10 Libraries We’d Love to Get Lost In and More Critical Linking: January 31, 2015

Winter is the perfect time to get lost in the stacks at your local library. There’s no better scenery than towering piles of books, but sometimes you get bored with the same old view. Here are the libraries that are giving us a serious case of bookshelf envy.

Can you say SWOON?



Fierce debates about the ride-sharing service Uber after its introduction in Australia broughtsharing economy to prominence there this year, leading the Australian National Dictionary Centre to choose it as word of the year. Other words considered were dark web, marriage equality, and lawfare, formed on analogy with warfare, to describe the abuse of the legal system by using it to win political battles.

This list of “words of the year” from around the world is totally fascinating.


3. Read what you like.

Want to read a lot? Then don’t force yourself to read books you’re not interested in at that particular moment. This isn’t Literature 101, with a set syllabus. Anything you pick up and enjoy will offer you some value.

“Not all books are for everyone. A book might be a bestseller, but maybe you can’t stand the writing. Or maybe it’s not the right time to read a book,” observes Foroux. “If you can’t flip through the pages, put the book away and pick up something you are so excited about that you tear up the pages.” Life is too short (and the supply of potential titles too plentiful) to make yourself read boring books.

This list of three ways to read more during the year is pretty good, though I think a lot of book worms would say that #1 is a problem they have (and welcome) but it doesn’t necessarily lead to reading more.


An Iraqi-American artist is using online crowdfunding and performance art to help return books to the shelves of the University of Baghdad’s library, which burnt down during the Iraq war.

The library of the university’s college of fine arts hosted more than 70,000 titles until looters set fire to the entire collection in 2003. The building has been reconstructed, but very few books were returned.

“This used to be one of best fine art institutions in the Middle East, if not the world,” said Wafaa Bilal, aNew York-based artist who used to visit the library almost daily when he studied in Baghdad.

Bilal’s exhibition at Ontario’s Gallery of Windsor, opening on 29 January, will feature a 72ft bookshelf holding 1,000 blank white books. For a $25 (£17.60) fee on Kickstarter,Bilal will replace one of the blank books for a real copy, sending the blank book to the donor. At the end, all the real books will be shipped to Baghdad.

This is interesting…and a neat project to raise funds.


But if an ampersand feels like it can be anything, what makes an ampersand an ampersand? Where does it come from? And why, exactly, do type designers love it so much more than other characters?

This history of the ampersand and why designers love it gave me the biggest nerd purr.

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