Friday, June 29, 2012


I follow a lot of blogs, and many of them are written by avid readers and writers. Here's a collection of links to articles and blogs about writing: - A blog from a reader in Minnesota. I honestly don't know how she reads so many books! They're not all lightweight works, either. She's a librarian and says of herself: "If you haven’t figured it out, I like to read. This blog is about what I’m reading and not reading (as sometimes happens), what I want to read and what I am considering reading. There is also occasional agonizing over reading, not reading, what I want to read and what I am considering reading. From time to time personal life slips in and stories about my husband, school, libraries, or pet pictures might appear." - I just discovered this blog today, and it's marvelous: "The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways." The blog is the creation of photographer Ourit Ben-Haim, who writes "I’m fascinated by how we apply ourselves to stories and discourse. In so doing, we shape who we understand ourselves to be." (Discovered thanks to So Many Books.) - Be warned! This website is sometimes overwhelming, especially if you're like me and have never-ending lists of books to be read. The short posts, featuring nonfiction books, are usually accompanied images, links, and videos. You'll find a rich source of new things to learn about. Maria Popova, the main writer and editor, says of the site: "Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology. Pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower you to combine them into original concepts that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful." - This site was created by a used and rare bookseller, who has also published a book. The images show found objects he's encountered, along with the books he found them in.

Giving Me A Heart Attack

While watching this, I was doing what my mom does during horror movies - holding my hand over my mouth. The lava at Nyiragongo moves at 60 miles an hour!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chip Kidd

I love me a good TED Talk, and this one by book art designer Chip Kidd is a lot of fun. Not content-heavy, but he has a dramatic presentation style and makes me want to hear more from the people who design those iconic book jackets, which often wordlessly communicate more about the book than the best-written blurb.


For more on Kidd's work, visit this Time Magazine slideshow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dirt is Good

"Every once in a while, advertising is amazing. World champion sand sculptor JOOheng Tan was recently asked by ad agency Lowe in Singapore to help create these impressive backdrops for an OMO washing detergent ad campaign. In an age when something like this could have been created digitally, they asked Tan to physically build three 18-ton sand sculptures to be used as backdrops in ads encouraging kids to get dirty." - Christopher Jobson, Colossal

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Sad Story About A Dog

Because no one does depressing stories quite like the Welsh.

'Gelert' by Charles Burton Barber (1845–1894) 

"Gelert is the name of a legendary dog associated with the village of Beddgelert (whose name means 'Gelert's Grave') in Gwynedd, northwest Wales. The dog is alleged to have belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, and to have been a gift from King John of England.

"In this legend, Llywelyn returns from hunting to find his baby's cradle overturned, the baby missing and the dog with blood around its mouth. Imagining that it has savaged the child, Llywelyn draws his sword and kills the dog, which lets out a final dying yelp. He then hears the cries of the baby and finds it unharmed under the cradle, along with a dead wolf which had attacked the child and been killed by Gelert. Llywelyn is then overcome with remorse and he buries the dog with great ceremony, yet can still hear the dying yelp.

"After that day Llywelyn never smiles again."

I'll say.


This is really beautiful. I never knew that the movement was so complex.

The Questions Women are Asked....

True story: I liked The Avengers. I liked Scarlett Johannson's Black Widow, though I give most of the credit for making that movie work to Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed it (and made sure the female characters were more than window dressing).

But Hollywood is still its usual self, and so Johannson gets questions like these, while the character-focused questions are left to the men:

Reporter: I have a question to Robert and to Scarlett. Firstly to Robert, throughout Iron Man 1 and 2, Tony Stark started off as a very egotistical character but learns how to fight as a team. And so how did you approach this role, bearing in mind that kind of maturity as a human being when it comes to the Tony Stark character, and did you learn anything throughout the three movies that you made?

And to Scarlett, to get into shape for Black Widow did you have anything special to do in terms of the diet, like did you have to eat any specific food, or that sort of thing?

Scarlett: How come you get the really interesting existential question, and I get the like, “rabbit food” question?

Now she knows how to ask a good question.

Reporters, please try to come up with better questions to ask women. They do more than diet and look pretty, and may have something interesting to say. Okay?

My eyes glaze over every time some celebrity starts talking about their beauty regimen. Why not ask Johannson what it was like to be the sole female Avenger? Why not ask her how she and Whedon chose to portray the Black Widow, and how she tried to balance the character's surface vulnerability (especially during "interrogations"!) with her obvious toughness? Those are the questions I want to know the answers to, believe it or not.

Via A London Salmagundi.