Children’s Book Week Tuesday, May 14 2013 


Children’s Book Week began in 1919 and it is “the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country” according to their about page.  Sponsored by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council the focus is on developing a child’s love of books and reading.

Looking around the web for online children’s books Ravenous uncovered a vast storehouse full of hours of reading, listening, and viewing. Check out the International Children’s Digital Library or the Rosetta Project from Children’s Books Online. We liked Barnes & Noble free online story-time page where authors read their animated stories and many children’s books publishers have YouTube Channels.

Virtual options are grand but don’t forget to walk into any library, including the Providence Athenaeum, to find wonderful children’s collections, especially this week.




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.


All About Lincoln Monday, Nov 26 2012 

Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln looks pretty amazing:

Abraham Lincoln has had thousands of books written about him. In fact, the Ford’s Theater Center for Education and Leadership has a stacked column of over 15,000 unique titles in their lobby:

For more pictures of this monument check here at Colossal.

The Athenaeum owns over a hundred books on Lincoln, ten of which are from the 19th century, many of the classic works from the 2oth century, as well as the book the movie Lincoln is based on: Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Some of the actors from the movie were photographed in the style of The Civil War but in contemporary clothes. An interesting effect:

A series of these shots are available at Flavorwire, an intriguing mix of history and technology.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Tuesday, Oct 23 2012 

I refer, of course, to the 4th annual Boston Book Festival, which will be held this Saturday, October 27th at Copley Square in Boston. The schedule for this year is rather packed, with highlights including keynotes from Richard Ford and Lemony Snicket, a presentation by Alexander McCall Smith, several YA panels (there was only one last year), and panels on Edith Wharton and The Iliad. As in the past, all of the events, as well as the street festival, are free. I’m personally making the trip for the Hobbit panel, if nothing else.

Moonrise Kingdom Thursday, Jul 19 2012 

Moonrise Kingdom is a period piece filmed in RI and directed by Wes Anderson. It is currently playing in selected theaters. Here’s the trailer:

What is interesting to Raven-ous, besides the Rhode Island connection, is the books that were created for the movie. There are six books that one of the main characters periodically reads from during the film. The book cover artists were asked to work with animators to create a short film for each of the titles.  They can be viewed here.  Rather elaborate movie props, don’t you think?

Thanks to the Fine Books blog

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.


Game of Thrones Friday, Mar 9 2012 

The second season of the Game of Thrones series, based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, is set to premier on HBO on April 1st. The first season was highly regarded by both fans of the novels and critics, and was nominated for 13 Emmys, winning 2. With the debut less than a month away, the internet is bursting with trailers and, of course, videos playing the soundtrack of the trailers over other footage. I’ve included three official trailers, and viewed a re-edited trailer using Disney footage, the (Emmy award winning) opening credits for the show being sung over by three of the stars from the DVD commentary track, and a Simpson parody of the opening. It seems like a lot, but for everyone waiting for April 1st, it doesn’t feel like nearly enough.


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

Typography Wednesday, Jan 11 2012 

PBS Arts received many comments on this video but I liked this one: If words have meaning and type has spirit then handwriting got soul! shaunoconnordotnet

There are innumerable fonts and imaginative ways to express letters and numbers. Paul Octavious stacks books to create numbers.

BYGG Studios has designed an entire alphabet of stacked books.


Brain Pickings has put together their list of 10 Essential Books on Typography.

And the Athenaeum recently bought Simon Garfield’s Just My Type. As they say in the video: you need type again and again and again to get through the day, to live your life.



Thanks to @Brainpicker

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.

« Previous PageNext Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers