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Blind dates can be nerve-wracking, stressful, exciting and fun. Throughout the month of February — and with a focus on the last two emotions — Howard County libraries are helping their patrons go on blind dates of their own: with books.
“This is a way to read something new, that you may not have read otherwise,” said Aimee Zuccarini, a research specialist and instructor with the Howard County Library System, as she stood in front of the display in the East Columbia Branch filled with books, each with their covers and spines wrapped in pink and red paper.
When patrons check the books out, they have no idea what book they're actually getting. But the books try to make their own case: a sign on the display declares “I'm a Keeper — check me out.”
“With the glut of self-published books on the market, the biggest obstacle for authors is discoverability – to rise above the noise and clutter and distinguish one’s work. A Rotten Tomatoes sort of rating system seems inevitable.
I have noticed over the years that every so often magazines (and now blogs) feature beautiful spreads of book-filled rooms, with headlines like “Living With Books” or “The Pages of Our Lives.” Usually the images feature poetic, far-off places where leather volumes fill 15-foot-tall, wood-paneled shelves, or sparse rooms with gauzy curtains have stacks of books on the floor, standing like architectural columns. As a book lover, I find these rooms transporting and inspirational but totally out of touch. A growing number of people, I think, don’t have books. After all, who wants those heavy, clunky volumes when you can store a seemingly endless library on a device that weighs less than a single paperback?
A year ago, Hugh McGuire, the founder of PressBooks, was ready to give up. “If you talked to me last year at this time, I was ready to just quit because it was so frustrating,” he says of his latest startup, which allows people to use a simple blog-like content management system to publish e-books – for free. But a lot has happened in 12 months. “We’ve stuck at it, the market’s moved a little bit, and the product’s a bit better,” says McGuire, who previously founded audiobooks company Librivox. “We’re now on the cusp of really making a difference in the world.”
In the real world, my new floor-to-ceiling shelves are already full and bulging, and lately I wander the house eyeballing the last remaining bits of open wall space, wondering if they might hold additional shelving, as my wife shakes her head.
“For what else,” Benjamin writes of his own books, “is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?” My wife would heartily agree. And yet, the order Benjamin invokes is hardly an illusion, but rather a way to find myself in all those shelves and volumes, an assertion, a means of saying: I am here.
This week, we were psyched to hear the news that selections from the famed Riot Grrrl Collection, part of the Fales Collection at NYU’s Bobst Library, will be published in a book later this year. The book, which was edited by senior archivist Lisa Darms, who launched the Riot Grrrl Collection several years ago (and who lived in Olympia throughout the ’90s), will feature some 350-odd printed artifacts, including fliers, posters, and zines, some of which — like Girl Germs 3, Johanna Fateman’s Artaud-Mania, and Kathleen Hanna’s My life with Evan Dando: Popstar — are even reprinted in full for your complete consumption.
Have you ever dreamt of quitting your cushy job and starting a new life halfway around the world to follow your passion?
Jessica Fox, a NASA employee in Los Angeles, decided one day to move to Scotland to live in a used bookshop.
Jessica told BBC News her story of instincts, falling in love, and road bumps along the way.
What's it like to protect the president in the modern age? Novelist Brad Meltzer explores this topic in his new book, "The Fifth Assassin." Meltzer talks with Jeffrey Brown about researching presidential assassins, writing thrillers, the advice he received from a former president and perspective from the Secret Service.