Friday, February 25, 2011

Bestselling books the week of 2/24/11

What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.


1. Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell, Knopf
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson, Knopf
3. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, Viking
4. Room, by Emma Donoghue, Little Brown
5. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
6. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris, Ian Falconer (Illus.), Little Brown
7. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, FSG
8. A Red Herring Without Mustard, by Alan Bradley, Delacorte
9. Tick Tock, by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge, Little Brown
10. While Mortals Sleep, by Kurt Vonnegut, Delacorte
11. West of Here, by Jonathan Evison, Algonquin
12. The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
13. Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett, Dutton
14. An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin, Grand Central
15. Clara and Mr. Tiffany, by Susan Vreeland, Random House
22. The Secret Soldier, by Alex Berenson, Putnam
A new John Wells novel by the author of The Midnight House.
*Published Thursday, February 24, 2011 (for the sales week ended Sunday, February 20, 2011). Based on reporting from many hundreds of independent bookstores across the United States. For information on more titles, please visit
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Key: F-Fiction; NF-Nonfiction; H-Hardcover; P-Paperback; E-Ebook
1. "Alone" by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) (F-E)
2. "Tick Tock" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown) (F-H)
3. "Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel" by James Patterson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) (F-H)
4. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) (F-P)
5. "The Girl Who Played With Fire" by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) (F-P)
6. "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson) (NF-P)
7. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House) (NF-H)
8. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen (Algonquin) (F-E)
9. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson (Knopf) (F-H)
10. "Dreams of a Dark Warrior" by Kresley Cole (Pocket) (F-P)
11. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-P)
12. "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah E. Harkness (Viking Adult) (F-E)
13. "I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins) (F-E)
14. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books) (F-H)
15. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese (Knopf) (F-E)
16. "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-H)
17. "Marrying Daisy Bellamy" by Susan Wiggs (MIRA) (F-P)
18. "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) (F-H)
19. "Awakened" by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin) (F-H)
20. "Swimsuit" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
21. "Known & Unknown: A Memoir" by Donald Rumsfeld (Sentinel) (NF-H)
22. "Switched" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
23. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam Adult) (F-H)
24. "The Confession" by John Grisham (Doubleday) (F-H)
25. "Decision Points" by George W. Bush (Crown) (F-H)
26. "Wild Man Creek" by Robyn Carr (MIRA) (F-P)
27. "Her Last Letter" by Nancy C. Johnson (Penwyck Publishing L.L.C.) (F-E)
28. "Ascend" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
29. "The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book One" by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion) (F-H)
30. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5: The Last Olympian (Disney-Hyperion) (F-P)
31. "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
32. "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown (Anchor) (F-P)
33. "Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Griffin) (F-P)
34. "Torn" by Amanda Hocking (Self-published through CreateSpace) (F-E)
35. "Room: A Novel" by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown) (F-E)
36. "True You" by Janet Jackson, David Ritz (Karen Hunter) (NF-H)
37. "Dead or Alive" by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood (Putnam Adult) (F-H)
38. "What the Night Knows: A Novel" by Dean Koontz (Bantam) (F-H)
39. "Beastly" by Alex Flinn (HarperTeen) (F-P)
40. "Little Bee: A Novel" by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster) (F-P)
41. "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommom Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" by Timothy Ferriss (Crown Archetype) (NF-H)
42. "Deliver Us from Evil" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing) (F-P)
43. "I Beat the Odds" by Michael Oher (Gotham Books) (NF-H)
44. "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake (Berkley) (F-P)
45. "Broken" by Karin Slaughter (Dell) (F-P)
46. "Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story" by Justin Bieber (HarperCollins) (NF-H)
47. "Live to Tell: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel" by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) (F-P)
48. "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel" by Jamie Ford (Bellantine) (F-E)
49. "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown) (NF-H)
50. "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman (Moody Publishers) (NF-P)
Reporting stores include:, B. Dalton Bookseller, Barnes &, Barnes & Noble Inc., Books-A-Million and Bookland,, Borders Books & Music, Bookstar, Bookstop, Brentano's, Davis Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Jackson, Memphis, Tenn., Doubleday Book Shops, Hudson Booksellers, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington, Ky.; Cincinnati, Cleveland), Powell's Books (Portland, Ore.),, R.J. Julia Booksellers (Madison, Conn.), Schuler.
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2011 College Admission Rates: The Toughest Season Ever

With applications at record levels to many of America’s best colleges, The Daily Beast crunched the numbers at 28 top schools to find projected admission rates. Kristina Dell on Harvard’s low rate and more.
Selective colleges across the country are receiving an avalanche of applications this year, with records being set from Cambridge to California. Harvard is poised to be the toughest Ivy to get into: Based on the jump in the number of applications it received, the university’s acceptance rate is likely to drop to a record low 6 percent. The University of California-Berkeley, meanwhile, is shaping up as one of the toughest state schools to crack, with just 20 percent of applicants likely to receive welcoming e-mails.

To get a handle on how tough it is to get into college this year, The Daily Beast reviewed the number of applications received at key schools across the country—figures that climbed for many institutions. We sampled the eight Ivy League schools, as well as a group of 10 major state universities and 10 selective private liberal arts schools. We calculated the projected admission rate based on information from the schools about the number of offers they expect to make this year, or, in some cases, the number of offers made last year. (The precise admission rates for this year won’t be known until after the letters are sent out and the schools work through their waitlists.) We’ve compared the likely admission rates for this year with the figures from last year and also five years ago The result: one tough admission season.
Kristina Dell is an editor at and runs the education website. Previously, she wrote for TIME magazine. Her stories have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reader's Digest.
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Schools boost efforts to ID fake student addresses

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kelley Williams-Bolar, alarmed after her home was broken into, yanked her two daughters out of their urban Akron, Ohio, schools and enrolled them in her father's suburban school district nearby, using his address.

That way, said the single mom and teacher's aide, they could come to a safer home after school.

Her peace of mind proved costly. Officials in the Copley-Fairlawn district challenged the residency of her girls in 2007, when they were 9 and 13 years old. Williams-Bolar was charged and convicted of felony records tampering.

Not only was she jailed last month for nine days, but the conviction threatens her efforts to earn a teacher's license and could jeopardize her job as a teacher's aide. She plans to appeal.

Her case has become a rallying point for advocates of school choice and it has outraged residents in her northeast Ohio community — some because of her dishonesty, others for the severity of her prosecution.

"My kids are not latchkey kids," said Williams-Bolar, who had no choice but to re-enroll her daughters in Akron schools two years ago. "I am a mother, and I want to make sure my kids are safe, and I want to make sure that they're educated."

Her prosecution and incarceration are a high-profile example of how schools are getting tougher on parents who sneak their children into other districts, usually better-funded and higher-performing schools. Districts are fighting back, having students followed by private investigators, fining or pressing criminal charges against their parents — even sending them to jail.

The cases raise questions about school funding disparities and pit parents' pursuit of better academics or safer hallways against schools' interests in protecting their funding and quality.

There's little data that tracks how many parents register students using false addresses or those of relatives in violation of state, city or school regulations, but districts from New Hampshire to Texas to California report that it's a problem. Jailing parents isn't common.

"I must say this is the first case I've ever heard of where somebody has been arrested," said Susan Gates, a senior economist who studies education issues at the RAND Corporation.

Copley-Fairlawn Superintendent Brian Poe said his district "has taken a certain amount of heat," with critics saying it should educate all children. "That's not the law in the state of Ohio, and that's not our board policy."

Recent letters to the Akron Beacon Journal capture high emotions on both sides of the issue. Hundreds of Williams-Bolar supporters recently rallied with the Rev. Al Sharpton, calling for her exoneration.

"To take a viable human being and cast her aside like a dangerous criminal again proves that the American justice system is only just for some people — certainly not poor, black and struggling members of society," wrote Mary L. Tabatcher of Mogadore.

But Donna Blair of Akron was sharply critical.

"Shame on Kelley Williams-Bolar," Blair wrote. "We all want what's best for our kids, but should we commit crimes to get them the best? The message she sent to her kids was that it's OK to lie, cheat and steal."

The newspaper reported this week that one lawmaker is preparing legislation that would allow children to enroll in school districts where their grandparents live.

Around the country, transfers between districts are allowed in most places if both districts agree, with some requiring the home district to pay tuition to the receiving district, said Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Education Commission of the States in Denver. Problems occur when parents seeking better academics, elite sports teams or safer environments falsify records or say students live with relatives or in rental homes when they don't.

Cases typically are resolved when a parent moves a student out, changes homes or pays tuition, but a few end up in court. Since 2005, Copley-Fairlawn has resolved conflicts with 47 other families over illegal student attendance.

Education officials say cases tend to surface more when budgets are tight and in areas where there are significant disparities between districts such as in academic success or local income level — particularly in wealthier districts near urban areas. That often means the districts in question also have racial disparities.

Williams-Bolar's attorney, Kerry O'Brien, raised the issue of race at one point in court papers, saying that because her client is black, the case raises the specter of "improper racial segregation and prosecution."

In a Pennsylvania case, Latoni Crowder used a cousin's address to ensure her eighth-grader could continue at Central Dauphin East Middle School in central Pennsylvania. Crowder had lost her job at a nursing home and, unable to afford her apartment rent, moved to a cheaper place in the underachieving Harrisburg district.

"Like any parent, I was just looking out for my daughter," said Crowder, 40, one of three Harrisburg residents prosecuted last fall and convicted for false enrollment in the better-performing Central Dauphin schools. "I just didn't want her to fall behind and not get a good education."
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Teacher who put pupils into their own sex'n'drugs novel ...

A much-praised teacher who persuaded difficult pupils to read by making them characters in their own, grittily realistic novel is about to find out whether an employment tribunal will allow her to relaunch her career.
Leonora Rustamova, nicknamed Miss Rusty by pupils at the high school where she taught English for 11 years, was sacked for gross misconduct in 2009 after the book appeared on an internet self-publishing site.
Its sexual references and a comparison between two teenagers and "gorgeous Mr Gay UK finalists" led to a furore. But Leeds employment tribunal heard from Rustamova's lawyer that the project had initially been encouraged by Stephen Ball, the head of Calder High school at Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire. He had described the printing of bound copies for each pupil as a "lovely" gesture.
Ball said he was initially supportive of the project to publish the book, Stop! Don't Read This, although he had some reservations.
The tribunal has retired to consider Rustamova's claim for compensation, after hearing that her life was "in ruins" because she became over-excited by the project's success. She told the hearing: "I am an idiot but I had good intentions." One parent had told her that the book was the first her 15-year-old son had read from beginning to end.
Rustamova, 40, wrote the 96-page story after taking charge of a recalcitrant group nicknamed the Commy Boys, who were allegedly given to sexist and racist language and showed little interest in learning. She wrote five of them and herself into a plot involving a drugs gang which was foiled by the pupils, but with sexual fantasies, bad language and truancy along the way.
The tribunal heard how Rustamova read draft instalments in class and pupils gradually became interested in adding their own contributions. Inevitably, this ratcheted up the tally of swearwords and risque episodes, but Matthew Pascall, Rustamova's barrister, said the book did not subvert "positive attitudes and values" and its denouement involved the teacher and her "five favourites" calling in the police.
Rustamova defended the Mr Gay UK passage, claiming she had thought it harmless.
There were pupil demonstrations and protests from parents when Rustamova was suspended, then sacked in May 2009 by the board of governors. Another former English teacher at Calder High, Stephen Cann, who was suspended over the project and later retired, told the tribunal that the head had praised Rustamova for "persevering with a group of lads who had largely been written off".
The school is a highly regarded comprehensive serving Mytholmroyd and the characterful community of Hebden Bridge. Andrew McGrath, representing its governors, said Rustamova had been dismissed for serious errors of judgement.
These did not only involve the book, he said, but also out-of-school activities with the boys and a "failure to acknowledge or comprehend sufficiently the seriousness of the school's concerns".
He said the text had been available on the internet for five months, after Rustamova's husband used a self-publishing site to provide 22 bound copies for pupils and staff.
Rustamova said she had been aghast when she was suspended from her £34,000-a-year job. She said: "I got a letter congratulating me on my promotion to social cohesion co-ordinator and then this happened the next day. I was in deep shock for a couple of days. I was utterly astonished."
Rustamova is out of work and relying on benefits to support her daughter. She said her sacking was wrong and her treatment by the school had "rendered me untouchable".
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Minister threatens 'overcharging' universities ....

David Willetts tells vice-chancellors very few universities would be justified in charging the maximum £9,000 tuition fees
Very few universities would be justified in charging tuition fees of £9,000 a year – the new maximum from next year – the higher education minister, David Willetts, has said in a speech to vice-chancellors.
The government wants a stratified system under which universities charge different amounts. Ministers expect the average to be £7,500. However, several universities have said they intend to charge the maximum.
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge and Imperial College London all plan to charge £9,000, while Liverpool Hope University has said it will charge less than this.
Willetts said that universities charging £9,000 tuition fees would gain an extra £2,600 in funding overall per student on top of their current fee levels. "Unless universities can prove that there will be a commensurate and very significant improvement in the education on offer, it is difficult to see how such an increase could ever be justified, let alone at a time of fiscal restraint. Institutions can clearly offer higher education at a price much less than £9,000," he said.
He warned that if universities insisted on charging the maximum, the government would be forced to make further cuts to their teaching and research budgets.
Universities must reveal far more information about the courses they offer, and will soon have to publish the number of hours that students spend in seminars and lectures for every degree course, Willetts said.
"There are few things that cost as much as higher education where the costs are so murky," he told the spring conference of Universities UK – the umbrella group for vice-chancellors – in London.
He said universities would have to publish 17 pieces of information, including data on how satisfied students are with their courses, the number of graduates out of work for each course and the hours students spend in seminars and lectures.
In return, students could be expected to sign a charter – or contract – promising to attend lectures and be a responsible part of their university's community.
The lecturers' union, the University and College Union, said universities were being told to do more with less money. Sally Hunt, the union's general secretary, said: "The situation around university fees is a complete debacle at the moment. Universities are essentially being told they cannot charge the fee they need to recoup money that the government has cut, but at the same time they must offer a better experience because students are paying higher fees.
"The government needs to review its plans to slash so much of the teaching budget. It is utterly ludicrous to expect universities to offer more for less and even more ridiculous to encourage students to complain at a time when it is clear they are getting a raw deal."
Willetts's comments came as details emerged of a new student occupation at University College London – the centre of last year's protests over the government's increase in tuition fees and cuts to post-16 education that saw tens of thousands of young people take to the streets. About 200 students are occupying the old refectory at the university's campus in Bloomsbury, central London.
"While the occupations last year were very much about the spectacle of contemporary youth rebellion, this new wave seeks to be more ambitious still," said Bernard Goyder, 19, one of those involved in this week's protest. "The occupiers aim to create an anti-cuts organising space in Bloomsbury, where representatives from the anti-cuts groups can co-ordinate their campaigning efforts in the run-up to [the national demonstration organised by the Trades Union Congress on] 26 March."
The UCL occupation last year became the focal point of the widespread anger at government plans to raise tuition fees and cut the education maintenance allowance. It was one of more than 30 student occupations across the country.
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Learning and Conditioning

Don't Assume - Learning seems to be one process that many people take for granted (just assume it happens and happens basically the same way for most people) but know very little about.
study guide free

Please don't forget that we have a full page dedicated to the topic of Learning and Conditioning. You can see it here:

Ask The Right Questions
So, how do we learn? How do other animals learn? Do we learn the same way? What are our limitations? Can we learn anything? Is there one right way to learn? To answer these questions, we need to first establish a definition of learning. Our definition is comprised of several different components:

How Do We Define the Learning Process?
The 4 Factors That Form The Definition of Learning:

1) learning is inferred from a change in behavior/performance*
2) learning results in an inferred change in memory
3) learning is the result of experience
4) learning is relatively permanent

It is the combination of these 4 factors that make our definition of learning. Or, you can go with a slightly less comprehensive definition that is offered in many text books: Learning is a relatively durable change in behavior or knowledge that is due to experience.

What is Behavior Potential?
This means that behavior changes that are temporary or due to things like drugs, alcohol, etc., are not "learned".

* Behavior Potential - once something is learned, an organism can exhibit a behavior that indicates learning as occurred. Thus, once a behavior has been "learned", it can be exhibited by "performance" of a corresponding behavior.

It is the combination of these 4 factors that make our definition of learning. Or, you can go with a slightly less comprehensive definition that is offered in many text books: Learning is a relatively durable change in behavior or knowledge that is due to experience.

We are going to discuss the two main types of learning examined by researchers, classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

I. Classical Conditioning

Classical Conditioning can be defined as a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a reflexive response that was originally evoked by a different stimulus.

A. Ivan Pavlov - Russian physiologist interested in behavior (digestion).

1) Pavlov was studying salivation in dogs - he was measuring the amount of salivation produced by the salivary glands of dogs by presenting them meat powder through a food dispenser.

The dispenser would deliver the meat powder to which the animals salivated. However, what Pavlov noticed was that the food dispenser made a sound when delivering the powder, and that the dogs salivated before the powder was delivered.

He realized that the dogs associated the sound (which occurred seconds before the powder actually arrived) with the delivery of the food. Thus, the dogs had "learned" that when the sound occurred, the meat powder was going to arrive.

This is conditioning (Stimulus-Response; S-R Bonds). The stimulus (sound of food dispenser) produced a response (salivation). It is important to note that at this point, we are talking about reflexive responses (salivation is automatic).

2) Terminology (if you are still confused by these definitions, please look in the non-Psychology jargon glossary on the homepage):

a) Unconditioned Stimulus (US) - a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without any prior conditioning (no learning needed for the response to occur).

b) Unconditioned Response (UR) - an unlearned reaction/response to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without prior conditioning.

c) Conditioned Stimulus (CS) - a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.

d) Conditioned Response (CR) - a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of prior conditioning.

*These are reflexive behaviors. Not a result from engaging in goal directed behavior.

e) Trial - presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli.

Don't worry, we will get to some examples that make this all much more clear.

3) Basic Principles:

a) Acquisition - formation of a new CR tendency. This means that when an organism learns something new, it has been "acquired".

Pavlov believed in contiguity - temporal association between two events that occur closely together in time. The more closely in time two events occurred, the more likely they were to become associated; s time passes, association becomes less likely.

For example, when people are house training a dog -- you notice that the dog went to the bathroom on the rug,. If the dog had the accident hours ago, it will not do any good to scold the dog because too much time has passed for the dog to associate your scolding with the accident. But, if you catch the dog right after the accident occurred, it is more likely to become associated with the accident.

Read more:
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Free Blogger Backgrounds and Textures to ...

Background images can instantly transform the appearance of our Blogger sites. Using the Blogger template designer, we can easily upload and configure a new background image in just a few clicks, while those using older templates need only add a few lines of code to achieve a dramatic effect.

In this post, you'll find resources for hundreds of different free backgrounds, patterns and textures you can use to spice up your Blogger site, along with instructions for applying this simple but extensive effect.

Large background images

Large background images enable us to display a single large image behind the main content of our site, such as a photograph or complementary texture.

Here is a selection of excellent resources for large background images and textures:

HOT Bliggity Blog

Provides a huge selection of large background images with a contrasting central panel to offer contrast for the main site content.

Shabby Blogs

A beautiful collection of "shabby chic" background images (also find free buttons, banners and other website decorations).

The Cutest Blog on the Block

Offers a huge selection of backgrounds for all design preferences.

Dotty Dot Dot

Hundreds of large background images (includes full sized previews):

Jelly Pages

Dozens of colourful backgrounds organized by category and style:

Blogger Blog Backgrounds

A small selection of beautiful illustrated backgrounds:

CG Textures

A huge selection of large photographs and textures organized by category.

Texture Warehouse

A massive gallery of high quality textures, licensed under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0).

Every Stock Photo

A fabulous image search tool for locating free licensed high quality images. Use the search function to find the type of image you require.

Alice Graphixx

Dozens of pages of high quality textures and HQ photos.

Repeating patterns and textures

Seamless patterns and textures can be used to fill the entire background area of our design. Here are some of the best resources for finding patterns for your own blogger designs:

Koller Media

Offers a wide selection of colour and pattern styles.

Shizoo Design

A vast, gorgeous selection of background patterns (with a few large textures thrown into the mix).

Din Pattern

Provides an excellent selection of quality tile patterns for free use in our designs:


One of my old favourites, Squidfingers offers pages of pattern backgrounds to choose from.


Almost 1000 free pixel-patterns for use as tiled background images:


A simple, single-page layout offering a small but beautiful selection of background images.


Create your own perfect tile pattern using this free web-based tool.

Patterns of Change

A quirky gallery of tile background patterns by Liza Phoenix:

Colour Lovers

One of the largest collections of user-generated background patterns. You can also design your own!


Provides a large selection of repeating patterns and textures:

How to add a background image to your Blogspot blog

The method used to apply a background image depends on whether you use the Blogger template designer or the older Layouts templates.

Here are both methods you can use, with variations depending on whether your background is large or repeating.

How to apply a large background image using the Blogger template designer

If you are using the Blogger template designer, you can upload and apply a background image in just a few clicks:

Go to Design>Template Designer in your Blogger dashboard and select Background from the menu on the left.

Click the background image tile which brings up a menu enabling us to select a background image from the default selection. At the top of the left-hand menu, choose Upload Image and select the image you would like to use from a location on your computer:

Click Done to save your selection and go back to the background menu.

Using the drop-down menus, choose to set your preferred alignment for this background image.

Top center alignment is the general preference for both large background images and repeating tile patterns.

You can also choose whether or not to repeat the background image. Generally speaking, large images look odd when they are repeated unless they have been designed to tile seamlessly. When using a repeating pattern, choose the option to Tile which ensures the image repeats both vertically and horizontally.

If there is space around the outside of your large background image, go to Advanced>Page in the Blogger template designer menu, and select a complementary background colour using the menu on the right:

Once you're happy with the changes, click Apply to blog to save the edits and enjoy the new design for your site.

To add a background image by editing your Blogger template

If you use the older Blogger Layouts template or prefer to edit the HTML to add your background image, here is what you should do:

Upload your background image to an image hosting site. I prefer to upload images to Picasa as explained in this previous post (opens in a new window). Don't forget to copy the URL of your hosted image to your clipboard!

Next, go to Design>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and locate the following line of code:


Immediately before this line, paste one of the following code snippets, replacing YOUR-IMAGE-URL.png with the location of your own image.

If using a large background image:
body {
background-image: YOUR-IMAGE-URL.png;
background-position: center top;
background-repeat: no-repeat;
This prevents the image from repeating either vertically or horizontally. Use background-repeat: repeat-y if you'd like the image to repeat vertically.

If using a repeating pattern:
body {
background-image: YOUR-IMAGE-URL.png;
background-position: center top;
background-repeat: repeat;
This code ensures the background pattern tile repeats both horizontally and vertically across the whole page.

Preview your template to ensure your image appears the way you prefer and then save your changes.
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Add Facebook "Like" Box Beneath your ...

Facebook has become one of the most popular tools among Bloggers for syndicating blog posts. By adding a stylish Facebook "Like" box beneath your articles in Blogspot, you offer readers a temptingly easy means of sharing your posts with their friends.

Aneesh of Blogger Plugins has developed a simple, customizable way of installing a Facebook Like box for each page of your Blogger-based site. This tool is based on the original code and design developed by Mia of Dezign Matterz. I'm using a slightly altered version of this widget here on Blogger Buster.

In this post, I'll offer an overview of how to install Aneesh/Mia's stylized Facebook Like box, and an additional method for adding a simpler "Like" widget to your Blogger/Blogspot site.

How to install a stylized Facebook Like Box

Head over to the installation page at Blogger Plugins and fill in the form. You'll need to enter the URL of your Facebook Fan page or profile, and also your desired width in pixels.

The code beneath the form will update once you've entered these details.

If you're using one of the newest Blogger templates (which functions with the Blogger Template Designer) you can add the CSS style code in Design>Template Designer>Advanced>Add CSS section of your dashboard if you prefer. Alternatively, follow the instructions in Aneesh's post to add directly in your Blogger template file.

Finally, add the customized code beneath the &lt;data:post.body/&gt; tag in your blog's HTMl code and save your template. After this simple installation, you'll see the Facebook Like box appear on item pages of your site.

How to install a simple Facebook Like box

If you'd prefer to add a simpler Like box, you can install a widget like this (with or without fan avatars) instead:

To add this style of widget, go to Design>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and check the "Expand Widget Templates" box.

Locate the &lt;data:post.body/&gt; tag using your browser's search function and immediately below this paste the following snippet of code:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;>

<iframe allowTransparency='true' expr:src='&quot;; + data:post.url + &quot;&amp;layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light&quot;' frameborder='0' scrolling='no' style='border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px;height:30px;'/>


You'll need to make a few slight alterations for this widget to work for your specific template:
  • If you would like to show the avatars of people who have liked your page, change the section highlighted in red to "true"
  • Change both of the values highlighted in yellow to the width in pixels you would like to present your widget.
Finally save your template and enjoy your new Facebook Like box which will be displayed on item pages of your site.
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Show Related Article to Your Post

The advantage of showing related article to your post is it will help your readers find more information related to the topics. This is base on label or category. This is usually put to the end of the article. After your visitors finish read your article, they will find some links that related to the post base on label or category.
Here's the tutorial to create "related article to your spot":

1. Login to Blogger
2. Go to "Layout-->Edit HTML"
3. Click on "Expand Widgets Template" checkbox.
4. Then download THIS SCRIPT or HERE.
5. Open it then copy the scripts.
6. Paste the script after this code : <data:post.body/>. If you have "Read more widget" you will find two codes. Put it under the first code.
7. Save your template.
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