Category Archives: Books

The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50

Officer Officer Short Shrift to Milo: “Not doing anything, eh? You’ll have to admit at your aOfficer Short Shrift to Milo: “Not doing anything, eh? You’ll have to admit at your age that’s a crime.”

Milo and Tock, Norton and Jules, Officer Short Shrift and the Spelling Bee–the gang is together again thanks to a new documentary film celebrating the 50th anniversary of Norton Juster’s classic book, The Phantom Tollbooth (also known as the Only Book I’ve Read More Than Once). Get the details on Kickstarter.

Also, be sure to check out these brain-bending infographics from Brooklyn artist Jan Avendano.


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Leading Ladies of Southern Lit

Southern authoresses in Vanity Fair's February 2011 issue: (From left) Sheri Joseph, Susan Rebecca White, Karin Slaughter, Amanda Gable. Photograph by Iris Brosch

(and continued) Joshilyn Jackson, Natasha Tretheway, Emily Giffin, Jessica Handler, and Kathryn Stockett.

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Slavery: A Map

Nothing produces a catharsis like confronting your demons head-on, and the good folks at Yale University have just published a detailed, deeply thought-provoking book that rips the Band-Aid off of our collective slave trading past once and for all.

Entitled Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the book is admirably transparent in its intentions from the outset. Authors David Eltis and David Richardson drew on a rich online database of research on the transatlantic slave trade’s 350-year history, and commissioned more than 189 maps to provide visual and geographical context. Read more about the book and the ongoing project it grew out of at

Image Reference Millerenc2, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and University of Virginia Library. Paul Finkelman and Joseph Miller, eds., Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery (New York, 1998), vol. 1, p. xlvii. (Reproduction courtesy of Macmillan Reference USA, an Imprint of the Gale Group, a Thomson Learning Company)

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I And Love And Books

A big thank you to Jessica Graves of The Love List for featuring me on The Love List: Library yesterday and making my predilection for random, and occasionally silly, books seem totally acceptable.

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Morbid Anatomy of a Southern Belle

The Morbid Anatomy of a Southern Belle, Ronald Searle, Holiday magazine, Frances Gray Patton

I found this Ronald Searle illustration, which accompanies a tongue-in-cheek article on Southern mores and manners by North Carolina–born author Frances Gray Patton, in the November 1959 issue of Holiday magazine. All I could think of when I saw it was that if Tim Burton were to redesign Maryln Schwartz’s Southern Belle Primer, this is how it might look.


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Belle Boggs Gets Love from the Daily Beast

The cover of Belle Boggs' latest short story collection.

Kudos to Virginia-born writer, Belle Boggs, who is one of the Daily Beast’s featured Best New Writers today.

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Take Ivy Hullabaloo

By now, most people are familiar with Take Ivy, the cultishly popular 1965 Japanese homage to classic American (preppy? Trad?) style. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, jump here for a brief explanation, then catch up with us.) powerHouse books recently acquired the English language rights and is publishing an updated, translated version on August 31 (tip: pre-order NOW). If you’re a super-fan, you can find copies of a few early (1973 or ’79) Japanese editions on eBay (first editions are s-c-a-r-c-e), or for a scant $2000, you can own the one powerHouse actually used in their production process via Partners & Spade. Or you can contact me via email for the copy I scanned in above.

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