The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Category: Miscellany (page 1 of 28)

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Friday Field Notes 050115


Happy May Day!

This week, a friend posted the link to a Q&A with Gene Wolfe. It was originally posted on the MIT Technology Review last summer. So, while it may not technically be considered new, it was new to me, and may be new to you. And neither of us should be missing out on such good stuff!

In other bookish news . . .

There was a lot of bad news coming from Baltimore this past week. But, much like any time of crisis, there are glimmers of hope. One of my favorites: Baltimore Libraries Stay Open Through Riots, Because ‘The Community Needs Us’ (MTV news).

Remember when Rooth gave her review of Maus? Well, it has been banned in Russia for its cover (NPR has the story).

Speaking of book art, take a look at this master craftsman as he restores an old book to its former glory.

Tomorrow, May 2, is Independent Bookstore Day. Just in case you needed a good excuse to buy yourself a new book . . . or ten.

As if that weren’t enough, tomorrow (May 2, 2015) is also Free Comic Book Day! Search your zip code for a participating store.

The intrigue begins


Illustration to “The Purloined Letter” by E. A. Poe.

April 20, 1841 Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin made his debut–and the detective story as we know it was born.

You see, when The Murders in the Rue Morgue was first published, “detective” had not yet made its way into our vocabulary. Nor were we familiar with stories focused on the games afoot–mainly, the games of observation and logic.

Like many to follow, Poe’s detective was something of an amateur. Sleuthing was not his profession.  As a matter of fact, he was a gentleman, a poet; a man who preferred to work at night, who preferred puzzles to rapport.

If we were to meet him in real life, we may not love him.

But on the page, he’s intriguing–all the more so when pit our mind and attention to detail, to his.  For you see, Poe also introduced the number one rule of a true detective story: all the facts and clues must be laid out before the crime is solved.  It’s a matter of putting the pieces together, for both the detective and the reader.

Needless to say, now is the perfect time to pick up one of the books that started it all–one of the books that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle call Poe “a model for all time:”

The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)

The Purloined Letter (1845)

The Mystery of Marie Roget (1845)



Friday Field Notes 041715


In case you’re unaware, it’s National Library Week here in the U.S. That means shenanigans are afoot. Parodies of music videos, for example—like Unread Book (Bruno Mars Uptown Funk parody, which I kinda love) or Check it Out (Taylor Swift parody). Of course, now’s as good a time as any to sing the praises of your local library, no matter where you call home. And let’s face it, a trip to the library to check out all the possibilities is a mighty fine way to end the week.

With that, here are a few other bookish news items from the week (emphasis on few):

In the spirit of literary festivity, it’s National Poetry Month. If you’ve yet to get in on the celebration, here’s The New Yorker’s Poetry podcast.

The American Library Association has listed the most challenged books of 2014.

If you’re here, reading this, I doubt you’d call this news. Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal confirms, book collecting is still going strong.

And while we’re on the subject of rare and antiquarian books, did you hear? Ghostly Faces Appear In Medieval ‘Black Book of Carmarthen’ (via The Huffington Post).

A love story (of sorts)

chest_bonesImage Source

We’re nearing Valentine’s Day, you know—which seems a mighty fine time to read a romance novel or two.

Of course, I’ve never much been one for romance novels (unless it’s the Jane Austen variety). Perhaps my grandmother is to blame.

You see, Helen Eloise loved her romance novels. As a matter of fact, in a spare room, to the back of her house, rose bookshelf upon bookshelf—floor to ceiling—filled to capacity with her Harlequin romances. Grandma’s special books, she called them.

I could see why; they seemed perfect. Small spines—perfect for little hands—bright, fanciful colors. Naturally, I had to read them.

My grandmother paused, a look of panic etched in her face. Not now, she said. Wait until you’re sixteen. You can read them when you’re sixteen. Sixteen, of course, seemed a lifetime away. No doubt she hoped that was the case; she hoped a lifetime would cause me to forget all about those books.

Alas, children may forget to brush their teeth, clean their rooms, and do what they ought, but they rarely forget the juicy bits. Upon my sixteenth birthday, I marched back to that sacred room, threw open the door . . . and found little more than barren shelves. There was nary a book to be had.

Suddenly her special books were nothing of the sort. When I inquired as to their whereabouts she feigned ignorance. Oh, those old books? She said. I believe I boxed those up some time ago. They may be somewhere around here, but I can’t really say for sure.

So you see, at the moment I could have been introduced to a lifelong love affair with the romance novel, I was introduced, instead, to intrigue. Guess you might say that was the start of a lifelong love affair with a good mystery . . .

Friday Field Notes 020615

Harper Lee Quote

I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Harper Lee is set to publish her second novel in July. At this point, the news is really no news at all, seeing how it’s been splashed everywhere, all week. First there was excitement—To Kill a Mockingbird will not be her only work after all. Then there was the speculation—she’s being coerced into publishing. I don’t know, but if she wasn’t manipulated, we better watch it, or she may recall why she wasn’t going to publish another book to begin with . . .

In other bookish news . . .

Livia Manera Sambuy looks back: The Journalist + Philip Roth (The Believer). Quite lovely, that.

Richard Lea warns: Big Brother is watching you e-read Mein Kampf. (The Guardian) In other words, if you think no one will ever know you’re reading whatever-it-is-your-reading-on-your-eReader, you might want to think again.

Anne Tyler will soon release her 20th novel, A Spool of Blue Thread. It may or may not be her last.

This book uses facial recognition to judge whether you deserve to read it. The pressure!

Workers at a Goodwill in Maine found a gun hidden in a “book.” Let this be a lesson: watch out for unusually heavy used books. They may be packing heat.

And Mr. Peter Koch wins the quote of the week, in speaking of CODEX 2015:

“We’re like a great group of friends,” says Mr. Koch. “For people who do what we do, this is sort of the Burning Man of books—with clothes.”

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