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Ghomeshi siblings in local fundraiser

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Abrother and sister duo will offer a variety of perspectives on books and language at a fundraising event in January for the Manitoba Writers' Guild.

Jian Ghomeshi, who leads the Canada Reads book discussions as part of his duties on the CBC Radio One show Q, experienced the literary world from the other side in 2012 when he published his first book, a memoir of life as an Iranian-Canadian teenager, entitled 1982.

Jila Ghomeshi teaches linguistics at the University of Manitoba, has been a columnist on language and is the author of Grammar Matters: The Social Significance of How We Use Language.

Tickets for their discussion, which takes place at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 18, at the Gas Station Theatre, are $25 and are available online at

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Writers of the world are speaking out against the massive state surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden through the former intelligence contractor's leaks to the Wikileaks organization.

More than 500 leading writers, from 81 countries, including Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Gunter Grass and Arundhati Roy, have signed a statement warning that such surveillance represents a threat to democracy. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the statement calls on the United Nations to create an international bill of digital rights.

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Do you remember The Dangerous Book for Boys? A compendium of stories, games and how-to tips inspired by memories of old-fashioned pre-Internet boyhood, it was a massive bestseller in 2006-07 for British writers Conn and Hal Iggulden.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, actor Bryan Cranston dropped hints about his post-Breaking Bad plans and mentioned that he had created a concept for a television show inspired by the book.

If that seems an odd fit, don't forget that there was a section in Dangerous Book about chemistry experiments.

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Looking for a book for somebody with a lot of time on his hands?

Librarians at prisons in Scotland have released lists of the most popular books among their clients, whose favourite picks included thrillers by Lee Child and James Patterson and the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin.

A few of the prison library titles mentioned in the newspaper The Scotsman are surprising, including a biography of singer Susan Boyle and Mills and Boon (the U.K.'s equivalent of Harlequin) romances, while some, such as Mein Kampf and books about serial killers, are alarming.

At the Edinburgh prison, the most popular author is Irvine Welsh, the hometown bad-boy novelist who wrote the dialect-heavy, skag-dripping bestseller Trainspotting.

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Canada's largest city isn't just home to the country's largest mayor. Toronto's library system is by far the largest in the country, with more than 19 million visits recorded in the year 2012.

According to an economic impact report prepared for the library system by the U of T's Rotman School of Management, the library is an economic generator for the city. Each dollar the system receives generates $5.63 in economic activity, according to the report, available from the library's website.

The system opened its 99th library this fall, the visually striking Fort York Library, and is scheduled to open its 100th branch next year, in Scarborough.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 28, 2013 A1

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