Submitted by Blake on June 17, 2016 - 2:47pm
Hark is part of the Anthropodermic Book Project, a group of researchers that analyzes books rumored to be bound in human skin. He was first pulled into it when librarians at his own college asked him to investigate whether a book in the school’s collection might fall into that category. Scrawled on the inside cover of Biblioteca Politica, a Spanish political tract dating from the 17th century, was a note indicating that the binding was human in origin. The inscription became a well-known piece of campus lore, turning the title into a nuisance for Juniata’s librarians. They found themselves spending an inordinate amount of time fielding questions from students about the book’s provenance, especially around Halloween.
From The True Story of Medical Books Bound in Human Skin - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
Submitted by Blake on June 16, 2016 - 9:50am
Electronic books should be treated just like physical books for the purposes of lending, an advisor to Europe's top court has said.
Maciej Szpunar, advocate general to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said in an opinion published (PDF) Thursday morning that public libraries should be allowed to lend e-books so long as the author is fairly compensated.
A 2006 EU directive says that the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit rentals and loans belongs to the author of the work. However, countries may opt out of this rule for the purposes of “public lending,” provided that authors obtain fair remuneration.
From E-books fair game for public libraries, says advisor to top Europe court | Ars Technica
Submitted by Blake on June 13, 2016 - 2:58pm
Until now, the knowledge that ancient manuscripts were used to make cartonnage has presented an ethical quandary to scholars. Books and other artifacts have been destroyed in the hopes of discovering something more precious hidden inside. The stakes are even higher when it comes to Egyptian mummy masks because there are comparably few ancient manuscripts, and certain texts—Plato, the Bible, and Homer—are culturally and financially viable to Westerners. The oldest Ptolemaic fragment of the Odyssey (currently on display at the Met) was retrieved from the cartonnage of a mummy mask. Rumors that mummy masks contain the earliest fragments of the Bible has led some evangelicals to dismantle them at church-sponsored events.
From Are Your Books Secretly Worth Millions? - The Daily Beast
Submitted by Blake on June 13, 2016 - 1:00pm
Labeled, not so modestly, the “Gutenberg press of the 21st century” by its creators, the machine sits in a back corner of the shop, humming as it turns PDFs into paperbacks. Customers use tablets to select the titles for print — adding, if they want to, their own handwritten inscriptions — while sipping coffee in the light and airy storefront in the Latin Quarter of Paris. “The customers are all surprised,” said the shop’s director, Alexandre Gaudefroy. “At first, they’re a little uncomfortable with the tablets. After all, you come to a bookshop to look at books. But thanks to the machine and the tablets, the customer holds a digital library in their hands.”
From New Chapter for Classic Paris Bookstore: Books Printed on Demand - The New York Times
Submitted by Blake on June 13, 2016 - 11:56am
According to research by Candice Huber, books by Bukowski and Kerouac are indeed popular targets for theft from bookstores, along with those by Hemingway, David Sedaris, and The Great Gatsby. All of the books listed are by men, and most by "manly" men. This 2009 list from the UK is slightly different: J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books and Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book both rank high.
Libraries are a different story. According to Huber, the most frequently stolen library books are the Guinness Book of World Records, which is a favorite around our house,1 and The Bible.
From The most frequently stolen books
Submitted by Blake on June 12, 2016 - 8:49pm
Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.
“Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” Bradbury says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.” He says this while sitting in a room dominated by a gigantic flat-panel television broadcasting the Fox News Channel, muted, factoids crawling across the bottom of the screen.
His fear in 1953 that television would kill books has, he says, been partially confirmed by television’s effect on substance in the news. The front page of that day’s L.A. Times reported on the weekend box-office receipts for the third in the Spider-Man series of movies, seeming to prove his point.
From Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted | L.A. Weekly
Submitted by Blake on June 12, 2016 - 9:38am
Astonishingly, a little inquiry proves that the library not only still keeps records of all the books that Burr and Hamilton borrowed (and, mostly, returned) but also has many of the books themselves—not merely the same titles, but the exact same books that Hamilton and Burr handled and thumbed and read and learned from. What’s more, it turns out that, by a series of benevolent bequests, the library also has a few choice and telling letters from Burr and Hamilton and even from Eliza Hamilton—“best of wives and best of women,” as Manuel’s lyrics have it—all speaking around, and eventually to, the famous and fatal affair. So, hearing this news, we quickly—as a writer would have put it in this magazine in Thurber’s day—hied ourselves over to the Society Library’s reading room, and went to work to find out more.
From “Hamilton” and the Books That Hamilton Held - The New Yorker
Submitted by Blake on June 11, 2016 - 7:55am
This week, a small, nerdy corner of the internet was dismayed by news of an “impending coup” at St. John’s College, an institution dedicated to the study of the great books of the Western Canon.
I’d like to inform them that reports of the college’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
From Panic at the Great Books School? - Washington Free Beacon
Submitted by Blake on June 7, 2016 - 4:23pm
But publishing company Farrar Straus and Giroux believes the TV model can lend momentum to a book series. In a move that takes as much from Victorian novels as from limited-run Netflix series, the publisher’s FSG Originals imprint is experimenting with serialized fiction. After releasing Lian Hearn’s fantasy novel Emperor of the Eight Islands in late April, FSG Originals will offer the three remaining books in her Tale of Shikanoko tetralogy—including Autumn Princess, Dragon Child, out today—before the end of September.
From You May Soon Binge Books Just Like You Binge Netflix | WIRED
Submitted by Blake on June 5, 2016 - 4:17pm
Submitted by Blake on June 2, 2016 - 12:02pm
Unlike fiction, nonfiction is not a genre. It’s a headache. Compiling 100 great books of nonfiction in English takes the reader into a universe of titles unrestricted by the limitations of a canon or the strictures of critical theory. Anything goes – so long as it’s in English (once again, to keep things manageable, we have excluded translations).
From The best nonfiction books add up to a biography of our culture | Books | The Guardian
Submitted by Blake on June 1, 2016 - 5:18pm
I started this post with a few digital-humanities posturing paragraphs: if you want to read them, you'll encounter them eventually. But instead let me just get the point: here's a trite new category of analysis that wouldn't be possible without distant reading techniques that produces sometimes charmingly serendipitous results.
I'll call it dopplegänger books. A dopplegänger is, for any world-historically great work of literature, a book that shares many of the same themes, subjects, and language, but is comparatively obscure, not widely read, and--most likely--of surpassingly mediocre quality.
From Sapping Attention: Literary Dopplegängers and interestingness
Submitted by Blake on May 31, 2016 - 1:10pm
Adaptation to change that’s based on thoughtful planning and grounded in the mission of libraries: it’s a model that respected LIS thinker and educator Michael Stephens terms “hyperlinked librarianship.” And the result, for librarians in leadership positions as well as those working on the front lines, is flexible librarianship that’s able to stay closely aligned with the needs and wants of library users. Stephens’ new book “The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change,” published by ALA Editions, is a collection of essays from his “Office Hours” columns in Library Journal which explore the issues and emerging trends that are transforming the profession. Among the topics he discusses are:
the importance of accessible, welcoming, and responsive library environments that invite open and equitable participation, and which factors are preventing many libraries from ramping up community engagement and user-focused services;
challenges, developments, and emerging opportunities in the field, including new ways to reach users and harness curiosity;
considerations for prospective librarians, from knowing what you want out of the profession to learning how to aim for it;
why LIS curriculum and teaching styles need to evolve;
mentoring and collaboration; and
the concept of the library as classroom, a participatory space to experiment with new professional roles, new technologies, and new ways of interacting with patrons.
From The purposeful change at the heart of librarianship | News and Press Center
Submitted by Blake on May 29, 2016 - 9:49am
Three economists at the University of Padua – Giorgio Brunello, Guglielmo Weber and Christoph Weiss – studied 6,000 men born in nine European countries and concluded that children with access to books could expect to earn materially more than those who grow up with few or no books.
They studied the period from 1920 to 1956, when school reforms saw the minimum school leaving age raised across Europe. They looked at whether, at the age of 10, a child lived in a house with fewer than 10 books, a shelf of books, a bookcase with up to 100 books, two bookcases, or more than two bookcases.
From Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’ | Education | The Guardian
Submitted by Blake on May 27, 2016 - 11:20am
The Crandall Historical Printing Museum has the "most complete and functioning Gutenberg Press in the world" and in this video you can see one of the museum's guides demonstrating it for some visitors.
From Demonstration of a working Gutenberg printing press
Submitted by Blake on May 26, 2016 - 9:20pm
If a university offered a master’s degree in science fiction, how many novels would it expect a graduate student to know to pass comps? The number of books would have to be small enough to study in a few years. Wouldn’t the Canon of Science Fiction, books scholars of the genre designate as the most noteworthy, be this side of 200? What about a well-read amateur? Wouldn’t reading just 50 books, but of course, the defining 50, give anyone an excellent grasp of the genre?
From How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?
Submitted by Blake on May 25, 2016 - 8:30pm
So what kinds of titles do publishers prefer? For starters, according to Garnett, they naturally favor “titles that are memorable and striking and, of course, that manage to communicate the flavor or feel of the book’s content and writing and sensibility,” though these are subjective criteria—both she and my own editor, Margaux Weisman at William Morrow, concede that the titling process amounts mainly to a gut feeling, informed by trial and error. (And it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t influenced by the desire for Google-friendliness or e-retail “discoverability”—think of the Twitter-friendly #GIRLBOSS—though nobody I spoke to claimed these were heavy considerations.) Titles are hashed out in biweekly meetings with the publisher, editor-in-chief, deputy publisher, digital and paperbacks publisher, and managing editor, and later in the process, marketing, design, and publicity departments, as well as the author and their agent.
From Title Fights: Who Gets to Name an Author’s Book?
Submitted by Blake on May 24, 2016 - 9:13pm
Submitted by Blake on May 20, 2016 - 10:14pm
Is an annotated version the best way to read The Sound and the Fury for the first time? Not necessarily. It takes away some of the challenge – and reward – of wrestling with the text alone, and it also inadvertently provides spoilers. I found out a major plot line involving Quentin long before I would have worked it out on my own.
Colored text itself, on the other hand, feels like a breakthrough for publishing. It's a playful approach perfectly attuned to our era. Learning in general has already moved away from dusty tomes of monochrome text to brighter, shinier and more interactive methods.
From Can text in different colors help you tackle the most difficult books?
Submitted by Blake on May 20, 2016 - 8:14am
On a rainy Thursday morning, Contently’s editorial staff cleared our calendars for an hour to dive down the rabbit hole of sensationalism. What we did wouldn’t make any of our old English teachers proud: We retitled 13 classic works of literature and did our best to rid of them of all prestige.
From 13 Classic Works of Literature With Upworthy Titles