Critical Linking: December 6, 2014

Great book cover designs are visual extensions of a book. Designers wield visual cues instead of words to call out to us as we peruse the library shelves or the aisles of a Barnes & Noble. The cover sparks your initial curiosity, and you stick around for the story.

30 of the best book covers from 2014. I am a sucker for good-looking covers.


However, the report also found that children from lower socioeconomic groups spend more time on devices than their wealthier peers.

The report uses the ABC1 socioeconomic scale, dividing children into AB (high socioeconomic status), C1 (middle socioeconomic status), C2 (low socioeconomic status) and DE (less advantaged background). More than 31% of DE and C2 children use a touch screen device in a typical week, compared to 27% of AB and C1 children. And compared to the AB group, children from DE households are twice as likely to read stories on screen for longer than print (29.5% versus 17.4%).

The use of devices is also more popular with boys, because 24% of boys spend more time reading on a touch screen than print, compared to 12% of girls.

I wonder if the divide has anything to do with access — if you’re always around technology, maybe the interest to use it is lesser? These numbers are really interesting.


1. Peter Pan was originally a play. It was later adapted into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy.The first stage version opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London on 27 December 1904. The Guardian gave it a great review: “Even those who least relish it must admit that no such play was ever seen before on any stage. It is absolutely original — the product of a unique imagination.” The play proved so popular, it was re-staged every year for the next 10 years.

Ten things you maybe didn’t know about Peter Pan.


In private letters to Lewes, Dickens continued his defense, mentioning several historical cases of spontaneous combustion throughout history. He leaned especially hard on the case of an Italian countess who had reportedly combusted in 1731. She bathed in camphorated spirits of wine (a mixture of brandy and camphor); the morning after one such bath, her maid walked into her room to find the bed unslept on. As with Mr. Krook, soot hung suspended in the air, along with a yellow haze of oil on the windows. The maid found the countess’s legs—just her legs—standing several feet from the bed. A pile of ashes sat between them, along with her charred skull. Nothing else seemed amiss, except for two melted candles nearby. And because a priest had recorded this tale, Dickens considered it trustworthy.

No need to say more than what the title of the piece is: How Charles Dickens Fueled A World of Spontaneous Combustion Truthers.


Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The network aims to foster international cooperation between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and enhanced influence of cultural in the world.

Heidelberg, Germany, Dunedin, New Zealand, and a few others are now UNESCO Literature Cities.

Sign up to Today In Books to receive daily news and miscellany from the world of books
Do you like podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab, or Planet Money? Annotated is kinda like those, but for books. Go here to find out more, or click the image below: