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Wed, 15 Apr 2009 08:47
Sometimes the title of a book just stops you in your tracks! Of course, the internet sensation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one such, but this serious historical study of the extraordinary story of three sixteenth-century sisters is certainly another. When The Marvelous Hairy Girls: The Gonzales Sisters and Their Worlds landed on my desk this morning I couldn't help but put everything else to one side:
This book tells the extraordinary story of three sixteenth-century sisters who, along with their father and brothers, were afflicted with an extremely rare genetic condition that made them unusually hairy. Amazingly, the Gonzales sisters were not mocked or shunned, but were welcomed in the courts of Europe, spending much of their lives among nobles, musicians, and artists. Their double identity as humans and beasts made them intriguing, and the girls and their father were the subjects not only of medical investigations but also of a considerable number of portraits, some of which still hang in European castles today.Using the Gonzales family as a lens, historian Merry Wiesner-Hanks examines their varied and wondrous times. The story of this family connects with every important change of their era -- political and religious violence, colonial conquest, new forms of scholarship and science -- and also provides insights into the complex relationships between beastliness, monstrosity, and gender in early modern life.
Fri, 10 Apr 2009 01:31
Have a restful and happy Easter break everyone (of course, it is Passover too -- so enjoy that as well!)
And don't forget that you can keep up with all the books and booky things that we're thinking about on our Twitter page.
Wed, 25 Mar 2009 09:39
In association with our friends at Canongate we are giving away a free ebook of Laurence Shorter's The Optimist: One Man's Search for the Brighter Side of Life (PDF; 870kb):
Laurence Shorter is feeling anxious. Every time he turns on the radio or opens a newspaper he finds another reason to be tearful.
It's time to make a change. Can Desmond Tutu bring a smile to Laurence's face? Will he ride out the tide of pessimism with California's famous Surfing Rabbi? Or will it fall to the ultimate icon of optimism, Bill Clinton, to show Laurence the brighter side of life?
You don't need any special software or hardware just click on this link to the PDF and start reading!
(If you prefer, however, you can always buy the actual, real, paper and ink book!)
Thu, 19 Mar 2009 06:19
Tue, 03 Mar 2009 11:45
"Continued rapid sales growth at specialist online retailer The Book Depository is proving that the market for books online is not solely the preserve of internet behemoth Amazon." So says Glynn Davis writing about us in The Retail Bulletin:
The pure online bookseller (The Book Depository) achieved a year-on-year uplift in sales of 100 per cent in January, which should set the retailer up for hitting an annual turnover of £65 million this year compared with £40 million in 2008. This compares with £260 million for Amazon in the UK.
Kieron Smith, managing director of The Book Depository, says the success of the company is down to its "long tail" of books with 2.3 million titles available on its site (from an approximate 2.6 million English books in print). (More...)
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