Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Night Book Porn!

Book porn: (n) Photographs and descriptions that exploit the nerd's natural lust for the physical beauty of reading material. Such material is deemed highly dangerous to one's sanity . People under the influence have been known to max out their library cards, spend their food money on paperbacks and exhaust their friends and loved ones with "wish lists" .

If someone you love suffers from book porn addiction, understand that there is no cure.

Just give them what they want.


Tonight, we will look at something a little unusual. I found these images via Stumbleupon on WomansDay.com. It's not usually known for this kind of triple-x material but this time, Woman's Day delivered some unusually shaped book shelves.

If you're not into the really kinky stuff, you might want to cover your eyes (I know you'll peek through your fingers).

Some of them I didn't like because they seemed to be designed for people who like interesting designs more than books. To the genuine lover of books, any shelf that bends spines or displays books in such a way that you can't actually identify titles (backwards, upside down, etc) is not only unpractical, it makes you wonder why you would want to own a collection of books in the first place.

However, they did have a few good money shots:

The Cave was designed by Sakura Adachi. The generic pink books don't look like much, but you can use your imagination. It would be especially great for children.

This is the Zellige. It is a shape commonly found in Moroccan architecture. It was designed by Younes Duret.
And finally, there is this. Designed by Dutch conceptual artist Job Koelewijn, this kinky shelf is contorted into the shape of a lemniscate- the symbol of infinity.

I Stumbled on and found more juicy pics:

This, for example:
...books stored in the rafters for those with limited space. Not sure I would go this far...maybe after a few drinks...

And this last one just made me giddy, because you can build your own. The designer has a channel on Youtube.
...and I have such a thing for yin yangs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night Book Porn!!!

Book porn: (n) Photographs and descriptions that exploit the nerd's natural lust for the physical beauty of reading material. Such material is deemed highly dangerous to one's sanity . People under the influence have been known to max out their library cards, spend their food money on paperbacks and exhaust their friends and loved ones with "wish lists" .

If someone you love suffers from book porn addiction, know that there is no cure for it.

Just give them what they want.
This week's steamy literature photo was sent to me via Stumbleupon by Rebecca Taylor of Lost in Books. According to the website this is the Studienzentrum der Anna-Amalia-Bibliothek in Weimar. That's German for "I could get arrested for showing you this."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine was one of the most influential men of his time. For many, he is the quintessential figure of the Enlightenment. He wrote the eloquent words "These are the times that try men's souls " and inspired America to fight for independence.

His book, The Age of Reason was banned in France. It was published in three parts which appeared in 1794, 1795 and 1807.

Paine was a deist, which means he believed in a Deity, but not religion. This book was an attack on Christian tradition and beliefs. He challenged the idea of Biblical inerrancy, the superiority of reason to revelation and what he perceived as corruption in the Church.

The book caused a minor deist revival in America and had British leaders shaking in their boots, fearing an outbreak of the same head-rolling upheaval experienced during the French Revolution.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday Night Book Porn! A Few Hours Late...

Okay... I'm sorry the porn is late, but I started a new job yesterday and went to the DMV and dinner with my family and shopping and all I had time to do was take off my make-up and pass out from exhaustion.

Anyway, here's your book fix:
I found it on spotcoolstuff.com. This is the El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires.It began life as a grand theater. The first movie with sound was shown to a public audience in these walls, which are now beautifully lined with books. Apparently, there is a cafe on what used to be the stage.

You can see more hot bookstores here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TBR Thursdays: Sue Grafton's Latest Letter

I have read all of Sue Grafton's alphabet series to date- A-T. I started reading them when I was thirteen, right after R is for Ricochet came out. I finished T is for Trespass more than a year ago and since then, the withdrawals have been unbearable.

So, I was happy when I found out that U is for Undertow will be released on December 1st, 2009.

This (along with all the other letters) has been on my TBR for 7 years. Here is a little teaser from Sue Grafton's website.

Excerpt

Wednesday afternoon, April 6, 1988

What fascinates me about life is that now and then the past rises up and declares itself. Afterward, the sequence of events seems inevitable, but only because cause and effect have been aligned in advance. It’s like a pattern of dominoes arranged upright on a tabletop. With the flick of your finger, the first tile topples into the second, which in turn tips into the third, setting in motion a tumbling that goes on and on, each tile knocking over its neighbor until all of them fall down. Sometimes the impetus is pure chance, though I discount the notion of accidents. Fate stitches together elements that seem unrelated on the surface. It’s only when the truth emerges you see how the bones are joined and everything connects.

Here’s the odd part. In my ten years as a private eye, this was the first case I ever managed to resolve without crossing paths with the bad guys. Except at the end, of course.

* * *

My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private detective, female, age thirty-seven, with my thirty-eighth birthday coming up in a month. Having been married and divorced twice, I’m now happily single and expect to remain so for life. I have no children thus far and I don’t anticipate bearing any. Not only are my eggs getting old, but my biological clock wound down a long time ago. I suppose there’s always room for one of life’s little surprises, but that’s not the way to bet.

I work solo out of a rented bungalow in Santa Teresa, California, a town of roughly 85,000 souls who generate sufficient crime to occupy the Santa Teresa Police Department, the County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the twenty-five or so local private investigators like me. Movies and television shows would have you believe a PI’s job is dangerous, but nothing could be farther from the truth . . . except, of course, on the rare occasions when someone tries to kill me. Then I’m ever so happy my health insurance premiums are paid up. Threat of death aside, the job is largely research, requiring intuition, tenacity, and ingenuity. Most of my clients reach me by referral and their business ranges from background checks to process serving, with countless other matters in between. My office is off the beaten path and I seldom have a client appear unannounced, so when I heard a tapping at the door to my outer office, I got up and peered around the corner to see who it was.

Through the glass I saw a young man pointing at the knob. I’d apparently turned the dead bolt to the locked position when I’d come back from lunch. I let him in, saying, “Sorry about that. I must have locked up after myself without being aware of it.”

“You’re Ms. Millhone?”

“Yes.”

“Michael Sutton,” he said, extending his hand. “Do you have time to talk?”

We shook hands. “Sure. Can I offer you a cup of coffee?”

“No, thanks. I’m fine.”

I ushered him into my office while I registered his appearance in a series of quick takes. Slim. Lank brown hair with a sheen to it, worn long on top and cut short over his ears. Solemn brown eyes, complexion as clear as a baby’s. There was a prep school air about him: deck shoes without socks, sharply creased chinos, and a short-sleeve white dress shirt he wore with a tie. He had the body of a boy: narrow shoulders, narrow hips, and long, smooth arms. He looked young enough to be carded if he tried to buy booze. I couldn’t imagine what sort of problem he’d have that would require my services.

I returned to my swivel chair and he settled in the chair on the other side of the desk. I glanced at my calendar, wondering if I’d set up an appointment and promptly forgotten it.

He noticed the visual reference and said, “Detective Phillips at the police department gave me your name and address. I should have called first, but your office was close by. I hope this isn’t an inconvenience.”

“Not at all,” I said. “My first name’s Kinsey, which you’re welcome to use. You prefer Michael or Mike?”

“Most people call me Sutton. In my kindergarten class, there were two other Michaels so the teacher used our last names to distinguish us. Boorman, Sutton, and Trautwein—like a law firm. We’re still friends.”

“Where was this?”

“Climp.”

I said, “Ah.” I should have guessed as much. Climping Academy is the private school in Horton Ravine, K through 12. Tuition starts at twelve grand for the little tykes and rises incrementally through the upper grades. I don’t know where it tops out, but you could probably pick up a respectable college education for the same price. All the students enrolled there referred to it as “Climp,” as though the proper appellation was just, like, sooo beside the point. Watching him, I wondered if my blue-collar roots were as obvious to him as his upper-class status was to me.

We exchanged pleasantries while I waited for him to unload. The advantage of a prearranged appointment is that I begin the first meeting with at least some idea what a prospective client has in mind. People skittish about revealing their personal problems to a stranger often find it easier to do by phone. With this kid, I figured we’d have to dance around some before he got down to his business, whatever it was.

He asked how long I’d been a private investigator. This is a question I’m sometimes asked at cocktail parties (on the rare occasion when I’m invited to one). It’s the sort of blah-blah-blah conversational gambit I don’t much care for. I gave him a rundown of my employment history. I skipped over the two lackluster semesters at the local junior college and started with my graduation from the police academy. I then covered the two years I’d worked for the Santa Teresa PD before I realized how ill suited I was to a life in uniform. I proceeded with a brief account of my subsequent apprenticeship with a local agency, run by Ben Byrd and Morley Shine, two private investigators, who’d trained me in preparation for licensing. I’d had my ups and downs over the years, but I spared him the details since he’d only inquired as a stalling technique. “What about you? Are you a California native?”

“Yes, ma’am. I grew up in Horton Ravine. My family lived on Via Ynez until I went off to college. I lived a couple of other places, but now I’m back.”

“You still have family here?”

His hesitation was one of those nearly imperceptible blips that indicates internal editing. “My parents are gone. I have two older brothers, both married with two kids each, and an older sister who’s divorced. We’re not on good terms. We haven’t been for years.”

I let that pass without comment, being better acquainted with family estrangement than I cared to admit. “How do you know Cheney Phillips?”

“I don’t. I went into the police department, asking to speak to a detective, and he happened to be free. When I told him my situation, he said you might be able to help.”

“Well, let’s hope so,” I said. “Cheney’s a good guy. I’ve known him for years.” I shut my mouth then and let a silence descend, a stratagem with remarkable powers to make the other guy talk.

Sutton touched the knot in his tie. “I know you’re busy, so I’ll get to the point. I hope you’ll bear with me. The story might sound weird.”

“Weird stories are the best kind, so fire away,” I said.

He looked at the floor as he spoke, making eye contact now and then to see if I was following. “I don’t know if you saw this, but a couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the newspaper about famous kidnappings: Marion Parker, the twelve-year-old girl who was abducted in 1927; the Lindbergh baby in ’thirty-two; another kid, named Etan Patz. Ordinarily, I don’t read things like that, but what caught my attention was the case here in town . . .”

“You’re talking about Mary Claire Fitzhugh—1967.”

“You remember her?”

“Sure. I’d just graduated from high school. Little four-year-old girl taken from her parents’ home in Horton Ravine. The Fitzhughs agreed to pay the ransom, but the money was never picked up and the child was never seen again.”

“Exactly. The thing is, when I saw the name Mary Claire Fitzhugh, I had this flash—something I hadn’t thought about for years.” He clasped his hands together and squeezed them between his knees. “When I was a little kid, I was playing in the woods and I came across these two guys digging a hole. I remember seeing a bundle on the ground a few feet away. At the time, I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but now I believe it was Mary Claire’s body and they were burying her.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wishful Wednesdays Meme

Meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

Here's my master wish list- the books I am dying to park on my bookshelf. I've already bought the crossed out ones.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Fabric of Cosmos by Brian Greene
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Easton Press Edition)

A is for Alibi- Sue Grafton
C is for Corpse- Sue Grafton
D is for Deadbeat- Sue Grafton
F is for Fugitive- Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe- Sue Grafton
H is for Homicide-Sue Grafton
I is for Innocent- Sue Grafton
M is for Malice- Sue Grafton
Jazz- Toni Morrison
The Oxford Book of American Poetry

Monday, November 2, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Dialogo sopra i due Massimi Sistemi del Mondo


This long ago and infamous ban from the 17th century still has relevance for us today, because the argument of religion versus science still continues. In 1633, Galileo Galilei, author of Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems Ptolemaic and Copernican , was threatened with torture, dragged before the Inquisition and made to denounce his terrible heresy- the idea (which originated with Nicholas Copernicus) that the Earth moves around the sun.

The reason why this was heretical was because it defied the belief of the day. The heavens were immutable, unchanging and the Earth, which was the pinnacle of Creation, remained fixed in...whatever it was they thought they were suspended in (Jello?Vaseline?). Also, there was this:

12) Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

13) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged the
mselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
Of course,if you are wicked enough to claim that the Earth goes around the Sun- and not the other way around, this would be impossible. So, because Copernican theory contradicted the Scriptures, it had to be wrong. As many today assert- if it contradicts scripture, then it can't be true.

Simple logic. Wrong. But simple.