Newsletter 175 – January 2012


Number 175 – January 2012 – ISSN 1470-1863

Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK

mantex newsletter How to summarize a book

This is a tutorial we created on demand for
a recent site visitor. It explains how to
make a summary of any book-length piece of work.

Reading, writing, and note-taking skills are
all required. But for advanced users, the guide
even explains how to summarise a book without
reading it completely.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #01

How many wings does a flea have?

Red button Illicit Affairs

AbeBooks is a rival to Amazon.
One thing they do pretty well is
to list books by topics.

This section deals with adultery,
crimes of passion, extra-marital
affairs, and general infidelity.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #02

What is the national currency in Hungary?

Red button Convert your files

This is a file format conversion service.
It couldn’t be more simple. You just upload a
file, choose your new format, and the result
is emailed back to you in an instant.

Convert your Word documents into web pages
or PDF files. images from .gifs to .jpgs,
music from MP3 to .wav files, and even video
from iPad to m4v.

And here’s a real bonus for those people
battling their way through the eBook jungle.
Upload an .epub file, and you can convert
straight to .mobi and other formats.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #03

Who wrote “Love Letters in the Sand”?

Red button How to use bulleted lists

Bulleted lists are very useful for displaying
information, but they give writers a few

Do you include punctuation marks at the
end of every line?

Does each new line start with a capital
letter – or not?

This new tutorial answers these questions –
and shows how to make bulleted lists more
readable and effective.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #04

Which is the USA’s ‘Blue Grass’ state?

Red button Falk – a novella

I had never read this amazing novella by Joseph
Conrad before, and I’m surprised it’s not better known.

It’s a fascinating study of a man facing extreme
conditions – including murder and eating human flesh
in order to stay alive.

It also features a female character who oozes
s.e.x.u.a.l power on almost every page – even
though she is not given a name and never speaks.

The tale starts off as a slightly amusing domestic
study, and ends in a nightmare.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #05

Are baboons apes or monkeys?

Red button Omniglot – language resources

Omniglot is an online encyclopedia of
writing systems. It’s run by language
enthusiast Simon Ager

The site includes pages on how to learn
foreign languages, alphabets, undeciphered
scripts, invented languages, puzzles, the
origins on names, and lots more. It even
has its own YouTube channel.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #06

Whose nephews are Huey, Dewey, and Louie?

0— Great short stories – Part 1

All of our tutorial pages on these stories
contain links to f.r.e.e downloadable eBook
versions of the story

Red button Owen Wingrave

This is one of Henry James’s famous ghost stories.
It’s about a young man who rebels against his family’s
military traditions and refuses to join the army.

He’s accused of cowardice by his fiancee, and to prove
his bravery he sleeps overnight in a room haunted by
a long-dead ancestor. The result is horrific.

Red button The Papers

You might not imagine a story about bent journalists,
publicity agents, and celebrity-seeking nobodies
would have been written over a hundred years ago.

That’s what this story entails – and it even includes
a go-getting woman journalist taking meals in expensive
restaurants. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Red button Fordham Castle

Another tale about social climbing – with some
of its characters prepared to go to extremes…

… such as changing your give-away lower-class surname,
and even pretending to be dead so that your spouse
can claw her way up the social ladder.

Red button The Abasement of the Northmores

This is one of a number of Henry James’s stories about
literary reputations.

A famous public figure has made his reputation by
using other people. When he dies a collection of
his letters is published by his widow.

However, when they are published (in two volumes)
they reveal nothing more than his mediocrity.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #07

Who composed the William Tell overture?

Red button How to avoid jargon

Do you get annoyed at writing that’s littered with acronyms
and jargon? This sort of thing:

“Management will restore corporate viability in line
with APFR aspirations, and therefore urges maximum
transfer accountability via GHT guidance.”

Our tutorial will show you how to avoid writing in
this manner, and what steps you can take to eliminate
dross, ambiguity, and inflation from what you write.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #08

In which year was Concorde retired from service?

Red button Scrivener – software for writers

I just came across this excellent program for
people working on large-scale projects.

It allows you to split your writing into easily
manageable chunks, and it keeps track of them.

In fact it’s a content management system for
people writing novels, scientific reports, or
even screenplays.

It’s packed with all the sorts of features
you would expect for editing and correcting
your work. But best of all, when you’ve finished
you can export to a PDF file for printing, or to
eBook format with ready-made chapter titles.

This is a valuable tool for anybody serious
about organising a serious writing project.

And it’s not very expensive.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #09

Who was captured and kept in a cage by Stromboli?

0— Short stories – Part 2

Red button The Bench of Desolation

At last! A Henry James story with a happy ending.

Small town shopkeeper Herbert Dodd gets cold feet in
his engagement to Kate Cookham – and settles out of
court when she sues him for breach of promise.

From that point his life goes downhill, until he’s
left with nothing – until she turns up again ten
years later with his money, plus the interest.

Red button Four Meetings

This story is something of a grim joke. Be warned.
A naive but eager New England schoolteacher is
obsessed with European culture.

When she finally gets to France, her cousin borrows
all her money from her to pay off his bad debts.
She returns to America the same day.

Some years later a visitor discovers that she
is still penniless, has given up her European
interests, and is acting as servant to her
cousin’s wife.

Red button The Figure in the Carpet

It’s said that this story is a dig at literary
critics – or it could be a study in hermeneutics.
[You might want to look that up.]

After reviewing the latest book by a distinguished
novelist, a critic meets the author and is told that
all his work contains a coded secret. But he won’t
reveal what it is.

This sends the critic into a searching frenzy.
He enlists the help of friends, one of whom discovers
the secret, but dies before he can pass it on.

0— Pub Quiz – Question #10

What is the capital of Romania?

Red button Self-publishing Success

We’ve been here before, but this is an
update to the Amanda Hocking story.

She was a wannabe novelist, regularly
in receipt of rejection slips.

Until she put her fantasy tales up on
to Amazon and charged 99 cents for a
download. Now she’s a dollar millionaire.

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1. How many wings does a flea have?

#2 What is the national currency in Hungary?
ANSWER: The Forint

#3 Who wrote “Love Letters in the Sand”?
ANSWER: Pat Boone

#4 Which is the USA’s ‘Blue Grass’ state?
ANSWER: Kentucky

#5 Are baboons apes or monkeys?
ANSWER: Monkeys (they have tails)

#6 Whose nephews are Huey, Dewey, and Louie?
ANSWER: Donald Duck’s

#7 Who composed the William Tell overture?
ANSWER: Rossini

#8 In which year was Concorde retired from service?
ANSWER: 2003

#9 Who was captured and kept in a cage by Stromboli?
ANSWER: Pinocchio

#10 What is the capital of Romania?
ANSWER: Bucharest

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All Rights Reserved

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ISSN 1470-1863
The British Library

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