Just Another Sundry Sunday

Old internet hands may recollect the early days of the web when it all seemed so clever and exciting. One of those interesting 1990s projects has just been relaunched and is worth a look on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The site 253 was an online novel published between 1996-8 with an intriguing structural and thematic premise — the book is a collection of short vignettes. It follows some very specific technical guiderules: “There are seven carriages on a Bakerloo Line train, each with 36 seats. A train in which every passenger has a seat will carry 252 people. With the driver, that makes 253. This novel describes an epic journey from Embankment station, to the Elephant and Castle, named after the Infanta de Castile who stayed there, once… So that the illusion of an orderly universe can be maintained, all text in this novel, less headings, will number 253 words. Each passenger is described in three ways: Outward appearance: does this seem to be someone you would like to read about? Inside information : sadly, people are not always what they seem. What they are doing or thinking : many passengers are doing or thinking interesting things. Many are not.”

What if they gave the Oscars to books instead of movies ? What would the categories look like if they applied to books and not films? And which books would win under said invented circumstances? Read what the Literary Hub had to say.

Spoutible launched fully this week and is a Twitter alternative that aims to stop the spread of misinformation and hate. Seems like a good idea in the Musk melony era of Twitter.

You don’t have to be a book collector or antiquarian to want to protect your personal library. Rare book expert and bookseller Rebecca Romney recently update her article

13 Tips From a Rare Books Expert to Keep Your Books Looking Great

at Mental Floss. If you care about your books, you will want to check it out.

What’s the deal with all those bookstore tote bags ? If you’re like me, it’s likely that you have at least a few canvas or cloth bookshop branded tote bags stuffed in a closet or on top of a bookself. How did the ubiquitous book carry-all become so popular?

In the 1880s, a newspaper owner named Jasper Meek was looking out the window of his print shop in Coshocton, Ohio, when he saw a young girl drop her school books. As the story now goes, the sight inspired him to fashion a burlap bag in which people could carry books. But Meek also had an entrepreneurial mind, and he figured out a way to maximize his profit: he’d charge local businesses to print their names on the bags, which then served as tiny billboards as they were carried across town.

Canvas as a textile wasn’t unusual among labourers. But the tote’s commercial popularity began in 1944, when L. L. Bean launched what was then called the “ice bag,” because it was originally used to literally carry ice. The bag was relaunched in the ’60s and hasn’t changed in any meaningful way since: wide, made of structured canvas, with a flat bottom, reinforced handles, a trim available in several colours, and the option of a custom monogram. The company now offers a variety of shapes and sizes, but the classic tote is still one of its bestsellers.

In the decades that followed, totes have grown from a journeyman staple to a ubiquitous literary trophy on the streets of many major cities as well as on Instagram and TikTok. Concerns about single-use plastics over the past few years have undoubtedly fuelled the demand. But there’s also a mystique to the tote. It has gone on to inspire high-end designers: you can now own leather or cowhide versions by Prada, Hermès, or the Row. “The tote bag fits a larger trend of the democratization of fashion,” Dicky Yangzom, a cultural and economic sociologist at New York University, told Vox in 2022. “Similarly to utility wear in fashion with the rise of the jumpsuit, this wasn’t designed for mass fashion. It was more geared toward people who do more manual work, right? So all of these categories are shifting.” Read the rest of the story here.

Early Sunday Morning

I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.
No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.
It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up
early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.
And so now I’m sitting in a dimly lit
café full of early morning risers
where the windows are covered with soot
and the coffee is warm and bitter.
This entry was posted in Art, Books, Libraries, Tech, USA, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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