about course offerings for the new year.

Now in its ninth year, the Lifelong Learning Program offers a variety of short-term courses and seminars on topics ranging from retirement and aging to religion and the arts. With sessions meeting at a dozen locations throughout the community, it features many of the most enjoyable aspects of school, including lectures, class discussions, art, music and even field trips. But there are no assignments and no grades.

“No tests, no homework,” program Coordinator Andrew Ross said. “It's a very relaxed and informal learning atmosphere and environment...

Research suggests that lifelong learning has several benefits for seniors. According to the National Institutes of Health, such learning may help the brain adapt to compensate for age-related changes.

“There have been numerous studies that have shown that any sort of continued learning is definitely going to continue to stimulate cognitive functioning,” Ross said. “The majority of the studies point out that it is a great thing to continue to learn no matter what age.”

Ross believes that the social benefits to lifelong learning participants may be as important as the cognitive advantages.
Read more... 

Source: Greenville Daily Reflector

At Tanglewood, You Can Hear 8 Concerts in 3 Days | Classical Music - The New York Times

Between the Festival of Contemporary Music and Boston Symphony Orchestra programs, a recent visit offered an exhilarating immersion, inform Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic, inform Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic.

The Silent Film Project presents scenes from classics with students playing scores by composers from the Tanglewood Music Center.
Photo: Hilary Scott
There are really two Tanglewoods here in the bucolic Berkshires. One is the popular summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The other is the less-known Tanglewood Music Center, the orchestra’s prestigious training institute for exceptional student performers and composers.

But during a few densely scheduled days every summer, the Tanglewood Music Center takes center stage to present the Festival of Contemporary Music. This year’s edition, directed for the second consecutive year by the composer and conductor Thomas Adès and spread over five days, was no exception. On a recent visit, I attended both festival events and Boston Symphony programs — a total of eight concerts in three days, an exhilarating immersion in the two Tanglewoods...

A prelude concert on Monday at Ozawa Hall, featuring mostly piano pieces, was dedicated to the composer Oliver Knussen, who died last year at 66. As the director of contemporary music activities at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1986 to 1993, Mr. Knussen conducted and organized dozens of programs like these. His distinctive piano works, including the “Prayer Bell Sketch” (played sensitively by Tomoki Park), and the impetuous 12 Variations (played arrestingly by Christine Wu), were among the highlights.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Memories from the Woodstock Music Festival, 50 Years Later | Arts & Culture - Voice of America

Many Americans are remembering the Woodstock music festival, which took place 50 years ago this week by Peter Musto, Multimedia Producer at Voice of America and Kelly Jean Kelly, Multimedia Journalist at Voice of America.

In this Aug. 16, 1969 file photo, hundreds of rock music fans jam a highway leading from Bethel, New York, as they try to leave the Woodstock Music and Art Festival.
Photo: FILE
Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to New York’s farm country for the event. Some of those attending drove there by car and then walked on foot. Others arrived by helicopter.

The attendees danced at sunrise on a wet hillside and tried hard to avoid heavy rainfall. They slept little, called their parents to tell them they were safe and stood in wonder at the total number of festival goers.

By the show’s end, the attendees left behind wet clothes, bedding and other belongings. But they also gained a sense of community from having been part of one of the most famous events in American music history...

David Crosby of the musical group Crosby, Stills & Nash remembers the behavior of individuals he saw when he was not performing. He says the sight of people sharing food gave him hope. This was especially important, he said, because it was just a year after the assassinations of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy’s brother, had been killed six years earlier. In addition, the United States was also several years into the Vietnam War.

Source: Voice of America

They’re making music — and history — in a legendary Southwest Washington house | Education - Washington Post

Laurel Demkovich, cops and courts reporter for the local desk summarizes, Living Classrooms opens a new community center in Buzzard Point.
Deanna Hawkins, D.C. music program coordinator for Living Classrooms, left, works with Samaria Edwards, 15, in the organization’s new community center in a historic house in Southwest Washington.
Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post
In the basement of the newly renovated community center, 9-year-old Akeylah Edwards takes a seat in front of her computer and a small piano keyboard. Hanging on the wall next to her is a large red and pink painting with stickers reading “Girl Power” and “Talented.”

“Okay, everyone, create a track using four genres,” Deanna Hawkins instructs four students. “Use something you’ve never even heard of.”

Akeylah opens the music creation program GarageBand, creates a file and goes to work. She was making music — and history — in an old building with a new mission. That building is part of Living Classrooms, a nonprofit that aims to educate by doing and that recently moved into a new community center in Southwest Washington.

Akeylah, along with her two sisters, has only been learning music production since Living Classrooms’ summer camp started in late July, but she knows exactly what she’s doing...

Last year, Hawkins went to two D.C. schools twice a week to help run BeatZone. This year, she will keep making her way to schools while teaching at the Dent House. At the beginning of the school year, Hawkins asks her students to think of topics for songs they could write. She wants to know: What bothers you about your community? What’s the most important thing in your community right now?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Turning the tables in Ireland | Life - The Actuary

Emmet Thornburgh, head of Capital Risk Management at AXA Life Europe and Shane Prendergast, senior longevity product manager at Irish Life Assurance explore the mortality experience of Irish insured lives, on behalf of the Demography Committee of the Society of Actuaries of Ireland.

Photo: Shutterstock

Insurers writing business in Ireland have a range of  UK industry mortality tables and Irish population mortality tables available to them, but which ones best reflect the experience of the Irish insured market?

A recent study by the Society of Actuaries of 
Ireland’s Demography Committee, the Irish Insured Lives Mortality Investigation (IILMI), provides insight into insured life experience in Ireland. The study involved aggregating and analysing experience data over the period 2009-2015 for a range of annuity and assurance products that were sold to lives resident in Ireland. The combined coverage of the contributing insurers represented the majority of the Irish insurance market.

While the data is very representative of the Irish insurance market, there are some limitations to the results, due to the size of the dataset. This is particularly the case when considering results by individual segments, such as by age band or year. Owing to these data limitations, the committee did not try to fit tables to the results...  

The results demonstrate that smoking status is a very significant factor affecting mortality rates for Irish assured lives, as smokers displayed mortality levels approximately double that of non-smokers. The impact of smoking status is most significant between the ages of 40 and 80. The mortality levels for those taking out term assurance policies were lower than for those with whole-of-life or unit-linked protection policies. This difference is likely to be the result of the different underwriting and sales processes that apply to these policy types. 
Read more...  

Source: The Actuary