Books

The Most Complained-About Library Book of 2013 Was…

Same as last year's...Captain Underpants.

Just as in 2012, the potty humor of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey brought the books to the top of the list. Other repeat offenders in the top ten included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The newcomers to the top ten were:

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (second place)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

The list was excerpted by Time Magazine from the State of America's Libraries Report 2014 [ALA].

Check It Out! A Photographic Tour Of America's Public Libraries

We posted a story on this from another source the other day. NPR did a piece this weekend.

Louisiana To Pick Official State Book. It's the King James Bible

The New Orleans Picayune reports on state legislators choice of an official state book.

Representative Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of a Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.

Michael Weil, who heads up the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, said his organization -- which is cultural and not religious in nature -- hasn't take a stance on the bill. But the legislation gives him some personal pause. "I think the state should consider a text that is not religious," he said.

Another story on the same subject from NPR. And opinion from the ACLU: The bill "represents the use of religion to discriminate against Louisianians of minority faiths or who do not adhere to that particular book as part of their belief system. The bill will create more problems than it will solve by telling some Louisianians that their belief system is not full equal," the state ACLU says.

Book News: What Are The World's Best New Novels? Libraries Weigh In

Book News on NPR

New Book: Visual Tour Of America's Most Fascinating Public Libraries

Via Fast Company: In 1994, photographer Robert Dawson began an odds-and-ends project. Whenever he traveled, he'd take pictures of public libraries. Then, a handful of years ago, he started taking trips across the United States just for the libraries--like the shed that served a one-person county in Nebraska, or the Texas library that housed a "petroleum room" with all sorts of George Bush-themed collectibles. He documented everything from a library found in a suburban strip mall to the the air-conditioned institution that functioned more like a refugee camp in sweltering Detroit July.

All told, Dawson journeyed through 48 states, fascinated and inspired by the common role libraries played in society. Libraries, he found, didn't only serve as a refuge for the poor who didn't have any place else to go, but gateways that opened up all corners of the world to anyone inquisitive enough to take a stroll among the shelves. The result is his new book: The Public Library, A Photographic Essay, published by Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-61689-217-3. The book includes 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more.

Nice slideshow on the author's website.

That Harvard Book Bound In Human Flesh Isn’t Actually Bound In Human Flesh

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/04/03/harvard-book-made-of-human-skin/
But unfortunately for the Internet, as the story started to regain traction officials from the school fleshed out the details of what really wraps at least some of the literature in their collection, and discovered it’s not human skin after all—it’s actually sheepskin. “Baaaaaad news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy (binding books in human skin): Recent analyses of a book owned by the [Harvard Law School] Library, long believed but never proven to have been bound in human skin, have conclusively established that the book was bound in sheepskin,” according to a post on the Harvard Library Law School’s blog, dated April 3.

J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Will Be Trilogy

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/j-k-rowlings-harry-potter-spinoff-fantastic-beasts-will-be...

Following in the footsteps of “The Hobbit” franchise, Warner Bros. is planning “three megamovies” for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

The New York Times reports in its profile on WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara that the hotly anticipated franchise will be a trilogy.

Back when the series was first announced in September, Tsujihara was relatively tight-lipped about the project, only saying “The hope is that we’re going to build a film franchise.”

Human flesh-bound volumes R.I.P. on library shelves

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2006/2/2/the-skinny-on-harvards-rare-book/

Langdell’s curator of rare books and manuscripts, David Ferris, says of his library’s man-bound holding: “We are reluctant to have it become an object of fascination.” But the Spanish law book, which dates back to 1605, may become just that.

Accessible in the library’s Elihu Reading Room, the book, entitled “Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias...,” looks old but otherwise ordinary.

A Very Rare Book Opens 6 Different Ways, Reveals 6 Different Books

A Very Rare Book Opens 6 Different Ways, Reveals 6 Different Books
Book binding has seen many variations, from the iconic Penguin paperbacks to highly unusual examples like this from late 16th century Germany. It’s a variation on the dos-à-dos binding format (from the French meaning “back-to-back”). Here however, the book opens six different directions, each way revealing a different book. It seems that everyone has a tablet or a Kindle tucked away in their bag (even my 90 year old grandma), and so it sometimes comes as a surprise to remember the craftsmanship that once went along with reading.

Read more at http://www.visualnews.com/2014/01/24/rare-book-opens-6-different-ways-reveals-6-different-bo...

If You Think You're Anonymous Online, Think Again

"I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk," she says.

Angwin's book is called Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She considers dragnets — which she describes as "indiscriminate" and "vast in scope" — the "most unfair type of surveillance."

Author interview at NPR

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