books · libraries

From the Qin Dynasty to Concord, MA: A History of Book Banning

Words can be dangerous. Though we tend to think of censorship and book banning as modern phenomena, the prohibition of books has existed since the creation of the written word. In honor of Banned Book Week, I want to take a quick look back at censored books in history. Traditionally the people who banned books considered… Continue reading From the Qin Dynasty to Concord, MA: A History of Book Banning

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil,… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”

books

According to History, Reading in Bed Makes Me Evil

Reading is more dangerous than I thought. Not only is reading while walking cause for concern, but reading in bed may also be a problem. At least people who lived during the 1800’s thought it was. Like cigarettes are today, reading in bed was a fire hazard. People needed candlelight to see. If they drifted… Continue reading According to History, Reading in Bed Makes Me Evil

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: ‘The End of Night’

“I had traveled from Spain into Morocco and from there south to the Atlas Mountains, at the edge of the Sahara Desert…one night, in a youth hostel that was more like a stable, I woke and walked out into a snowstorm. But it wasn’t the snow I was used to in Minnesota, or anywhere else… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: ‘The End of Night’

libraries

How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

Losing the remnants of the past is one of the nightmares of historians. There are so many fragments that simply don’t survive the march of time, and as they disintegrate so too does our ability to understand the past. The modern era and its technologies raise new questions about how archivists, historians, and other interested… Continue reading How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

books · resources

Online Resource: Reading Free Rare Books

Sometimes I get a hankering to read old books. Luckily I’ve found a website that allows me to explore some of the rarest books in the world for free. The Rare Book Room is a website created by Octavo, a company that has digitized hundreds of rare books from the greatest libraries in the world. The… Continue reading Online Resource: Reading Free Rare Books

books

So You Want to Murder Your Husband: Stories about Poison

“Poison is a mainstay in mysteries and thrillers. Agatha Christie’s villains used it. Sherlock Holmes suspected it in several of his cases. And modern mysteries haven’t let poisons disappear. No, something about the subtlety of a deadly bane captures the human imagination. Is a servant trying to slip a nefarious concoction into the king’s wine? Is that… Continue reading So You Want to Murder Your Husband: Stories about Poison

books

Art, Freedom, and Seeing 100,000 Banned Books

To many, the Parthenon of Ancient Greece represents ideals of democracy and thought. This year an artist is attempting to use 100,000 banned and censored books to create a new Parthenon. Artist Marta Minujín is currently constructing The Parthenon of Books as a symbol of resistance. This isn’t the first time that she has used books in such… Continue reading Art, Freedom, and Seeing 100,000 Banned Books

libraries

3 People You May Not Have Known Were Librarians

Modern society has a very stereotypical image of who a librarian is. She – and it is almost always a she – is prim, wears glasses, and very likely loves cats. Despite this persona, in reality, librarians have come in many forms. Here are three historical librarians who defy modern expectations. Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) –… Continue reading 3 People You May Not Have Known Were Librarians