Monday News: Old books, new books, closed books, and library books
Romance Novels Brought Me Closer To My Mom, Even After She Was Gone – What a lovely essay by Adam Winter, whose mother was a Romance reader. After her untimely death, he struggles with his own embarrassment at her reading tastes, eventually tackling her books himself, in an effort to understand what his mother loved about them. And in the process, he not only learns to appreciate the appeal of Romance, but he also gains a better understanding of and appreciation for his mother.
I rummaged through the duffle and picked up the most battered book – Born in Fire by Nora Roberts. When I opened it, sentiment spread out before me. It begins in a small-town Irish pub “among friends and laughter.” A father and daughter share a dance and then, a few pages later, he dies in her arms on a cliff overlooking roaring seas. I rolled my eyes, but despite myself I couldn’t stop. Maggie Concannon, the lead, is what we’d all want to be: independent in work and life. She’s a fiery artist with no need of a man or collectors, but fully capable of having both when she feels like it. Then along comes the wealthy and handsome Rogan Sweeney. “Sex and power generally depend on the woman,” Maggie tells him early in the book, and Roberts devotes the book’s nearly 400 pages to making a case for it.
I’m sure my mother liked Maggie Concannon. I did, too: I read to the neatly-tied happy ending. Later, I bought the two sequels (arguably, even better). – Bustle
Judging a book through its cover – Terahertz radiation is making it possible to view a book’s contents through its cover, which is a boon for museums and other curators of fragile books. The algorithms that interpret the letters can also penetrate website captchas, which gives the technology a double edge, but all of its potential and potential applications have yet to be identified.
“The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this, because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don’t even want to touch,” says Barmak Heshmat, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab and corresponding author on the new paper. He adds that the system could be used to analyze any materials organized in thin layers, such as coatings on machine parts or pharmaceuticals. . . .
At the moment, the algorithm can correctly deduce the distance from the camera to the top 20 pages in a stack, but past a depth of nine pages, the energy of the reflected signal is so low that the differences between frequency signatures are swamped by noise. Terahertz imaging is still a relatively young technology, however, and researchers are constantly working to improve both the accuracy of detectors and the power of the radiation sources, so deeper penetration should be possible. – MIT News
San Francisco Couple Opens Little Free Library Writ Large – Rick and Megan Prelinger have been collecting books and other literary and historical resources for almost 35 years, and their private library is now so substantial that they have decided to allow public access to its materials. The library itself is more than ten years old, and the Prelingers have been focused on building a collection of historical materials that allow for both primary and secondary research.
The Prelinger Library is full of things that most libraries would have tossed out. It includes 30,000 bound objects, 60,000 loose sheets of paper, and 10,000 magazines. Showing off one of their prized books, Megan beamed, “To show a food futurist the volume of the Candy Industry Journal can formatively blow their mind.”
The library is open to the public and free. It’s funded by donations. Because many of the copyrights have expired, visitors are welcome to copy anything in the collection. – The Digital Reader/ABC News
Gird Your Loins: There’s About to Be a New “Fifty Shades of Grey” Book – I don’t even know what to say.
Although “Fifty Shades” was originally supposed to be a trilogy, James released a fourth book from the troubled lothario Christian Grey’s POV in 2015 and on Saturday, she took to her official Facebook to release an excerpt from yet another new book, tentatively titled “Fifty Shades Darker from Christian’s Point of View.” She is hoping the book will be released sometime in 2017. – Cosmopolitan