Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dustjacket Face

Librarians in Hungary really get into their books!   To promote reading in the town of Kaposvar, librarians imitated the popular sleeveface record album movement and put their bookcovers where their mouths are:
See also.

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Most Difficult Books
Flavorwire, the worst kind of electrician snack ever, has a list of the fifty toughest books ever to read.   Dante's Inferno is one I've actually read, completed, and I don't think it's all that hard, if you acclimate yourself to the time and theme of the book; Naked Lunch, on the other hand, I attempted in my twenties and didn't get more than a dozen pages into it.  There wasn't even anything to appreciate about the book; I had to stop.   Much of the list, thought, are books I've considered reading, which means if I can successfully read a book labeled "tough" by a flavored wire, I'll be doing pretty good.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Litograph T-Shirts

Litograph produces high-resolution t-shirts which are composed of the entire text of a great work of literature.  Not content to just do the text in a boring, purely-typographical style, Litograph organizes words and color in a mosaic style that makes them look cool to wear:


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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Tiny Books

The University of Iowa in Iowa City has a collection of the tiniest books ever made.  They apparently have a set of appropriately-tiny shelves that the books live on, and the smallest is the size of a ladybug.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Big Box Library

In Texas, architects have turned an abandoned big-box store into a huge library.  Formerly a Wal-Mart, now it houses thousands of books, and provides a much greater service to the area than a huge wasteland of steel and concrete was. See also: Big Box Reuse, which has a companion book.


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Friday, June 21, 2013

Phileas Fogg's Lost Day

The climax of Around The World In Eighty Days is an unexpected, but logically sound, argument: that if you travel in the same direction as the Earth is turning, you'll eventually 'lap' the planet and gain a day.  It turns out that somebody went through the mathematical effort to prove that Phileas Fogg didn't really gain a day, so Passepartout's watch didn't really mess up the plan.  Blame Poe, though: a short story of his, no doubt, planted the seed in Verne's mind of this date conundrum.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dumbledore's Yellow Pages

What? I was sure they were actual, real spell books borrowed from the real Hogwarts. Sadly, the prop department had to make due with what they had on hand: old phone books rebound and distressed to look old.  The interview this is from is here, the book discovery happens towards the end.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

El Ateneo

In 2000, publisher Grupos Ilhsa converted the 1920s-era Grand Splendid Theater in Buenos Aires into a bookstore called the  El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore.   More pictures here.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Amish Romance

At first glance, I would have thought this was a satirical book cover from The Onion, what with its Hollywood-gorgeous model, the title almost looks like it's not real words and devoid of meaning, the empty claim of being a "New York Times Bestselling Author" — but, no, this is the real deal.   Amish romance novels are a thing, and a big thing at that. It goes to show that having a devoted and book-hungry subgenre will do an author good, and this genre wins because of its cross-genre appeal.  Both the Amish themselves and Evangelical Christians love the books for their strict adherence to morals and faith, with a healthy dollop of romance on top.  So, really, not much different than the "true romance" magazines from the fifties and sixties, which adhered to Hayes-code style punishment for transgressors and rewards for those true of heart, but set in an idealized world of bonnets and buggies — a callback to historical romances.  It's no wonder that Amish Romances, as a genre, have such appeal: they're cobbled together from some of the most successful aspects of romance fiction from the past fifty years.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

De Nyew Testament In Gullah

Someone over at Reddit found themselves a copy of De Nyew Testament at their used book store:

Just the snippet shown there, you can get one aspect of translation:  it's about context, and not just finding the right word.   One of my "projects" that I've been working on, off-and-on, for two years now is correcting an English translation of a French book that I very much enjoyed but had some trouble reading.  Quite often, the translator just picked the first word in their French-to-English dictionary, resulting in some confusing and somewhat amusing sentences.  And, if there's one book that is constantly and enthusiastically debated over the context in a translation, it's the Bible, so you know some thought went into producing the Gullah version.  If you'd like to see de hole Nyew Testament, you can read the same version pictured online at, or if you can't get there because Reddit is hitting them hard, it's also available here or here