Friday, April 15, 2016

Reading About the Reading Life, April 15, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Reading about the reading life" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is where I collect stories about reading and the reading life. Basically, these are items related to reading, maybe writing and literacy, that I find interesting and think my four readers might find interesting as well with a little commentary. As with other features I do on this blog, I do it when I have time or feel like it. Comments are always welcome (within reason). 

I found some curious and interesting items this week, and I find myself a bit amazed that a chair can become valuable because someone put their butt on it. So, let's read some stories.

  • In Sicily, a bookstore refuses to sell the book of the son of a jailed mafioso. Story via ANSA. On a side note, this month I am reading the book Black Mass, which was the basis of the recent mobster movie starring Johnny Depp. Once I finish it, you will see a review here at The Itinerant Librarian.
  • Another account of something I have seen in bookstores all over. "Gifts now seem to take up as much space as books. . . ". The story comes from the United Kingdom, but it is also applicable to the United States. Barnes and Noble these days is more a gift and toy shop than an actual bookstore it seems. Even my favorite, Half Price Books, is giving a lot more space to gifts and knick knacks, and they have also been adding a lot of vintage collectibles. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to stay afloat. Story via the LRB Blog
  • The label of "bestseller" for books does not mean what it used to be. The definition has evolved and changed in this age. Learn more about the invisible bestsellers. Story via Boing Boing.
  • You know that craze for adult coloring books? Well, it has gotten so strong that coloring pencil makers are having to ramp up production because there are retail shortages of coloring pencils. And by the way, folks who love their adult coloring books do not just buy the little box with the basic colors. They got to town and buy the big boxes with a broad variety of colors, the more colors the better. Story via The Independent. A hat tip to Libropatas, where I first saw the story. You can read their version of the story in Spanish. 
  • Adult reading of books in South Korea is a bit on the low side. So they are hoping over there that "a recent revival of book cafes and the emergence of trendy book bars where visitors can read and purchase books while drinking coffee, tea or even alcohol, will help reverse the trend." Story via the Korea JoongAng Daily.
  • The BBC has a piece on the decline of subscription libraries. Before public libraries, many folks who wanted to read had to pay to have access to a library. Read the article to learn more about the subscription libraries that still remain and the many that have closed over time. 
  • Via the Past is Present blog, some highlights and some information on the art of marbled pages in books. This is something that I personally find fascinating, and it is a pity it is not really done anymore. 
  • And finally, if you are famous and you sit your culo (that is "butt" for my non-Spanish literate friends) on a chair, that chair could fetch a lot of money. That is the case with a chair that J.K. Rowling sat on while writing the first two Harry Potter books. The chair recently went up for auction, selling for $394,000. Go figure. Story via CTV News.

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