Irma Boom’s Library, Where Pure Experimentalism Is on the Shelf (Joshua Barone, NYT) [via]
Slate reviews Bill Schutt's forthcoming book Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. Guardian review here. Schutt is a Research Associate in Vertebrate Zoology and Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History. [more inside]
Chuck Finley appears to be a voracious reader, having checked out 2,361 books at the East Lake County Library in a nine-month period this year. But Finley didn't read a single one of the books, ranging from "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck to a kids book called "Why Do My Ears Pop?" by Ann Fullick. That's because Finley isn't real.
A lot happened in 2016 that was regrettable, but there were some good moments too—and not just moments. Who better than David Rees to tally up the best of 2016?
Hidden gems of 2016: the best books you may have missed. Writers and critics at the Guardian point out the ones that you may have missed or not even heard about. [more inside]
23 Random Paragraphs From Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs William S. Burroughs reads 23 random sentences from Naked Lunch [wiki] [Previously.].
Tiny Tomes from the World’s First All-Miniature Bookstore: As the 450 lots show, [The Lilliput Oval Saloon] carried a range of finely crafted miniature tomes, from British almanacs with gilded covers to leather religious texts to books celebrating vices — like a tiny one from 1905 with 50 recipes for popular cocktails or 1866’s The Smoker’s Textbook, which features illustrations of water pipes and tobacco plants on an engraved title page. There are works of fiction and poetry, too, penned by names like Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, and William Butler Yeats — whose “Song of the Wandering Aengus” unfolds on tiny pages kept between a carefully embroidered cover. The variety of material used by publishers to construct these diminutive books exemplifies their status as miniature works of art: one 1840 prayer book for children boasts a white bone binding, a vellum spine, and gilded edges.
100 Notable Books of 2016 [The New York Times] The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. This list represents books reviewed since Dec. 6, 2015, when we published our previous Notables list. [more inside]
It’s no accident that many people who appreciate VR and AR are also fans of scifi books, movies, and TV shows. Technology has imitated art and the other way around, with science fiction writers coining terms like “virtual reality” and “the metaverse,” and tech companies using science fiction writers as in-house futurists and advisers.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in books with significant AR and VR presence, this is the reading list for you. Also on Goodreads.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in books with significant AR and VR presence, this is the reading list for you. Also on Goodreads.
The Adventures of Fat Rice started as a neighborhood restaurant (which got big) serving a cuisine few had ever tasted from a place many had never heard of. The short version: The chefs got an agent and a book deal. The long version is a look at how one cookbook came together, from writing the proposal, to developing the recipes, to designing the inside and cover. [more inside]
Tonight, the National Book Foundation will honor and celebrate some of the year's best American literature at the 2016 National Book Awards ceremony. Hosted by Larry Wilmore, the event will be livestreamed, or you can follow on Twitter at #NBAwards. If you can't wait for bookish goodness, the recording of last night's readings by the finalists is available; Young People's Literature finalist Nicola Yoon called it one of the most inspiring nights of her life. This season hasn't been without controversy, however: the various ways the awards reflect the current state of publishing have been criticized but also defended.
Tyler Cowen is an economics professor and chairman / general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Since April 2015, he has been hosting "Conversations with Tyler", lengthy, one-on-one podcast interviews with "thought leaders from across the spectrum — economists, entrepreneurs, authors and innovators. All have one thing in common — they are making an impact on the world because of their ideas." His latest is with Steven Pinker. [more inside]
Romano Hänni makes beautiful hand-printed books. For example [PDF links]: Typo Picture Book; Typographic Notes (i); Typographic Notes (ii); The Book with the E.
Whether you have a stubbed toe or a stubborn case of the blues, within this website you’ll find a cure in the form of a novel – or a combination of novels – to help ease your pain.
An Attempt to 3D Model Jorge Luis Borges’s Library of Babel [Hyperallergic] Programmer Jamie Zawinski has created a digital rendering of the infinite, hexagonal library that is the subject and setting of Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Library of Babel.”
Finally a Handy Chart of the “Big 5” Book Publishers and Their Imprints [Tor] “Trade book publishing is dominated by the “Big 5”: five book publishing companies that own or partner with over 100 different publishers and imprints, and who are responsible for the lion’s share of books that you see on shelves. As such, it can get confusing as to which imprint (like Tor Teen) is owned by which publisher (Tor/Forge Books) is owned by which “Big 5” company (Macmillan). Designer and author Ali Almossawi recently collected this information into an easy online info chart, allowing curious folks to quickly identify imprints and publishers owned by the same “Big 5” company. This is publicly available information, but it can be difficult to track down in some cases. Almossawi’s chart greatly simplifies that information. It should be noted that not all publishers are included in the chart, just the ones that are considered the five most prominent.”
We asked our librarian delegates to help us build the perfect library by answering one simple question: which one book couldn’t you live without?
"Anthropodermic bibliopegy, or books bound in human skin," writes Megan Rosenbloom in Lapham's Quarterly, "are some of the most mysterious and misunderstood books in the world’s libraries and museums. The historical reasons behind their creation vary [...] The best evidence most of these alleged skin books have ever had were rumors and perhaps a pencil-written note inside that said 'bound in human skin'...until now." Anthropodermic biblipegy on Metafilter previously and previously. Warning: links may contain details disturbing for some. [more inside]
Wunderkammer is a collection of high resolution images from old books in the Hagströmer Medical Library. Some of my favorites are sea anemones, nerve cells, rooster chasing off a monster, 16th Century eye surgery, muscles and bones of the hand and arm, elephant-headed humanoid and cupping. It can also be browsed by tag, broken up into subject (e.g. beast), emotion (e.g. strange), technique (e.g. chromolithography) and era (e.g. 18th Century). Once you've exhausted the pleasures of the Wunderkammer, venture into the Bibliotheca Systema Naturae, with scans from more books in the Hagströmer Medical Library, such as portraits of patients and Goethe's theory of optics.
The culture editors at Slate asked Maria Semple to recommend three funny books with living authors. Then, rather cleverly, they turned around and asked those authors to recommend three funny books. Result: 83 of the funniest books ever, accoding to some of the funniest authors ever. Check 'em out if you need something to help you get through November.
Audiobooks for the Damned (main site, previously) have been forging ahead in their quest to audiobook-ify film novelizations, and have finally released one of their holy grails - a seven-hour audiobook of George Gipe's legendarily insane novelization of Back to the Future Part I, as chronicled in Ryan North's B to the F (read it chronologically here, also previously). [more inside]
Build your very own house for books to plant in your front yard, and become your neighbourhood’s Street Librarian.
In anticipation of the November Gilmore Girls revival, and assuming you've completed your preparatory rewatch (FanFare), here's a list of all 339 books referenced by the show so you can find a few to add to your reading list and keep you busy until November, or check it out it in check-off list form to see how you stack up.
W.P. Kinsella, author of ‘Shoeless Joe,’ dead at 81 [Maclean's Magazine] W.P. Kinsella, the B.C.-based author of “Shoeless Joe,” the award-winning novel that became the film “Field of Dreams,” has died at 81. His literary agency confirms the writer had a doctor-assisted death on Friday in Hope, B.C. The agency did not provide details about Kinsella’s health. [more inside]
2016 National Book Awards Longlists: The National Book Award Finalists will be revealed on 10/13 and the Winners announced on 11/16. [more inside]
The most helpful career advice article ever posted on LinkedIn: "So you think you can fake your own death?" by Elizabeth Greenwood, author of the new book Playing Dead.
On Not Reading by Amy Hungerford [The Chronicle Review] “The activity of nonreading is something that scholars rarely discuss. When they — or others whose identities are bound up with books — do so, the discussions tend to have a shamefaced quality. Blame "cultural capital" — the sense of superiority associated with laying claim to books that mark one’s high social status. More entertainingly, blame Humiliation, the delicious game that a diabolical English professor invents in David Lodge’s 1975 academic satire, Changing Places. ”
Fancy chickens were all the rage in the late 19th century, so Lewis Wright's Illustrated Book of Poultry was a big hit. With hundreds of pages of high density chicken information and dozens of beautiful chromolithographs by ornithological artist J.W. Ludlow, the book stayed in print for more than 40 years. Harvard University just digitized the book for public viewing. Here's their blog post about it. [more inside]
No, Alan Moore Isn't a Recluse [Publishers Weekly] “Speaking in intimidatingly long and thoughtful sentences, Moore is affable, relaxed, and eager to talk about his new novel, Jerusalem [Amazon], to be published in September by Norton’s Liveright imprint in the U.S. and Knockabout in the U.K. It’s a 600,000-word opus that has been lurking, Cthulhu-like, behind his last decade of work. Remixing the most-reader-challenging tricks of writers such as James Joyce, Roland Barthes, and Mark Z. Danielewski, Jerusalem is an astonishing collection of words and ideas that weaves a hypnotic spell.” [Previously] [Previously] [more inside]
Ann M. Martin on the Enduring Appeal of The Baby-Sitters Club and Rebooting Another Children’s Series. "It’s hard to overstate the ravenousness with which young girls would devour these $3.99 tomes. At the time, a Baby-sitters Club book was about as close as we could get to a Snapchat-style look into the life of an early-’90s 13-year-old. The books were where a lot of young women first learned what it was like to experience divorce, the death of a grandparent, a first boyfriend, or a lost kitten." [more inside]
le Carré on le Carré [The Guardian] The many lives of John le Carré, in his own words. An exclusive extract from his new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel. Portraits by Nadav Kander. [Previously.] [more inside]
Subway Reads: Free E-Books, Timed for Your Commute [The New York Times] “On Sunday, Subway Reads started delivering novellas, short stories or excerpts from full-length books to passengers’ cellphones or tablets. The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. Subway Reads will even let riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway — a 10-page selection for a 10-minute ride, a 20-page selection for a 20-minute excursion, a 30-page selection for a 30-minute trip. Delays not included.”
New York City's Karen Barbarossa is reading the Biblioteca Adelphi catalogue, in order, from 1965 through now. All of it. That's 653 titles, to date.
One Third of Parents Avoid Reading Children Scary Stories, Study Finds [The Guardian] “A survey of 1,003 UK parents by online bookseller The Book People found that 33% would steer clear of books for their children containing frightening characters. Asked about the fictional creations they found scariest as children, a fifth of parents cited the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with the Child Catcher from Ian Fleming’s Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang in second place. Third was the Big Bad Wolf, in his grandmother-swallowing Little Red Riding Hood incarnation, fourth the Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and fifth Cruella de Vil, from Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians.”
A series of pictures of food as eaten in world famous scenes in literature. Charles Roux creates these fictitious meals, photographs them and then eats them. His goal is to collect the photographs in a book, putting the meals back on paper, where they belong.
Harry Potter and the Possible Queerbaiting: [The Guardian] JK Rowling’s Cursed Child has drawn fire over its story of male friendship, which some readers feel flirts coyly with gay romance – but it is a change from the usual stereotypes. [more inside]
Clothes aren’t just something one puts on a character to stop her from being naked. Done right, clothes are everything.
President Obama's Summer Reading List [The Guardian] The White House released [whitehouse.gov] Barack Obama’s summer reading list on Friday as the first family vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a mix of prize-winning novels and the memoir of a surfer who spent much of his childhood in Hawaii, something the president can appreciate. [Previously.] [more inside]
Of Thee I Read: The United States in Literature [The New York Times] Reporters and editors on the National Desk of The New York Times were asked to suggest books that a visitor ought to read to truly understand the American cities and regions where they live, work and travel. There were no restrictions — novels, memoirs, histories and children’s books were fair game. Here are some selections. Recommend a book that captures something special about where you live in the comments, or on Twitter with the hashtag #natbooks. [more inside]
Evliya Çelebi’s Seyahatname is one of history’s greatest travelogues - Edward White, The Paris Review. [via]
The Misanthropic Genius of Joy Williams [The New York Times] The writer’s new story collection establishes her as one of the greatest chroniclers of humanity’s insignificance. [more inside]
"Steve Roskoski, a library assistant, said he and his fellow librarians (some with their own tattoos) came up with the idea to match readers with books based on their tats. It’s Portland after all. “Book recommending and finding people good reads is something we do every day here at the Multnomah County Library,” Roskoski said. “Social media is a great way to interact with those people - and we’ve seen a great response. We had over 150 awesome tattoos sent in.” That number will continue to grow, Roskoski suspects, as the word gets out." [more inside]
Man Booker Prize Announces 2016 Longlist: The longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize is announced today. This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges: Amanda Foreman (Chair); Jon Day; Abdulrazak Gurnah; David Harsent and Olivia Williams. It was chosen from 155 submissions published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. [more inside]
Writing for the BBC, Lucy Scholes lists "Ten 'Lost' Books You Should Read Now," starting with Teffi's Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea. An excerpt from Memories appeared in The New Yorker in 2014, and a recent article there provided additional background for that book as well as the collection of which the essay "My Dinner with Rasputin" is a part. [more inside]
Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction's Most Mysterious MacGuffins by Damien Walter [The Guardian] “When the unknown is also alien, the mystery only grows more magnetic. Think of that iconic opening to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: a family of apes wake one morning to find a black monolith looming over them; that had its origins in Arthur C Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. Did some super-advanced civilisation intercede in the early evolution of intelligent life on earth? Or was the monolith just filming a very special edition of Life on Earth? We don’t know, and never find out. But this shiny, looming thing is just one of many Big Dumb Objects [wiki] that have turned up in science fiction over the decades.”