Mashreads-on-ibook

We’re two weeks into the first MashableReads selection, and we have even more exciting news to share. To make finding our next MashableReads picks even easier for you, we’re launching our book club today on Apple‘s iBookstore.

Instead of scouring our website to make sure you didn’t miss an announcement, just check the MashableReads book club page on iBooks. If you have an e-reader, you can purchase the book right then and there.

We also put our heads together and chose eight additional books recommendations for your free time — because who couldn’t use more awesome books to read? Each selection is unique and offers completely different experiences. From the surrealist parallel universe of 1Q84 to discussions on artificial intelligence in Ulysses, you’ll be engaged and challenged by books from across the globe.

Check out our recommendations below — and don’t forget to participate in our first #MashReads Twitter chat with Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. on Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

MashableReads Recommendations

we need new names

1. We Need New Names
Author: NoViolet Bulawayo

We need new voices — and Bulawayo is one we’ve needed for some time. This first-time novelist from Zimbabwe was listed for the Man Booker Prize this year. There are plenty of good torn-between-two-countries stories out this year — but it’s what Bulawayo leaves to your mind that enriches your senses long after the novel is done. The story of Darling and her exodus from the horror that has befallen Zimbabwe is painfully real, but even more so when we see the America she comes to.


2. 1Q84
Author: Haruki Murakami

If you’re already a Murakami fan, this book will solidify everything you’ve ever loved about him. If you’re a new reader, this epic novel about the intertwined fates of two elementary school classmates will make you a believer. Aomame and Tengo both find themselves living in a world quite like their own, but with a few notable differences. In this lengthy story Murakami gives us murder, religious cults with sinister practices, the supernatural — and a love story that keeps you engaged until the very end.


savage detectives

3. Savage Detectives
Author: Roberto Bolano

Youth! Drinking! Sex! Blissful despair! Down with the Establishment! In other words, ideations of literature. Bolano, who hails from Chile, wrote this book in 1998. Mexican visceral realists (starving intellectuals) are the lone survivors in the literature wasteland of today. Their self-imposed mission is to find their elusive poet. But just as their journey begins, we flip form and get only third-hand accounts of their trek into the desert until the end of the novel.


Ulysses3

4. Ulysses
Author: James Joyce

Artificial Intelligence realized. Think IBM did it with Watson? Or Google already has and just isn’t telling us? Joyce beat them both to it in 1922. This 650-page tale doesn’t present another tired iteration of a humanly contrived Other. Instead, it creates one life in one day. Leopold Bloom exists like we do — his experiences and thoughts are all fully-formed and functional. Modern, experimental, so nuanced you will need a companion text or a class to discuss and understand it. Find out why it’s considered the best novel written in 100 years.


freedom

5. Freedom
Author: Jonathan Franzen

Freedom is one of those novels that you can instantly relate to. Franzen brings to life incredibly well-rounded characters who you may not always like but will make you cringe with recognition. From marital disputes and teenage relationship angst to the effects of global warming and animal extinction, Franzen keeps readers entrenched in real-world issues. Ultimately, the temptation of freedom and the consequences of abusing freedom underlie this epic novel about the contemporary nuclear family.


the pale king

6. The Pale King
Author: David Foster Wallace

The geeks who would be kings? One would think the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Ill., is rife with those who call numbers and code their only friends. But this novel shows the true rich depth of humans, agents and otherwise, versus the numbing grind of our work, sex and family lives. So what is the value of our work; what is the meaning in life? Since this is Wallace, expect his attempt at an answer to be quixotic, incomplete and long.


oscar wao

7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Díaz

Oscar is an overweight comic book nerd in a family full of guapisimos hombres who is just trying to find love, damn it. In this 2008 Pultizer Prize-winning novel, Díaz takes you through one family’s life in the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights with raw and often heartbreaking descriptions about being an outcast. He’ll have you laughing along with Oscar’s awkward adolescence as you simultaneously sympathize with the difficulty of finding your place in the world.


8. Shantaram
Author: Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is one of the rare books that balances beautiful storytelling with stark poverty, heartbreaking loss and hopeful romance. As you journey through the slums of Bombay, the beautiful beaches of Goa and war zones of Afghanistan, Roberts takes you through the gamut of human emotions. This novel based loosely on the author’s own life will fundamentally change you and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Image: Mashable, Meghan Uno

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/08/26/mashablereads-ibookstore/

Disney-robots-play-catch-with-your-kids-video--ca91ceac53

Attention all parents: Disney, the company that wants to absorb all childhood happiness, both past and present, is planning to replace you with robots. Unsatisfied with the secondary love and attention they receive from controlling your favorite characters and cartoons, Disney means to spend quality time with the world’s children in an attempt to feel what it’s like to have a child of its own. (No, having subsidiaries like ABC and ESPN doesn’t count.)

Although the Mom-and-Pop-a-Tron 5000 isn’t ready to hit the street yet, Disney’s making serious progress. For example, the robotics experts at Disney’s lab in Pittsburgh have created a humanoid robot that can play a game of catch.

When I say “play a game of catch”, I don’t mean it an ultra-efficient robot kind of way. This guy can lob a ball to you and, when you throw it back, can find, register, and catch it. The robot uses a Kinect to sense and track the trajectory of an object thrown directly at it, adjusting so that it can catch it with one hand.

The creepy part? When the robot catches the ball, it looks down at its hand, as if it were tracking the ball with its eyes. If it misses the catch, the robot will react, looking around for the ball or shaking its head in dismay. The robot is very attentive: It has sensors to track and follow the direction of whomever it’s playing with, so it will turn and face its partner if they move out of the way.

This may not seem remarkable at first glance — most robots do things better than most people — begging the question: Why would you bother making it? The answer is, of course, that Disney means to get in on the time-honored American pastime of catch between parent and child.

This article originally published at Geekosystem
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/25/disney-robots-catch/

Top-5-apps-your-kids-will-love-this-week-28a9f514e5Chris Crowell is a veteran kindergarten teacher and contributing editor to Children’s Technology Review, a web-based archive of articles and reviews on apps, technology toys and video games. Download a free issue of CTR here.

Top 5 Kids Apps of the Week

Top-5-kids-apps-of-the-week-28a9f514e5Chris Crowell is a veteran kindergarten teacher and contributing editor to Children’s Technology Review, a web-based archive of articles and reviews on apps, technology toys and video games. Download a free issue of CTR here.

A-day-in-the-life-of-youtube-star-felicia-day-video--6de31bd2f6

YouTube can be a platform for success, and perhaps no one (well, except maybe Justin Bieber) knows that better than actress Felicia Day. In April, Day launched Geek & Sundry, a multimedia company and premium YouTube channel dedicated to indie geek entertainment, and the sixth season of her web series The Guild will be released on Geek & Sundry soon, along with six new web shows.

Day’s been a staple on the web video scene for years, having co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which was ranked in the “Top 10 Best TV of 2008” by Time, Entertainment Weekly and People and won an Emmy in 2009. She also created and stars in the web series The Guild, which just finished its fifth season, partnered with Microsoft and Xbox Live. The Guild has won the YouTube, Yahoo, Streamy and SXSW Best Web Series Awards and was recently nominated for a PGA for best web series.

While shooting season six, Day let us follow her around to see what it’s like to be in her shoes. (Hint: It involves long days and a lot of caffeine.)

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/10/felicia-day-video/

Boy-laptop-computer-media

Existing research on the impact violent video games, television shows and movies have on children is outdated, according to a new report released this week.

The report was released by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group that advocates for children and families with a focus on media. It analyzes the current information and studies done in recent years relating violence in the media to its effect on children. After looking at the data available, Common Sense Media determined that this information hasn’t kept pace with rapidly changing content.

“The presence of violent images in advertising seen by children has barely been studied, comprehensive research on TV violence is nearly two decades old, video game research hasn’t kept pace with current modes of gaming or tracked the content most consumed by youth, and studies of online exposure are nearly nonexistent,” the report states.

For instance, two studies about media violence and its impact on children are cited in the report to demonstrate how varied findings are on this particular topic. Both studies are from 2012. The first one shows a link between aggressive behavior in children and media violence, while the other shows no evidence of a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children. A possible reason for these polar results could be that studies monitoring media have “widely varying” standards for what constitutes violence, the report says. Also, studies examining media can be costly, time consuming and difficult to design, which could also account for the variance.

There are some other details that need more research, too, like what type of violence children are exposed to (gruesome versus slapstick). This can depend on which genre of television or movies they watch. More research also needs to be poured into the effect of violence in advertising on children, since the report states this is an area that is often ignored.

But what’s certain is that children are exposed to violence through the media. A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation from 2010, cited in the report, shows children and teens consume an average of seven hours of screen time per day. From other research, CSM concludes that 90% of movies include some scenes of violence, as do 68% of video games, 60% of TV shows, and 15% of music videos. Whether that has an impact on children’s behavior remains to be determined for certain.

“However, the research that is available does allow us to think about violent media as a ‘risk factor’ to violence — one variable among many that increases the risk of violent behavior among some children,” writes Julia Plonowski, communications manager for Common Sense Media.

It’s possible we could see some new and more in-depth research about the effect of media on children in the future. President Obama recently called for $10 million in funds to be directed toward this type of research during a speech about gun violence shortly after the recent shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Do you think any particular media is more harmful to children than others? What effect do you think violence in media has on children and teens, if any? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, alvar

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/02/14/research-needed-effect-violent-media-children/

Popularity-of-tablets-rising-with-kids-study--46843b9cdb

Are your kids eager to get their hands on a tablet device?

Your kids may love their video games, but a recent survey shows the popularity of tablets is surging faster than video game consoles. Although families love gadgets of all types — the survey also showed that households with kids ages 4-14 own an average of 10 different devices, with kids using an average of five of those devices.

This new survey released by market research company, The NPD Group titled Kids and Consumer Electronics: 2012 Edition, shows new trends and stats for families and their mobile devices.

Video game console usage rates for children ages 4-14 are still higher than tablets, but this past year saw a strong increase in tablet usage among that age group: with a 13% increase in usage rate in 2012 vs. only 3% in 2011. Tablet usage is most popular among younger children — perhaps no surprise considering how many videos there are on YouTube of babies playing with tablets. The survey concludes that it would be wise for tablet makers to construct devices to be simple enough for even a baby to use.

Kids are using tablets to game, watch movies and TV shows, read books and listen to music-even occasionally for taking pictures- so they have embraced the utility of these devices quite rapidly,” Russ Crupnick, senior vice president, industry analysis, The NPD Group said in a statement. “Older kids also use the tablets for social media and communication, which squarely places these devices at the center for discovery and evangelism of new services and applications, as well as for brands and entertainment of all sorts.”

Portable digital music players (like the iPod) have declined in popularity this past year. Just 35% of households contacted for this survey own those devices, compared to 48% in 2011.

Attention advertisers: Gaming systems and portable entertainment devices topped the list of devices over which children will have the most influence on future device selection. And when considering a new purchase, “the type of technology and features offered by a new device is nearly as important as low price and good value,” the survey noted.

The online survey was conducted March 6-21, 2012, to a representative sample of 3,235 male and female adults ages 23 and over whom are members of NPD’s online panel and have children ages 4 to 14 in the household.

What do you think of this survey’s data? Do you identify with these answers? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, aperturismo.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/08/14/popularity-of-tablets-rising/