Keeping Things Brief

Things have been more than a little hectic lately—for many, that’s an understatement. So I’ll be keeping my updates brief today. I only hope that all of you are well and happy and staying safe. There’s not much I can add that hasn’t been stated countless times, but once more won’t hurt: wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Grab a book. Happy reading.

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Anyone Missing a…?

There aren’t many things that can shock a librarian or archivist. They’re a special class of people, trained to anticipate both the unexpected and the inevitable. After all, when working with the general public, anything is possible. That’s why a recent discovery by the Cambridge University Library Special Collections caught my attention. In an interview with The Sun, Deputy Keeper of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts Emily Dourish noted that staff had a unique reaction while examining a tome published in 1529: “When we gave it to our conservationist, his jaw dropped.”

So what could have possibly sparked this reaction? Their tweet says it better than I ever could…

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He’s Read, but He’s Not Well-Read

For the past two weeks, I’ve been devoted to the classics—those ever-present works that have appeared on every reading list since the dawn of the high school book report. Those books that, while they might show some age around the binding, prove that they still have staying power. Those books that get a special section and fancy covers at Barnes & Noble.

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When the TBR Shelf Topples Over

Between an overflowing bookshelf and a public library right up the road, I’m never at a loss for books to read. So when I stumble across a work in the wild that looks interesting, I might not get around to it immediately. Instead, if it sounds interesting enough, I add it to a list on Goodreads so I’ll remember to read it … eventually. That’s the idea, anyway. When done a few times, this isn’t bad. But I’ve been compiling for years, and a few weeks ago I finally looked through this running tab of tomes and realized that I’ve stacked up over 500.

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Grab Your Scissors, It’s Book Cutting Time

A post on Twitter this week sparked a debate—big surprise, I know—over the treatment of books. In it, user Alex Christofi shared a tip for making incredibly long reads more portable: chop them in half. Two camps instantly sprouted in the comments: those who upheld the sanctity of the published tome and those who broke out their copies of Infinite Jest and a pair of scissors.

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State of the Stacks: Calm Edition

We’re nearing the middle of January, which hardly seems possible, but here we are. Nothing major to report this week, though I’m currently barricaded inside my home because of snow this weekend. Otherwise, it’s been a calm start to the year. So read on to see my current bookish updates (and about works that contain far more drama than I do in my current life) on this week’s State of the Stacks.

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