Tag Archives: books

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World

Trina Enriquez:

There are times when I’ll be truckin’ along amiably and then suddenly be like, I need to be around books. Now. Any of these stores would suffice. :) I crave the feeling of safety, of connection, of being surrounded by words and ideas and worlds unknown.

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

[Editor's note: In celebration of the holidays, we're counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #1, was originally published January 31.] With Amazon slowly taking over the publishing world and bookstores closing left and right, things can sometimes seem a little grim for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world. After all, why would anyone leave the comfort of their couch to buy a book when with just a click of a button, they could have it delivered to their door? Well, here’s why: bookstores so beautiful they’re worth getting out of the house (or the country) to visit whether you need a new hardcover or not. We can’t overestimate the importance of bookstores — they’re community centers, places to browse and discover, and monuments to literature all at once — so we’ve put together a list of the most beautiful bookstores…

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In bed with books

books and lemon tea

How is it that January 1 so often finds me with a cold these past few years? Oh, well, at least I’m in good company. Happy New Year!

Pictured, some comforting sick-day reads, clockwise from top left:

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The Pigeon does Hamlet

Behold, lovers of children’s books, “two of literature’s most tortured characters, together at last” in the Willems Shakespeare mashup of Mo Willems’s pigeon (from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) performing Hamlet’s famed soliloquy.

ImageThat is one pigeon with an existential crisis.

Here is the entire parody. This day-maker brought to you by bottom shelf books, via The Children’s Book Council.

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The power of reading

I love any story about a girl who escapes into books and finds whole new worlds of wonder and possibility within them. Plus, any girl whose favorite book is Anne of Green Gables must be a kindred spirit.

Transcript:

Once upon a time, there lived a girl called Jasmine.

Jasmine lived in a pretty rough and tough part of London with just her mum and her brother.

Jasmine’s mum worked a lot because they didn’t have very much money, and so often Jasmine had to entertain herself.

One day, her teacher gave her some books, and Jasmine soon found herself completely hooked.

She would read one book, then another, then another, and another. She just couldn’t stop reading!

One of her favorite places was the local library, where she would sit for hours and hours until it was time to close and she had to go home.

She was famous amongst her friends for missing her bus stop, because she always had her nose in a book.

Jasmine had lots of favorite stories. She liked James and the Giant Peach, because it taught her to think big.

She liked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because it transported her to another magical world.

She also enjoyed Avocado Baby, because it showed her she could be really strong.

But her favorite book of all was Anne of Green Gables, because she realized that, like Anne, she too could achieve anything she wanted. And she did. [English star! A+! Top of the class!]

In fact, Jasmine was the first in her family to go to university.

And what’s Jasmine doing now? Well, she’s about to publish her own first novel.

Jasmine is our friend, and we’re inspired by her story. We understand the power of books because reading changed her life.

(Directed and produced by The Curved House, illustrated by Gemma Correll, and written and narrated by Riot Communications for World Book Day 2012)

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On being well rounded

While rereading an October 2011 Brain Pickings roundup of Steve Jobs quotations, I got to thinking that Jobs’s views on the importance of a broad-based education echo certain sentiments in “The Education of an Artist,” a chapter in The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn.

In particular there’s a quote by Jobs from the February 1996 issue of Wired that seems especially relevant: “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.”

It seems to me that the artistry and elegance Jobs is credited with bringing to Apple technology is rooted in Shahn’s same notions of being well rounded and letting that inform one’s art. Shahn advocated being an ever-curious individual, soaking up all aspects of life and not turning away from any of it because it’s “not you.”

Excerpt from the chapter “The Education of an Artist,” in The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn

“Attend a university if you possibly can. There is no content of knowledge that is not pertinent to the work you will want to do. But before you attend a university work at something for a while. Do anything. Get a job in a potato field; or work as a grease-monkey in an auto repair shop. But if you do work in a field do not fail to observe the look and the feel of earth and of all things that you handle—yes, even potatoes! Or, in the auto shop, the smell of oil and grease and burning rubber. Paint of course, but if you have to lay aside paintings for a time, continue to draw. Listen well to all conversations and be instructed by them and take all seriousness seriously. Never look down upon anything or anyone as not worthy of notice. In college or out of college, read. And form opinions! Read Sophocles and Euripedes and Dante and Proust. Read everything that you can find about art except the reviews. Read the Bible; read Hume; read Pogo. Read all kinds of poetry and know many poems and many artists.

“Go to an art school, or two, or three, or take art courses at night if necessary. And paint and paint and draw and draw. Know all that you can, both curricular and noncurricular—mathematics and physics and economics, logic, and particularly history. Know at least two languages besides your own, but anyway, know French. Look at pictures and more pictures. Look at every kind of visual symbol, every kind of emblem; do not spurn signboards or furniture drawings or this style of art or that style of art. Do not be afraid to like paintings honestly or to dislike them honestly, but if you do dislike them retain an open mind. Do not dismiss any school of art, not the Pre-Raphaelites nor the Hudson River School nor the German Genre painters. Talk and talk and sit at cafes, and listen to everything, to Brahms, to Brubeck, to the Italian hour on the radio. Listen to preachers in small town churches and in big city churches. Listen to politicians in New England town meetings and to rabble-rousers in Alabama. Even draw them. And remember that you are trying to learn to think what you want to think, that you are trying to coordinate mind and hand and eye. Go to all sorts of museums and galleries and to the studios of artists. Go to Paris and Madrid and Rome and Ravenna and Padua. Stand alone in Sainte Chapelle, in the Sistine Chapel, in the Church of the Carmine in Florence. Draw and draw and paint and learn to work in many media; try lithography and aquatint and silk-screen. Know all that you can about art, and by all means have opinions. Never be afraid to become embroiled in art or life or politics; never be afraid to learn to draw or paint better than you already do; and never be afraid to undertake any kind of art at all, however exalted or however common, but do it with distinction.”

Related:
• The full text of Steve Jobs’s inspirational and oft-quoted 2005 Stanford commencement address

(Drawings: Ben Shahn for The Shape of Content, originally published in 1957)

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