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Beth Cox Report: March/April 2017

Welcome to the March/April 2017 Beth Cox Report. Personal and professional demands on my time threaten to turn this into bimonthly open letter - but I'll keep trying to make it (mostly) monthly!

First, here's two useful Links of the Month for writers seeking to create contemporary works with modern dialogue or dialect. They are Know Your Meme and Urban Dictionary:

These websites both provide definitions and context for slang terms that have appeared very recently. As the internet becomes more widespread and commonplace, new vernacular terms, phrases, memes, and cliches can enter the human lexicon and spread faster and further than ever before.

Please do note that modern slang or memes can also be vulgar - Urban Dictionary in particular does not shy from defining sexually explicit slang terms - so these websites might not be the safest to browse during office work!

I also have a technical resource to recommend to writers, publishers, and just about everyone. It's the website ad blocker Ghostery, which I use every day:

I browse a great many websites and blogs, both for work and for fun. But the relentless onslaught of advertisements, tracking cookies and more slows down my browsing, which in turn reduces my productivity at work. Ghostery is easy to use and immensely speeds up websurfing - a treasure for anyone who uses the internet in their daily life!

Now for the March and April Books of the Month. Both of them appear at the very beginning of a Reviewer's Choice column for good reason - they're not only fascinating, but also directly relevant to the immediate problems of the modern world:

Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff
Edward J. Balleisen
Princeton University Press
41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540
9780691164557 $35.00

Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff lives up to its title as a chronicle of American con men and their brilliant, morally bankrupt schemes throughout history. Here are the stories of Charles Ponzi, whose name has been immortalized in an entire category of pyramid schemes; P.T. Barnum, master of both the circus business and politics; Bernie Madoff, architect of the largest financial fraud in U.S. history; and much more. Researched with scholarly detail, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff is as engrossing as it is educational! Highly recommended, especially for both public and college library history collections.

Your Right To Privacy
Jim Bronskill & David McKie
Self-Counsel Press Inc.
4152 Meridian Street, Suite 105-471, Bellingham, WA, 98226
9781770402638, $14.95, PB, 144pp,

Jim Bronskill is a reporter in the Ottawa bureau of The Canadian Press news agency, specializing in security and intelligence, the RCMP and justice-related issues. David McKie teaches data journalism and research methods at Algonquin College, the University of King's College, and Carleton University. In "Your Right To Privacy: Minimize Your Digital Footprint" they team up to draw upon their experience and expertise with respect to the use of the Internet to hack, snoop, and invade people's privacy for nefarious and often criminal purposes. Your personal information can be seen and shared and your privacy can be violated. "Your Right To Privacy" is a definitive guide to minimizing your digital footprint, protecting your vital information, and prevent that Internet-based information from being misused. Bronskill and McKie persuasively argue there are steps each of us can take to keep our important data out of reach while still participating fully in new technologies. They identify the pitfalls we can make and the small moves that will help us avoid them. "Your Right To Privacy" makes an important, significant, practical contribution in enforcing our right to privacy at a time when governments, special interests and others are trying to watch everything we do. "Your Right To Privacy" outlines in detail how to keep your information as safe as possible in an age of hacking, sharing and surveillance. "Your Right To Privacy" is the definitive guide on how to minimize your digital footprint and protect your privacy in the digital age. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Your Right To Privacy" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Your Right To Privacy" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.69).

That's all for the March/April 2017 Beth Cox Report. Vigilance is a virtue!

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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