Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Goodreads Helps you Keep Track of Books you want to Read

David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating Alice’s suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.

Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin’s role in Alice’s death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?

Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heart—and a first novel of the highest order. 
Who is this girl? And where is Black, the one who got away?

Abandoned time and again by those he holds dear, Patrick Clement is forging a reputation as a forensic sculptor, helping to identify the unclaimed missing. But he can’t leave behind a remarkable summer night in 1993, spent alone on Brighton’s derelict West Pier with Black, a beautiful photography student. Patrick is haunted by the fact that no sooner did he get to know her than she disappeared from his life...

Decades on, while at work, Patrick is tasked with reconstructing the skull of an unidentified girl found on the pier in the 1970s – the pier he still thinks about. A crime he recalls from childhood, when his family life was in turmoil, Patrick works to discover the truth behind what has happened.

Set in Brighton, The Girl on the Pier spans several decades, from the seventies to the present day. Inspired by literary novelists such as Ian McEwan, Anne Tyler and John Updike, Paul uses vivid images to make the reader feel as though they are right there in the story. The Girl on the Pier will appeal to lovers of psychological thrillers and suspense novels.

Iraq Declares Victory over Islamic State group in Tikrit

Iraq declared a "magnificent victory" Wednesday over the Islamic State group in Tikrit, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi made the pronouncement, saying security forces have "accomplished their mission" in the monthlong offensive to rid Saddam Hussein's hometown and the broader Salahuddin province of the militant group.
"We have the pleasure, with all our pride, to announce the good news of a magnificent victory," Obeidi said in a video statement. "Here we come to you, Anbar! Here we come to you, Nineveh, and we say it with full resolution, confidence, and persistence," naming other provinces under the sway of the extremists.
Extremists from the Islamic State group seized Tikrit last summer during its advance across northern and western Iraq. The battle for Tikrit is seen as a key step toward eventually driving the militants out of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and the provincial capital of Nineveh.
Iraqi forces, including soldiers, police officers, Shiite militias and Sunni tribes, launched a large-scale operation to recapture Tikrit on March 2. Last week, the United States launched airstrikes on the embattled city at the request of the Iraqi government.
Recapturing Tikrit would be the biggest win so far for Baghdad's Shiite-led government. The city is about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad and lies on the road connecting the capital to Mosul. Retaking it will help Iraqi forces have a major supply link for any future operation against Mosul.
Earlier Wednesday, Iraqi security forces fired on snipers and searched homes for remaining militants. Soldiers fanned out in circles from the charred skeletal remains of the Salahuddin provincial government complex, captured the day before.
Militant mortar fire, which had been intense over previous days, fell silent Wednesday, with commanders saying only a few militant snipers remained in the city. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations.
The objective, Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban said Wednesday, is now to restore normalcy as quickly as possible.
"After clearing the area from roadside bombs and car bombs, we will reopen police stations to restore normalcy in the city, and we will form committees to supervise the return of people displaced from their homes," al-Ghabban said. He said the government will help displaced residents return and that a civil defense unit will be combing the city for roadside bombs and car bombs.
"Daesh is completely defeated," he added, using an Arabic name for the group.
During a visit to Tikrit, Iraqi Prime Minsiter Haider al-Abadi said that military engineering units still need more time to clear the city from booby traps. He also waved an Iraqi flag in photos posted on his social media accounts.
"God's willing, there will be a fund to rebuild areas destroyed by Daesh and the war. Tikrit and Salahuddin areas will be covered by this fund," al-Abadi said.
A satellite image of Tikrit, released in February by the United Nations, showed at least 536 buildings in the city have been affected by the fighting. Of those, at least 137 were completely destroyed and 241 were severely damaged. The current offensive also exacerbated previous damage, particularly in the south where clashes have been the most intense in recent days.
Iraq's parliament speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, called on the government to find the means to resettle residents from damaged Tikrit buildings. He said this "requires effort and support by the central government in order to financially support the people in rebuilding their houses."
Aziz Jaber, a political science professor at Baghdad's Mustansiriyah University, said retaking Tikrit could be seen as the "beginning of the end" for the Islamic State group in Iraq.
"Daesh was very talented in psychological warfare, but not any more after its defeat in Tikrit," he said. "Now, the morale of the Iraqi forces is high, while that of Daesh is low."
Meanwhile, the U.N. mission to Iraq said Wednesday that violence claimed the lives of at least 997 people in March, a slight drop from the February death toll.
UNAMI said in a statement that among them were 729 civilians while the rest were security forces. It said at least 2,172 people were wounded, including 1,785 civilians.
The new U.N. envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis, said he is shocked to see that Iraqis continue to "bear the brunt" of the ongoing violence in the country.
Kubis also said Wednesday that the offensive in Tikrit is "a victory for all the Iraqi people," and that the U.N. was ready to assist the provincial and national authorities.

Here Is the Captivating Ad Format Facebook Hopes Will Wow Its Users

Just last week, Facebook updated Instagram to allow videos to play on a loop, which could help brands post cinemagraphs there because they are set to constantly repeat.
Burg and Beck have done Tumblr ads for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Motor Co. It's helped luxury brands like Chopard with creating cinemagraphs for organic social campaigns.
The duo said they were just playing around when they discovered this idea of "isolated motion," Burg said in a phone interview this week.
They thought the format would be ideal for advertising. "People can't stop staring at them," Burg said. "Isn't that what advertisers want?"
A third of the projects they do with brands include cinemagraphs, and the artist agreed that their clients are just now planning how to get them on Facebook and Instagram.

A cinemagraph created for Ecco Domani by Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio.
Burg and Beck have even talked with Facebook's team to consult on projects because of how complicated the format is. It could take weeks in production to create a cinemagraph, they said.
"We've had all kinds of new inquiries [from brands]," Beck said. "They don't want video that's so noisy; they want a cinemagraph because it has more elegance."
A cinemagraph created for Lincoln by Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio.

So Long Animated GIFs, Hello Cinemagraph

Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg have been making quite a splash this year with their "cinemagraph" technique, combining still photography and video to "unfreeze" a photo in time. The results are stunning, and show that there was more potential in the old animated .gif format than had yet been realized.
We caught up with Jamie and Kevin, who let us in on their process.
Turnstyle: Animated .gifs have long been the territory of goofy forum signatures and internet memes, what caused you to take the idea of animated photographs up to the level of art?
Jamie & Kevin: We wanted to tell more of a story than a single still frame photograph, but didn't want the high maintenance aspect of a video. In preparation for Fashion Week we were trying to figure out a way to show more about what it was like being there, so cinemagraphs were born out of a need to tell a story in a fast digital age.
The basis for these is always a still photograph which is why they maintain the artistic approach and visual style of Jamie's still photography. What we strive to capture is the moments before and after a photograph is taken.
TS: Why "cinemagraph"?
J&K: There's a cinematic quality to them in both the way it captures a moment as well as the coming together of still imagery and moving imagery. "Cinemagraph" represents, in a single word, what the images represent visually. Coco Rocha put it well: "More than a photo, but not quite a video."
TS: Technically speaking, how are these different from animated .gifs? I'm perceiving a lot more frames of animation for one, but is that just my brain filling in the blanks? It also feels like the animated parts are isolated from the rest of the composition.
J&K: An animated .gif is usually a sequence of stills pulled from video, animated art, or other imagery that is repurposed into a .gif. What we do is different because it's a traditional still photograph with a moment living within it. For us it's less about the .gif format -- that's just the vessel by which it's best to deliver them on the web, although the limitations of the format have been very influential on the visual style of our images. The .gif format itself is ancient by internet standards but much like photography people are always finding interesting new ways to communicate within the confines of existing formats.