Autumn is a transitional season and that often leads to thoughts of memory and nostalgia. This week, we have several columns that touch base with those types of thoughts in various and intriguing ways.
Chocolate has always had a sensual allure but at least one brand has a thrilling story as well. Laine Farley delves into the delights, the scandals, the history, and the people behind the Haas name and discloses a delicious tale in Fine Candies, Earthquakes and Arsenic.
From biography to bark. Carl Rollyson moves his focus away from his normal biography to pay a tribute to a special life, that of Watson, his beloved Scottie, in The Big Bark.
Gillian Polack’s interest in the Medieval era led her to a 30-year-old “terrific” book about weaponry, its craft, its art, and its ultimate use, destruction. Why weaponry? “It helps us understand where we get our views of what we consider a weapon and why,” she explains in The History of Guns.
Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way,” and Lauren Roberts tends to have a lot of those around her books. Curiosity about one book turns up a surprisingly new one, or magazine or newspaper articles that relate to the subject matter of a book long residing on the shelves provide the joy of re-discoveries in Literary Serendipity.
The date of this issue, September 23, is also the starting date of Banned Books Week for 2012. This is seven days each year when you are asked to think about what censorship and bans on what you and others read would mean should those who would impose their own beliefs on you mean. This is an issue worth your time, and in her column Nicki Leone shares one reason why.
There have been many arguments over e-readers vs. books, but this week Elizabeth Creith confesses to her own reasons. They aren’t all because she is antediluvian, either. Ten practical, and hilarious, rationales later she proclaims herself to be Practically Antediluvian.
Banned Books Week may be a national event but for Nicki Leone, who has spent her entire professional life in books, it is also personal. In Amendment I, she talks about an experience as bookstore manager and about a woman “who could not be bothered to read a book and decide its worth for herself would be actively involved in restricting access of books to others.”
Two books, one fiction and one nonfiction, draw Katherine Hauswirth toward the “what if” and “why not?” questions around conventional perceptions of time and mortality and she wonders what dreams/realities “we can create for ourselves” by looking at them in Journey into Hamlet’s Pause.
Lauren Roberts takes a few minutes and words to remind our readers that Banned Books Week is not just a banner week for librarians and bookstores to haul out slogans and pom-poms to remind people that their reading is precious in What’s Not Said.
We wish you a Happy New Year—the year 5773, that is. And while we’re at it, please check out our newest columns for some great reading!
Brakes may be among the most mundane of a train’s features, but they are certainly among the most important. Lauren Roberts set out to discover the history of a company that produced these items and discovered a world of history that continues long after the company deceased in Putting the Brakes on Bookmarks.
What’s it like to have a newly published book and watching for reviews? Carl Rollyson is in that stage and in agony with moments of delight. He’s been through it before, and depending on which book he’s had plenty of both. So why does a single author provoke responses varying from brilliant to “unreadable.” There are many factors, a few of which he shares in Reviewing Biographies.
Food and books, that is, cookbooks. What could be better than exploring “the ones that demand my attention most vociferously when I wander my shelves,” says Gillian Polack in Happy New Year: Said with Food and Books.
Lev Raphael has done numerous tours and public readings in his many years as an author but here he recalls the recent time when a panic attack hit him. Why, he wondered. So he set out to answer his own question: In the Shadow of the Duomo.
An e-mail to BiblioBuffet asking us to check into the whereabouts of a book remainder dealer whose website was down sent Lauren Roberts on a journey to discover the answer and to do a bit of reminiscing about a unique company in In Their Own Way.
We hope you enjoy our new issue in which Elizabeth Creith imagines a new book moving/organizational systems, Nicki Leone wonders about the ability of her books to multiply, Katherine Hauswirth discovers time and truth, and Lauren Roberts confronts fear.
Anyone who has ever moved with books knows the agony of it. The de-shelving, the packing, the acting hauling, the re-shelving. But one of the most difficult processes is packing sizes together. Elizabeth Creith came up with a hilarious but intriguing new system in Moving Books.
Do your books multiply when you aren’t looking? In When Books Multiply, Nicki Leone wishes she could say that but the truth is that they multiply under her tutelage—promotional copies, gifts, replacement copies (needed or not), various other odd reasons like re-buying books that she once deemed “not serious enough” to keep, and finally “sheer lust and obsession.”
Contemplating “truths” is what Katherine Hauswirth found in her two books, books “examining the inner lives of their central characters” and ‘”took liberties with time.” Yet though time is a central role in both, it was the thoughts of the characters, untied to that constraint, that in both cases focused on the truths found in the factual aspects of time in Day in the Life, Year in the Life.
When fear overtakes and replaces courage in your life, how do you handle it? In Courage in a Book, Lauren Roberts confronted that question recently when she found herself almost paralyzed to inaction. The solution? A book, specifically a book about truly courageous women that helped break the aura of fear yet also left a large question of its own behind.
Well, school’s back in session (or nearly so) so parents, teachers, and other academic employees are no doubt relieved, or perhaps dismayed. Not to worry; we have some soothing reading and reading suggestions for you.
“History is full of silences. History is full of silencing.” So says Gillian Polack in her initial review of a new book, a “wonderful bringing-together of archeology with standard history” that helps to break down assumptions and ideas that don’t necessarily contribute a fine understanding to our past and current selves in Women’s Lives.
Biography is one of the most intimate of literary genres, and that can be seen in the relationships that develop between the biographer and his subject, and often even more so between the biographer and his sources other than the subject after the book has been written. Carl Rollyson shares some of correspondence with the daughter of his latest subject and how a shared painful connection helped bring them together in Biography by Twitter, or The Aftershocks of Biography.
The annual Bookmarks competition and exhibit has just arrived, and Laine Farley takes on a detailed tour of the artists and their specially designed bookmarks in what she determined to be the underlying themes of Literary, Nature, Memory, Wayfinding, and Pure Art in Bookmarks X: Infiltrating the Library System.
This first issue of September—when many people begin to experience autumn temperatures—brings to Lauren Roberts’ mind some thoughts about seasonal reading: what for her constitutes summer reading and what constitutes winter reading. And more importantly, why. She struggles to find an answer in Literary Temperature-Taking.