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Facebook founder's book club picks Pinker

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/1/2015 (2077 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Canadian-born Harvard neuroscience professor is getting a big sales boost courtesy of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg, who launched an online book club this year as part of his public pledge to read more, has picked Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature as his second book-club selection. The thousand-page study of violence and society, published in 2012, argues that despite the impression generated by the media, violence has been steadily declining worldwide for more than a century. Book-industry professionals are already talking about a "Zuckerberg effect" on sales, though it's not on the scale of the career-making promotional boost provided by the former talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey's book club.

Manitoba's actual provincial bird -- not the bloodsucking insect featured on those tourist T-shirts -- is the star of a new illustrated book by Karen Smith being unveiled tonight at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Earl the Great Grey Owl is a rhyming story that includes photos by James Duncan and Dennis Swayze. It's described as great for families and for budding naturalists.

Smith launches the book at 7 tonight.

Physician/broadcaster/author Dr. Brian Goldman is known for taking listeners and readers inside the world of medicine.

He'll discuss his latest book, The Secret Language of Doctors, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Rady Jewish Community Centre (123 Doncaster St.) as part of the centre's Zooming In lecture series. Goldman hosts the CBC Radio program White Coat, Black Art and is the author of The Night Shift: Real Life in the ER. For tickets, contact the Rady Centre at 204-477-5710.

A B.C. poet with six collections and a Governor General's Award nomination to his name will help Manitobans find their "Pathways to Poems" in a day-long workshop.

Russell Thornton's workshop, which runs tomorrow at the Manitoba Writers' Guild office in the Artspace Building, will include writing and feedback sessions as well as activities focusing on observation, memory and reflection.

Thornton and Winnipeg poet Katherena Vermette will also read and discuss their poetry Monday evening at the guild's regular In Dialogue reading series. Details on both events are available on the guild's website at mbwriter.mb.ca.

Recently discovered First World War records show the literary and film worlds came perilously close to having no hobbits or ringwraiths.

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, spent three months at the front as a lieutenant in 1916 before being sent to a British hospital to convalesce from a "trench fever" that caused inflammation, rashes and headaches.

Days after he left, his section of the line was struck by a massive artillery bombardment, causing many deaths and injuries. Medical documents detailing Tolkien's transfer were discovered by a team digitizing First World War records, the Guardian reports.

Former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has already made a name for himself as a co-author of books on the Harlem Renaissance and a black armoured battalion in the Second World War.

Now he's turning his attention to fiction, with a novel, co-written with TV writer Anna Waterhouse, about Sherlock Holmes's brother Mycroft.

Mycroft Holmes, to be published this fall by Titan Books, focuses on a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths in Trinidad, investigated by Sherlock's older and smarter brother.



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Updated on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7:49 AM CST: Formatting.

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