It has now been well over 6 years since "America's #1 Enemy", Osama Bin Laden, was killed in Pakistan during Operation Neptune Spear. In the wake of his death, US forces seized all of Bin Laden's possessions from his compound, including the contents of his bookshelf. Through a wave of releases from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2016 and earlier this year, a list of English-language books from Bin Laden's own bookshelf has been published. When reading through the list, you'll definitely see a clear pattern of his obsession with taking down America, hearing accounts of his own acts, and Noam Chomsky. The only real surprise on the list to me was his apparent interest in the Illuminati. See below for a list of 34 titles from that bookshelf.
If you've ever wished to own a first edition Mark Twain book, your dreams are about to come true! Believe it or not, a brand new, never-before-published Twain title will be released next month courtesy of Random House. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine started as 16 pages of handwritten notes from Twain, written in 1879, discovered in 2011, and then edited/expanded by author Philip Stead this year. The book is also illustrated by the author's wife, Erin Stead (scroll all the way down to see some of the amazing illustrations).
Those who are following along over the last few months are probably expecting a slew of Tolkien and JK Rowling links, right? Well, surprise! Okay, there's still one Harry Potter link that made the list but I have a feeling that will continue to be the case for awhile. Unlike March and April, this month people were more interested in the impact that Amazon's new stores are having on brick & mortar stores, as well as some of the finer points of book publishing history and general reading culture. So without further ado, here are May's top links in descending order of interest.
Magical realism, magic realism, or marvelous realism is a genre of narrative fiction and, more broadly, art (literature, painting, film, theatre, etc.) that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements.
It's 2017 and you have children, nephews/nieces, and neighbors graduating from high school or college and you are on the hook for some sort of meaningful gift. So if you want to stray from the herd and give your graduate a different uplifting/inspiring/helpful title on graduation, what's your best bet? Below are 17 titles that every graduate should own as they venture out into the world on their own.
What gives? I sell used books online so I clearly must be out to put your local indie used bookstore out of business, right? Absolutely not. I am a huge proponent of the physical store and cannot abide the idea that they are struggling to stay open. When I have a choice, I will always go to one of my local stores to try to find a title before I make a purchase online, honest to god.
As April has just closed, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back of all of the interesting news stories, listicles, infographics, puff pieces, literary criticisms, and general book links that entertained us all month long. And just like back in March, there's a fair bit of Tolkien still in the news. The links below were the most popular of the month based on clickthrough rates. Enjoy!
Just over a year ago, I kicked off a project to crowd-source short videos of people reading each and every one of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. The plays continue to get loads of love in media and in schools but the popularity of his poetry has seemed to wane in recent decades (but we're working on changing that). I called it The Buzz 154 Project and it was very well received; all readings were claimed within two weeks and overall people seemed to be excited. As tends to happen, though, some of the enthusiasm didn't exactly pan out. In the end, I was still able to gather 85 great videos. 14 months later, I've decided that I'm not content to have the project fizzle out at only 55% completion so I'm reopening the project! As of right now, April 17th, 2017, I need 69 people to step up, grab their smartphones, GoPros, and/or pleographs, and film themselves reading a short poem!