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Monday Tally: Questions and Gerbils

monday-tag-150px Monday Tally is a weekly link round-up of some of my favorite posts discovered over the week. If you have suggestions for Monday Tally, please e-mail sophisticated [dot] dorkiness [at] gmail [dot] com. Enjoy!

Questions for You

One of my goals for this year was to try and make a little money from my blog – enough to maybe pay the webhosting fee. Recently, I started beta testing an advertising widget from Madison.com, a local website working to develop a blogger network for our local newspaper. When you come to Sophisticated Dorkiness, you’ll see an ad banner across the bottom that includes some scrolling post titles. I’m looking for feedback on it – good or bad. Is it distracting? Not noticeable? Any suggested changes?

Now, more fun stuff: Bookstore employees have some idiosyncratic – and funny – book sections. What sections would you have in your dream bookstore? (via @harperbooks)

A Literary Odyssey asks her readers how they keep track of book quotations they love. This is something I struggle with, so really enjoyed the comments. Do you have any other suggestions?

Little Bites of Funny

Literary sandwiches! In this case, I’d grab The Nora Roberts or The Animal Farm. Nom nom nom.

An oldie but a goodie – employees at Last.fm turn one of their offices into a ball pit. Jealous!

A computer science student formatted one of his term papers so he could “Rickroll” his professor. I’m impressed.

Bookish News

This Google Map includes data points for every book challenge documented by the American Library Association between 2007 and 2010, and lets you pinpoint them by location.

Nieman Storyboard did a two-part interview with author Tracy Kidder (Part 1, Part 2), where he talks about his writing process, organization, and definitions (or non-definitions) of narrative nonfiction. Reading these psyched me up for a potential Tracy Kidder reading project for next year.

My friend Lindsay reviewed Valparasio, a play about media and society, that we went to see last weekend. If you can get your hands on a copy or see it, it’s pretty good.


Research at Cornell suggests that rather than banning unhealthy food in school lunchrooms, it makes more sense to just move healthy food to a more convenient – “The easiest way to lunchroom choices is to make an apple more convenient, cool, and visible than a cookie.”

Does the heart fall in love, or the brain? That’s a questions researchers at Syracuse University are trying to answer using neuroimaging of the brain:

The groundbreaking study, “The Neuroimaging of Love,” reveals falling in love can elicit not only the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but also affects intellectual areas of the brain. Researchers also found falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second.

When political videos go viral, who is responsible? University of Washington researchers looked at how political videos work their way through the internet, and found it’s a generally top-down approach – big blogs post, general blogs follow, and then everyone else after that. This is interesting to me in the way it shows hierarchy and power dynamics exist even online.

Books for My TBR

Spellbound: Inside West Africa’s Witch Camps by Karen Palmer because of a funny post on The Book Bench (the New Yorker Books Department blog). Teaser alert – this book will be on a Narrative Nonfiction 5 list of spooky books coming later this week!

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly because a book that includes stories about Amish hackers sounds amazing.

The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen because I’m intrigued by the idea of getting rid of half my stuff (thanks MADreads!)

The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter by Holly Robinson because I really enjoyed her post at Huffington Post about the changing world of the book tour. Plus, that’s just an awesome title.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Florinda October 25, 2010, 7:23 pm

    The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter was a DearReader.com selection last week, and I enjoyed the excerpt I read, so that one’s probably going on my wish list too!

    The widget threw me for a second, but once I realized it stays stationary, it wasn’t a distraction. Hope it works out well for you.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:44 pm

      Florinda: I’ll have to go find that excerpt – I don’t know anything about the book other than the mention of it and a brief synopsis from Amazon. I just loved the title!

      Thanks for the feedback on the widget – I’m planning to keep people posted as it keeps getting improved. I hope it works too, and doesn’t cause too many annoyances for anyone else.

  • tolmsted October 25, 2010, 7:44 pm

    I like the widget. I agree with Florinda, it did throw me for a second. But not for long.

    I also like the question about sections in your dream bookshop… I just can’t come up with any at the moment. I’ll have to think about it for a bit.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:47 pm

      tolmsted: Good, I’m glad the widget isn’t too distracting for you.

      I couldn’t come up with any bookstore sections either, but I bet I could if I spent a little longer thinking about it.

  • Erin October 25, 2010, 8:30 pm

    You always come up with the best links. Thanks, however you do it!

    I have to say, honestly, I do find the ad widget distracting. I don’t know if it’s just gigantic on my screen or what, but it takes up at least 1/5 of the screen height and makes me feel a little claustrophobic. But, I completely understand the desire to earn a little money and won’t hold it against you! I’ll keep visiting regardless of whether the widget stays or goes 🙂

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:50 pm

      Erin: I’m a big link-clicker during the week, so I come across random stuff, that’s a big part of where they come from.

      Thanks for your honesty about the widget. I passed your thoughts on to the web developer who’s working on it, and we’ll see if we can adjust the size to make it a little smaller. The only reason I’m hoping to add ads is because web-hosting is about $100 a year, and I’m hoping to eventually be able to cover that. We’ll see what the best option ends up being.

  • Maphead October 25, 2010, 9:25 pm

    I second every single thing Erin said !

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:50 pm

      Maphead: Thanks for the feedback – noted!

  • Memory October 26, 2010, 1:50 am

    I think the widget might work better if there were some way for visitors to minimize it. It may look all right with very larger computers, but I use a netbook and it takes up almost a third of my screen.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:51 pm

      Memory: I agree with you – it’d be nice to minimize it if possible, but then that also defeats the purpose for the advertiser of getting ads. I passed on the note about the netbook – it sounds like in the future they might try smaller ads for this particular widget. I’ll definitely keep that in mind though.

  • Amy October 26, 2010, 7:13 am

    Some really great links here. Spellbound sounds really good, I’m adding it to my wishlist. Also… I hate to say it but the widget really really annoys me. It takes up a lot of space and distracts me from the post. I understand why you have it, but bleh. I wish I could minimize it or close it or something.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:52 pm

      Amy: I am psyched about Spellbound – I can’t wait to get a copy.

      Thanks for your thoughts on the widget – it sometimes distracts me too, especially when text gets hidden behind it. I’ll keep your thoughts in mind while I decide about keeping it or not.

      • Amy October 26, 2010, 6:56 pm

        Of course, even though I find it distracting, I’ll still keep coming around 🙂

        • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:58 pm

          Amy: Thanks 🙂 I’m glad to hear that!

  • Jeanne October 26, 2010, 7:43 am

    The widget moves when I first scroll down, or my eye thinks it does. After that, it’s not so bad. I love the Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter title so much I looked at the book–it’s even better that she’s entirely serious about it!

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:53 pm

      Jeanne: Thanks for the thoughts on the widget – I get thrown by the way it doesn’t move a little bit too. And yeah, I love that the title is totally serious!

  • BuriedInPrint October 26, 2010, 9:02 am

    What I like about the ad widget you’re trying? That it does have some relevance to your blog (with the rotating titles), and that it’s clearly set apart from the rest (so that I can adjust my eyes to ignoring that band), spanning full-screen even though the items do settle in the middle.

    But I do find that it distracts and detracts (more so on my netbook than laptop, but still noticeably), and I think I’ve gotten so that I more automatically filter, visually, advertisements that appear to one side rather than in the footer.

    Nonetheless, as others have said, I understand your desire to earn from your posts and the high-quality of your writing will bring me back regardless!

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:56 pm

      BuriedInPrint: Thanks for the thoughts on the widget! The things you pointed out are the reasons I like it – I like that I can try and get it to match the blog and not be quite as obvious. I’m the same way about ad filtering – I’m good at ignoring sidebars and whatnot, but this one is different. Thanks for the compliment about writing, I’m glad that it’s worth the ad 🙂

  • Gwen October 26, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Falling in love my take only one fifth of a second, but falling out of love takes even less time. Or at least it used to in my dating past.

    The banner is a bit big, but I am with you on trying to recoup my hosting costs. Like Florinda, I got used to it surprisingly quickly.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:57 pm

      Gwen: Haha, such a good point! That’s my dating experience too 🙂 I’ll see about making the banner a bit smaller – I’d like that too.