world’s longest and saddest book

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Middle Earth Parks

Dan Bell is a very talented amateur cartographer who loves J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic Middle Earth maps and national parks too. He has combined his interests in a wonderful series of Tolkien-style maps of parks in the U.K. and the U.S..

Based on open source maps, Bell’s clever works are all hand drawn. His style emulates original Lord of the Rings typefaces and symbols. Along with national parks, he has also created maps of London, Oxford, Westeros, and his own take on The Shire.

You can see more of Bell’s maps and purchase copies at is website Middle Earth Maps.

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Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough

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Don’t be a tourist cliche

These days it’s impossible to avoid the deluge of cliché travel photos on Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and other social media. There’s no escaping the boring sameness of everybody’s vacation pics. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of sharing my uninspiring travel images too. Miami-based photographer Oliver KMIA decided to school us on our predictability with this short video created from travelers’ Instagram feeds.

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Too Much Future

Too Much Future is a new work of public art from the Whitney Museum’s #Public Art series. Each piece is installed on the facade of a building across the street from the New York City institution and can also be viewed from the popular High Line. Deaf artist Christine Sun Kim’s work pairs text with a rendering of the sign for “future” in American Sign Language, which generally illustrates the term as a thin line. However, here Kim reimagines the concept as a heavy black form, suggesting the weight of the future on today.

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Shun Literary Prizes


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KLM Cares

Last year I posted a story about KLM’s trial run for the airline’s Care Tag audio-equipped GPS tourist guide device. Now, the Royal Dutch Airlines has rolled-out the tiny tech travel guide for flyers who act fast. When you book a flight to Amsterdam during 2018, be sure to request one of the handy little tags.

Designed to look like a typical luggage tag, the Care Tag can be attached to a bag or the user’s clothing. It contains a GPS module that works offline and a speaker that automatically provides location-based tourist information on Amsterdam. To add authenticity, KLM had actual flight crew members record the audio tour information. The device can be used while walking or riding a bike, and works without an internet connection.

Along with helpful sightseeing tidbits, the tag also gives useful tips on biking, safety, and public transportation. It also encourages visitors to spend time in less touristy areas of Amsterdam away from the inner-city neighborhoods.

The neat device is now available in English, German, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese. For more information, check the dedicated website.

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It’s World Read Aloud Day

Today is the annual World Read Aloud Day across the globe. As part of the ongoing campaign to encourage reading to children of all ages, the international nonprofit LitWorld has teamed-up with publisher Scholastic. Activities have been planned for classrooms and libraries to help kids discover the joys of reading, but you can join in at home too. For more information on events, click here.  


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Traveling Books

In recent months, I have posted stories on two traveling bookshops in France, now I have found one in Charleston, South Carolina. Itinerant Literate Books is the brainchild of partners Christen Thompson Lain and Julia Turner. The pair met while studying at the University of Denver Publishing Institute and discovered that they both shared the dream of owning a bookshop. With retail rental space being at a premium, they decided to outfit an old travel trailer as as mobile bookstore. For almost three years now, they have towed Itinerant Literate Books to festivals, block parties, breweries, coffeehouses, and book fairs as a pop-up store. With shelf space so limited, they continually work on curating the book selection and of course do special orders.

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Greetings From Sh**Hole Island

In response to Tangerine Mussolini’s recent asinine comments about “shithole countries”, Haitian communications agency Parkour has created a marvelous, tongue-in-cheek ad campaign. Welcome to Sh**Hole Country uses beautiful landscape photographs of Haiti to poke fun at the bloated gas bag in the White House. They’ve even launched a Go Fund Me campaign to cover Washington D.C. in “Sh**Hole Country” ads and billboards.

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