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

books

Stoking a Hunger: The Scent of a Book

For many of us, the scent of a book represents windows into innumerable worlds. Chemists have tried to translate this experience and have described books as smelling grassy and acidic with hints of vanilla and mustiness. However, that combination of scents does not simply arise through happenstance. Traditionally printed books produce those smells as a result of… Continue reading Stoking a Hunger: The Scent of a Book

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘This Side of Paradise’

“What a wonderful song, she thought – everything was wonderful tonight, most of all this romantic scene in the den with their hands clinging and the inevitable looming charmingly close. The future vista of her life seemed an unending succession of scenes like this: under moonlight and pale starlight, and in the backs of warm… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘This Side of Paradise’

books · Publishing

The Audacity of Judging a Book by Its Cover: 4 Highlights from Recent Publications

People say that old maxim ‘never judge a book by its cover’ frequently, but of course everyone does judge book covers. Both in ebooks and in physical copies, the cover is one of the first things a reader sees. Readers use the cover to make instant assessments about a book: is this a genre I… Continue reading The Audacity of Judging a Book by Its Cover: 4 Highlights from Recent Publications

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: ‘The End of the Affair’

“If I were writing a novel I would end it here: a novel, I used to think, has to end somewhere, but I’m beginning to believe my realism has been at fault all these years, for nothing in life now ever seems to end. Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: ‘The End of the Affair’

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

Poetry

Poetry and Regret: Louise Glück’s ‘Myth of Innocence’

In honor of Louise Glück’s birthday (April 22), I want to share one of my favorite poems of her’s: “The Myth of Innocence”. This poem comes from Averno, a collection of Glück’s works based on the idea of “Avernus”, the place that the ancient Romans believed held the entrance to the underworld. In addition to the video above,… Continue reading Poetry and Regret: Louise Glück’s ‘Myth of Innocence’

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: Dostoyevsky’s ‘White Nights’

“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year. I feel I know you… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: Dostoyevsky’s ‘White Nights’