Some fun book-reading statistics from 2018
What are you reading today?
from Global Citizen
By Gina Darnaud APRIL 27, 2016
Every weekend, the children in Afghanistan cannot wait to welcome the teacher Saber Hosseini!
In Afghanistan, access to education is obstructed by a lack of resources and this is especially true in rural areas where the nearest school may be hours away. Saber is trying to change this unfair reality with his “bicycle library” that offers children in these communities the opportunity to access a world of knowledge.
Literacy is one of the most accurate measures for predicting a child’s future. Unfortunately, where a child grows up often decides her access to education.
Saber is a schoolteacher in Bamiyan, the capital of the Bamyan province in central Afghanistan, which is one of the most poorest provinces in one of the poorest countries. Its mountainous geography and barren land often make education inaccessible…but that doesn’t stop Saber!
Many schools were destroyed through the violence of the past several years and children from remote villages were often forced to drop out, reversing earlier educational progress that had been made.
Saber came up with the idea for a bicycle library six months ago. After conversations with friends in literary circles, Saber was able to raise enough money to purchase 200 books. Working with volunteers, Saber traveled to the Iran border to purchase most of the library’s books because the publication of books in Afghanistan is severely limited.
Now six months later, through the support of communities and people around the world, the library has grown to 3,500 books and Saber has even opened the first public library in Bamiyan.
The literacy rate is on track to rise again all because because of a library stationed in a box on one man’s bicycle.
In the beginning of the project, Saber admits that he and volunteers would choose simple books, but now many of the children are able to read more advanced ones. The library has become so popular that some of adults are even using the library service and checking out advanced level children’s books.
Each time he visits a community, Saber speaks to the children about an important topic. He most commonly speaks of peace, the dangers of drugs, and the need for tolerance between people with different beliefs or cultures.
One time, he spoke to children about guns, and used the slogan “say no to guns, say yes to books.” The next time he returned to the same village, the children collected all of their toy guns and handed them over to Saber. This was a heartwarming gesture, but the kids wanted to bargain: they would forfeit their guns if they could be the first village in the next round of book deliveries so that they could get the first pick.
Saber has brought joy to many communities, but there are costs to his endeavor. He has received many threats and many have opposed his caring works. Even still, Saber continues to make room for the opportunity to learn. A library is more than just a pile of books, it is also a community of individuals willing to learn and discuss and grow.
Saber makes this library possible with his little bike, but in Afghanistan a bike is actually commonly seen as a negative object. The Taliban used to use bicycles in their bombing techniques, but Saber is rehabilitating the image and reassociating it with practicality and fun.
“When I hand the books out to them, I can see their excitement and joy,” Hosseini said. “It is the joy of being able to learn. I am also inspired.”
The power of education is something we should hold on to just like Saber did and still does.
Bats Act as Pest Control at Two Old Portuguese Libraries
It’s not clear how long the bats have been doing this important job
For their new book, The Library: A World History, architectural historian James Campbell and photographer Will Pryce travelled the world to documentary of the architecture of book storage. And they found that libraries, writes Campbell, “can be much more than the dusty, dark wooden shelves.” Indeed, as The Boston Globe‘s Brainiac noticed, in a couple of cases, Campbell and Pryce found that these age-old institutions act as houses for not only books, but bats, too.
At Biblioteca Joanina and the Mafra Palace Library, both, curiously, located in Portugal, and both built in the 18th century, small bats, about an inch long, act as guards against book-eating insects. The Globe reports on the bat-friendly places:
In an email, Campbell explained that the bats, which are less than inch long, roost during the day behind “elaborate rococo bookcases” and come out at night to hunt insects which otherwise would feast on the libraries’ books. The price of this natural insect control is paid in scat: The bats, Campbell writes, “leave a thin layer of droppings over everything. So each morning the floors have to be thoroughly cleaned…and the furniture has to be covered at night.”
It’s not clear how long the bats have been doing this important job, but Portugal, at least, is letting them take care of scaring away the book-eating bugs ( and probably certain human bookworms, too).
10 Book Dedications to Make You Smile
by Shan Williams Jan 16, 2017 from For Reading Addicts
When you open the pages of a book for the very first time what do you do? Do you read everything that is available to you or are you a skipper? Do you ever read the dedications? I do, especially as now I have the honour of being mentioned in a dedication and also as we at For Reading Addicts appear on the back cover blurb for another.
Ever since I began reading these little gems from the many authors whose books I’ve read I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how much many of our favourite authors share with us in those final few pages before the back cover is closed and some of them are outright hysterical. Take a look at these book dedications and then make sure you keep an eye out for any humorous ones you come across in your day to day reading.
Short, sweet, and to the point. Fair enough Mark, but I still read the book.
Always listen to your grandmother; she knows.
How amazing to know that there is someone out there who knows just exactly how you feel.
Embrace your inner Titan Rick.
You can see into my heart Jen.
You’re right Neil, we love you too.
Come on Jenny, let’s not beat about the bush; say it like it is.
Nothing better than proving someone wrong is there.
You blew it Mr Darcy, you had your chance and you blew it.
I’ve often heard of mystery book buys where the book is wrapped in brown paper and you purchase it purely on the basis of how the first line of the book sounds, I wonder if anyone has ever bought a book just because the dedication caught their eye?
from The Independent
NETHERLANDS MAKES TRAINS FREE ON NATIONAL BOOK DAY FOR THOSE WHO SHOW A BOOK INSTEAD OF A TICKET
Special book given out as gift to readers during National Book Week is accepted instead of ticket
Jon Stone 4/1/2019
Dutch book lovers got free rail travel across their country’s entire network this weekend as part of the Netherlands’ annual book week celebrations.
Every year since 1932 the Netherlands has encouraged reading with Boekenweek– a celebration of literature marked with literary festivals and book signings across the country.
Traditionally, a well-known Dutch author writes a special novel – the “book week gift” or Boekenweekgeschenk – which is given out for free to people who buy books during the festivities or sign up to a library.
But the special book – this year the novel Jas Van Belofte by celebrated author Jan Siebelink, can also be presented instead of a rail ticket on every train in the country on the Sunday of book week.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch state railway company, has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities – and even organises book readings signings by top authors on its trains.
“It is good to see all those happily surprised faces of travellers,” author Jan Siebelink said after boarding a train for the city of Utrecht to meet passengers and read his book.
“We are talking about everything, including their journey. A traveller just said he was on his way to Velp, my birthplace. Often there are also children and I naturally hope that they start reading. That’s what we do it for.”
Murat Isik, who wrote the annual bookweek essay, a companion to the novel, added: “How incredibly beautiful and dynamic to meet readers on the train. Unfortunately, this is also the end of Book Week. A week full of wonderful meetings and conversations.”
This year the book week gift was given out by bookshops to anyone who spent €12.50 on Dutch-language books.
The state rail company, which has now been offering the annual free travel promotion for 18 years, said in a statement: “NS has a warm heart for reading, because reading is one of the favourite ways to spend time on the train.”
“That is why we have been the main sponsor of a number of reading campaigns for years, including Book Week.
“On Sunday 31 March, the Netherlands travelled en masse for free by train on presentation of the Book Week Gift, written by Jan Siebelink.”
NS is not the only railway company to accept physical objects in lieu of payment. This time last week for a week UK rail company Virgin Trains offered a 1/3 discount to passengers aged 18-30 who presented an avocado to ticket inspectors, as a dry joke about the delayed Millennial Railcard.
Check out the Memorial Day reading list from Powell’s City of Books.
Another in an occasional series of Little Free Libraries in Southeast Portland.
I went bike riding the other day and stopped at Cartlandia for lunch. Of course, no matter how many times you go, you have to walk through the whole place and see what’s new, what’s different, what moves you today. Pancake Underground is in a different spot, but they’re still hosting a Free Library. From their website: “We took the original oven from the 1957 Jewel trailer that became our food cart, for instance, and made it into a free library for the community.”
Of course, I hadn’t thought to bring any books with me to drop off, and my bike basket was full of stuff already for the rest of the trip. I’ll have to make another lunch date out there!
It’s actually part of my paying job to share this message. from Gowns, on Tumblr
Happy Birthday, Edward Lear! Thank you for all your Nonsense!
Portlanders who frequent Nossa Familia Coffee—a Portland-based roastery with three local cafes and one in Los Angeles—should dust off their thermoses.
The local chain announced today that it will be the first Portland coffee shop to add a 25-cent extra charge to orders served in disposable to-go cups. The extra fee will be implemented starting Earth Day, April 22.
Karen Lickteig, the company’s marketing and sustainability director, says the charge is an effort to reduce waste.
“Every year, 50 million cups are thrown away in Portland alone,” Lickteig says. “The charge on cups is about sending a message that this item is wasteful.”
The company also plans to start building free cup libraries at its cafes, where customers can donate mugs for people to use when they forget a reusable cup. People who bring in their own mugs will be given a 25 cent discount.
Augusto Carneiro, Nossa’s founder, says he was nervous that instating the charge would turn customers away but “knew it was the right thing to do.”
“Our goal isn’t to shame people or make them feel bad about paying the charge,” Carneiro says in a statement. “The real goal here is to help people think more consciously about their decisions, and offer a little nudge to help them make a better one for the planet and our community by using a reusable cup over one that becomes trash.”