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Book News on NPR
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
"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
So how do we improve that? Simple. We read. Take 30 minutes each day to open a book or magazine article. Anything from War and Peace to Cosmopolitan will do—I’m always on the prowl for a new romantic tip.
From The New York Times:
TOKYO — Japan on Friday promised to begin an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” and other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo.
Local news media reports said 31 municipal libraries had found 265 copies of the diary by Frank, the young Holocaust victim, and other books vandalized, usually with several pages torn or ripped out. The reports said some libraries had taken copies of the diary off their shelves to protect them.
Officials said they did not know the motive for the vandalism, the first cases of which were discovered earlier this month.
The "burnable" book of the title is a work of poetic prophecy, ostensibly written during the reign of William the Conqueror, which foretells in gory detail the demise of thirteen English kings. In a society where it's a hanging offense merely to think of the king's death, this is seditious stuff. More to the point for Chaucer's contemporaries, Liber de Mortibus Regum Anglorum prophesizes the assassination of the sitting ruler, Richard II. The central mystery of the book leads us through the mucky lanes of London, with cunning surprises around every corner.