Dujiangyan Zhongshuge: a surreal bookstore that look like endless in China

For a book lover, stepping into a bookstore is always exciting, but a bookstore in China makes the experience absolutely amazing. Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, a bookstore in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, relies on strategically placed mirrors and gleaming black tile floor to create a stunning illusion that makes the place look like an endless bookworm’s paradise. The roughly 3,200-square-meters bookshop was designed by Li Xiang, founder of Shanghai-based architecture studio X+Living, and inaugurated in the Fall of 2020. Using elements like spiraling staircases, curved archways and strategically-placed mirrors, the designers of this…

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The dark story of the Little Mermaid you wouldn’t imagine

“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” 🧜‍♀️ The tale of The Little Mermaid is one of the favourite for many people worldwide, but well do you know the original story and its darker ending? ‘The Little Mermaid’ was originally published on this day, April 7 1837, in Hans Christian Andersen’s first collection of “Fairy Tales Told for Children”. Andersen was a Danish author, born in Odense, on the 2nd of April 1805. He had a difficult start in life, being born to poor…

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Praglia Abbey: a Benedictine monastery surrounded by the Euganean Hills

During the Middle Ages, many monks manually copied ancient books so they could be passed on to future generations. Over the years, the invention of the printing press made this work largely obsolete, but thousands of old books remained stored in monasteries. Many of those volumes lies still today in the library of the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria Assunta of Praglia, an almost 1,000-year-old monastery and maybe one of the most important monumental and religious communities in the area, located in the town of Teolo, only 10 minutes from…

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Shadows From the Walls of Death – the book that can (literally) kill you

When people speak of “potentially-deadly books”, they usually refer to the radical or controversial ideas they contain, but in thw case of “Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers”, the potential for lethalness is quite literal. The “lethal” book was published in 1874 by Dr. Robert M. Kedzie, a Union surgeon during the American Civil War and later professor of chemistry at Michigan State Agricultural college (now MSU). Of its 100 or so pages, 86 are “just” samples of…

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Yangzhou Zhongshuge: this Chinese library’s interior is designed to look like an infinite tunnel of books

We are in Yangzhou. The Chinese city is known for its graceful arched bridges, proximity to the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Architects kept these local features in mind while designing Zhongshuge Yangzhou, a new bookstore that features something unique, and a real dream for every reader: black mirrored floors shimmer beneath arched shelves that stretch to the ceiling, creating an optical illusion that turns an ordinary, rectangular room into a cylindrical never-ending tunnel of books. A zig-zagging gap prevents the top of the shelves from touching. When…

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The ambitious Google plan to digitize 100,000 historic texts in Belgium

In September, a fleet of secure vehicles will come to a 17th-century building in Antwerp, Belgium, to receive a heavily protected cargo, and then escape with the goods to a confidential location and not revealed. The booty? Five thousand rare, centuries-old books, on their way to a real 21st-century treatment! Recently, the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library and the Plantin-Moretus Museum, both in Antwerp, announced a partnership with Google Books aimed at digitizing more than 100,000 historic works over the next three years. For Google, this is the third initiative of…

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Thai funeral cookbooks: to preserve recipes and memories~

If recently you’ve been to a wedding, probably you’ve been handed a wedding program upon your arrival, featuring photographs of the happy couple, tidbits about how they met, details about their families or the story of their first date. Little books like these can frequently be found in Thailand as well, but not for weddings. For funerals. Yes. Really for funerals. In Thailand the custom to give out gifts to attendees at funerals it has been a long-held tradition. These small memorial books, locally called nang sue ngam sop, are…

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8 + 1 wonderful libraries you can visit also from your home

Regular visitors to libraries may be missing the the welcoming atmosphere, the smell of old books, and wandering around quiet shelves. Many of these public, private, and academic spaces have closed like lot of other institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as lot of museums, libraries around the world have created immersive, 360-degree tours of their interiors. Simulations that can offer more than inspiring views of the libraries, which often they serve as interactive platforms that provide information about the their history and resources. Recently, Harvard University’s Harry Elkins…

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Malleus Maleficarum: the sacred text used to identify witches

Between 1227 and 1235, the Inquisition against witches and heretics was established with a series of papal decrees: Pope Innocent’s bull Ad Extirpanda of 1252 authorized the use of torture to extort confessions of witchcraft by suspected women. From 1257 to 1816 the Inquisition tortured and burned millions of innocent people at the stake accused of witchcraft and heresy against religious dogmas and judged, often without trial and in secret, with terrible torture. If they confessed, they were found guilty and they were considered witches, if they didn’t, they were…

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#February 24, 1825: Thomas Bowdler, the man who Re-wrote the “Offensive” Shakespeare

Thomas Bowdler, a doctor and philanthropist, popular to be the man who took all the naughty bits out of Shakespeare, died on this day, February 24, 1825, even if he would probably have preferred to read “went to sleep on this day.” In 1807 he published his first edition of “The Family Shakspeare”, a book contained 24 versions of Shakespeare plays, all with words, expressions and sometimes even plots changed to be more “family friendly.” He explained that nothing had been added to the original text, but he had omitted…

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Libreria Acqua Alta: one of the most interesting bookshop in the world.

Perched on a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, the beautiful city of Venice evokes countless quaint aquatic images, from gondolas and vaporetti lumbering down the canals to tiny bridges arching between its sidewalks. However, sometimes, water becomes more than an idyliic backdrop to the city: strong tides in the Adriatic can cause water levels to rise, creating the so-called “Acqua Alta,” floods that force the lagoon to pour from the canals onto Venice’s sidewalks and into its buildings. Keeping a collection of books in a city where the roads are…

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Point Nemo: the most remote place on Earth, and Space Vehicles cemetery

People often vaguely refer to “the middle of nowhere,” but as it turns out, scientists have actually figured out precisely where that point is. Point Nemo, the most remote location on Earth, is so far removed from civilization that the closest humans to that location at any given time are likely to be astronauts! The Nemo Point – The red circle indicates the distance to the nearest islands: Submerged in the depths of the Pacific Ocean lies the ancient city of R’lyeh, where it sleeps a sleep similar to the…

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Beatrix Potter: from scientific studies to beloved children’s books

No children’s books has captured hearts quite like of these of Beatrix Potter, the beloved author inspired by flora and fauna found in the pictoresqua English countryside. She wrote and illustrated 28 books, including the universally beloved Tale of Peter Rabbit. If lot of people are familiar with these well-known stories, few know that the wirter earlier work included scientific studies, inspired by a true love of nature. Beatrix Potter was born in London in 1866 to a family of artists. Her father, Rupert, was a barrister who dabbled in…

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The Codex Gigas: the Devil’s Bible.

The Middle Ages is certainly not an era devoid of mysteries and strange symbolism, but the Codex Gigas is a real puzzle for the experts of ancient writings. The book is the largest medieval manuscript, with a height of 92 centimeters, a width of 50 and a weight of 75 kilograms. Initially, the pages were 320, but 8 of these were lost, fueling a mystery that has lasted for almost a thousand years. Literally meaning “giant book”, the Codex Gigas was created in the 13th century. The manuscript contains not…

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Protect your library with terrible medieval Book Curses!

In the middle ages, creating a book wasn’t easy, and could take years: a scribe would bend over his copy table, illuminated only by natural light, because candles were too big a risk for the books, and spend hours each day writing letters, by hand, careful never to make not even an error. To be a copyist, wrote one scribe, was painful: “It extinguishes the light from the eyes, it bends the back, it crushes the viscera and the ribs, it brings forth pain to the kidneys, and weariness to…

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Chinguetti: the incredible libraries of a country lost in the desert.

Today it’s only a village hidden in the desert of Mauritania, which with its sands inexorably advances to the south, swallowing what remains of an ancient culture. Chinguetti is almost a ghost town, divided into two by a ravine of sand, which separates the newer part from the ancient city. But Chinguetti is a sacred place of Islam, where, between the 13th and 17th centuries, thousands of pilgrims stopped on their way to Mecca, and caravans of merchants carrying wool, dates, and came back with precious goods like gold, ivory…

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Livraria Lello of Porto, the bookshop inspired Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

The Livraria Lello of Porto, opened in 1906, is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and hides an Neo-Gothic interior behind a Art-Nouveau façade. The first impression that you have when you first enter here, is that you’ve entered a church, and not in a bookstore, and remains one of the world’s most stunning shops, probably of any kind. The beautiful Neo-Gothic interior have a stained glass ceiling, carved wood paneling, and a great curvaceous staircase that stretches across the store. Was designed by Xavier Esteves and…

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Becherel, France. The medieval burg with 700 inhabitants and 15 bookshops.

Bécherel is an ancient medieval village famous in the world for the average bookshops per capita, which reaches the incredible number of a one bookshops for every 44 inhabitants. It officially became a Book Town in 1989 when was held the first Fête du Livre, that now it’s an annual event, which takes place at Easter and is the frame of a series of events throughout all the year including a reading festival in October. And also a book market takes place in the town on the first Sunday of…

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The magnificent baroque library of Prague: a paradise for all books lovers of all the world.

The Prague National Library was opened in 1722, and still today is one of the most beautiful libraries of all the world. With over 20,000 volumes, it is almost a sacred temple for all book lovers. The ceiling frescoes were made by Jan Hiebl, and through his pictorial work there are many symbols that represent the importance of education along with hagiographies Jesuits’s saints. Inside there is also an entire room dedicated to Mozart, with the original writings made by the master of Salzburg. The rare books collected by the…

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