Bhutan: One of the world’s biggest books

Wow, this looks as beautiful as it is large!

Michael Hawley didn’t start out to make one of the world’s biggest books and while that might be what claimed headlines about Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom, it isn’t the most significant. The project evolved into its 7 foot by 5 foot form as a result of Hawley’s research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working to capture photographically a visual record of field expeditions. Hawley led four separate expeditions to Bhutan where he and a team of MIT and Bhutanese students took photographs with state of the art digital and film equipment. Afterwards Hawley decided that making a giant book from the enormous archive of photographs would allow the reader to “step into” the world of Bhutan.

If you find yourself in Seattle this looks well worth a visit!

Source: Bhutan: One of the world’s biggest books — UW Libraries

Another Book Meme

It has been some time since I did one of these book meme things. So, as I haven’t been writing much lately I thought it only appropriate that I spend some time that should be spend reading or writing having some fun with this.
These introductory words are blatently stolen from Vermont’s Own who likely took them from elsewhere:

What we have below is a list of the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing users. They took the trouble to catalog them — but their owners admit to not reading them. They sit on the shelf though, perhaps to make their owner feel smart or well-rounded.
The meme comes with these instructions: Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

As of today there are nearly 10000 links to the top 106 unread books.
Going through this list provided a stark reminder of the truth in the saying use it or lose it. Once upon a time I had a working knowledge of quite a few of these. A knowledge built upon multiple readings, lot’s of thinking, analysis and frequent discussion. Alas, it would take at least one if not two rereadings to get most of that back.
As for the once read books. Well, the more recently read the more likely I can do a mental scene review…even if I can’t remember the characters names. The long ago read…maybe it still evokes an emotional sense of the book but, for the most part, details are not handy…

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations

American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

When An Author’s Autograph is Worth Nothing

Just why the hell would anyone stand in line for not an autograph:

Author Margaret Atwood has grown weary of the traveling that comes with promotional book tours. Such tours are grueling, and her experience with delivery drivers who hold out an electronic device for a signature gave her an idea: maybe there was a way to create a system whereby she could sign a book from a distance.
She teamed with Matthew Gibson and several others to produce the device, naming the firm Unotchit pronounced “you no touch it.” The device was given its first-ever public demonstration on Sunday, and despite technical glitches that had to be overcome, they managed to get the device working.

This gives a whole new meaning to autographed first edition and no enhancement in value: either emotional or financial.
I’ve been to a few book signings over the years and enjoyed hearing authors read from their work and discuss related issues with the audience. This would be ok via teleconferencing which probably will be standard once holographic/virtual presence technology becomes the norm.

There is no way, though, that mechanical scribbling is an acceptable stand in for the author’s in the flesh signature.