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Book Bound! (Two Weeks Remaining!)

May 29, 2013 in American literature, announcements, Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Kickstarter, Literary News

Derby Square Bookstore, Salem, MA

By Antoinette Weil and Amanda Festa

Books are not obsolete and reading isn’t dead.  It seems that everything is tech this and i-something or other and YouTube and Vine and Twitter. We love our social media connections as much as the next person, but we can’t lose touch with the tangible. People still read, people still love their favorite books from childhood and from adulthood, and people, although they may not have all the time in the world, still want to get that reading fix. We think that THIS is what sets us and our project apart. We are going back to books, back to great authors, taking the time for you to get to know these stories and places. Promoting reading, promoting travel, promoting exploration, the sharing of ideas. There are many, many people in today’s society who are tired of the constant surge of technology taking over everyday life. Sick of their beloved bookstores closing. We are doing this for them, for people like us who enjoy the story behind our beloved literature. We’re bringing books to life, and that’s something.

We have two weeks left to reach our funding goal on Kickstarter.  Please support our project and, in turn, our passion.  Every dollar helps us get closer to our goal, and every dollar shows that there are people out there who would like to see this project be made.  If you are a reader, if you enjoy the feeling of a creased and worn book in your hands or the smell of a library or independent bookstore, then this project is for you.  If you have the travel bug, and you treat it with long doses of wandering, whether it is done on the road or from the comfort of an armchair, then this project is for you.  SO take a look at our Kickstarter page, explore the posts written by contributors whose excitement and enthusiasm for this project is incredible, and if you enjoy what you see, please get involved, donate what you can, and spread the word to all kindred literary travelers.

Judging a Book by its Cover: Compiling an Old Fashioned Library in a Digital Age

March 6, 2012 in Classic Literature, ereader technology

I have always loved books, and I don’t mean this broadly, as in “I love to read,” which, of course, is also true.  I have always loved books: the shape, the smell, the weight of the hardback cover in my hands.  I know I am not alone in this.  I have had this conversation with friends and classmates, some who agree with me and some who advocate for the ease of electronic reading.  My love of the physical object of the book has been a major roadblock for me when it comes to succumbing to the purchase of an eReader.  But, as I brave my commute to class with a bag so heavy I am sure my back will someday pay the price, I am tempted by the train passengers who are engrossed in the small electronic devices.  With the ever expanding selection of Kindles, Nooks and iPads, it seems that this eReader worship is not a passing phase.  In my recent English courses we often discuss the future of the book, and question whether the book as we know it now is about to go the way of papyrus scrolls and clay tablets.  With IKEA even making their bookshelves smaller, one wonders if they will cease to hold books altogether, and there goes my childhood dream of one day having a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast, complete with spiral staircases and sliding ladders to reach the unending shelves.

But, bibliophiles, don’t give up hope just yet.  It appears there has been a resurgence in the nostalgic appeal of the book as it once was.  While it seems safe to say that the popularity of eReaders will continue to rise, it appears to have jumpstarted a countermovement.  While paperbacks are small, light and easy to carry, the newest fad in book production cares not for convenience or practicality but instead presents the book as it once was, in all its nostalgic glory.  In recent years Barnes & Noble began releasing its Leatherbound Classics, beautifully imagined editions of classic texts with intricate cover art and spines that beg to be proudly displayed.  At under $20, they are reasonably priced and, with additional titles continuously being released, they present a great, affordable way to build one’s library.  From classic literature to Jurassic Park to an edition of medical text Gray’s Anatomy, there is a wide spectrum of titles for both children and adults.  Standouts for me include a striking edition of Jane Eyre done in black, with silver lettering offset by red edge coloring, and a unique edition of Alice in Wonderland, which stands out in pink with a contrasting gilt edge.  The Ultimate Literature Collection features ten volumes and would be a great starter kit for any library. It includes a variety of authors and works, including a volume encompassing seven Jane Austen novels, another volume boasting the complete works of Shakespeare, and eight other texts running the gamut from Dante to Homer to Ernest Hemingway.

Similarly, around the same time as B&N, Penguin Books also released a line of Penguin Hardcover Classics.  These editions feature gorgeous bright covers designed by renowned designer Coralie Bickford-Smith and are done in embossed linen with colorful endpapers and ribbon page markers.  Available through Penguin Books, or on for under $20, these editions are both affordable and accessible.  With new titles constantly being added, including a plethora of Jane Austen titles being released this spring, you can pre-order now.  Slimmer volumes than B&N Leatherbound Classics, they often contain only one novel per book.  Whereas the B&N Leatherbound Classics offers one 1496 page volume containing five seminal Charles Dickens works, Penguin offers a box set of six individual Dickens novels, making the choice between the two editions one of personal preference.  So whether you’re drawn to the rich, dark tones and gilt edges of the Leatherbound Classics, or the nostalgic appeal of the Penguin Hardcover Classics, these books are great as gifts or make fabulous additions to any personal library. So, to those who say the eReader is the way of the future, I wouldn’t close the book on the book just yet.



To Kindle, or Not to Kindle: This Holiday Season, That is the Question

December 14, 2011 in amazon kindle, ereader review, ereader technology

There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to eReaders.  On one side we have the tech savvy convenience driven consumer who appreciates the ease of carrying multiple books on one device, whether it be for traveling or her daily commute.  The other side is hesitant, with fear of sacrificing beloved books on the altar of technology, and would prefer to forgo packing other essentials in order to squeeze a few more paperbacks into his carry on.  For better or worse, it seems like this eReader is here to stay.  If it is any indication of the future, even IKEA is jumping on the e-book bandwagon.  According to The EconomistIKEA has updated its popular “Billy” bookcase to a design with deeper shelves and glass doors that is less than ideal for storing books in print.  Up to this point I have been skeptical of making the switch to electronic books, but with the new Kindle Fire, which merges the convenience of an eReader with the benefits of a tablet, I could be convinced.

The Kindle Fire was released last month and for $199, a fraction of other tablets, which raises the question of whether it can compete. But it’s intended to. In addition to the typical features of an eReader, the Kindle Fire can store music, movies and TV shows, as well as provide the user access to a limited version of the Android app store. Although the 7 inch screen is smaller than the iPad screen, and it doesn’t have a camera or a microphone, it seems like the perfect gateway device for those looking to segue into electronic reading.  As for eReader veterans, the Kindle Fire offers all the previous benefits of the older model (except now it’s back-lit like other tablets) with a lot of really convenient added perks, such as web browsing and access to e-mail.

Also tossing its hat into the ring this holiday season is the Barnes & Noble rival device, NOOK Tablet.  Reviews on the NOOK are similar to that of the Kindle, with different sites favoring one over the other to the point where, if you have a tendency to over think, you might want to flip a coin.  Differentiating the two more than anything is their advertising campaigns.  While the NOOK is advertised in a commercial featuring ‘Glee’ favorite, Jane Lynch, and a catchy tune, Amazon targets serious bibliophiles in its commercial, which quotes Voltaire and pays homage to early printing as predecessor to the eReader.  Does this say something about the target demographic for each?  For the consumer like me who may not be as tech savvy as she would like, product promotion can speak volumes.

Ultimately, whether you choose Kindle, NOOK, or splurge on the iPad this holiday season, do it in style.  There is no reason you can’t have the convenience of an eReader and showcase your support for the book simultaneously.  If you want the ease of a Kindle, but still want to broadcast your literary roots – or perhaps mask that closet Twilight addiction – Out of Print Clothing offers eReader jackets with classic book art from Pride and Prejudice to The Great Gatsby, and everything in between.  So keep reading, your secret is safe with me.

Friday Links: Book News From Around The Internet

March 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

Every Friday, the staff at Literary Traveler will gather uImage via Amazon.comp the relevant book news from around the web, bringing it together in a handy post for book lovers to peruse.  Enjoy!

  • The American Book Review asked several university professors to contribute some nominees to their list of America’s 40 Worst Books.  Some of their choices are – in our humble opinion – debatable.  They’ve included a personal favorite of mine, The Great Gatsby, on the grounds that it is “smug.”  Also on the list: Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road and Cormac McCarthy’s All The Pretty Horses.
  • On this day, in 1948, Jack Kerouac turned 26.  He wrote in his journal:  “Guess what?! – on my birthday today, wrote 4500-words(!) – scribbling away till six-thirty in the morning next day. A real way to celebrate another coming of age. And am I coming of age?”  Check out Barnes and Nobel Review for more reflections.
  • Dave Eggers, novelist and founder of McSweeney’s, is also blowing out the candles on his birthday cake today.  Help him celebrate (in spirit, if not in person) by checking out  this fascinating interview with Eggers about his new book, Zeitoun.
  • Is it possible to become a famous poet simply through social networking?  That’s the argument Jim Behrle made the other day when speaking to a crowd at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project.  “Self promotion is the only kind of promotion left,” he said.
  • Ebooks are a little scary to many of us bibliophiles, but they may be the greenest way to access academic books and other frequently-updated texts. However, the case for the e-reader is a little more complicated than it might initially seem.
  • And finally, congratulations to author Gail Haveren, translator Dayla Bilu, and everyone at Melville House.  Haveren’s novel The Confessions of Noa Weber was just awarded the 2010 Translated Book Award For Fiction.
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