Stephen King To The Rescue

Gerald Winters & Son is a rare bookstore and major collector of Stephen King books and memorabilia. The recently opened book shop, which specializes in Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and J.K. Rowling books is located in downtown Bangor, Maine. Every book seller’s nightmare came true for Winters last Tuesday morning when a water main broke, flooding the basement of his shop with chest-high water. Winters had recently moved much of his stock into the basement while he re-organized his shop, but neglected to store the books and memorabilia in protective boxes. Among the many losses were the original typed manuscripts for seven of King’s works, including Dolan’s CadillacMaximum Overdrive, and The Eyes of the Dragon.

Winters estimates that at least 2,000 items were seriously damaged or ruined by the flood, including many first editions, signed books, and irreplaceable ephemera. In a very generous move, Stephen King has offered to help the shop reopen with both financial support and replacement items.

Few of us could count on a Stephen King to step in and bail us out, so take a lesson and carefully store your valuable books.


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Worth Revisiting

h/t Shepard Fairey

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You can’t get there from here

Helsinki-based geographer Topi Tjukanov is a wizard at using spatial data from new perspectives. If you’ve ever done any roadtripping in the US, this map of optimal routes by car from the geographic center of the country to all counties will blow your mind.

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New York City Exposed

Double Exposure: NYC is a surreal, but oddly meditative fly-over video of my favorite city. The mesmerizing 4K video was shot by the very talented 20 year-old New York photographer Humza Deas. Be sure to watch it in full screen view.

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Still Nothing

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It’s Nothing

h/t Paul Sisson

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Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

For the last two decades, many pundits and self-appointed experts have predicted the imminent demise of printed books. Travel guidebooks were voted most likely to disappear. While there’s no doubt that the travel genre has been impacted by digital books, the internet, and smartphone apps, the travel book market, and travel guidebooks in particular, continue to be popular with savvy travelers.

Veteran travelers and professional travel writers continue to value and use print travel guidebooks. As an erstwhile author of travel literature, I have a longstanding bias towards print guidebooks. Of course I’m not a complete Luddite; I travel with phone and iPad full of travel apps, and I always consult Google maps when I’m on the road. But when it comes to well-curated travel information, I turn to tried and true books written by professional travelers, not travel blogging dilettantes on their first passport.

I am also a life-long devotee of train travel. For me, rail travel will always be the most agreeable, convenient, and pleasurable way to go. And the best, most comprehensive and informative source on European train travel is Europe By Rail: The Definitive Guide. For more than 20 years, this has been the go-to guidebook for smart travelers. For many years, it was published by the venerable, if a bit stodgy, Thomas Cook Publishing, but since 2013 it has been put out by Berlin-based hidden europe publications. The recent editions have all been penned by the Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries.

The new 15th edition of Europe By Rail builds on the strengths of the previous publications and brings many welcome changes too. The new edition has added and improved route maps, additional coverage for Eastern Europe, the Baltic region, and the Balkans, updated timetables, detailed information on 50 key rail routes, sections dedicated to rail passes, and edifying guidance for train travel and tourism for 48 countries.

Over the years, it has been my good fortune to travel many of the routes covered in Europe By Rail. I will always remember my first views of Venice as the Semmerling train rolled across the Venetian lagoon after an all- night trip from Vienna. Or more recently, the lightning fast trip on Spain’s speedy AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid in only two and a half hours.

Gardner and Kries have packed this new edition with invaluable information on European train travel. But they have also managed to capture the joy, excitement, and even romance of train travel in what could have been an otherwise dry reference guide. It’s rare to find both comprehensive  painstakingly researched travel information alongside well-written, entertaining guidance for both the novice and experienced European traveler.

If you are thinking about a European trip, or just an armchair traveler with a bucket list, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Europe By Rail: The Definitive Guide  before you make any commitments and be sure to check the companion website for updates.


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If you can’t fly

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Tales From Black Mirror

If you are not a fan of Black Mirror, these wonderfully retro illustrations won’t mean much to you. But if you can’t get enough of the show, Brazilian artist and illustrator Butcher Billy’s project Tales of the Unexpected Black Mirrors is just the ticket. Recalling the aesthetics of vintage American pulp horror magazines and comics, the illustrations capture the grim universe of Black Mirror. You can find more of the project and other work from the mad Brazilian on his blog.

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Russia Tourism Rebrands

A design team from ad agency Suprematika recently won an open competition to come up with an entirely new brand identity for Russia’s tourism board. They created a dynamic abstract design featuring bold geometric shapes and colors. The central graphic for the new brand is a highly stylized map of Russia, with geometric shapes representing geographic regions of the nation. Along with the clever flexible design, the ad campaign also created the tagline “the whole world within Russia”.

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