It took a big leap of faith for the New York City bookshop Shakespeare & Co to open a branch in the high rent Philadelphia Center City Rittenhouse Square neighborhood two years ago. Somehow they’ve managed to hang on during these crazy times and are open again. If you are in Philly, it’s well worth a visit to this small, but very stylish bookstore. Their inventory is well curated and the in-house café is quite good too.
Last week a long-awaited new museum opened in Washington, D.C. that will be a must-see destination for readers and language lovers. Planet Word is promoted as “a revolutionary museum dedicated to the power, beauty, and fun of language and to showing how words shape the human experience.”
The museum’s press release notes, “Planet Word will be the world’s first voice-activated museum, featuring immersive galleries and exhibits that will engage visitors of all ages in experiencing words and language from a wide range of perspectives.” Planet Word is housed at DC’s historic Franklin School building, which has been rehabilitated and beautifully restored. Thanks to efforts led by Planet Word’s CEO and founder Ann B. Friedman, general admission will be free.
You can check-out what to expect from the museum’s interactive exhibits here. They include “Where Do Words Come From?,” a 22-foot-tall talking word wall that shares the story of the English language, “Word Worlds,” which allows visitors to transform a room with color, sound, and motion by painting with words, and “Words Matter,” where visitors can record and listen to stories about how the power of words has shaped their lives.
I usually visit DC at least once a year, so I look forward to seeing Planet Word when the world returns to normal. Until then, I’ll be following the museum’s progress on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) .
The Haunted Looking Glass is the late Edward Gorey’s selection of his favorite tales of ghosts, ghouls, and grisly goings-on. It includes stories by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, M. R. James, W. W. Jacobs, and L. P. Hartley, among other masters of the fine art of making the flesh creep, all accompanied by Gorey’s inimitable illustrations. In 1959, Gorey selected 12 classic horror tales for this delightfully eerie anthology, which stands on its own merits as a historical introduction to the genre. This delightfully weird anthology by the neo-Victorian Surrealist illustrator was originally published by Random House, and release in later hardcover and paperback editions by other publishers.
ALGERNON BLACKWOOD, “The Empty House”
W.F. HARVEY, “August Heat”
CHARLES DICKENS, “The Signalman”
L.P. HARTLEY, “A Visitor from Down Under”
R.H. MALDEN, “The Thirteenth Tree”
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, “The Body-Snatcher”
E. NESBIT, “Man-Size in Marble”
BRAM STOKER, “The Judge’s House”
TOM HOOD, “The Shadow of a Shade”
W.W. JACOBS, “The Monkey’s Paw,”
WILKIE COLLINS, “The Dream Woman”
M.R. JAMES, “Casting the Runes”
Artist and graphic novelist Christopher Sperandio has perfectly captured the mood of the United States as we creep up to the abyss with this terrific series of cartoons. You can check out his last graphic novel at arglebarglebooks.com/product/pink-joe
If you have ever spent any time browsing secondhand bookstores or used book markets, it’s quite likely that you have run across many editions from the old Modern Library series. Founded in 1917, the Modern Library was eventually subsumed by Random House, which launched a terrific paperback line for the imprint. This vintage matchbook advertises the publications with classic book spine titles.
I’ve crossed the historic Charles Bridge in Prague dozens of times and never stopped to consider what an amazing feat of engineering it took to build this beautiful structure.The animation below details how the famous 14th-century Charles Bridge was built across the Vltava River in the heart of the city.
The digital model “Charles Bridge – construction of a pillar and vaulted field in the 14th century” was created for the virtual exhibition Prague of the time of Charles IV. The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic as part of the National Celebrations of the 700th Anniversary of the Birth of Emperor Charles IV.
Illustrations from Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. With an Introduction By Hervey Allen and Wood Engravings By Fritz Eichenberg. New York: Random House, 1944.