New Zealand : Littlest Free Library

If you are familiar with the BBC television series Top of the Lake, you may also know that much of the outdoor shoots were in and around the tiny New Zealand village of Glenorchy. The mountain community quite literally sits at the top of the impressive Lake Wakatipu. And, if you are not au fait with TV dramas, the area maybe familiar since many scenes from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films were also shot in the neighborhood. There is not much to find in Glenorchy except gobsmackingly stunning mountain views and a great cup of coffee at the Trading Post. However, the town has a wonderful little free library.

The little lending library is located in front of Glenorchy’s biggest and busiest retail establishment. There are few shopping options in town, but Mrs Woolly’s General Store offers some basic food supplies, a fine cafe, and souvenirs for needy travelers. Surprisingly, they don’t seem to sell LOTR or Top of the Lake items. But if you’re on the road and want to swap out reading material, Mrs. Woolly’s little lending library is just the ticket.

 

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The Lost Art of Paste Up

This month the London Review of Books celebrates its 40th anniversary. Over the years, the publication has been a cultural touchstone for literary thought and criticism. To recognize the milestone, the LRB released this wonderful video which demonstrates how the whole thing came together before the computer age. While you may find it all a bit nerdy, those of us of an older generation recall (not wistfully) the old school task of paste up. For a few years, I published a limited distribution newsletter utilizing some of these painstakingly time consuming techniques.

 

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As the world turns

 

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the books were waiting

 

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Go Indie

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What Kind of Times Are These

“What Kind of Times Are These”

by

Adrienne Rich


There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted

who disappeared into those shadows.

 

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled

this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,

our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,

its own ways of making people disappear.

 

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods

meeting the unmarked strip of light—

ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:

I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

 

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you

anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these

to have you listen at all, it’s necessary

to talk about trees.

 

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Chalk it up to books

Some one should compile a book or website devoted to the clever chalkboard signs that booksellers in North America use to entice book buyers into shops for a browse.

 

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I am curious yellow

Deep in the Yellow Wood by Lois Morrison is a movable artists’ book inspired by Artist Book Ideation Cards. The color yellow was chosen by the artist from the prompt of ‘favorite color’ and features characters from other elements of her work, including the ‘yellow kid’, a goat inspired by one of her favorite comics as a child. In this movable star carousel book, the goat dances with other creatures to the music of Pan’s pipes through yellow woods. Printed with a Gocco printer on yellow papers and sponge painted arches, hand done elements enhance the book to come alive.

 

 

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Bookstore Tourism: Boston

Boston is one of those rare cities in the United States that still has an abundance of excellent independent bookstores. One of my all time favorites in Boston is the wonderful family owned Brattle Book Shop. Not only is it one of America’s oldest secondhand bookstores, it’s also one of the best. Take a peek:

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Postcard from a volcano

“A Postcard from the Volcano”

by

Wallace Stevens


Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;

And that in autumn, when the grapes
Made sharp air sharper by their smell
These had a being, breathing frost;

And least will guess that with our bones
We left much more, left what still is
The look of things, left what we felt

At what we saw. The spring clouds blow
Above the shuttered mansion-house,
Beyond our gate and the windy sky

Cries out a literate despair.
We knew for long the mansion’s look
And what we said of it became

A part of what it is … Children,
Still weaving budded aureoles,
Will speak our speech and never know,

Will say of the mansion that it seems
As if he that lived there left behind
A spirit storming in blank walls,

A dirty house in a gutted world,
A tatter of shadows peaked to white,
Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun.

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