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Thread: The Stacks: A Book Thread

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  1. #91
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    #4. Book Burnings Will Have Less Visual Impact

    Most of us are not leaders of totalitarian governments, and it's easy to think we never will be. But you never know where the little twists and turns of life are going to take you. Maybe today you are a college student folding clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch, but 10, 15 years from now, you could be an iron-fisted dictator. You never know. Like they say, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans (Vladimir Lenin). One day you are applying to a video game design program, the next day you are repealing a constitution.

    Anyway, when you do become cemented into a position of power that rides on the suppression of human rights and universal freedoms, one of the important ways of demonstrating that all expression is ultimately under your control is with the unforgettable spectacle of a mass book burning. There is nothing like watching the last repositories of their culture, history and ideas being burned away to suck the spirit out of a repressed people.

    This symbolism is kind of lost when burning an e-reader, which is really just a device for displaying the information, whose original copy is obviously stored somewhere else. And considering that one e-reader can store a massive collection of text, burning a family's entire collection would probably make a sad little bonfire requiring about two newspaper pages and a stick of wood. Sure, you've cut off their access to the offending information, but the bigger point was to make a show of how powerful you are in being able to do so and how complete and massive the erasure of their identity is. You want them to be scared of you, and now they just kind of feel sorry for you.

    Sure, book burning is just one of an array of tools the modern authoritarian state has at its disposal, but you really need every bit of help you can get to maintain fear and respect as anti-dictator technology (like the ability to Photoshop your head onto a llama, or tweet about how you farted during a speech) continues to evolve rapidly.

    Oh man, i just realized the misquote above. I typed Vladimir Lenin, who was of course the Marxist revolutionary, but obviously I was thinking of famed musician and songwriter (and husband to Yoko Ono) Joseph Stalin.

    #3. How Will People Open Secret Passageways?

    Seriously, if you can't pull a cleverly titled book out of a bookcase to get it to swing open, what else are you going to do? You have to put an artifact in a slot or push a really obvious wooden carving every time? Boy, that is going to get old fast.

    #2. You Can't Separate Bathroom Books from Outside Books

    A lot of us have separate "bathroom reading" material -- usually magazines or books with information broken into short chunks, because most people don't have time to read War and Peace in one pooping. If you do, you should probably see a doctor.

    For a lot of us, the bathroom readers never come out of the bathroom, which offers a level of sanitation we take for granted. As you may have heard, toilet flushing with the lid open leads to an aerosol spray of toilet water gently settling over the surroundings of said toilet like an invisible, poopy mist.

    When we leave Uncle John's Bathroom Reader in its place, the mist that settles on it stays in the bathroom. But if we take Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for the Android platform with us so it can become The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as we read it on the train, we may be bringing a lot of unwanted, monocellular little friends on that train trip.

    Even if you're careful to put the lid down before flushing, there's always your hands. Sure, it might be fine if you are super careful to put the e-reader or book down, and then wipe, close the lid, flush, wash and dry your hands and then pick it up again. And how many people are going to be that careful considering that less than half the population washes their hands after going to the bathroom if nobody is watching?

    Interesting note about that study -- once they put up a sign telling people to wash their hands, almost all the women started washing, while the number of men washing their hands actually went down slightly. Apparently 2 percent of the guys refused to wash their hands just to spite the sign.

    So yeah, no matter how careful you yourself are, for the general population, one reading device traveling constantly between the bathroom and the outside world means that a small-town stardom-seeking poo bacterium has that many more opportunities to make its big break.

    We could buy a separate e-reader for each location we're going to read it in, but most people probably would hesitate to shell out the money for that. Which brings up a related point ...

    #1. People Will Really Have to Think Before Handing Out Fliers and Religious Pamphlets

    Most of us who live in this modern society live under a deluge of unwanted paper, whether it be junk mail, or restaurant menus on your doorknob, or rave fliers stuffed under your windshield wipers, or religious pamphlets shoved at you by insincere-looking people who won't shut up.

    Right now, with paper being as cheap as it is, they will carelessly toss these fliers and tracts and pamphlets at you as if it were confetti. If they were handing you this information on a $100 e-reader, however, I think these struggling alt-rock bands and mass proselytizers might spend a little more time considering exactly how much value the recipient is likely to place on this information. Seeing your five-cent tracts strewn on the ground might give you a slight sense of martyrdom without causing you to change your methods, but I think seeing a pile of your ridiculously expensive electronic pamphlets trodden to pieces by the uncaring public might lead to a change in strategy.

    I don't personally think this is a drawback, but from the perspective of the literature distributor, it probably is. It's important to look at things from other people's perspectives so we can better understand how wrong they are.

    "Oh, come on," you might think. "Just because they stop publishing books in the future doesn't mean people won't still make fliers." Maybe not, but maybe so. Things like paper become cheaper when they're mass-produced. If you're a huge company turning out reams of paper for reports, newspapers, magazines, books and whatnot, you can turn out each piece of paper for cheaper than if you were a small boutique house that only uses paper for greeting cards and the occasional run of band fliers.

    If they stop making mass media on paper, that cuts out a lot of the market, which means less paper is going to be made, which means it might get more expensive. Maybe they're not handing you Nooks, but maybe they have to hand you really expensive pieces of paper. I am not an expert on the paper business or economics, so I could be way off base, but even if we're not actually headed toward a world where people have to think long and hard about if you are really interested before handing you a piece of promotional literature, we really should be.

    Even if e-books completely flop and nothing else here comes to pass, I think we should brainstorm to find some other way to get this part to come true.

  2. #92
    From Esquire online - - -

    30 Books Every Man Should Read By 30

    A countdown of the novels you need to call yourself a grown up

    By SAM PARKER | 3 days ago

    In an ascending level of importance, here are the 30 must-read books every man really should have tackled the time he's a grown up (and why).

    30| Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

    A group of narcissistic, moneyed Hollywood spawn spend their time taking drugs, drinking, and shagging each other in the back of their porches. What you wish your youth was like, essentially. A tale of unbridled excess and, naturally, subsequent destruction.

    29| How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young

    Our journalist narrator tries to penetrate the glamorous New York scene, but is hampered by his alarming ability to always say the wrong thing. A great lesson in how not to tackle your first move to the big city.

    28| Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Seders

    Thought you had it tough? Growing up gay, Greek, and with a lisp in North Carolina, USA, Seders tells the story of his youth through a series of hilarious essays. Worth it for the pithy one-liners alone.

    27| My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl

    For any man who still associates Dahl with giant peaches and magic fingers, step into the sex-driven world of his adult stories. The eponymous Oswald hatches a plan to obtain the world?s most powerful aphrodisiac and, with the help of a female accomplice, steals the sperm of the world?s most brilliant men. Einstein, Freud, and Picasso all fall victim to the scheme.

    26| Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

    Everyone should read at least one Murakami (several, really), and this is up there with the best. Hearing The Beatles song that this novel takes its title from, protagonist Toru dwells upon his student days in the ?60s protesting against the status quo. His relationship with the beautiful but damaged Naoko is a lesson that emotional dependence is not love.

    25| One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest by Ken Kessey

    A paranoid schizophrenic, confined to an asylum, narrates a tale full of racial tension, sexual repression, and confronts the treatment of the mentally ill. Ken Kesey wrote this after his experiments with LSD.

    24| The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

    Hedonism, vanity, and the selfishness of youth are key in this book. The original cocky upstart, Wilde?s precocious wit is also a valuable lesson in pissing off the powers that be.

    23| The Love Song of Alfred J. Pruflock by T.S. Eliot

    ?No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be??there are a handful of poems every man should read whether they like poetry or not, and Eliot?s stream-of-consciousness moan about the frustrations and disillusionments of modern life is emphatically one of them.

    22| Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

    The book that sparked the biggest literary controversy of our time. The fatwa issued because of critical references of the Prophet Mohammed saw Rushdie go into hiding for over a decade. This novel looks at a man trapped between Eastern and Western cultures, and flits between times and continents.

    21| The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    Conspiracy, secrecy, and murder are a thrilling backbone of this tale of a group of elise Classics students. The theme? How we the young and insecure can easily be manipulated.

    20| Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

    Vonnegut?s most famous novel contains an account of when the Allies bombed Dresden, which he was caught up in as a German prisoner of war. Time-shifting also plays a part in this weird tale, which gives an insight into one of the most important events in recent history.

    19| The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

    A second generation Dominican growing up in New Jersey, Oscar is a nerdy fat kid who loves comics and sci-fi. Unable to display the machismo expected of boys in the Latin community, he is a likeable embodiment of the misunderstood outsider. And we?ve all been one of those, haven?t we?

    18| The Fall by Albert Camus

    A Parisian barrister recounts his fall from wealth and high regard. An advocate for the less fortunate, he nevertheless fails to do anything when he hears a woman fall to her death on a riverbank. A riveting look at that great preoccupation: how we want others to see us.

    17| The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

    A look at Communism in the 1950s through the thoughts of Anna Wulf, a radical left-winger in post-war Britain. Read for an insight into what it?s like to be the enemy in your own country.

    16| The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    A young architect refuses to create the work that others want, believing that his own, new interpretations are superior to the traditions of the past. The lesson here: Being an individual is about more than dying your hair black and liking rubbish bands.

    15| The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    In a bleak, post-apocalyptic world, a man and is son travel South to avoid the coming winter. In with the terse prose and unbearable tension is a great story of fatherhood.

    14| What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

    What are years 0 to 30 about if not fickle affections and brutal heartbreak? Conversations over gin are serialized in this collection of short stories that make for bleak but crucial reading.

    13| Generation X by Douglas Coupland

    Three friends trapped in dead-end ?McJobs? reach adulthood in early ?80s California. The ultimate post-graduation book about intellectuazing not knowing what the hell to do with yourself.

    12| The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    The Great American Novel captures the decadence of the 1920s, while telling the story of a man who has desperately reinvented himself to win back the woman he loves. Relatable for anyone who ever obsessively chased a first love. Ring any bells?

    11| The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    Any young man who loved The Catcher in the Rye ought to read Plath?s novel, a similar story told from a female perspective. The beautifully written semi-autobiographical tale follows a young woman in the cusp of adulthood who struggles with her mental health.

    10| On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    The book that launched a million gap years, On the Road is beat poet pioneer Jack Kerouac?s free form account of a hedonistic road trip across America in the 50s that excites you when you?re still young enough to grab a backpack and follow him, and frustrates the hell out of you with its pretentiousness thereafter.

    9| White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    Written by the prodigious Smith aged just 24 (a fact either painful or inspiring?you decide), this is the best exploration of modern multicultural Britain we have. And you?re going to laugh out loud. A lot.

    8| Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    One of the great dystopian novels, Huxley?s idea of a world in which we distract ourselves from reality to the point we accept a totalitarian regime seems more plausible than ever in the X-factor age.

    7| The Watchmen by Alan Moore

    The ?graphic novel? that made reading books okay (as if it ever wasn?t), The Watchmen is, of course, much more than that?one of the most gripping fictional narratives of the past 40 years.

    6| High Windows by Philip Larkin

    Grump old sod that he was, Larkin produced some of modern Britain?s most accessible and compelling poetry. Even the most verse-phobic men will shudder with recognition at the devastating ?This be the verse??

    5| Fear & Loating in Las Vegas by Hunters S. Thompson

    What is being in your 20s about if not going on a road trip with your best friend, buying a huge bag of hallucinogenic drugs, and losing your mind in Vegas? Okay, so few of us ever came remotely near matching Thompson?s hedonism even during our wild years, but this book remains the definitive way to experience drug abuse vicariously.

    4| The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

    Set in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher?s landslide victory in 1983, Hollinghurst?s Booker winning novel makes being a young gay man seem sexy and London seem conquerable.

    3| The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    Perhaps the ultimate ?someone understands me!? moment literature has to offer any reasonably sensitive and intelligent teenage boy, Salinger?s idiosyncratic and often hilarious tale of a teenage boy struggling with his mental health in the face of a world of ?phones? is, like sport, something you either fall for when you?re a kid or spend your adult years wondering what the fuss is all about. For the former, this book still has few equals.

    2| Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway

    There?s a strong case to say all men should read all Hemingway, but as an introduction to his style and major themes (bullfighting, drinking, not knowing what the hell to do about women), this collection of short stories is priceless and should whet the appetite to tackle the major novels (specifically The Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls?in that order).

    1| 1984 by George Orwell

    Along with Animal Farm, 1984 is George Orwell?s gift to anyone experiencing their moment of political awakening, a book that drags you from the self-involvement of adolescence to the harrowing realisation that politics and the wider world can and will impact your life. Every important reason to be watchful, skeptical, and demanding of your government is in there.





    This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

    * Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

  3. #93
    From the Vintage News ...

    Yale's rare book library is designed to shield precious works from direct sunlight

    Instant Articles Interiors Dec 12, 2017 Stefan A

    Libraries are a place where bookworms can get lost in time and space. For centuries, their role in society has been of crucial importance for scholarship and knowledge. It is with the utmost care that the most precious of our libraries are designed, keeping in mind how their treasured items will be preserved for the future generations.

    In ancient times, the Library of Alexandria was perhaps the most prominent library of all, considered the "birthplace of the modern world." We almost cannot imagine the loss of such a library, hardly aware of the effort put into creating it and the rare books it once held.

    In modern day, the world is unimaginable without the 300-year-old Library of Trinity College in Dublin for example, which houses roughly 200,000 books, including the Book of Kells. Nor can we envision a society without the Clementinum in the Czech Republic, which is considered to be the most beautiful library in the world. Such is also the case of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in the United States, dubbed the "jewel box" or as the "laboratory for the humanities."

    Built in 1963, the library belongs to Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut. On a sunny day, its unique exterior seems to be floating above its darkened ground entry level. The modernist edifice houses a rich rare book library and literary archive, and it was established as a gift from the Beinecke family. Having provided its own funding, the library is financially independent of the university. It is, nevertheless, co-governed by the University Library and the Yale Corporation.

    The six-story building that unravels above the ground is surrounded by a rectangular outer shell that has no windows. While four bulky piers at each of the corners hold the structure, the library also descends 50 feet below ground to bedrock.

    The library's outer walls are made entirely of translucent marble panels. They are able to let in only dim light from outside, assuring that the treasured items inside are well protected from direct sunlight. During the night, the same panels allow light from inside to transform the building's exterior with an amber glow.

    The building's outer dimensions bear a splendid mathematical proportion, that of a 1:2:3 ratio of height, width, and length. Inside the edifice, furniture designed by the famous American architect and designer Florence Knoll adds to the room.

    A public exhibition hall is one of the features of the building, where visitors can see some of the library's most precious gems, its extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible. That book began the Gutenberg Revolution in Europe, marking the dawn of printed books in the Western world.

    The Hewitt Quadrangle, home of the university's administration and major auditorium, was there before the library was built. From 1901 to 1917, the Quadrangle was known as the University Court; once the Beinecke Library was completed, it expanded with two basement floors, which made more room for the library.

    One of the floors now features a garden of abstract allegorical sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. There, a pyramid represents the time, the sun represents the disc, and a cube represents the chance.

    Nowadays, the Beinecke is one of the largest buildings in the world dedicated to keeping rare books and manuscripts. The central building alone houses 180,000 volumes, while over 600,000 more are stored in the underground departments. More books of the library can be found at Yale University’s Library Shelving Faculty. The entire collection of Beinecke is estimated to be roughly a million volumes, and several million manuscripts.

    The history of the library traces back to the late 19th century, as soon as the first copies of rare and valuable books of the Library of Yale College were placed with caution on distinct shelves at the College Library, currently known as Dwight Hall.

    In 1918, the university obtained funding to create a dedicated reading room for its rare books, which was opened in 1930. The Yale English professor Chauncey Brewster Tinker is acknowledged for collecting many monumental works along with Yale alumni.

    By the end of the 1960s, the collection already numbered more than 130,000 rare volumes and even more manuscripts. Having already provided invaluable contributions to Yale by then, Edwin and Frederick Beinecke, as well as Johanna Weigle, were major benefactors in building the contemporary library.

    What bookworms can look see in the Beinecke Library today is simply mesmerizing. There is the astounding book collection gifted by King George III, referred to as the King's Library, as well as some of the best collections of American and German literature.

    The Beinecke eventually became a repository for various collections, such as books printed across Latin America before 1751, or North America before 1821, but that's just a tiny portion of all that lurks behind the walls.

    Among the ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts, scholars can come across personal notes of modern writers, too. Like any other vast and grandiose library in the world, it may take several lifetimes to make sure all the admired books are read or at least taken out from the bookshelves.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  4. #94
    From the Vintage News ...

    Clementinum in Prague is considered the most beautiful library in the world

    Instant Articles Interiors Nov 28, 2017 Nikola Simonovski

    Arguably, one of the most beautiful and admired cultural centers in Europe is the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, founded circa 880. The capital of Bohemia is home to the oldest university in Central Europe, dating back to 1348.

    With culture and education this old, it's only natural that Prague would be full of old libraries, and the most beautiful of them all is the Clementinum Library.

    The Clementinum (Klementinum in Czech) which is a historic complex of buildings housing the national library, is not considered only the most beautiful library in Prague but in the world, as well. The complex was founded when the Jesuits arrived in Bohemia in 1556. The name comes from the chapel dedicated to St. Clement, built in the 11th-century. Later, in the medieval period, a Dominican monastery was founded in the same place, providing a home to the Jesuits.

    In 1622, the monastery was promoted to a university which later became the third largest Jesuit university in the world. In 1653, 31 years after its establishment, the Jesuits began with the reconstruction and expansion of the complex, which lasted for more than 170 years, employing some of the most prominent architects of the time. The Clementinum was expanded on over 2 hectares, becoming one of the largest building complexes in Europe. It is today the second largest complex in Prague after Prague Castle.

    Although it is still a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, you can find various kinds of architectural styles in the complex, due to its long renovation period. Besides the classrooms, the Jesuits built bedrooms, a print room, church buildings, a pharmacy, and of course, the library. In 1654, two years after the library from Charles University was transferred there, the Clementinum college and university were merged. The complex was run by the Jesuits until 1773 when their order was dissolved. Two years after the Jesuits left, the oldest weather recording lab in the Czech Republic began operating as a part of the Clementinum University, and it is still functional to this day.

    Officially, the library was opened in 1722. The book collection dates back to the time of the Jesuits, and it still has books with white spines and red marks left by them. Currently, the library is a home to more than 20.000 books, most of which are foreign theological literature, with writings dating from the 17th century up until today. Some of those rare books were given to Google for scanning and will soon be available on Google Books.

    The interior of the library is of a baroque style, and the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling are made by Jan Hiebl. The frescoes depict Jesuit saints, patrons of the university and motifs of education. The interiors have been untouched since the 18th century, with the portrait of Joseph II mounted at the head of the library hall, the Emperor who transferred the books from the abolished monastic libraries to the Clementinum Library. The library has a remarkable collection of terrestrial globes and astronomical clocks.

    In 1777, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria declared the university and library as open to the public. In 1781, the director of the library Karel Rafael Ungar established a collection of Czech literature, which he called Biblioteca Nationals. This has triggered the idea of creating a national library.

    His collection still stands in the same place, at the head of the library hall. One year later, in 1782, it was transformed into a legal deposit library. In 1990, the Clementinum became known as the National Library. Besides the magnificent examples of Czech literature collected by director Karel Rafael Ungar, the library houses pieces written by Tycho, Brahe, and Comenius.

    Today, the library is still functional. For several years there was a debate about expanding the space for future library collections as it was expected that the library would fill its capacity by 2010. So, in January 2006, the Prague authorities made a decision to sell one of the city-owned property to the National Library.

    In the same year, an international architectural competition was started to get a design for the new National Library building. The architect Jan Kaplicky won the contest, and the final project is in the process of being realized.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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