Friday, July 15, 2016

Reading about the reading life: July 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).  

It has been a pretty good week of finding stories for this edition, so let's take a look.

  • Atlas Obscura has a feature on a small public library that operates both in the U.S. and Canada. The border line runs through the building, which means the library operates on both countries at the same time. 
  • In some sad news, a new study identifies "book deserts" where children lack access to books. Story via
  • Russia Beyond the Headlines reports that the first Chinese language bookstore opens in Moscow.
  • Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, they have a laundromat that also has a sex shop and feminist bookstore in it. According to the article from DNA Info, "Troll Hole, Bushwick’s first sex shop/feminist bookstore, [is] your one-stop shop for sex positive 'zines, Japanese bondage rope, Beyonce-endorsed poetry collections, a shop dog named Franics and 100 percent natural glow in the dark lube that comes in a honey bear bottle."
  • Here is a story about a new project to revitalize and make more accessible what is now considered the oldest library in the world. Story via Hazlitt
  • I have probably mentioned before that I am not a fan of required readings over the summer. Whether it be for school or college, for cripes sake, let young people enjoy their summer. They will have plenty of time to read forced texts when they get back to school. The trend lately in higher education in the U.S. seems to be on any book they can find related to things like immigration and racial justice. Gee, I can't imagine why. Story via Inside Higher Ed. The article highlights a few selections from various campuses.
  • And apparently in another desperate attempt to get some revenue and pretend that they sell books, Barnes and Noble is now planning to sell self-published books in their stores. Apparently selling beer, wine, and cosmetics is just not enough. Now they are going for whatever crap they think they can sell to raise some cash. Story via Book Business
  • Via Rare Books Digest, a story on antiquarian book collectors who look for books with mistakes in them. However, not all mistakes are the same, and some matter more than others. Read to learn more. 
  • Via Public Domain Review, here is "The Secret History of Holywell Street: Home to Victorian London's Dirty Book Trade." From the article, "Victorian sexuality is often considered synonymous with prudishness, conjuring images of covered up piano legs and dark ankle-length skirts. Historian Matthew Green uncovers a quite different scene in the sordid story of Holywell St, 19th-century London’s epicentre of erotica and smut." Sounds like fun. For this one, do be warned some images may be NSFW.
  • If you wonder at times about some of the reading recommendations you get from Amazon, part of it is not just the machines. Apparently they do also hire some writers to write book reviews, and those have some influence too. Plus, I had no idea Amazon put out a review newsletter of its own. Not that I give a hoot. As a librarian, Amazon is the last place I would look up to for any book review. There are way more reputable sources out there. But if you are interested to learn more about their human reviewers, here is the story via The Seattle Times.
  • Via Japan Times, a story on Tokyo's Jinbocho antiquarian book district. If I ever make it there, sounds like a place I have to go visit. 
  • And finally, under totally cool news, Gabriel García Márquez is having a newly discovered species of tarantula named after him. This story is in Spanish, and it comes via Que Leer.

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