Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Made by Hand

A project from the Bureau of Common Goods, Made by Hand was created out of the belief that the things we collect, consume, use, and share are part of who we are as individuals. For example, the food that we eat says something about each of us, as do the tools we use and the chairs we rest on. Objects that surround the space we dwell in tell stories, and not just about us. Where did they come from? Who made them? How were they made?

Each film aims to promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft. Based in Brooklyn, the project takes its influence from the handmade movement here and elsewhere. Here is a sample and more movies at the link above.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Amazon Drops Thousands Of Ebooks From Kindle Store.

Amazon removed more than 4000 e-books from its Kindle Store yesterday, punctuating a spat with the Independent Publishers Group. Amazon wants to sell ebooks for lower prices than publishers have liked. When IPG refused their newest terms, Amazon responded with the book drop

Amazon is under pressure from Wall Street to improve its anemic margins. At the same time, it is committed to selling e-books as cheaply as possible as a way to preserve the dominance of its Kindle devices.

When the Kindle contract for one of the country’s largest book distributors, the Independent Publishers Group, came up for renewal, Amazon saw a chance to gain some ground at I.P.G.’s expense.

“They decided they wanted me to change my terms,” said Mark Suchomel, president of the Chicago-based I.P.G. “It wasn’t reasonable. There’s only so far we can go.”

Full story and extended commentary here>

The beautiful Vennesla Library and Cultural Center (photos)

Welcome to the newly renovated Vennesla Library and Cultural Center in Vennesla, Norway.

Norwegian architecture firm Helen & Hard have created a remarkable space by combining an existing community house, learning center, and public space. The result is, among other things, a  sanctuary for the printed word. The clean green design and open space are as an inviting a space as a community can hope for.


Nestled within this vast openness are private study spaces at the end of each aisle.

As libraries continue to operate, here at home and in many places around the world, under extreme financial and political pressure it is refreshing to see that in some places the library is still so highly valued.

Also the branding and use as a cultural center present tremendous opportunities for our libraries as they try an map out the road ahead.

More pics and story at My Modern Met

(Via Book Patrol.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Insight into urban farming (video)

Massive snow drawings made by simply walking (video)

Step by step this massive snow drawing was trampled into freshly fallen snow by artist Sonja Hinrichsen with the help of 5 volunteers last month at Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2011 Nebula Awards nominees

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.




Short Story

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

The winners will be announced at SFWA’s 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, to be held Thursday through Sunday, May 17 to May 20, 2012.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bookflavor: Pinterest for books!

BookFlavor is a web application for readers or book lovers who want a clean and simple way to discover books and see what other people thought of them…. It is provided completely free and is supported by book sale commissions. You can login with Facebook to save books or share books with your Facebook friends.

Bookflavor accesses Amazon to create a Pinterest-like visual library providing reviews and links to Amazon for easy purchase. Bookflavor also provides easy links to Amazon Bestsellers and New York Times Bestsellers.

"Take a Look. It's in a Book" from Reading Rainbow (video)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Henry Millers writing commandments

From Henry Miller on Writing, his 11 commandments:

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to "Black Spring."
3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can't create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don't be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it -- but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

(From  lists of note)


34-foot tower of books about Abe Lincoln

Placed in the lobby of Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership, it makes for an excellent introductory piece to the new museum dedicated to Lincoln's history. Fascinatingly, it is adjacent to where Lincoln died at the Petersen House. The museum is currently under construction and set to open later this month, in time for President's Day.

Many more images at My Modern Met.

Teddy Roosevelt's Valentines Day journal entry

On Valentines Day in 1884, Teddy Roosevelt’s wife and mother died within hours of each other. This was his diary entry for that Thursday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Images created using law enforcement composite sketch software and descriptions of literary characters.

Emma Bovary, Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

She was pale all over, white as a sheet; the skin of her nose was drawn at the nostrils, her eyes looked at you vaguely. After discovering three grey hairs on her temples, she talked much of her old age…Her eyelids seemed chiseled expressly for her long amorous looks in which the pupil disappeared, while a strong inspiration expanded her delicate nostrils and raised the fleshy corner of her lips, shaded in the light by a little black down.

Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The V motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down—from high flat temples—in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan.

Many more here.

The Top 100 Most Strange, Odd, Perplexing and Unintentionally Funny Vintage Valentine Cards EVER!

Mitch O'Connell has assembled a huge selection of the offbeat, inappropriate, outlandish, bizarre, sexist, eccentric and far-out funny cards, all collected in one place ...for YOU (with love)!

Many more at the above link.

John Cotton Dana’s 12 Rules for Reading

1. Read

2. Read.

3. Read some more.

4. Read anything.

5. Read about everything.

6.Read enjoyable things.

7. Read things you yourself enjoy.

8. Read, and talk about it.

9. Read very carefully, some things.

10. Read on the run, most things.

11. Don’t think about reading, but

12. Just read.

(Via Libraryland.)

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe read by James Earl Jones

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The models for American Gothic (photo- the people and the house)

In 1930, Iowa artist Grant Wood painted American Gothic. The models he used for the painting were his sister Nan Wood Graham and his dentist, Byron McKeeby. Here they are next to the painting:

American Gothic models

Wood made the painting after spotting a small house in Eldon, Iowa:

American Gothic house


More astounding book sculptures by Guy Laramée (photostream)

Several more here.

I am a bookseller because...

(Via 1001 Books To Read Before You Die.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bookshelves crafted from industrial pipe (photo)

Available on Etsy from Stellabluedesigns, via No Brains, No Thanks.


The almost lost art of hand-painted signs (short video)

The Amish Project - disconnect for 90 days. (video)

An evening with a book or a beautiful woman. You choose. (infographic)

Click to enlarge

Found at This isn't happiness

Penguin Presents: Authors Stand Up for Free Speech (video)

A beautiful bookstore from a converted church

The Guardian announced this as ‘probably the most beautiful bookstore in the world’. It is a very unique and unusual location for a bookstore. Because of the design of the bookshelf, you are allowed to experience the architectural structure in a close up. The bookshelf is constructed as a walk-in shelf going over three stories. The designers, Merkx Girod, has been true to the church´s architecture, and that is what makes it so powerful. It must be magical walking up the stairs, and have a view from the third level; even stand at the ground floor looking up and experience the dimensions of the church probably gives an exceptional view.

Business Meetings Are Making You Dumb

Group settings, such as business meetings, can actually diminish intelligence, according to a new study from Virginia Tech's Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute.

Research suggests that small-group dynamics such as jury deliberations, meetings and even cocktail parties can have a negative intellectual effect on participants.
"You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well," Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, said in a statement.

From The Huffington Post. A bit more at the link.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Reading lamps from hardback books

Several more here.

Charles Dickens on Bonanza

At Ben's invitation, Charles Dickens comes to Virginia City to give a reading from "Oliver Twist". He is appalled to discover his work being reprinted without his permission by the local paper and after confronting the publisher, the newspaper's office is destroyed. Already having lost the esteem of the townsfolk, Dickens now finds that they blame him for the violence.

A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision. (video)

EUscreen - European TV archive

The EUscreen project aims to promote the use of television content to explore Europe's rich and diverse cultural history. It will create access to over 30,000 items of programme content and information, and by developing a number of interactive functionalities and dynamic links with Europeana it will prove valuable to the widest range of cultural, educational and recreational users.

The top 10 most popular Dickens characters

Ebenezer Scrooge has been voted the most popular Charles Dickens character, according to a poll held to mark the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth. Here is the complete list:

1. Ebenezer Scrooge - A Christmas Carol
2. Miss Havisham - Great Expectations
3. Sydney Carton - A Tale Of Two Cities
4. The Artful Dodger - Oliver Twist
5. Fagin - Oliver Twist
6. Joe Gargery - Great Expectations
7. Pip - Great Expectations
8. Nancy - Oliver Twist
9. Abel Magwitch - Great Expectations
10. Betsey Trotwood - David Copperfield

Found at Amanda on Writing.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Anatomical Cross-Sections Made from Paper

Artist Lisa Nilsson has taken the technique of quilling to a whole new level by creating these amazing (and kinda creepy) cross sections of the human body. Also known as paper filigree, quilling is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs.

Several more here.

A Catalog of Bookstore Cats.

Ever wondered what is the collective term for a group of bookstore cats? We think it should be catalog. Incidentally, a clowder is the term for a group of ordinary cats and a kindle (yes, really) is a group of kittens. AbeBooks asked some of its booksellers to describe the cats that inhabit their bookshops and they now have a gallery of fine felines. Cats and literature have mixed well for a long, long time from T.S. Elliot's Practical Cats to Edward Lear's Pussy Cat and Dr Seuss' Cat in the Hat. Take a tour around these wonderful bookish cats, their owners and their bookstores.

Several more here

Friday, February 03, 2012

25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore

1. People are getting rid of bookshelves. Treat the money you budgeted for shelving as found money. Go to garage sales and cruise the curbs.

2. While you're drafting that business plan, cut your projected profits in half. People are getting rid of bookshelves.

3. If someone comes in and asks where to find the historical fiction, they're not looking for classics, they want the romance section.

4. If someone comes in and says they read a little of everything, they also want the romance section.

5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can't think of one, the person is not really a reader. Recommend Nicholas Sparks.

A delightful list and the rest are here.

Links to (almost) all the Super Bowl ads in advance

* Audi: Vampire Party

* Bridgestone: Performance Balls and Puck (teaser)

* Budweiser: Flash Fans (Reportedly only airing in Canada)

* Cadillac: Green Hell

* Careerbuilder: Business Trip (PETA went ape)

* Confident You

* Century 21: Deion Sanders (teaser)

* Century 21: Donald Trump (teaser)

* Chevrolet: 2012

* Chevrolet: Aliens

* Chevrolet: Joy

* Chevrolet: Stunt Anthem (with OK GO)

* Coca Cola: Catch: New England Bear / New York Bear (which one airs will depend on how each team performs during the second quarter)

* Coca Cola: Penguin Thief

* Coca-Cola: Superstition

* Dannon: Oikos Greek Yogurt (with John Stamos)

* Disney: John Carter

* E*TRADE: Fatherhood

* GoDaddy: Body Paint

* GoDaddy: The Cloud

* H&M: David Beckham Bodywear

* Honda: Matthew's Day Off (With Matthew Broderick, Jalopnik was unhappy about this one: SAVE FERRIS from Honda's Sacrilegious Super Bowl Ad)

* Honda: Transactions (with Jerry Seinfeld and others)

* Hyundai: All for One

* Hyundai: Cheetah

* Hyundai: Faster Acting

* Hyundai: Victory Lap

* Hyundai: Think Fast

* Kia: A Dream Car. For Real Life. (with Adriana Lima, Chuck Liddell and Motley Crue. Also see 5 Hours of Adriana Lima)

* Marvel: The Avengers (teaser)

* Pepsi: Check Out

* Pepsi: King's Court (With Elton John and Melanie Amaro)

* Samsung: Galaxy Note, The Next Big Thing is already here... Again

* Suzuki: Sled

* Teleflora: Adriana Lima

* Toyota: It's Reinvented

* Volkswagen: The Dog Strikes Back

Prime Burger (short video)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Clever and touching ad shows just what you can do "in camera". (video)

Disclaimer: I love Field Notes. I use them every day and there is one in my back pocket as I write this. Sometimes analog is best.

Riusuke Fukahori Paints Three-Dimensional Goldfish Embedded in Layers of Resin

Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori paints three-dimensional goldfish using a complex process of poured resin. The fish are painted meticulously, layer by layer, the sandwiched slices revealing slightly more about each creature, similar to the function of a 3D printer.

Found at This is Colossal

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

42 Unseen Photos Of Child Labour in US History

During the Victorian era Child Labor was quite common employing children as young as four in production factories with dangerous, and often fatal, working conditions.

39 more revealing images at SNAPYZ.

Transportation Library Menu Collection

The Menu Collection of the Northwestern University Transportation Library currently includes more than 400 menus from 54 national and international airline carriers, cruise ships, and railroad companies, with coverage from 1929 to the present. U.S. airlines predominate, but European, Asian, African, Australasian, and South American companies are also represented, with particular strength from the 1960s to the late 1980s.

The full collection is here.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (video short)

An amazingly poignant short film inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.

Found at Libraryland

A bathtub for reading (photo)

(Via 1001 Books To Read Before You Die.)