Friday, September 30, 2016

Reading about the reading life: September 30, 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 while since I have done one of these compilations from the world of books and reading. I got plenty of interesting things to share, so let's get right to it.

  • In some small towns in Japan, bookstores are scarce. I can certainly relate as bookstores are very scarce where I live it (small town  in the United States). Story via The Asahi Shimbun.
  • In New York City, a Spanish language bookstore still survives even as others have closed down. Story via The New York Times.
  • Speaking of bookstores, The World Bank is closing down their bookstore in New York City. Story via The Washington  Post.
  • Here is a profile of independent L.A. bookstore The Last Bookstore. Story and video via Boing Boing. 
  • There is a  new study out from Yale University that claims book readers live longer. Do note it is book readers; magazines and newspapers not so much. You can read about it at Open Culture. Looks like the odds in that regard are in my favor. 
  • In Argentina, and in a  few other cities around the world, bars with literary themes are growing  in popularity. Story via Que Leer (this one is in Spanish).
  • The horror. In London, a few bookstores figured that what should matter is the experience of browsing and enjoying the bookstore, not constantly surfing the web. So they have turned off their public wifi. And they are doing quite well. Sounds like I need to take a trip to London to check out their bookstores sometime. Story via The New York Times.
  • One of those things I find to be a small annoyance is forcing incoming freshmen to read a book for the sake of diversity, cohesion, or some other so-called lofty goal. This usually means you get a fairly predictable list of books on various social justice topics. At any rate, if you are curious, here is  a small sampling of what some incoming freshmen this fall were reading. Via USA Today.
  • Like drinking? Do you like books? Do you maybe drink a bit much  and need to hide your flask? Well, this woman does some great book art hollowing out books so you can hide your flask. Story via Boing Boing.
  • Here is an interview with a gentleman who helps run an Arabic book club in Chicago. Story via Arabic Literature (in English)
  • In some good news, Max Macias, the Lowrider Librarian, has announced that HINCHAS Press will publish his anthology on radical librarianship. This is a big deal. If I manage to get a copy, you can count on a review featured on this blog. This is just the kind of project our profession needs. So head on over, check it out. 
  • Via the BBC, an article on the history of secret libraries
  • The comics news blog The Beat highlights a report on  the status of graphic novels in schools. The news are good. The full report is  from Publishers Weekly.
  • In Chile, La Biblioteca Libre (that translates to The Free Library) is a traveling library striving to get more people to read. You can  read the story about it here from Bustle. I was a bit surprised that the land of Isabel Allende and Pablo Neruda suffers from low readership, which according to the article is "a sad reality bookstore owners blame on the Internet and the 19% value-added tax that increases the price of most products, including books."
  • This past week was Banned Books Week, so of course we need to have at least one story on it. Texas rises once more to the occasion with some censorship fuckery, this time in its prison system. In fact, their prison system book censorship is so bad it is a national disgrace. Story via Slate.   
  • Via Catapult, a story of a common issue for writers, do you start writing on that beautiful blank journal notebook you bought or not? For the record, I do not have that issue much. I do collect nice notebooks, but believe me, they will get used. In fact, now that I also do Tarot journaling, they are getting used a bit faster. 
  • Via BlogTo, a profile of Toronto's bookstore The Monkey's Paw. 
  • In Peshawar, their last bookstore just closed due to islamic extremism but also just general lack of interest thanks to things like iPhones. Story via The Washington Post.

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