Ghost Ship

For the month of October, a Ghost Ship can be found on the Delaware River at Race Street Pier  on the Philadelphia waterfront. The Ghost Ship is a project created by artists Biangle Studio, curator Ryan Strand Greenberg, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. The seasonally spooky Ghost Ship tells a story about Philadelphia’s history and the role of the Delaware River in shaping this city’s past, present, and future. You can read about it, or listen to in an audio tour on the project’s website here. But you have to be there to truly experience the 30 meter-long holographic, light and water installation.

Viewing the ship IRL is dependent on your location. The trick to viewing Ghost Ship is to keep moving. Going up and down  the Race Street Pier and then onto Delaware Avenue and back again and you’ll see different parts of the ship come into and out of focus. Although there is an excellent viewpoint if you stop right at the middle of the ship’s side on Race Street Pier. The installation is very effected by wind, so if you go on a less windy day or wait for wind to calm down whenever you go more of the installation will be in focus at those times.

Ghost Ship will be on view Wednesdays through Sundays from 7-10pm now through November 3rd.

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Times Square Horror Show

Thanks entirely to a successful crowdfunding campaign, artist Mitch O’Connell raised enough money to put his horrific They Live billboard in New York City’s Times Square. What could be scarier than a conman, grifter, monster in power? If the money keeps coming in, O’Connell plans to keep the work up indefinitely.

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Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
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If on a winter’s night a traveler

I have been an evangelist for the novels of the Italian author Italo Calvino since my university days. Sadly, he is underappreciated and seldom read here in North America. Over the years, I have had many copies of his better known translated works and often lost them in lending or through book sales. Recently, I saw the wonderful three-volume slipcase edition of his popular novels on a blog and instantly regretted selling my copy years ago.

This excellent release by Harcourt Brace included my all time favorite Calvino book If on a winter’s night a traveler, as well as Invisible Cities and The Baron in the Trees. The moral of this tales don’t sell the books that you love.


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Book Nerd Travel Nightmare

h/t to cartoonist Laura Pacheco

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Gross Domestic Product

The anonymous street artist and provocateur Banksy has opened a new online store, called Gross Domestic Product. The launch was heralded  by an art  installation-come-shop in the London Borough of Croydon, which stocks Banksy-related merchandise. However, the IRL store can’t be entered.

Announcing the enterprise via his Instagram, the illusive artist said that the store is a “showroom” for “display purposes only” but that “all sales will be conducted online when the website opens soon.”  Currently, a landing page featuring an image of a flooded mall can currently be found at

A notice at the shop suggests that the decision to open a store was due to an ongoing legal battle over copyrights. It reads, “This shop has come about as a result of a legal action.” A greetings card company appears to be trying to seize legal custody of the name Banksy from the artist, who has been advised the best way to prevent this is to sell his own range of branded merchandise.

Eventually, the store will stock products “handmade in the UK using existing or recycled material wherever possible, including the ideas.” Some items on display in the storefront location include a disco-ball version of a police helmet, a copy of the Union Jack stab vest that Banksy created for recording artist Stormzy the summer, and a pillow embroidered with the saying “life’s to short to take advice from a cushion.”

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Golden Age for Audio Books

While I am a voracious reader, I am not a regular user of audio books. Other than long road trips, I rarely listen to recorded books. But it appears that I am a member of a shrinking population of hold outs. According to a new survey by the Pew Foundation the rate at which adults listen to audio books has nearly doubled since 2011.

The poll of 1,502 adults taken between January 8 and February 7, 2019, showed that 20% of them had listened to an audio book in the last 12 months. Back in 2011, that number was just 11%.This survey comes at a time when e-book sales seem to be plateauing. In fact, audio books may soon surpass e-book sales.

Where do you fall on the digital vs print book debate? Full disclosure: I recently downloaded a number of free audio books and one purchased book in preparation for a long road trip.

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Soon to be available in paperback

16th century “assassin’s cabinet” disguised as a book

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Bookstore Tourism : Bangkok

Thailand’s largest bookstore chain Naiin has just opened this beautiful bookshop called Mind Space on two floors of the new Samyan mixed use complex. The stunning bookstore stocks both Thai and English language titles, and is even open 24-hours daily. The shopping complex also houses co-working spaces, movie theaters, and Thailand’s biggest Muji department store.

all images © Top Koaysomboon


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Hands Up

A book buyer recently asked about “those little hands” that he keeps seeing in photos of books for sale. Well, that’s exactly what they are, tiny metal hands that safely hold pages for display or photographs. They are cool, though, and just a little creepy.

h/t to Rebecca Baumann


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