Edward Gorey Wednesday, May 7 2014 

There is an independent film maker, Christopher Seufert, who is raising money to bring a documentary of Edward Gorey to the Sundance Film Festival and later to PBS. Here is his  Kickstarter campaign and here is the official trailer:

YouTube has an extensive list of Gorey videos including versions of the PBS Mystery! introduction.

A search of the Providence Athenaeum’s collection produced a cross section of titles; from the children’s room to poetry, to adult art and biography:

For a complete bibliography of Edward Gorey’s works (as of 2006) check out Goreyography. Titles can be viewed, with cover art, alphabetically or chronologically.  For fans of Pinterest there are some eclectic boards. And if you live in the Northeast, there is the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

Pencil sketch by Bruce Gerlach

Pencil sketch by Bruce Gerlach

Who doesn’t love the artist Edward Gorey?



A Panoply of Jane Austen Friday, Jul 19 2013 

One of the most clever things Ravenous saw this week is an online exhibit called What Jane Saw. The website is based on a visit Jane Austen made to an art exhibit in London in 1813, of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The reconstruction of the exhibit is done room by room with descriptions of each of the works of art she would have seen, taken from the exhibit catalogue. Brilliant!

This year Pride and Prejudice celebrates the bicentennial of it’s publication and the BBC produced a reenactment of the book’s Regency Ball:

If this is your year to travel to Austen’s England then the Wall Street Journal has a wonderful travelogue for you to use.

Digital copies of her books can be found many places, here is just one, and if you’d love to own a Jane Austen memento try the giftshop at Jane Austen.co.uk.


Let There be Light! Wednesday, Feb 20 2013 

The re-invention and re-purposing of books continues, this time it is into lamps. The above example is called the Lumio, created by architect, Max Gunawan, and fully explored in a post at Colossal. Portable and cool, this is a Raven-ous favorite.

Studiomeiboom, has another approach they call the Enlightenment:


Evidently some of the proceeds from the sale of these lamps goes towards education.

Philip Hansen, a San Diego designer, and host of  Typewriter Boneyard has a quite literal take on book lamps with his Hardback Book Lamp design:


Now if you’d like to make your own “book lamp” there are instructions at Grathio Labs to make this model:

This sampling of book lamps is hardly exhaustive,  there are many more clever designs out there for your illumination.


CDZA: Interpretive Music Videos Thursday, Jul 12 2012 

CDZA creates incredibly clever music videos like this:

and this:

The videos are an interesting mix of talent, pop culture, history, and fun. For more on the collective cadenza check out this Fast Company article. Well done!

The English Language Wednesday, Jun 13 2012 

This is an informative, clever, and silly way to learn the history of English in a short period of time, I love it.

Old Book Smell Monday, May 14 2012 

If you’ve read an article about the rise of e-books anytime in the last few years, you’ve probably encountered any number of the cliches that typically riddle them (so much so that someone concocted a drinking game for them). One of these recurring components is the nearly mandatory inclusion of a quote from someone saying that they don’t like e-books because they prefer the “smell of a real book.” So beloved is the smell that there are two perfumes based on it, with a third set to be released at the end of the month. There’s even been advertisements for an aerosol spray to serve as an e-book enhancer, though it appears to either be stuck in litigation or a parody product.

Here is AbeBooks explaining where that smell comes from:

It describes the scent as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness,” which sounds like the description on every wine bottle I’ve ever read.


Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Wednesday, Feb 22 2012 

Enjoy 15 minutes of whimsy and incredibly sharp animation on our favorite topic: books.

Thanks to Stephen’s Lighthouse

The Moby Dick Collection Tuesday, Oct 25 2011 

W. O. Pettit is a book collector who collects one title, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.  He has over 175 editions that he writes about on his blog The Moby-Dick Collection.

Photo credit: All Over Albany

This week the New York Times reviewed Nathaniel Philbrick’s book Why Read Moby-Dick? and they used Mr. Pettit’s book covers to present a slide show of the visual interpretations of Melville’s classic.

There is a nice interview of Mr. Pettit at All Over Albany
that explains his collection and it’s raison d’être.

The Providence Athenaeum has been obsessed with Moby Dick for awhile now (see our Hark! The White Whale! series) and our current exhibit has three foreign language editions, generously on loan, from the Moby-Dick Collection of W. O. Pettit! Further synchronicity: Nathaniel Philbrick spoke at last Friday’s Salon on Why Read Moby-Dick?  Oh Athena!

Japanese ed.

Shaun Usher Friday, Oct 7 2011 

Shaun Usher is someone Ravenous readers might want to know.

  Shaun maintains two websites:  Letters of Note and Letterheady that present the analog world of written correspondences in a digital format. For Letters of Note he comes up with some delightful pieces from letters, postcards, memos, faxes, and telegrams. He scans the documents and posts them with attendant transcripts.

I find the letters captivating, like the World War I Infantry Exchange request for more Coca Cola.

The Army has been schooled to like and want Coca Cola because Coca Cola is the wholesome thirst quenching drink and this Exchange, representing Four Thousand Coca Cola Drinkers, begs that our supply be multiplied by ten and even more if possible.

National Archives

His other site, Letterheady, consists of  images of interesting letterhead. Many are historical, some are from celebrities, some are corporate in nature.   I found myself compelled to keep looking at these blank pieces of paper, maybe you will too.


Barry Duncan, Master Palindromist Tuesday, Sep 20 2011 

His title may be self-proclaimed, but there are few who would contest it; Barry Duncan is the world’s only “master palindromist.” A palindrome, of course, is a word or phrase that reads the same backwards and forward (for instance, “rats live on no evil star”). However, while most of us (or me, at least) have trouble assembling one that can be construed as a full sentence, Duncan routinely exceeds 1000 characters. His greatest work, the Greenward palindrome, has over 400 words, and can be found here.

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