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28 Feb 2011
Found this nice infographic. I've been teased before by being too careful with my books - I hate paperbacks with cracked spines! Anyway, here:


27 Feb 2011
A good book should leave you...slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. -- William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958


Some thoughts on reading and books for today:

1. My Son's Book Shelf: Something He Couldn't Have With a Kindle or iPad by Martha Ross.
"My son has absolutely no interest in the e-reader idea, which might be a little surprising, given that he loves searching around the web and watching videos on his iPhone. You'd think reading on an iPad would be a natural next step for him. He shook his head at the idea. Like me, he was wondering what would happen to his book shelf. "

2. English 101: The Perfectly Pretentious Bookshelf.
"The pretentious bookshelf is a staple of college-aged dwellings that I both love and hate equally. Really, if you have any collection of books on display, you are making a statement about how you want to be perceived. The only way to avoid this is to, I don't know, get all your books at the library? But what does that say about you? I'm poor? The point is, any book that any intelligent person may have read may look pretentious on your shelf; So you might as well embrace the process of crafting the perfectly pretentious bookshelf (ppb.)"

3. In 'Mountain Lion,' Sibling Love Becomes Loathing by Sigrid Nunez.
"In 2010, readers everywhere honored the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the aftermath of that celebration I'd like to tell readers about another novel that charts the coming of age of a sister and brother, this one set not in the South but out west."

4. The 100 greatest novels of all time by Robert McCrum.
"The British love to read and, as the BBC prepares to reveal the nation's best loved books, The Observer has compiled its own list of essential fiction from the past 300 years...Ours is not a list of 'best loved' books. It is less sentimental, and probably less contemporary. It is a catalogue of just a hundred 'essential' titles - as we see it. Of course it is not scientific. Neither Mori nor Gallup was involved. It is partial, prejudiced and highly personal. It reflects whim and fashion. And as we compiled it we began to see actually how difficult - even questionable - the idea of such a unified literary inheritance has become at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Even more agonising are the impossibly hard choices that a list of a hundred forces one to make."

5. Have you switched off your book?
"These questions are being debated today with the growing popularity of the Kindle, the e-book reader by Amazon. Kindle was introduced to the Indian market in October, but except for the 'early adapters', a term used for geeks or technology enthusiasts who have to try everything new straightaway, the e-book is nowhere as yet like a cellphone, ubiquitous and indispensable."

26 Feb 2011
And if you agree with me, buy this print from dazeychic!

25 Feb 2011
I was inspired by Apartment Therapy's post, so I thought I would gather photos of bookshelves that have made me really delirious with envy. Someday I will have shelves like these in my house:






23 Feb 2011
Stumbled upon this fantastic alphabet art made out of books:

And another one by Amandine Alesessandra:

Here's one made out of paper:

It's lovely how books and paper can be used to create a lot of other amazing things!

22 Feb 2011
Artist Mike Stilkey uses book spines and book covers as canvasses for his art. It is quite breathtaking and I know I would make a beeline for this installation if I ever saw it at a bookstore.

21 Feb 2011
This is a fine collection of Vincent van Gogh's letters. It's an intimate look at his interior life, and it's quite special to be able to delve into this artist's thoughts and feelings, how he looks at the world, and how he interacts with the people closest to him.

Here is an excerpt that I particularly liked:

Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Paris, January 1876

Dear Theo,

Thanks for your letter, write to me often, for I long to hear from you in these days. Write me at length, speak to me of your daily life, you see that I am doing the same. What you told me about Boks was very interesting, how he arranged his studio, and that you go there often - keep me well informed about those things.

We feel lonely now and then and long for friends and think we should be quite different and happier if we found a friend of whom we might say: "He is the one." But you, too, will begin to learn that there is much self-deception behind this longing; if we yielded too much to it, it would lead us from the road.

There is a phrase that haunts me these days - it is today's text, "His children will seek to please the poor."

And now here is some news: my friend Gladwell is moving. One of the employees of the printing office convinced him to come and lodge with him; for quite a while he did everything he could to persuade him.

I know that Gladwell made this decision without thinking about it, I regret his departure very much; it will be soon, probably towards the end of the month.

For several days we have had a mouse in our "cabin", which is what we call our room. Every night, we put bread on the floor for it, and it knows already where to find it.

I have been reading the ads in the English newspapers, and I have already answered some of them. Let us hope for success.

Kind regards to Roos and others if they ask about me, and write soon. À Dieu. Tell me if Mr. Tersteeg mentions me to you; give him my kindest regards whenever I write to you. Always

Your loving brother, Vincent

At this time, Vincent was 22 year old.

Source: Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written January 1876 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 052. (via).

More letters can be found here, and below is a photo from the book, Vincent van Gogh – The Letters (click here for the full version):

20 Feb 2011
You might have heard the sad news about Borders filing for bankruptcy. I have never really liked chain bookstores and prefer independent booksellers, but to hear about their demise makes me worried about the industry in general. With the rising popularity of e-readers (which I kind of abhor), a lot of people are "going digital" and foregoing the value of real books. And now we have this kind of news. What's next for us book-loving people?

Nevertheless Sarah Weinman has a very interesting perspective about this whole thing:
"I can’t help but think - and I’m sure I’m stealing someone else’s analogy, so apologies in advance - that we’ll look back and realize massive superstore chain bookstores were the subprime loans and credit default swaps of the publishing industry. Was it really possible that a store with comfy couches, magazines, coffee, toys and games would ever be the right venue for the actual buying of books? That a company beholden to shareholders and the stock market could mesh with the art of recommending the right title to the right customer?

It’s no accident the superstore began in the early 90s, when Borders sold to KMart in 1992 and B&N finally went public in 1994, when we were climbing out of an economic dip and plunging into the go-go years of boom time. We could shrug off Crown Bookstore going under - first in 1998, for real in 2001 - because hey, that was family mismanagement, the culmination of bitter infighting and lax attention on the bottom line. We could ignore Borders’ bonehead move of outsourcing its online arm to Amazon because the digital world didn’t matter like we thought it did and we thought it never would. And later, we could attribute brick-and-mortar decline to so many of the usual suspect factors: the tanking economy, e-books, attention spans leaving books and moving to other kinds of media, and so forth.

But maybe what really happened was as simple as this: chain bookstores were never supposed to last as long as they did, and have reached their natural end point after twenty years. Publishing in general has enough struggle with scale, either being too small and prone to great risk and failure, or too big and beholden to larger entities who want greater and greater annual profits. Whatever possessed us to think bookstores could operate this way? Why is the art of bookselling supposed to be conflagrated with abundance, with excess and with millions of square feet?"

19 Feb 2011
Margaret Atwood gave a speech at the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference (TOC) 2011. Her perspective on publishing vis-a-vis the internet and other new tools is interesting; wish I could've been there to listen to this live. Anyway, here's a video of her presentation:

'Publishing' originally meant simply to make public. That meaning, and the processes and technologies by which 'publishing' has taken place, has changed radically over the years, and is in the process of changing yet again. The pie—the author and work, and the packaging and sale of the latter—has been divided up in various ways through the years, with bigger and smaller pieces for accordingly. We are now in the midst of the largest publishing changes and challenges since Gutenberg. How will they affect the author? What tools are newly available to him/her? One author’s view, illustrated with her own drawings. (via)

Found via The Casual Optimist. You can also read Library Journal's highlights.

18 Feb 2011

(via This Isn't Happiness)

This is an advertising campaign in Brazil. Typewriters placed in computer department of bookstores to call attention to Penguin Classic Books. I think it's brilliant and well-executed; probably even better if they are everywhere. Am crushing on that orange typewriter, too.

View the full details of the ad here.

17 Feb 2011

HILARIOUS. I've felt this way one too many times! This is genius.

16 Feb 2011
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
-- Author Unknown

(via CGSociety)

Some thoughts on reading:

1. Another and Another Before That: Some Thoughts on Reading by Carl Phillips
"If it is true that what we read helps shape us, just as true is that our choices in reading are the result of our sensibility—teachers aside, who we are is a major force in shaping a personal canon. "

2. Some Thoughts on Reading by Derek Brown
"Many of us have been through many books. But many of those books have never been through us. That is because we rush through them and never take time to write down our thoughts, to make notes, and to make the book our own."

3. What Do You Love Most About Reading?
"For me reading is a way to escape...Sometimes I just want to think about someone other than myself and books allow me this power."

4. Nancy Pearl's Revised 'Rule of 50'
"On the spur of the moment, with no particular psychological or literary theory in mind to justify it, I developed my Rule of 50: Give a book 50 pages. When you get to the bottom of Page 50, ask yourself if you're really liking the book. If you are, of course, then great, keep on reading. But if you're not, then put it down and look for another..."

5. Rural Teens on the Role of Reading in Their Lives
"Well, reading before was transferring information from a page to your brain and holding it there. Now I think reading is more about the feeling. It’s more about...being involved in the reading and not just reading it for a book. You’re reading it and you want to be involved and you know you’re getting your imagination going and you’re reading because you like to and you’re reading because you enjoy it. "

15 Feb 2011
Found this incredibly beautiful version of The Little Prince. It's a pop-up book, and oh, how lovely. The illustrations are brought to life as you turn the pages, and add to the already rich story. I think it's perfect. Photos below:

(via Books Actually)

(via sevenworlds16)

(via Cupcakes & Buttons)

(via PRI's The World)

(via studs & ampersands)