Save Walt Whitman’s House

Walt Whitman, America’s most beloved poet, lived at 99 Ryerson Street in Brooklyn, New York when his world famous book Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855. Although the poet lived in more than 30 buildings in New York City during this lifetime, the house at 99 Ryerson Street is the only one still standing.  Accordingly, 99 Ryerson Street is of great cultural and historical significance.

There is a petition campaign by the Coalition to Save Walt Whitman’s House seeking official city landmark designation from New York City to protect the building from demolition, especially because development is encroaching on the neighborhood.  While the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission initially rejected the request, the Commission is currently reviewing additional information and research that was provided on the significance of the site and Walt Whitman’s association with the site.  The campaign to save the Walt Whitman House needs your help to convince the Commission to designate this critically important building as a landmark.

You can help by signing the petition here and by contacting the Landmarks Preservation Commission if you are a New York resident.

The house at 99 Ryerson Street is one of only two buildings directly associated with Walt Whitman that are still standing in New York City. Although he only lived in the house, which was owned by his mother, between from 1855 to 1856, he wrote some of his most important poetry there. It would be an unforgivable tragedy to lose this crucially important building to history.  Join in protecting this important cultural resource for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

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Itinerant Bookstore Tourism

As an erstwhile itinerant bookseller, I continue to be ensorcelled by mobile bookstore projects. Iron Dog Books in Vancouver, Canada is another great example of bibliophiles who dreamed of owning a bookshop, but were temporarily stymied by exorbitant leasing rates. Instead of giving up on their bookstore aspirations, Hilary and Cliff Atleo chose to embrace the food truck model and go mobile.

Since last November, Iron Dog Books has been popping-up all around metro Vancouver and surrounding areas to offer a well curated selection of both new and secondhand titles. So, if you are in the region, check out their website to discover where the bookmobile will be parked.

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My Book Pile


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Take a cruise on the Pequod

Back in May, the U.S. public broadcaster PBS launched the Great American Read program, an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading through 100 of America’s best-loved books. PBS recently released a wonderful series of posters inspired by travel advertising.


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Word on the Street

This week, Philadelphia had another visit by the LA-based street artist known as WRDSMTH. His wheatpaste artwork is as always heartwarming and a welcome surprise.

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Bookstore Tourism : Spain

Tuuu Librería is a secondhand bookstore chain in Spain with a special twist. Operated by a non-profit foundation dedicated to literacy and reading, the bookshops collect and recycle donated books from individuals, businesses, and institutions. But what is really unusual is that customers only pay what they wish for the books they choose. In fact, the transactions are anonymous, with payments slipped into a box.


There are currently Tuuu bookstores in Madrid, Salamanca, and Barcelona, each is staffed by volunteers. The organization also distributes books to schools, hospitals, senior centers, and jails. While the foundation has used the “profits” from bookstore sales to build libraries in South America.

So, if you are traveling in Spain, you may want to drop off your books after reading instead of just abandoning them in your hotel or Airbnb.


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Philly: Come for the history, stay for the food

For decades, many of us in the Philadelphia area have been baffled by the inability of anyone to make good use of the old Bourse building in the heart of the historic district. The beautiful 19th century Beaux Arts landmark on the famed Independence Mall has been used as an office building and a shabby shopping mall for years. After an impressive $50 million renovation that revealed many original architectural features, the former stock exchange is set to reopen as an exciting artisanal foodhall.

The new Bourse Marketplace will be home to at least 35 food stalls and restaurants, as well as craft brewers and distillers. The wide-ranging options will include home-style Filipino fare, Korean-Latin fusion, gourmet grilled cheese, Mexican food, Belgian chocolate, Indian street snacks, ice cream, and of course Philly pretzels

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When You Walk Through A Storm

“And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


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Leviathan In Bruges

The New York City-based architecture and design group STUDIOKCA transformed more than four tons of plastic waste recovered from the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii into a four-story sculpture of a whale. The recycled leviathan was then installed in a picturesque canal in Bruges, Belgium.

The Skyscraper (Bruges Whale) project was created for the 2018 Bruges Triennale to raise awareness about marine pollution around the world. The whale, along with the rest of the Triennale “Liquid City” ,installations will be on view until September 16, 2018.


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Books are…

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