Category Archives: Books & Reading

Books & Reading

‘The Science of ‘Interstellar’ (US 2014): Book Excerpt

Famed physicist Kip Thorne brought real science to this year’s sci-fi movie epic “Interstellar.”

In his new book “The Science of ‘Interstellar'” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014), Thorne goes into detail about the physics that underlies the awesome phenomena explored in the movie, including black holes, time dilation, a disease that could decimate food crops on Earth and an alien planet with 4,000-foot-tall (1,200 meters) water waves.

via ‘The Science of ‘Interstellar’ (US 2014): Book Excerpt.

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History : NPR

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they’d have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA’s watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city’s plastered past.

In his book Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History, Bailey details the history of Hollywood’s love affair with liquor. It’s full of tales of beloved actors, directors and screenwriters behaving badly, from the early days of film all the way up to the 1970s — and includes recipes for some stars’ favorite cocktails.

via How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History : NPR.

NY Public Library shares pre-Internet reference questions – SlashGear

If you have a question about any little thing that crosses your mind, there’s a good change you pull out your phone and consult Google, being dished up a bunch of answers in no time at all. Of course, that convenience has only been around for a brief out our inquisitive history, and before such options existed people had to resort to slower, more limited resources. The New York Public Library was one such source as shown by a bunch of reference cards from the 1940s through 1980s.

The New York Public Library has surfaced a box full of reference questions typed on cards, each of them dated and some containing names. You can see one example below, and a couple more in the gallery farther down.


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via NY Public Library shares pre-Internet reference questions – SlashGear.

A Closeup Look at Free for All: Inside the Public Library

When documentary filmmakers Lucie Faulknor and Dawn Logsdon were evacuated to Baton Rouge, LA, from their home in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they were struck by the essential role played by the public library in the days following the disaster. Staff worked


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long hours to help people locate missing family members, friends, and pets; fill out FEMA forms; communicate with insurance companies; and use the library computers. “They had an assembly line to give everybody a library card,” Faulknor said, “and we realized that librarians were also first responders.”

via A Closeup Look at Free for All: Inside the Public Library.

David Baldacci: By the Book – NYTimes.com

What kind of reader were you as a child? Your favorite book? Most beloved character?

I was a library rat. Libraries are the mainstays of democracy. The first thing dicta

tors do when taking over a country is close all the libraries, because libraries are full of ideas and differences of opinion, all the things we say we want in a free and open society. So keep ‘em, fund ‘em, embrace and cherish ‘em. Growing up, I loved the series of biographies of famous people, but which chronicled only their childhoods. It made me think anything was possible with my life. Beloved characters mostly involved animals with human characteristics. I could never get enough. My psychiatrist says he’s very close to an answer on that one.

via David Baldacci: By the Book – NYTimes.com.

NYPL Digital Collections

Explore 810,670 items digitized from The New York Publi


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c Library’s collections.

This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

via NYPL Digital Collections.

Lives of Great Men

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time. —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “A Psalm of Life,” 1839 C.E.

.. epigraph quote from “Coming Home” by Jack McDevitt…

25 titles added to National Film Registry – LA Times

“Steven Spielberg’s 1998 World War II epic, “Saving Private Ryan,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult comedy “The Big Lebowski” and the 1976 drama “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!” — considered by historians to be the first Chicano feature film — are among the 25 titles added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.”

“The selections are to be announced Wednesday by the librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, who recognizes the pictures as “cultural, historical or aesthetic cinematic treasures.” ”

” “The National Film Registry showcases the extraordinary diversity of America’s film heritage and the disparate strands making it so vibrant,” read a statement from Billington. “By preserving these films, we protect a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history.” ”

English: four-color National Film Registry Log...
English: four-color National Film Registry Logo on black background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via 25 titles added to National Film Registry – LA Times.

The creation of William Shakespeare: How the Bard really became a legend – Salon.com

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bard is back. With the recent discovery of a previously unknown First Folio in a French library, Shakespeare has once again been thrust into the limelight (as if he ever left).”

“Shakespeare’s current status is often described as “bardolatry,” an excessive veneration of the man marked by elaborate myths about who he was and what he really accomplished. One of the more popular myths involves Shakespeare’s “wildly extensive” vocabulary and ferocious knack for coining new words. (In reality, Shakespeare’s vocabulary was less than half of the average person’s today and he only coined 229 new words, coming in 4th among English wordsmiths.) Over the years, Shakespearean scholars have laboriously worked to debunk those myths. (For a great example of this type of work, check out Oxford scholars Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith’s recent book, “30 Myths About Shakespeare.”) However, despite the best efforts of experts, some misperceptions about the Bard still refuse to die.”


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via The creation of William Shakespeare: How the Bard really became a legend – Salon.com.

Portrait of Author Ernest Hemingway Posing with Sailfish – World Digital Library

“Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was an American writer who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and began his writing career as a newspaperman in Kansas City at the age of 17. His experiences in Europe informed his early novels. Hemingway served with a volunteer ambulance unit in the Alps in World War I, lived in Paris for much of the 1920s, and reported on the Greek Revolution and the civil war in Spain. His sense of these events resulted in The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), and, some think his greatest novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Hemingway divided his time in much of the 1930s and 1940s between Key West, Florida and Cuba. He was an avid outdoorsman whose interest in such sports as hunting, fishing, and bull fighting were reflected in his novels and short stories. In Key West and Cuba, Hemingway discovered a passion for big-game fishing that would inspire him for the remainder of his life and that prompted his outstanding short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1951). This photograph, taken in Key West in the 1940s, shows Hemingway with a sailfish he had caught. Many of his novels, short stories, and his nonfiction work are classics of American literature, distinctive for their understatement, spare prose, and authentic characterization.”

via Portrait of Author Ernest Hemingway Posing with Sailfish – World Digital Library.