Hashtag Shelfie: Sharing your library under the hashtag

We know that internet, blogs and social networks gave or maintained a general taste for writing and creation! It also  gave the world of books a second youth by putting self-publishing at everyone’s reach.

Books and writing are part of the daily life for many of us. And the internet pays them tribute!

@earthscorners

What the shelf?

On Instagram, we find under the hashtag #shelfie a whole lot of inspiring photos featuring shelves and libraries. The word “shelfie” itself sets the tone by combining the words “shelf” with the word “selfie” (the famous self-portraits photographed in the 21st century, for those sleeping at the bottom).

Many of the photos feature furnitures arranged like they’re almost taken straight out of an IKEA magazine. But, and this is what interests us here, we can also find books!

@culturetripbooks

#Shelfie indeed is the occasion to make your personal library a star while the hashtag lasts ! It’s also the moment to share your reading taste or your  storage foibles to your friends and followers… Or even to discover what composes the tastes of others and how people organizes and surrounds one’s readings!

@bluestockingbookhelf

@bluestockingbookshelf

No boasting of elitist readings or endless rows of books here (even if we recognize that a full library is always pretty to picture 😉 ), only the joy of seeing beautiful book-related photos and starting exchanging about your favorite books!

After all, the contents of a library are often indicative of the personality of its owner(s): It is with this idea that the newspaper The Guardian launched the concept of the Shelfie in December 2013.

@shelfjoy

More than 820 000 publications are now classified under the hashtag #shelfie and more are coming everyday, so it’s always time to get involved and show what you have and love!

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Article source (French) | Images:  @earthscorners, @culturetripbooks, @bluestockingbookshelf and @shelfjoy

Seeing and hearing Iceland with HVISL!

A book you can smell already exists ! Now check out the book that you can listen to?

Hear for yourselves!

Audiobooks, those kind of books one person will read aloud and record so that others can listen to them, are a growing part of books sales nowadays. They mainly prove their practicality for visualy impaired people.

hvisl

For those who can afford it, there are some book concepts that combine vision and hearing to enjoy together as a global experience: This is the concept of Hvisl – Whispers of Iceland, both a photo album and sound guide taking you on a trip around Iceland!

The project was created by Chloé Curé and Bertrand Lanthiez, based on their shared experience of Iceland during a 2-weeks trip. Sounds effects were brought by Johannes Mandorfer.

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Their collaboration allows you to appreciate breathtaking pictures of beautiful landscapes and warm interiors, accompanied, as you flip the pages, by the sound of the wind and the waves, a conversation in Icelandic, the cracking of the ice or the bubbling of the geysers

While you enjoy the atmosphere through your headphones, you will also learn everything you need to know about landscapes formation, local language, climate, mythology… Truly an immersive experience!

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Source | Images: Bertrand Lanthiez 

Building skyscrapers inside giant sequoias

Since 2006 the architecture magazine eVolo organizes the Skyscraper competition, a contest during which teams of architects from all over the world come up with ambitious (sometimes crazy) projects that not only challenge the limits of construction working but also rethink the way man-made buildings interact with the environment.

This year more than 400 projects have been examined by the jury, only 3 won the competition and 22 received honorable mentions, the project we are introducing today received one of these.

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Credits: Evolo

At the very heart of this team of South-Korean architects, the Giant sequoia is one of many numerous victims of human activities and although it is now protected, its life span has shortened due to climate change. In addition, the roots of this giant are very small in comparison to its height and do not grow deep in the ground; so when the core starts to rot the sequoia collapses under its own weight.

The project intends to reconcile mankind and nature with a more respectful approach of architecture by replacing the empty and/or rotting space inside the said giant in order to build skyscrapers inside that will neither harm the trees nor drastically change the landscape. The new structure build inside the sequoia acts like a new backbone that will prevent the tree from collapsing. The working space inside the “sequoiascraper” (Yup, I just made it up) should be dedicated to arts and research. A bold project that, if it ever sees the light of day, will prove that there are alternatives to bending nature to our own will and deforming the landscape. Hats off to them!

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Credits: Evolo
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Credits: Evolo
sequoia-inside
Credits: Evolo

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Growing trees out of books!

A small publishing house in Argentina recently made a totally organic book that gives back to nature what it took from it by growing into a tree (Which might remind you of our previous article about the Japanese blooming newspapers). What’s their secret? Well first, unlike the majority of books, this one is made using organic ink along with acid-free pages that allow it to be planted without harming the soils. Seeds are put inside the paper during the making process and will wait until their time comes to grow into a magnificent tree!

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This book tells the story of a man wandering inside the equatorial jungle as seen through the eyes of his son.

 

Pequeño Editor, the publishing house specialized in books for children,  wanted to deliver a message to their young readers: “Books come from trees. Today, a tree comes from a book.”

Even though changing the way we make books on a global scale seems difficult (If not impossible), we have to salute the effort made by the people of this publishing house who do not only show us an eco friendly alternative but also educate children in the process!

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children” – Confucius

If you want to know more about Pequeño Editor and their work, be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter page!

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[Update] The Book and Bed hotel in Tokyo : an original concept !

Japanese people are known for having crazy ideas, and at BlookUp we love a concept that stands out!

In Tokyo, the owners of this hostel just made every book lover’s dream come true: An accommodation bookshop. Don’t let the name fool you though, the books are not for sale; however you can read as many of them as you want while being comfortably seated on one of the sofas!

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As for the beds, customers can choose between sleeping in bunks if their budget is tight or inside a bookshelf and being surrounded by hundreds of books: The ultimate bookworm’s nest! However, comfort might not be the first words to come to your mind while looking at the mattresses, and the staff is well aware of that.

The staff focused their efforts into providing the most unique experience as they could, the idea behind the accommodation bookshop was to create a space where people would be able to do what they enjoy the most until they ultimately fall asleep. And for those among you that always drink something while reading, well you are sorted because you can get coffee and other drinks at the bar inside the hostel!

beds_photo_1Tokyo is not the only city to have a Book and Bed hotel, Fukuoka and Kyoto also have their own. If you cannot make it all the way to japan, you can check out their Instagram and get a glimpse of the magic of this place!

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20 of abandoned books leading to open a free library in Bogota!

Twenty years ago in Bogota, a man decided to save as many abandoned books as he could. José Alberto Guitierrez, to call him by his full name, drives a Garbage truck around the columbian city and found out that people threw away their books so he decided to save them by taking them to his house, this initiative got him the title of “Lord of the books”.

José Alberto driving his truck in the streets of Bogota. Credits : Guillermo Legaria/AFP

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With the house slowly being filled with abandoned books, José Alberto, along with his wife Luz Mery and their three children turned the ground floor of their house into a free library they called “La Fuerza de las palabras” (The Power of words in English). The library became famous very quickly, to the point that volunteers from all around the country (and even from abroad) came to Bogota in order to help José Alberto and his family. In addition to this library, Luz Mery came up with the idea of opening a “Hospital” for old and damaged books that she would fix with her sewing skills.

José Alberto became so popular in South America that he was invited to the International Book Fairs in Bogota, Monterrey (Mexico) and Santiago (Chile). Shortly after, book donations came from all over the continent to the point that their library now contains more than 25 000 books. With space becoming an issue for the family (The surface of the library being 90m² or almost 108 square yards), the reading sessions they held for the kids of the neighborhood stopped and the library only opened when someone knocked at the door to get a book.

José Alberto reading to the children of the neighborhood. Credits : La Fuerza des las Palabras fundacion

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The news of the Guitierrez’ free library reached one of the disarmament zones of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), who recently signed a peace treaty with the government thus ending 50 years of conflicts. One of the rebels reached out to José Alberto and his family to ask them for books so that they could prepare for their reintegration into the society.

Through “The Power of words” José Alberto wanted to show the world that not only people waste food but also books, and that this loss of intellectual nourishment was almost as deplorable as Food wastage. He also stated: “Books transformed me. So I thought that in places like these, it would be a symbol of hope, a symbol of peace”

If you want to know more about José Alberto and his family’s work, we invite you to visit their website!

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The Parthenon of Books, Art vs Censorship

It has been over two weeks since Documenta 14 officially started in Kassel, Germany. The people visiting the city for this 14th edition will have a chance to see a temple, similar to the Parthenon of Athens except that this one is made out of books!

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Volunteers helping for the construction of the Parthenon of books. Credits John Macdougall – AFP

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The artist behind the Parthenon of books Marta Minujin, famous in the south-american pop-art scene, wanted her creation to be a symbol of resistance against all forms of censorship; which is why only books that have been censored or banned at anytime throughout History have been used for its construction. Students from the University of Kassel helped the artist by picking 170 different books out of 70 000 (You can find the lists here)and asked for people to donate copies of the said books. Moreover, the location of the temple has not been chosen randomly since it is being built at the exact same spot where the nazis burned books of Marxists and Jewish authors in 1933.

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The artist refused to use any book encouraging racial or religious hatred such as Mein Kampft or others. Credits John Macdougall – AFP

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The Parthenon of books required the crazy amount of 100 000 books for its construction and is identical in size to the original one in Athens. Each book is put into a plastic bag in order to protect it from the weather. At the end of the event, the staff will be giving away all the books to whomever wants one. 

– Update – If you want to know more about the books that were used for the Parthenon of books we invite you to visit Documenta 14’s website where you will find the list of banned books.

Parthénon-livres-nuit-face
Credits – DPA

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Back in the days, we had bookmobiles!

Many of you probably don’t remember that time before Amazon!  Before even the internet was a thing, people still managed to bring books home though. Most of them went to the local bookstore or to the library, but what about the country folks or the people living in the suburbs ? The ones who did not have this chance?

Well just like Pepperidge Farm, BlookUp remembers!  Bookmobiles, were the solution to those who lived too far  away from the city and thus did not (or hardly) have access to the riches and joy that brought books. We have to travel back to the late 1850’s in Warrington (England) to see what is believed to be the first bookmobile, a horse-drawn van full of books. Behind this idea was a philanthropist, called George Moore whose project was to spread the goods of literature to the small villages around the city.

An old bookmobile pulled by a horse
The Perambulating library of Harrington in 1859, believed to be the first of its kind.

Needless to say people spread the word and the concept continued growing to the point of reaching the United States. Ultimately horses were replaced by cars, more efficient, and allowing the librarian to carry more books. Bookmobiles eventually reached the peak of their popularity in the mid 20th century before slowly disappearing.

Picture of a bookmobile in the 20's
Photo of a bookmobile in the 1920’s. Credits – Numismatic Bibliomania Society

However there still are a few of them out there, their goal remained the same: diffusing good literature and educating those who need it the most. Many libraries like San Francisco Public Library or Toronto Public Library have bookmobiles driving around the city, who knows maybe one day you’ll see one of these mobile libraries too!

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York’s olfactory guidebook!

smell-york-train

Humans’ sense of smell is often compared with that of other “more efficient” mammals such as cats, dogs or their wild counterparts, causing us to underestimate this very useful and powerful sense!

Not only do we sense things and can detect potentially dangerous foods or drinks!  But we also pair smells to images, sounds, memories and we are able to mentally project ourselves thanks to our perception of scents.

smell-york-guidebook
the guidebook is freely available at the Tourist Office…

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In order to play with this great human capacity, the York’s Tourist Office, in England, had the idea of gathering the smells of the city in a unique book called “Smell York”, in which you just need to scratch the paper pages to discover the scents of the streets, from the one hosting an authentic bakery to the one where are.

The local ghosts are living!

“In terms of how we chose the smells”, explains a spokeperson of ‘Visit York’ to the Daly Mail, “each section of the guidebook refers to a month of the year, from January to December, so some scents were chosen based on seasonality while others were chosen simply for their iconic status, such as the heather on the North york Moors.”

smell-york-heather
… But don’t expect to carry it everywhere you go!

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“We wanted to get across the wide variety of scents on offer in York, including some unexpected ones (like the smell of a ghost!) and showcase the city, its heritage and the surrounding countryside in a unique and quirky way.”

It is of course more interesting to smell the pages while being blindfolded in order to enjoy a recreational guessing game… Until one of the people you travel with makes you discover THE local fragrance. Clue ? York is a rural area where many horses live, and they provide something very useful for local agriculture…

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If you are more on the poetry side, you can smell tea and chocolate instead

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Here’s a good training that will sharpen your sense of smell and allow you to find your way all over the planet with only your nose’s help!

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Bookcrossing: Let your old books go and make them travel the world!

We all love our good old books, however, it comes a time when you don’t want to read them anymore, so you put them on your bookshelf and never touch them again, which is pretty sad. Luckily for you, we at BlookUp are going to tell you about a nice way of getting rid of your dusty pile of books!

The name is BookCrossing, it is website that allows you to let go of your old books and make them travel! The process is pretty simple: You first need to label the book you want to “set free” and register it on the website using the BookCrossingID written on the said label. Afterwards, all you have to do is leaving it somewhere you know it will be picked up, it could be at your local café, a table or a bench outside at a park….be creative! Once you get back home, saddened by the loss of your old book, you can keep an eye on it by entering the book’s BCID.

What a lovely BookCrossing house! Photo by Leisha Camden on Pinterest.

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If you don’t feel like releasing your book into the wild you can join on of the BookCrossing’s forums, tweet using #bookcrossing or directly  @BookCrossing to let the fellow bookcrossers know about your book!

The person who will pick up your book can type this code on the website and mark your book as officially “picked up”. Your book’s journey starts here! If one day you stumble upon a book that shouldn’t be here for any reason whatsoever, keep it mind that it is probably traveling the world just like your old book is so watch out for the BookCrossing labels!

 

Don’t forget to join the BookCrossing community:

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