Always Return Your Library Books On Time

Conan the Librarian has zero tolerance for tardy returns.


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Murakami and Me

Perspicacious visitors to Travel Between The Pages have likely noted that I am a fan of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. As it turns out, we both share a passion for collecting T-shirts during our travels. In fact, we even have some of the same shirts. For example, we both own a Reykjavik University Tee. Awhile back I posted a story about Murakami’s partnership with a well known clothing store designing shirts. Now, the writer is releasing a new book about his T-shirt collecting habit, which is due for release in November in the U.S..

While we await the publication of Murakami T: The T-Shirts That I Love, Murakami has shared a teaser exerpt in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker magazine. Murakami discusses one of his favorite shirts, red with a Heinz ketchup label that says “I PUT KETCHUP ON MY KETCHUP.”  You can read the entire article at the New Yorker: and here’s a sample:

This T-shirt has a straightforward message: “I PUT KETCHUP ON MY KETCHUP.” Now, that’s the statement of somebody who is seriously in love with ketchup. It kind of teases those Americans who put ketchup on everything, but I find it interesting that one of the companies that distribute these shirts is none other than Heinz. A little self-deprecatory humor going on here, but you can’t help feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that says, “Who cares about being sophisticated! I’m gonna do what I want!”

When I walk around town in this shirt, Americans sometimes call out, “Love the shirt!” The ones who do this usually have that “I love ketchup” look about them. Sometimes I feel like coming back with a “Hey, don’t lump me in with you guys,” but usually I just give a cheerful “Yeah, pretty nice, huh? Ha-ha.” This kind of T-shirt communication does a lot to liven things up. You’d never find that happening in Europe. For one thing, Europeans by and large hardly ever eat ketchup.

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Drink from the well of your self and begin again

“I have been alone but seldom lonely. I have satisfied my thirst at the well of my self and that wine was good, the best I ever had, and tonight sitting staring into the dark I now finally understand the dark and the light and everything in between. Peace of mind and heart arrives when we accept what is: having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind. Cry not for me. Grieve not for me. Read what I’ve written then forget it all. Drink from the well of your self and begin again.” Charles Bukowski


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Venice, Violin, and Vivaldi

On Saturday tourists were treated to the spectacle of an enormous violin floating down the canals of Venice carrying a live string quartet. The cruising instrument, “Noah’s Violin,” was created by artist Livio De Marchi, as a way of “bringing a message of hope.” De Marchi is known in Venice for his surreal boats, including his whimsical wooden water Ferrari. You can catch the Vivaldi concert in the video below.

NB: If the video does not play, please click the short url at the bottom of your email version of TBTP.

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Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day

Happy Monday!

The floriated initial M in the above text comes from the 16th century alchemical book Della tramutatione metallica sogni tre by Gio. Battista Nazari Bresciano.

Floriated, or decorative, initials are common in antiquarian books. Typically new sections of text were marked with a decorative initial letter. In the early years of printing, these letter were typically added by hand, so the printed text would leave a space big enough for the letter. Sometimes, you might open a book where the decorative initial was never included, there’s just a blank space.


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pushing right back


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Reading In Bed Is So Relaxing


I’m not sure why videos and photos of French performance artist Thierry Mandon reading in bed have popped up this week since the event was in 2015. Still, it’s too good not to share. In his project “Inside-Outside”, the fully pajamaed performance artist comfortably reads in bed underneath a picture frame and in front of a nightstand, each of which is mounted onto an exterior stucco wall. This whole scene requires sustaining the illusion of relaxation while simultaneously maintaining perfect balance. This installation took place in Chambéry, France. Check out the marvelous short video below of the performance.

NB: if the video does not appear, please click on the short url at the bottom of your email.




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Tower of Babel

The infographic below was created by Alberto Lucas Lopez  and it manages to condense the 7,102 known living languages today into a visualization, with individual colors representing each world region.

Only 23 languages are spoken by at least 50 million native speakers. What’s more, over half the planet speaks at least one of these 23 languages.

After Chinese, the languages of Spanish and English sit in second and third place in terms of global popularity. The rapid proliferation of these languages can be traced back to the history of Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, and British colonies around the world.


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The best view in town

I’m jaded when it comes to New York City tourist attractions, but I’m looking forward to the October 21st opening of the city’s newest site.

Summit One Vanderbilt, which describes itself “the most immersive observatory” experience,” sits on top of One Vanderbilt, the 1,401-foot tall tower at Vanderbilt Avenue and East 42nd Street next to Grand Central Terminal.

The three-level, 65,000 square-foot tourist attraction takes up the 91st through 93rd floors. Mirrors, reflective panels and floor cut-outs create a fun-house effect that plays with your sense of location and height.

A transparent-glass elevator called Ascent shoots guests even higher, to one of the loftiest viewing point in Midtown at 1,200 feet above the street. Even more exciting are the “sky boxes” on the 92nd floor which project out from the tower’s facade to allow stomach churning views straight down to Madison Avenue through floors of transparent glass.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the fourth-highest observatory in the city behind those at One World Trade Center (1,250 feet), Edge at 30 Hudson Yards (1,100 feet), and the Empire State Building (1,050 feet). Tickets are for sale now at $39 a person.



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Another Tolkien Surprise

As a collector and bookseller, I’ve seen many versions and editions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel The Hobbit over the years. However, it wasn’t until recently that I was aware of Swedish and Finnish language editions that were illustrated by the anti-Fascist cartoonist  and writer Tove Jansson. Although the creator of the beloved Moomins had great success with most of her projects, both of her illustrated versions of The Hobbit were critical failures.

Jansson was first commissioned to create a series of illustrations in 1960, but didn’t complete the black and white drawings until 1962. Most Tolkien fans found her interpretation of his characters and storylines to be wanting. Here’s a sample from the books, what do you think ?





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