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"It’s hard to stay away from religion when you mess with acid."

Robert Stone, Novelist of the Vietnam Era and Beyond, Dies at 77 [New York Times]
"Robert Stone, who wrote ambitious, award-winning novels about errant Americans in dangerous circumstances or on existential quests — or both — as commentary on an unruly, wayward nation in the Vietnam era and beyond, died on Saturday at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 77.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jan 12, 2015 - 17 comments

"discard anything that doesn’t spark joy"

De-cluttering your house with love: "Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying-up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 11, 2015 - 143 comments

My Book, The Movie

They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles. I would tell them, and they’d say “Oh that’s interesting.” And that would be the end of it. --Elmore Leonard, in 2000, on the extent of his input for Hollywood's adaptation of his novels
For authorial input on film adaptation, try My Book The Movie, by Marshall Zeringue, also of The Campaign for the American Reader, the page 69 test (previously), and the page 99 test. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 29, 2014 - 6 comments

Nothing new under the sun

So how did medieval readers locate books, especially when they owned a lot of them? The answer lies in a neat trick that resembles our modern GPS : a book was tagged with a unique identifier (a shelfmark) that was entered into a searchable database (a library catalogue), which could subsequently be consulted with a handheld device (a portable version of the catalogue). Here is how to plot the route to a specific book in the medieval library.
[more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 13, 2014 - 18 comments

The crash team entering the delivery room was the first sign

The specialists began to use terms such as "quality of life" to describe all the things she was likely to be without. My husband, Michael, realized it was going to be nearly impossible to pry me away from her bedside. He asked what he could bring me from home: a change of clothes, sweater, food, or something to read? I asked him to bring me anything by Anne McCaffrey.
"Changes Without Notice" is one reader's personal essay about discovering a book at just the right moment. An afterword in Dragonwriter says a little more about how things turned out. [Via and previously.]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 5, 2014 - 12 comments

“If you can read you can cook. You can always feed yourselves..."

Kent Haruf, ‘a great writer and a great man’, dies aged 71 [The Guardian]
"Pan Macmillan, Haruf’s UK publisher, said that the novelist died on Sunday 30 November, praising his “beautifully restrained, profoundly felt novels” which it said “reflected a man of integrity, honesty and deep thoughtfulness”."

posted by Fizz on Dec 2, 2014 - 5 comments

For John Dillinger

William S. Burroughs’ “The Thanksgiving Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant [YouTube]
“Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986” first appeared in print in Tornado Alley, a chapbook published by William S. Burroughs in 1989. Two years later, Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Milk) shot a montage that brought the poem to film, making it at least the second time the director adapted the beat writer to film.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 26, 2014 - 14 comments

An internet of firsts, some of them still online

The Webpage FX blog compiled a list of 13 internet "firsts," from the first email sent (1971) and the first spam, sent out to 400 people (1978), to the first photo posted online (1992) and much later, the first Instagram photo, (2010).
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 28, 2014 - 20 comments

Far beyond "every good boy does fine"

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People Toby W. Rush's "Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People" covers a massive range of topics like pitch, rhythm, scales, intervals, and harmonics. The online book itself is arranged as a collection of about 50 PDFs that offer diagrams, notes, and tips for everything music theory related. [more inside]
posted by Lexica on Oct 23, 2014 - 26 comments

An enthusiastic public reading journal.....

In Praise of Anne Rice's Amazon Reviews
posted by The Whelk on Oct 19, 2014 - 30 comments

"Once there was a tree . . . "

‘The Giving Tree’: Tender Story of Unconditional Love or Disturbing Tale of Selfishness?
Anna Holmes and Rivka Galchen reconsider Shel Silverstein’s classic, published 50 years ago.

posted by Fizz on Oct 6, 2014 - 130 comments

The Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Peace

"On a May night in 2011, a man was murdered — shot — in a basement just outside Newark, N.J. Cash and marijuana were found at the scene...Robert Peace, a 30-year-old African-American, was a Yale University graduate and an almost straight-A student in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He also dealt marijuana." (slNPR)
posted by d. z. wang on Sep 24, 2014 - 25 comments

"How to Keep Your Cat, c. 1470"

If you have a good cat and you don't want to lose it, you must rub its nose and four legs with butter for three days, and it will never leave the house. [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Sep 13, 2014 - 63 comments

Let’s talk about margins

We’re making a book. The margins are important. Do you know how important? [SLMed]
posted by infini on Sep 12, 2014 - 43 comments

Like taking a cold bath with someone you dislike

Reviews of classic books, culled from the internet's think tank.
posted by Too-Ticky on Aug 22, 2014 - 64 comments

You're gonna need a bigger haringbuis.

Selected pages from Adriaen Coenen's Visboek, an illustrated guide to the strange and wonderful world of fish. No sixteenth-century mariner should leave shore without it. The National Library of the Netherlands has the complete book, with commentary.
posted by prize bull octorok on Aug 13, 2014 - 8 comments

"This is a book for both the new and experienced reader."

Deep Chords: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’ [New York Times] Patti Smith reviews Haruki Murakami's latest novel. Book Trailer
posted by Fizz on Aug 12, 2014 - 40 comments

Out of thousands of typefaces, all we need are a few basic ones…

…and trash the rest. Massimo Vignelli's design canon circa 2008, in PDF form.
posted by klangklangston on Aug 11, 2014 - 38 comments

The Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App

The DMMapp (Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App) is a website that links to more than 300 libraries in the world. Each one of these contains medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free. The DMMapp is a product of Sexy Codicology, an independent project focused on medieval illuminated manuscripts and social media. It maintains a great blog about medieval manuscripts, especially those that are available online.
posted by jedicus on Aug 5, 2014 - 6 comments

Draculas? Draculae? Draculii?

The gals at Anglo-Filles have an entertaining (and epicly long) talk about the history of Dracula and vampires as characters and symbols throughout the ages and throughout fiction - topics discussed include Varney The Vampire, The Vienna Vampire Scare, Where Does Sunlight Killing Vampires Come From, The Secret Spanish Dracula, and Jonathan Harker As An Abuse Survivor.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 24, 2014 - 30 comments

“I think it was such a fluke that I got published at all,”

You Are Now Entering the Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann: [The New Republic] Home to goddesses, dreams, and a dangerously uncorrupted literary mind.
posted by Fizz on Jul 24, 2014 - 27 comments

Mothers

Long-Lost Photos Show What Hasn't Changed About Motherhood In 50 Years. Is a collection of 50 year old photos from around the world by Ken Heyman. Taken originally for the pulitzer-nominated book Family (co-authored with Margaret Mead), they were left sitting in a storage container for decades.
posted by blue_beetle on Jul 18, 2014 - 16 comments

Illustrated Skills of the Traveller, Physician, Sailor, Martial Artist

The Art of Shen Ku is a rambling, eccentric website displaying pages of an illustrated instructional book of the same name. The site is roughly divided into four topics: Traveller, Physician, Sailor, and Martial Artist. It features heavily notated illustrations that demonstrate everything from using healthy breathing techniques and using aloe vera to learning martial art hand strikes, avoiding shark attacks, making survival shelters, and navigating. The author, Zeek, seems to be a sailor who spent much time in Asia. [more inside]
posted by ShanShen on Jul 17, 2014 - 10 comments

The Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Jul 17, 2014 - 8 comments

Also Monster Haikus

Childhood - a hand-bound book of Japanese styled illustrations paying homage to nostalgic activities and toys. From artist Chet Phillips.
posted by Lou Stuells on Jun 17, 2014 - 6 comments

The Last Shot, 20 Years On

Amos Barshad of Grantland talks to Darcy Frey and the basketball players featured in the classic book The Last Shot 20 years after the book's release.
posted by reenum on May 15, 2014 - 1 comment

Fuck Yeah 1692's Version Of Pantone!

"In over 700 pages of handwritten Dutch, the author, who identifies himself as A. Boogert, describes how to make watercolour paints. He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at. In the 17th century, an age known as the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, this manual would have hit the right spot. It makes sense, then, that the author explains in the introduction that he wrote the book for educational purposes. Remarkably, because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the “reach” among painters - or attention among modern art historians - it deserves." Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian in the Netherlands, spotted scans of the book in a French scholarly database and posted it to his blog a few days ago. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 7, 2014 - 10 comments

Ever imagine a bug is crawling on you? I do. A lot.

A book about human reaction to insects I have trouble in the summer because I am usually suppressing the urge to scream and freak out due to the imaginary bugs that are crawling on me.
posted by Yellow on Apr 15, 2014 - 39 comments

Oxford University Press Celebrates National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week, Oxford University Press is making all of its non-journal products available online for free for the week of April 13th-19th, 2014. This includes the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Handbook series. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Famine, Cholera, Opium, Romanticism and the Volcano That Binds Them

On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Apr 13, 2014 - 14 comments

The "Community" Weblog

Classic Book Titles with Sarcastic Quotation Marks [SLListicle]
posted by schmod on Apr 3, 2014 - 161 comments

Sketchbooks del Toro

Late in 2013, Guillermo del Toro released a voluminous book, entitled Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions. As he explains in the video, the 256-page hardcover is a selection from his notebooks, where the director developed many of the monstrosities we’ve seen on screen. The Guardian notes that there’s something of da Vinci’s notebooks in del Toro’s records: the small, neat script, mixed in with the wonderfully detailed sketches, combine to give the impression of del Toro doing his best to record the torrent of his imagination before the thoughts disappear. In this post, we include a number of these images.
Previously [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 5, 2014 - 4 comments

Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for

15 year old Jane Austen wrote a satrical history of English monarchs and now you can read it.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 25, 2014 - 19 comments

Expand your mind

Hallucinogenic Plants: A Golden Guide [PDF]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 24, 2014 - 26 comments

The Book, the Medium and the Library.

Medium has made available the first book-length content (perhaps) on its writing platform. Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World by R. David Lankes is cited as a 164 minute read. For works of this length, Medium offer a feature for bookmarking where you have read to. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 20, 2014 - 3 comments

Plain But Sturdy Frontier Cake

Celebrate author Laura Ingalls Wilder's 147th birthday with a recipe for Laura's Wedding Cake, taken from Little House Cookbook, Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories. (The Hairpin)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 8, 2014 - 30 comments

New attempt to decipher the Voynich manuscript.

A new attempt to decipher the Voynich manuscript has been made - this time from a botanical perspective. The Voynich manuscript, is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The book has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer who purchased it in 1912.[Wiki]. [more inside]
posted by yoyo_nyc on Feb 4, 2014 - 89 comments

"The neighborhood has all gone t' hell"

Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2014 - 51 comments

Real vs. Unreal, Grotesque vs. Gorgeous

or the inner Grotesque and Gorgeous, and outer fantastic world of The End of Times: The Apocalyptic Book revealed, as it was imagined "couple" years ago. To be seen with your morning coffee.
posted by gbenard on Jan 25, 2014 - 8 comments

Incomplete, apparently

Here she discovered photographs of several of the absent illuminations, a partial ownership history, and a surprising fact: Christie’s had listed the book as “APPARENTLY COMPLETE.” In other words, the devotional had been taken apart—“broken” is the industry term—not a hundred years ago, but within the last three years. Its leaves had been stripped for individual sale by a modern-day dealer. “I was almost physically sick,” Treharne told me. “I could not believe what I had in front of me.”
posted by PussKillian on Jan 12, 2014 - 66 comments

With the usual amount of salt

The Circle of Useful Knowledge (single serving Tumblr) [via mefi projects]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Jan 8, 2014 - 9 comments

Top Chef, Old Master

"If there is an assassination planned for the meal, then it is seemliest that the assassin should be seated next to he who is to become the subject of his craft" - Leonardo da Vinci: head of the kitchen, designer of horse-pulled nut-crushers, inventor of napkins, and assassination etiquette expert.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 7, 2014 - 20 comments

This is Mr Maupin. He invented San Francisco.

On January 21, The Days of Anna Madrigal, the last in the Tales of the City series, will be released. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 5, 2014 - 25 comments

Happy Holidays

About the only place this book hasn't been is in my hands, open and upright, with my eyes pointed at it. But that's about to change. Because I'm going to read this book in 20-minute bursts over the next eight hours. Why 20-minute bursts? Because that's how long it takes for a batch of my mother's Slog-famous Christmas Snowball cookies to bake. I'm going to put a tray in the oven, read, swap trays out, read some more. And I think it's fair to say that by the end of the day today—after all my Christmas cookies are baked—I will have read more of this book than Sarah Palin wrote. - Dan Savage reviews Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.
posted by Artw on Dec 22, 2013 - 91 comments

Your tax dollars at work

The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Dec 14, 2013 - 15 comments

you can love me if you want it's not my problem

"Alt lit [previously] is accused of navel-gazing myopia, but technically any writing occurring outside of traditional institutions qualifies for the label. Everyone I know has written alt lit: every status update, every blog post, everything that has ever been said on Twitter. And Twitter, unbeknown to Jonathan Franzen, is especially literary...Which brings me to Heiko Julien," Author (and composer) of "I Am Ready To Die A Violent Death." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 6, 2013 - 21 comments

“Storm from a clear sky”

Researchers have located a sunken World War II Imperial Japanese submarine on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 3, 2013 - 33 comments

Your desert island reading list. Now with affiliate links!

Just One Book is a site that asks for the single book you'd recommend to someone. [more inside]
posted by DigDoug on Nov 25, 2013 - 42 comments

"Here's Johnny!" vs. "Boo!"

In celebration of Halloween, The Dissolve has devoted three long posts to The Shining: a keynote examining the film and King's relationship to it, a staff discussion, and a critical comparison of the film with the 1997 TV miniseries written by King. (Scrubbed the show from your brain? Let this episode of Nostalgia Critic refresh your memory.)
posted by Going To Maine on Oct 31, 2013 - 38 comments

Bras in Space

Bras in Space: The Incredible True Story Behind Upcoming Film "Spacesuit"
When we think of the Apollo 11 moon landing, what do we think of? President Kennedy’s bold vision. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s heroism (unfortunately we rarely think about Command Module Pilot Michael Collins). Perhaps we even think of the incredible engineers, rocket scientists, astrophysicists and all the other geniuses at NASA who made it possible. Now we want you to think about your grandma’s bra.
[more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Oct 29, 2013 - 20 comments

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