Happy Valentines Day



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A Sense of Place


I’m one of those insufferable bibliophiles who get a thrill from visiting the real world locations that I’ve read about in books. Now there’s a newly revamped website to appeal to book lovers everywhere. Placing Literature  centers on a crowd sourced website that collects information about literary locations. Readers, writers, librarians, teachers, and book lovers in general have mapped nearly 3,000 places from novels, short stories, poems, and plays on an interactive world map. Each spot has a location card that offers insightful information about the geographic location and its literary connection. The place cards show a photo of the relevant spot linked to Google Maps. Users can search Placing Literature by place, author, or book. You can also browse collections of literary locations that have been curated by authors, publishers, librarians, and museums.



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Decoding Bosch


For someone who has been dead for five hundred years, Hieronymus Bosch is getting an awful lot of attention these days. The Noordbrabants Museum in the painter’s home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in southern Netherlands has an exhibition featuring forty of his works drawn from collections around the world. A newly authenticated Bosch painting that was lost for decades has been discovered safe and sound in the “attic’ of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. There is also a new documentary about the artist titled “Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the Devil” due for release this year.

Art loving digerati can explore Bosch’s masterpiece “The Garden of Earthly Delights” through a fantastic interactive website  from the documentary filmmakers and there’s a very cool VR app available for iOS and Android.



Real aficionados can still visit the artist’s most famous painting at Madrid’s amazing Museo del Prado. The last time that I was in Madrid, I actually went to see the hallucinatory triptych twice. But if you can’t make it to Spain, do check out the interactive website and the VR app; they’re both terrific.





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Van Gogh in Chicago


The Art Institute of Chicago has found a very clever way to promote their upcoming “Van Gogh Bedrooms” exhibition (Feb. 14 to May 16). The museum has created a real life replica of the artist’s famous Bedroom at Arles painting in Chicago and they’re renting it on Airbnb .


According to the listing, “It’s decorated in a Post-Impressionist style, reminiscent of Southern France and times gone by. Its furniture, bright colors, and artwork will give you the experience of a lifetime.” The rental cost seems to be $10 per night.





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Color Me Medieval


The adult coloring book craze has even reached the lofty academic heights of Oxford University. The esteemed Bodleian Library in Oxford has released its own coloring book drawn from its collections. You can download your own pdf version right here. Now you can indulge your need to color and feel cultured at the same time.



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Every Airline Should Provide One


One of the perks of flying Icelandair for transatlantic passengers is the option for a free stopover in Iceland. Now the national carrier is offering to provide an individual travel friend during stopovers.

February through April this year, flyers can request a “Stopover Buddy” —an actual Icelandair staff member who will share a piece of their homeland as a personal guide. These “Buddy” experiences are surprisingly diverse and interesting. They range from high adventure wilderness activities like skiing and mountain climbing to more sedate ones such as cooking and cultural events.


I’m just disappointed that the “Stopover Buddy” program will be ending before my next stopover in Iceland later this year. If you’re thinking about a trip to Iceland, check out the program here.


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Black Books Matter


In honor of Black History Month, the National Book Foundation has published a timeline of National Book Award honorees.


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You Too Can Be A Londoner


Carl Goes London is a new flavor in travel guidebooks; it offers a useful perspective for visitors whether they are in London for three days, three weeks or three months. Written with the digital nomad in mind, the book provides guidance on living like a temporary Londoner.


Carl Goes London is the city guide for curious and creative people who want to become a citizen of London for the duration of their stay. Carl Goes London includes:

  • Eight interviews with locals, from entrepreneurial start-up owners to renowned chefs;
  • Information about working in London, including co-working spaces, networking and industry events, practical information about how to set up a business and where to go for a working lunch;
  • Guides to the different neighborhoods in London, including tips of where local residents like to hang out;
  • Our top tips of how to spend three days, three weeks and three months in London;
  • Where to eat and drink in London, from cafés and supper clubs, to traditional pubs and high-end bars;
  • Where to stay in London, from high-end hotels and fully serviced city apartments, to quirky guest houses and design hotels;
  • Ideas of how to ‘get lost’ in the city to explore London for yourself;
  • Practical information about how to get there, get around and generally get by in London for the duration of your trip;
  • Day and weekend trips away from London, and a guide to other places in the world with a similar vibe to London;
  • More than 100 color photographs to give you a sense of London’s DNA



City guides in the series are also available for Amsterdam and Berlin. You can order yours or just learn more about Carl Goes right here.





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To honor the passing of David Bowie, the American Library Association is re-issuing the classic poster (above) of the late artist. If you spent any time in a library or school during the 1990s, no doubt you saw the iconic poster of Bowie suspended in mid-air while reading a copy of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. The exuberant poster is from the ALA’s long-running READ campaign, which featured popular figures reading books. Beginning in 1980 with cartoon characters, the poster series later included real life figures as diverse as Sting, Stephen Hawking, LL Cool J, and the cast of the Harry Potter films. President Obama even appeared when he was a freshman senator.



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the more noble instinct that aspires

I have been a fan of filmmaker and photographer Alex Soloviev ever since I stumbled upon his visual ode to Germany’s capital in Everyday Berlin. His new short film Highland Fairytale is an atmospheric and haunting visit to Catalunya’s most important pilgrimage site at Montserrat. Soloviev captures the spiritual power and mystery of the mountainous redoubt just an hour from bustling Barcelona. The opening verse is from Longfellow’s “Haunted House”.

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