Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kulit Manis wins world cookbook award

‘It was the biggest and perhaps most glamorous Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Gala ever: 1,250 guests attended the ceremony in the worldwide known theater of the Folies Bergère in Paris on March 3,’ says the website. And Kulit Manis: a taste of Trengganu’s Heritage was judged the best in the world in the WORLD CUISINE: LOCAL category. (I can feel my mouth watering already.)

Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage, is an unusual cookbook in that it is a 252 page literary 'heirloom'. Kulit Manis is a labour of love, a painstaking journey which reconnects the author, To' Puan Rosita, to her beloved state. Indeed, the author discovered many things that she had forgotten or never knew about Terengganu.

Kulit Manis takes a look at Terengganu's heritage from its culinary history. It delights readers with anecdotes and stories on personalities behind the recipes. It is a respectful appreciation of history, culture, places, nature and the citizens of Terengganu. The eighty-eight recipes in the book represent the true flavour of Terengganu; be it Malay, Chinese or Indian, or an amalgamation of all the three cultures. The recipes are unusual in that most of them require the chef to be instinctive: most have no precise measurements -- with a pinch of this and a dash of that. But they are all works of love.

The beautiful and energetic To' Puan Rosita Abdullah is as keen and passionate about cooking, as she is excited about Terengganu's heritage and culture.

Kulit Manis took three years to complete, juggling her roles as a housewife and mother, and interviewing strangers for recipes and history. She made many friends as she discovered new secrets about her home state. And the more she learned, the more she loved Terengganu.

Buy book

Exploding the myths of the information age

Robert Darnton writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Confusion about the nature of the so-called information age has led to a state of collective false consciousness. It's no one's fault but everyone's problem ...’

I agree about the false consciousness bit but I’m not sure about that its no one’s fault? I’d blame the combination of a hyperactive ‘chicken little’ media that blows everything out of proportion, even non-news, confusing themselves and everyone else in the process, and a hyper-secretive geekdom that protects its knowledge as witches and wizards would their magic spells. IT has now become the ‘new magic’ in the hands of new high priests and priestesses. Still, Darntons story is worth a read. (Whether you agree is different matter.)

The first myth he explodes is about the book being dead. ‘Wrong,’ he says. ‘More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—"Super Thursday," last October 1—800 new works were published.’ One may well ask, how many of those could have been shelved to save some trees?

Second: ‘We have entered the information age. This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages.’ I can certainly agree with this one.

Third: ‘All information is now available online.’  Certainly not. I with Durston on this, too.

Fourth: ‘Libraries are obsolete.’ Malaysian ones are, but not because they are redundant.

Fifth: ‘The future is digital.’ Yes, I agree with Durston. It is mostly media hype, it's chicken little all over again. Besides it makes good copies.

Robert Darnton is a professor and university librarian at Harvard University.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Read More:

Is multitasking harder for seniors?

A story in says, ‘A new comparison of brain activity in young and elderly multitaskers suggests an unexpected explanation for why older people frequently lose their trains of thought, and have more trouble juggling multiple tasks.’

I don’t know if I should feel relieved or insulted. Actually, I have always been this way: unable to multitask. I am normally so focussed on what I am doing that, I can forget the rest of the world exists. So if I try to do two things, I will mess one up. Maybe, I was born with an old brain.

‘In neuroscientific parlance, they (the oldies) experience “an interruption recovery failure, manifest as a deficient ability to dynamically switch between functional brain networks,” wrote the authors of the study, published Apr. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.’

Sorry, catch no ball! All I know is that I don’t multitask. I know many who do, like chat on Yahoo messenger while doing something else. Me, I can’t and I find it annoying. I don’t like to be distracted when I am in full flow. That’s why I don’t even own a mobile telephone (the ringing will make me jump, irritate me and it will take me a while to get back to work) or wear a wristwatch (I like to be unconscious of time when I am working). Maybe, I am an extremist.

You can read all about it by following the link below.

Read More

Monday, April 04, 2011

E-book consumption pattern

When I read this story by Cyndy Aleo in, I laughed out loud. She quotes Marc Parrish of Barnes and Noble who says, " Readers tend toward a favorite author, category, personal recommendations, or flap text."

Duh! He didn't know that? And he is a vice president of Barnes and Noble!

Writes Mike Shatzkin for the Idea Logical Company, "In theory, the more books are sold online the more sales should move to the long tail. Online bookstores have the advantage of “unlimited shelf space”. Nothing has to be left out of the assortment because of constraints on capital to stock inventory or room to hold it ... But it doesn’t seem to be working out that way ... it would appear that e-book sales are even more concentrated across a smaller title band than print."

Why did anyone think that e-book consumption patterns would be any different from print books?

I found another story; more interesting reading: Eric Landes writes in The Digital Reader about the Amazon bestseller list, "In the top 20, there are 9 books priced at $1 or less, and 4 priced over $10." This is brilliant! The 'Big 6' publishers who used to dominate these list should, certainly, be worried. Adds Landes, "If they can’t get their books onto bestseller lists, they’re losing both marketing cred and a tool that might generate further sales. Those lists are also very effective free publicity."

Now, that is a changing pattern of consumption. Are e-book downloads moving towards bestsellers, or are they recreating the bestseller list?

In other news in the Irish Times, Mills and Boons is going into e-books.

And in yet another story in the New York Times, Amanda Hocking, the self-published e-book darling has sold her next two books to St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan, for more than USD 2 million for the world English rights to “Watersong” a young adult paranormal series.

Read More

Making books, the way it was

Saw this video on Huffington Post. This is how they used to make books in 1947. Watch it, its great.

Read More

Publishing industry in Japan hit by earthquake

In an open letter 'To All International Friends in the Publishing Community', the president of the Japan Book Publishing Association, Masahiro Oga, says, "First of all, I would like to thank you all for deeply-appreciated message of condolence and sympathy to us since the disaster took place on Friday, March 11. According the Meteorological Agency, the earthquake which hit northern part of Honshu Island was magnitude of 9.0 that was the strongest in the Japanese history."

He adds, "The business is almost normal at Japan Book Publishers Association and most of publishers in Tokyo. However it is certain that this Tohoku Kanto Big Earth Quake have caused serious damage in the publishing industry. Firstly, some paper-manufacturing companies in Tohoku area, which produce about 40% of publication paper, have suffered grave damage, so publishing paper is going to be in short supply. Secondly, due to the fuel shortage, the distributors have decided to deliver books and magazines to each books shops all over the country every second day, which is every day on a normal basis. It must have a direct impact on the distribution of books and magazines. This serious distribution problem has occurred for the first time since the Second World War. It will take a long time to re-establish the afflicted area and to resolve the fuel shortage. Thirdly, some book shops off the shore of Tohoku Area have suffered serious damage from a Tsunami. Other many books shops not just in the Tohoku area have also have suffered severe damage whose books have fallen and gotten wet with a running sprinkler. Fourthly, some of land routes in Tohoku area were cut off. And we can not assume anything about when the distribution in Tohoku area will be restored."

Read more