Saving libraries: check out every book.

There’s a lot to love about this story.

Stony Stratford Library empty photo
Photo: Friends of Stony Stratford Library via Facebook

…Which brings us to the Friends of Stony Stratford Library (UK) who organised their ‘Wot No Books’ campaign and harnessed the power of social networking to get the word out. Following the spread of news via Facebook and Twitter, the library’s entire collection of 16,000 books has all been loaned out – at one point forcing librarians to stamp 380 books per hour. The reason for this extraordinary action was to demonstrate the void that would be left behind if the library was closed down, as is planned by the Milton Keynes Council…


Dropping science.

I dropped this out of a two story window onto a paved parking lot yesterday, as part of a sanctioned science experiment. The egg survived and this photo was taken post-drop.

Should you ever need to bail out of a burning building, I recommend the Boston Creme.

Typewriter key rings.

If I was living somewhere other than Maine, I might get lambasted for trafficking in hipster paraphernalia. This Etsy shop makes some nice things out of typewriter keys. I’d buy a semicolon ring, if they made it. (I wonder if they’d make brass knuckles with a semicolon on each knuckle, for dispatching all of the semicolon haters. You see where my mind goes without enough coffee?)


Italo Calvino’s sections of the bookstore.

Love it:

Italo Calvino’s sections of the bookstore:
– Books You Haven’t Read
– Books You Needn’t Read
– Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
– Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
– Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
– Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
– Books Too Expensive Now and You’ll Wait ‘Til They’re Remaindered
– Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
– Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
– Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too
– Books You’ve Been Planning to Read for Ages
– Books You’ve Been Hunting for Years Without Success
– Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment
– Books You Want to Own So They’ll Be Handy Just in Case
– Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
– Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
– Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
– Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time to Re-read
– Books You’ve Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It’s Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them

(from 52 Books)

That was Daniel Schorr.

One of the best things about NPR – National Public Radio, as it used to be known – is behind us: Daniel Schorr passed away this morning at age 93. (It still evokes some astonishment when I read about somebody passing and, because of the way the internet works so quickly, it happened just a few short hours ago.) His voice and commentary set a standard.

Hear him in this piece, recorded after viewing the 2005 Good Night, and Good Luck – a unique perspective, as he was part of Murrow’s team.

Texas program sentences convicts to reading groups.


With one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and the death penalty, the US state of Texas seems the last place to embrace a liberal-minded alternative to prison. But when Mitchell Rouse was convicted of two drug offences in Houston, the former x-ray technician who faced a 60-year prison sentence – reduced to 30 years if he pleaded guilty – was instead put on probation and sentenced to read…

…In Texas, the public have been largely won over by the success rates and how cheap the programme is to run. Instead of spending a lifetime in prison at a cost of more than $30,000 (pounds 19,520) a year, Rouse’s “rehabilitation” cost the taxpayer just $500 (pounds 325).

But it is the experiences of offenders, some of whom have never read a book before, that Waxler points to.

“In one group we read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway,” he recalls. “The story focuses on Santiago, an old fisherman in Cuba, and opens with some heartache: Santiago is not able to catch fish. We talk about him and the endurance he seems to represent, the very fact that he gets up every morning despite the battering he takes.

“The following time the group meet, one of the offenders wants to share something. He’d been walking down Main Street and he said he could hear, metaphorically speaking, the voices of his neighbourhood. He’d been thinking about returning to his old life, to drugs, but as he listened to those voices, he also heard the voice of Santiago. If Santiago could continue to get up each day and make the right choice then he could do too.”

Santiago, a character in a novel, had become the offender’s role model. For many offenders, some of whom have spent half their lives in jail, it is the first time they’ve had a worthy model, says Waxler.

Full story here.