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Posts Tagged ‘AbeBooks

What’s better than that “new car smell”?…

 click here for video

From the fine folks at AbeBooks

Walk into a used bookshop and you will encounter the unique aroma of aging books. The smell is loved by some, disliked by others, but where does it come from?

A physical book is full of organic material that reacts with heat, light, moisture and – mostly importantly – the chemicals used in its production. The smell comes from the reaction of the organic material to these factors.

Chemists at University College, London have investigated the old book odor and concluded that old books release hundreds of volatile organic compounds into the air from the paper. The lead scientist described the smell as “A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness”…

More in the notes below the video; and more on book collecting, here.

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As we fondle our folios, we might send bucolic birthday wishes to Scottish-American inventor, naturalist, farmer, explorer, writer and conservationist John Muir; he was born on this date in 1838.  In 1849, the Muir family emigrated to the Midwest of the U.S., where Muir carved clocks and built curious but practical contraptions (like a device that tipped him out of bed before dawn), that won Wisconsin State Fair prizes (1860). But by 1867, he had begun travelling the U.S.– and developing his love for nature in general, and the Sierra Nevada in particular. In his later years he wrote extensively: 300 articles and 10 major books that recounted his travels, celebrated his beloved wild lands, and expounded his naturalist philosophy. Muir drew attention to the devastation of mountain meadows and forests by sheep and cattle, led the effort to establish the Sequoia and Yosemite national parks– and became the “Father of the National Park System.”

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. (source)

Written by LW

April 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

Reading outside the box…

The folks at AbeBooks— a large UK used book dealer– handle lots of volumes.  Lest the staff become jaded, they’ve created a virtual “Weird Book Room,” a repository of the odd and the curiously purposive.

One can find there, for example,

Bombproof Your Horse

The Pop-Up Book of Phobias

The Romance of Proctology

.. and so very much more!  (TotH to Daniel Finkelstein)

As we re-order those stacks on our bedside tables, we might recall that it was on this date in 1521 that there began what was surely the most delightfully-named event an elementary school history student was ever made to memorize:  The Diet of Worms.

A general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, it is most famous for the occasion it presented Martin Luther to affirm his views in the face of Imperial resistance, and for the resulting Edict of Worms– via which Emperor Charles V, declared: “For this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, whereupon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.”

Luther addressing the Diet of Worms

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