Friday, June 16, 2017

Reading about the reading life: June 16, 2017 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 was going to do one of these last week, but life happened. This week then we have a few extra stories I saved up for last week plus the new ones for this week, so let's get on with it.

  • This is not so much about books, but apparently typewriters are making a comeback, at least for hipsters and people who do retro. Story via I can certainly remember typewriters. I went to college as an undergraduate with  a Smith Corona typewriter. It was a big deal it had correcting tape. We've come a long way.
  • One more not quite about books, but I think a bit more about literacy and evaluating sources. That whole image we often see in places like the "History Channel" (the place for Nazis, aliens, and ice truckers) of Nazis as hardcore occultists? It is not quite true nor accurate. It does, however, make for great fiction and films. One example is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Story via Aeon. Actually, story is written by author of a book on the topic, so I guess there is your book angle.
  • Glad Day, the oldest LGBTQ bookstore in the world, has a new exhibit inspired by glory holes. Worth taking a look. Story via OUT Magazine
  • In Croatia, the government is providing grants for bookstores to help with things like starting up the business, renting a location, so on. They are trying to address the closure of a major bookstore chain that left many parts of the country without a bookstore and to increase access to books. Just the type of cool thing you'd never see in the U.S. Story via Total Croatia News.
  • File under libraries I would like to visit some day: the Conjuring Arts Research Center in New York City. It was highlighted in Atlas Obscura.
  • I admit that I often complain when bookstores seem to become more of a gift and toy shop than an actual bookstore (I am looking at you Barnes and Noble). Having said that, I get the notion of doing what you must to survive another day. This bookstore in Kansas has been doing it for a while selling things over the years such as: "Fountain pens, carbon copying paper, specialty envelopes, small lots of resume paper, letter jacket patches, train puzzles, sports clothing, vintage textbooks, Melissa and Doug toys, Kansas flags and books."  They are celebrating 125 years in business, and the family's fifth generation now runs it. How cool is that? Another place to add to my road trip list. Story via The Wichita Eagle.
  • In France, they are building tiny houses to serve as small traveling bookstores. Story via New Atlas.
  • You may have heard Amazon, the online book retailer who has also become a seller of just about anything, has opened retail physical locations. They are not getting good reviews, especially from readers. The New Yorker argues they are just not built for readers, which then begs the question: who the hell are they built for? Besides Bezos and corporate vanity. 
  • A story now about a bookstore in India with a history that goes back to the country's independence.  Politicians, diplomats, and writers have all visited at one point or another. Story via Gulf News.
  • Meanwhile, in China, their largest bookstore chain turned 80 recently. It is a nice little tale. Story via 
  • In some cute and good news, Mafalda comics are now being translated into Guarani language. Guarani, a native language, is one of the official languages of  Paraguay. Story via Telesur.
  • Dangerous Minds has a recent piece on the Tijuana Bibles. (Illustrations in this story are NSFW).
  • Via Literary Hub, a look at why One Hundred Years of Solitude remains so popular
  • In Argentina, Alberto Manguel has become the head of their national library, a post previously  held by Jorge Luis Borges. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Manguel is Canadian. Story via The Globe and Mail (Canada). Manguel is author of The Library at Night, which I have read and reviewed.

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