Books

Books

Behold, the Tiniest of Books - The New York Times

Most of the books in the exhibit are about one to three inches high and would nestle easily in the palm of your hand. Some are the size of a thumbnail. (There are also a few ultra-micro-miniatures, with no dimension greater than a quarter of an inch; one, shockingly, looks to be about as big as the period in this sentence.) The oldest is a cuneiform tablet from about 2300 B.C.; the newest was published last year. They are valued in the tens or hundreds or thousands of dollars; the rarest of miniature antiquarian books can sell in the six or even seven figures.
From Behold, the Tiniest of Books - The New York Times
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The greatest of all novels: War and Peace

Just 150 years ago, in 1869, Tolstoy published the final installment of War and Peace, often regarded as the greatest of all novels. In his time, Tolstoy was known as a nyetovshchik—someone who says nyet, or no, to all prevailing opinion—and War and Peace discredits the prevailing views of the radical intelligentsia, then just beginning to dominate Russian thought. The intelligentsia’s way of thinking is still very much with us and so Tolstoy’s critique is, if anything, even more pertinent today.
From The greatest of all novels by Gary Saul Morson | The New Criterion
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Dr. Seuss Books Can Be Racist, But We Still Keep Reading Them : Code Switch : NPR

That tension between Seuss and Seuss-free classrooms is emblematic of a bigger debate playing out across the country — should we continue to teach classic books that may be problematic, or eschew them in favor of works that more positively represent of people of color?
From Dr. Seuss Books Can Be Racist, But We Still Keep Reading Them : Code Switch : NPR
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'I can't even look at the cover': the most disturbing books

From hiding from a copy of The Exorcist to being unnerved by the likes of Shirley Jackson, Stephen King and Iain Banks, here are The Guardian Reader's most alarming reading experiences
From 'I can't even look at the cover': the most disturbing books | Books | The Guardian
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The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books - The Atlantic

In recent years, archaeologists and historians have awakened to the potential of ancient DNA extracted from human bones and teeth. DNA evidence has enriched—and complicated—stories of prehistoric human migrations. It has provided tantalizing clues to epidemics such as the black death. It has identified the remains of King Richard III, found under a parking lot. But Collins isn’t just interested in human remains. He’s interested in the things these humans made; the animals they bred, slaughtered, and ate; and the economies they created.
From The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books - The Atlantic
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Menu Matters: On Alison Pearlman’s “May We Suggest” - Los Angeles Review of Books

Studies of menus, however, are a little trickier to find. Menus as scholarly artifacts have come a long way in recent years — traveling from the libraries of antiquarians and sentimental dilettantes to invocations in academic monographs about everything from environmental history to immigration patterns to changing trends in graphic design. The New York Public Library’s collection of over 45,000 menus is getting a lot more traffic than it used to, while To Live and Dine in L.A. (2015) — a collaborative project sponsored by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles that resulted in an exhibition and a book — celebrated the menu collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.
From Menu Matters: On Alison Pearlman’s “May We Suggest” - Los Angeles Review of Books
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Every Page of This Book Is a Slice of Cheese - Gastro Obscura

Last summer, University of Michigan art and design librarian Jamie Lausch Vander Broek acquired 20 Slices—a squat, square volume composed of 20 plastic-wrapped Kraft singles sandwiched between bright yellow covers. “For me, a lot of the purpose of the collection is engaging with people who usually have never seen an artist’s book before,” she explains. “So I have tailored my selections away from subtlety. It’s really important to me that people get excited about the work that I buy, and that it happens quickly.”
From Every Page of This Book Is a Slice of Cheese - Gastro Obscura
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Hold the front pages: meet the endpaper enthusiasts | Books

Faced with the hideous maw that is today’s news cycle, there could be little more soothing than slipping into the esoteric world of We Love Endpapers, a society for enthusiasts to share their favourite examples of the most beautiful pages bookending tomes. Endpapers date back to at least the 15th century, when pieces of old manuscript or vellum would be used to help sew a book block into its binding, and to protect it. By the 17th century, they were being used as decorative items; today, they can feature everything from maps to an extra shot of artwork from a book’s illustrator.
From Hold the front pages: meet the endpaper enthusiasts | Books | The Guardian
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Shelf policing: how books (and cacti) make women too 'spiky' for men

Speaking of bedrooms – books apparently aren’t allowed in there, as they are a room for “sleep and love”. This raises some questions. Does it mean that if you like reading a book in bed you must then go put it back elsewhere in the house just before falling asleep? Is one book (singular) in the bedroom fine but two or more forbidden? What if you do find a partner thanks to your attractive new flat and he also enjoys reading in bed, does this create a loophole? Should you read this singular book together at the same time? Any word on Kindles?
From Shelf policing: how books (and cacti) make women too 'spiky' for men | Books | The Guardian
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3 Rules for Choosing Nonfiction Books

Before I start, a disclaimer: All of this is, of course, highly subjective. I read nonfiction for enjoyment, and I enjoy nonfiction most when I am learning interesting things, or am guided to think in new ways. Preferably, claims should be backed by peer-reviewed studies, or presented as speculation otherwise. Either way, the author should be clear about this, and unbiased enough to present different sides of the issue. With that out of the way, let’s look at the rules.
From 3 Rules for Choosing Nonfiction Books
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We Need Diverse Books, But Wattpad's Machines Aren't The Way

With a community of over 65 million users, Wattpad is bursting with creative potential. From the paranormal to Shrek slash fiction, Wattpad Books will be able to choose from a pool of diverse and innovative material. However, the key to finding these stories is not through data analysis of popular trends, but ensuring that the editors that decide the merit of recommended works do not come from the same homogeneous background the company has so often criticized. It’s only by ensuring that there is a diversity of backgrounds and opinions at the editorial level to find the groundbreaking books, that Wattpad can meet its objective of truly transforming the literature we read.
From We Need Diverse Books, But Wattpad's Machines Aren't The Way
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Forget Book Trailers: Book Playlists are the New Hotness

Book trailers are already such a thing that there’s whole weekly columns devoted to them, a whole slew of tips and tricks; a veritable ecosystem. People want multimedia with their books. But what if the new hotness wasn’t a trailer at all? What if it was something that lots of us already do anyways, with a much lower barrier for entry? I’m talking about book playlists, music that reflects the theme or the time and place of the book, a non-audiobook soundtrack that enhances and embellishes the written word.
From Forget Book Trailers: Book Playlists are the New Hotness
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What’s the Matter with Fiction Sales?

According to 2017 estimates released this summer by the Association of American Publishers, sales of adult fiction fell 16% between 2013 and 2017, from $5.21 billion to $4.38 billion. The numbers, though not a major worry, raise questions about the books the industry is publishing and what consumers want to read.
From What’s the Matter with Fiction Sales?
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What Does Immersing Yourself in a Book Do To Your Brain?

Through this consciousness-changing dimension of the act of reading, we learn to feel what it means to be despairing and hopeless or ecstatic and consumed with unspoken feelings. I no longer remember how many times I have read what each of Jane Austen’s heroines felt—Emma, Fanny Price, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice or in her newest incarnation in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice. What I know is that each of those characters experienced emotions that helped me understand the range of the often contradictory feelings each of us possesses; doing so leaves us feeling less alone with our particular complex mix of emotions, whatever our life’s circumstances. As expressed in the play Shadowlands, about the life of C. S. Lewis, “We read to know that we are not alone.”
From What Does Immersing Yourself in a Book Do To Your Brain? | Literary Hub
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The Art Of Sci-Fi Book Covers

The Art Of Sci-Fi Book Covers

Video from Nerdwriter showing and discussing the art of sci-fi book covers.
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What Do You Think of Reading Books as a Punishment?

From an article in The New York Times, a judge imposes juveniles to read from a list of books and report on their reactions.

  • A Virginia judge handed down an unusual sentence last year after five teenagers defaced a historic black schoolhouse with swastikas and the words “white power” and “black power.”

    Instead of spending time in community service, Judge Avelina Jacob decided, the youths should read a book. But not just any book. They had to choose from a list of ones covering some of history’s most divisive and tragic periods. The horrors of the Holocaust awaited them in “Night,” by Elie Wiesel. The racism of the Jim Crow South was there in Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The brutal hysteria of persecution could be explored in “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.

  • 6 Books to Read in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death

    Historians and biographers have spent much ink celebrating and interrogating the life and influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 50 years since his assassination on April 4, 1968. Readers interested to know more about the iconic civil rights hero can choose from a wide range of literary options — from shorter books that give an easily digestible overview of his life, to multi-volume tomes exploring his every action in great detail. While some books take a holistic approach toward the life of the man, others focus in on sub-topics of his legacy.

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of his death, here are 6 books to read about Martin Luther King, Jr: Full article here
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    'Dancing Bears' Offers A Look Into How Countries Adapted To Life After Communism



    Polish journalist Witold Szablowski's nonfiction book, Dancing Bears, introduces readers to people in formerly communist countries who have a hard time adapting to life after the being freed from oppressive regimes.

    Story on NPR
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    ‘Frankenstein’ Manuscript Shows the Evolution of Mary Shelley’s Monster

    In honor of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein’s publication, the British publisher SP Books is releasing a facsimile of Shelley’s original manuscript. According to Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times, the limited run will produce 1,000 copies of the facsimile, which will be available for purchase starting March 15.
    From ‘Frankenstein’ Manuscript Shows the Evolution of Mary Shelley’s Monster | Smart News | Smithsonian
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    Book clinic: why do publishers still issue hardbacks?

    However, there are no signs that the practice is coming to an end: last year sales of hardback fiction grew 11%. When the ebook arrived 10 years ago, some pundits suggested format did not matter. But they were wrong. A beautiful hardback is a joy, something to cherish, shelve and pass on, and readers are prepared to pay for that just as some people still prefer the cinema over television.
    From Book clinic: why do publishers still issue hardbacks? | Books | The Guardian
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