Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Oldest Known Globe to Represent the New World Discovered

Dated to the early 1500s, the globe was likely crafted in Florence, Italy, from the lower halves of two ostrich eggs.

From a piece in the Huffington Post...

The anonymous owner of the globe, who bought it in 2012 at the London Map Fair, allowed Missinne to investigate the globe. The researcher used carbon dating, computer tomography testing, an ink assessment, as well as a geographical, cartographic, and historical analysis.

He determined that the grapefruit-sized globe was made around 1504 and was likely used to cast the famous copper Lenox globe housed at the New York Public Library, which, until now, had been thought to be the oldest globe to show the Americas, dated to 1510.

20 Best Non-Fiction Baseball Books Ever

The list, care of Esquire.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Margaret Atwood, Interviewed

The novelist talks to the Guardian about zombies, bees – and why she had to finish her latest novel, MaddAddam, on a train.

From the piece...

Thus every story begins, unfolding on the understanding that all accounts are partial, all impressions subject to change. As a child, for example, Atwood and her family would spend their summers out in the wilds and their winters in the city, so that "my idea of a city was that it was always cold and covered with snow, because that was the only time that we went." Her father, Carl Atwood, was a zoologist conducting entomological research (she used the details in her novel Cat's Eye). Her mother was a nutritionist. Atwood's interest in science isn't coincidental and she didn't need consultants for the novel. "I grew up with the biologists. I know how they think."

The biologists, in turn, are rather grateful for her interest. "They're my readers. I have a big following among the biogeeks of this world. Nobody ever puts them in books. 'Finally! Someone understands us!'"

New J.D. Salinger Books Coming?

Quite possibly!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

10 Best Novels about Priests

The blessed list, care of the Guardian.

10 Reasons Comic Books Make Great Financial Investments

The list, care of MarketWatch.

From said list...

• What else could anyone buy for a dime in 1938 that would be worth $2.1 million today? The copy that sold in 2011 reportedly belonged to actor Nicholas Cage. He bought it in 1997 for about $150,000. It was stolen from his house in 2000 but was returned after Los Angeles police uncovered it from an abandoned storage locker. Its condition was graded a 9 on a 10-point scale and remains the most expensive comic book ever sold. 

• A comic book could pay off your house. In June, Zurzolo auctioned another copy of Action Comics No. 1 for a Minnesota man who found it in the wall of a house he was remodeling. It had been stuffed in the wall as insulation and was in bad shape, attaining a grade of only 1.5. “The guy bought the house for $10,100, found a comic book that sold for $175,000,” and I collected a 10% commission on it,” Zurzolo said.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pooh Bear and the Ecology of Childhood

Adults may feel exiled from the intensity and sweetness of childhood places. But perhaps there are surprising ways home.

From a piece in Aeon Magazine...

I recently sat with pencil sharpened and notebook at the ready, like an anthropologist in exotic terrain, to watch Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), a feature-length collection of the earlier animated shorts. What happened, I wondered, when England’s most famous fictional bear migrated across the Atlantic and settled into an American landscape? Like Pooh, I had grown up in the British Isles and in my ripe maturity emigrated to the US. Like Pooh, I had spent much of my time out of doors. Over the back wall of our family home in southern County Dublin were mile after mile of farm fields, interspersed with shrubby hedgerow. Not quite as bucolic as Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, perhaps, but there, until the summer dusk drove us home, was where we largely spent our childhood vacations. Like the transplanted Pooh, the terrain in which I now dwell in the New World is hospitable enough in many ways, and yet it is also uncanny. It is not quite home. The suspicion I am investigating here is that, from an environmental perspective, there is more to this bear of ‘very little brain’ than meets the eye.

When Pooh arrived in the US, he de-hyphenated his name — perhaps a result of some tweaking at Ellis Island. Christopher Robin admirably retained his English accent, and Owl’s accent was plummy, though at times I think he hammed it up for his US audience. But Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo’s accents became appropriately American. The process of assimilation had begun. As often happens in cases of faunal introductions, the aliens must interact with new critters. The Gopher — a small burrowing rodent endemic to North America, enterprising and mercantile — worked out a quote for removing the wedged Pooh from Rabbit’s door. Gopher costed his hourly rate, at overtime, with 10 per cent added, and assessed how much explosive might be needed for the job. No, we are not in England anymore!

16 Bookstores You Must Visit Before You Die

The list, care of Buzzfeed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Book The Size of a Ladybug

A library puts one of its tiniest items under a microscope and finds the first chapter of Genesis.

From the Atlantic...

The University of Iowa library contains more than 4,000 miniature books, all measuring fewer than three inches in either height, width, or both. Three inches is not a lot for a book, but three inches is outright capacious when compared with a little red bug of a book, one of the smallest objects in the entire collection, measuring 0.138 inches square and 0.04 inches thick. 

Based on the cover, library staff assumed the little book was a Bible, or at least some part of one, and a photograph taken through a magnifying glass and cleaned up on Photoshop confirmed this suspicion. But everything else about it was unknown. Librarian Colleen Theisen, who found it in a box marked "microminiatures," calls it the "most perplexing" of the miniature collection: a book so small it could not be read by the naked eye. What was it? Who made it and when? Whatever clues its text contained were locked between its tiny binding.

A History of Superman's Dog

Care of Salon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

8.5 Tons of Comic Books

The Daily Mail visits the world's largest private comic book collection.

From the piece...

'My wife has always been supportive, she doesn't read comics, but helps me catalogue and maintain the collection.

'My kids, nieces and nephews, and their friends generally think the collection is pretty cool. The majority of my personal friends are also into reading and collecting.

'I have them racked so they don't need to be moved around much. If I need to get a comic I go to my database, see what box the comic is in, go to that box in the storage rack and pull a single box to get the comic I want.'

Still collecting, Bob reads around 115 comics a month - new and old.

Songs about Newspapers

The list, care of the New Yorker.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Books Human Skin.

Mental Floss gives a brief history.

From the piece...

The bizarre art of binding books in human skin, or anthropodermic bibliopegy, dates back to at least the 17th century, and involves flaying the body and tanning the skin just like any other type of leather. It has most often been used by doctors as a way to honor a deceased patient or medical colleague, meaning that many surviving examples are anatomical texts such as Leidy’s. Several American universities, including Harvard and the University of Georgia, quietly keep an anthropodermic book or two (Brown supposedly has three), and the University of Pennsylvania library had to put in a distress call to the Admissions office after a tour guide happened to mention their rare skin-bound copy of Biblotheque Nationale and the library was flooded with curious potential students.

79 Words You're Probably Saying Wrong

Stephen King Profiled