Bookmobiles around the world

There are few things that can match the pleasure of walking into a building filled with books, Vincze Miklós writes at Io9. But these bookmobiles, book boats, and beasts of book burden have brought the joys of reading to people who couldn’t easily access brick and mortar libraries.

First bookmobileA horse-drawn cart in Washington in the 1900s. It was one of the first American bookmobiles, built in 1905, but was hit and destroyed by a train in 1910.

Iranian bookmobileA mobile library in Kurdistan, Iran, in 1970

Donkey bookmobileA donkey library in Colombia

Bookmobiles

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I am off to Orycon. If anyone is going to be there, look me up and say hello.

I have a reading at 1 PM on Friday where I will doing an excerpt from my new novel, Abducticon. A perfect setting, wouldn’t you say?

I also have an autograph session with a bunch of other fine writers on Saturday, 3 to 4.

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Think digital distractions have killed our attention spans? Think again

The rise of complex TV series and vast novels shows that we still prefer commitment to a quick fix, Stuart Jeffries argues in The Guardian

Books are getting longer, even while articles moaning about our declining attention spans are getting more frequent. Eleanor Catton’s recent Booker-winner The Luminaries is 832 pages; the new translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, called The Wretched, which comes out on Thursday, is 1,416 pages.

In a culture of speed-dating, quick fixes, fast food, bullet trains…the single-minded commitment required to read a long, absorbing book serves as a rebuke to a culture that favours those who can simultaneously email/tweet/instant message/hold up their end of a phone call/Skype while live blogging the whole shebang.

Long books are back

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Moby Dick’s One-Star Reviews on Amazon

Biblioklept.org has put together a list of one-star reviews of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. The book has 939 total reviews — 530 five-star reviews, 154 four-star reviews, 107 three-star reviews, 73 two-star reviews and 75 one-star reviews.

OMG, this is tedious and torture to read,” one of the one-star reads.

One-star Moby Dick

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These Abandoned Toy Factories and Shops Will Haunt Your Nightmares

Once these stores and factories sold the stuff of children’s dreams, Vincze Miklós writes at Io9, but now that they lie abandoned—filled with decaying displays and disembodied doll heads—they are more likely to inspire nightmares.

Doll factoryDoll factory – The last production, via Bousure.

Abandoned toys

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China is basically Blade Runner

China skiesIn China, the air is so filthy and the smog is so crushing that beautiful blue skies can only exist when they’re shown on giant video screens, Boing Boing writes.

The picture was taken at Tiananmen Square by Feng Li for Getty and the fake blue sky against the backdrop of the real toxic air makes this so hilariously perfect.

Blue skies in China
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Alma Alexander

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