The Book Beat - February 21, 2020
Well, we made it, book friends! It's the end of the week and we're in for two glorious days of extra reading time, right? I have to say, the stories I have for you this week are fun, exciting, and uplifting, which we all need in today’s crazy world. The first article is literally the funniest one I’ve ever shared on this blog. Plus, I have a new memoir rec for you (now that I’m riding to work a few times a week, I have time to listen to all the audiobooks!) and the Cover of the Week!
This Shit is Lit
(I stole this heading, but dammit, it’s glorious!)
I have two words for you: book toilets. Yes, you read that right. Apparently in 18th century France, book toilets were a thing. Decorated like a book or stack of books for either decor or to literally hide the bowl, they existed, people used them, and some poor soul had to clean them out. I first saw this article and cackled out loud because in these historical artifacts my two worlds collide and it's hilarious.
The one pictured here is in a building in Belgium. Another is up for auction and there's even some cheeky humor (pun intended!) when the fake books on the structures have fun titles that translate to cracks (sorry, I can't stop now) about the user's nether regions. Suffice it to say, even back then potty humor was a thing, if way more literal. Click below and enjoy!
A Planet Worth Visiting
On May 31, Planet Word Museum opens its doors in Washington, DC, and it will definitely be one to visit. A museum focused around words and language, it's going to feature 51,000 square feet of exhibits, including ones where visitors can design their own marketing campaigns and a globe that encourages visitors to explore languages, 30+ in total, including two types of sign languages. There's also going to be a poetry section and a tree sculpture in the courtyard that plays snippets from poems and literature in various languages while people walk below it. Best of all, it's free admission! What do you say, friends? Reading While Mommying summer field trip? This museum sounds AMAZING. I cannot wait!
An Alternative to Amazon
As I've said here before, independent bookstores are doing well, print books are outselling ebooks, and Amazon is still selling a ton of books. So there seems to be room (at least now) for everyone in the book-selling sphere. But, to the dismay of independent bookstores, Amazon continues to employ some shady practices, which hurt smaller store's sales (e.g. releasing The Handmaid's Tale sequel earlier than they were supposed to). At this new site, independent bookstores make money from the sales. I like that idea. The books are discounted, not as steeply as Amazon, but still. If you're looking to buy a book, maybe try buying here? It can't hurt!
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
I finished listening to Carmen's memoir today. Wow! What an amazing writer and engrossing story. A queer woman, Carmen recounts the abusive relationship she had with an engaging but volatile woman while she was in her early 20s. In addition to telling how her girlfriend emotionally tormented her with harrowing psychological abuse, she also looks at domestic violence in queer relationships on a larger scale, particularly how it's been portrayed and dealt with throughout history and society. The whole book takes the memoir genre and upends it, using a unique literary structure to tell the story. It's truly fascinating. Note: For those who are local, Carmen's from PA, lives in Philly, and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.
Cover of the Week:
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but it sounds wonderful and the cover is really something to behold. Bright and bold, it intrigues with paper flowers with words and a depiction of the book's main character, Adunni. She's a 14-year-old Nigerian girl who is removed from school and sold by her father to an older man to be his third wife. After a tragedy, she is then sold as a domestic servant. Through all these trials, Adunni remains determined to find her voice and get an education. The author's bio notes that she was inspired to write this by her two young daughters. I can't wait to read it.