In a Pew Research Study, millenials score big on reading books:

Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older.

As a group, Millennials are as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past 12 months, and more likely to have used a library website. Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older.

And the sweetener in our morning cup (emphasis mine):

Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that.

There is hope. Keep up the good work.

geek meditation panel © Nitrtozac and Snaggy
via Geek Culture

[h/t to ebookPorn (!) for the lead in to the story...and the image...]

kerning def
Can you tell me why this is an example of bad kerning?

fckering lights
Design lesson complete. Take the rest of the weekend off…

[h/t to the Creative Bloq for the image...]

Neil Gaiman is interviewed about publishing and the Hachette/Amazon controversy:

If you could tell Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, one thing, what would you say to him?

I think it would be more complicated than just one thing. I think it would be reminding him that Amazon began life as a bookstore online. And then it became an anything store. And now it’s the biggest anything store in the world. And I don’t know if that’s true, but I assume that Amazon could stop selling books tomorrow and it’s bottom line probably wouldn’t hurt that much.

But I would point out that books are special, books are the way we talk to generations that have not turned up yet. The fact that we can actually, essentially communicate with the people in ancient Egypt, people in Rome and Greece, people in ancient Britain, people in New York in the 1920s who can communicate to us and change the way we think, and change the things that we believe.

I think that books are special. Books are sacred. And I think that when you are selling books, you have to remember that in all the profits and loss, in all of that, you are treading on sacred ground.

 It’s Friday…what book will you be showing some respect to this weekend?

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 6.13.19 AM Portrait of author Jean Miélot, d.1472

Author Ted Thompson weighs in on MFAs and the pursuit of writing:

When it comes to writing, the difference between a hobbyist and a professional isn’t really money. Instead, I’ve found the difference is more internal than external, an issue of priority and persistence and self-seriousness, all of which I also understand are things that can be difficult to maintain when the demands of work and family and laundry (always laundry) are pressing on you, and especially when it feels like nobody else believes in you. It would be a little disingenuous of me to imply that every acceptance I have received hasn’t acted as a kind of lifeline, a reason to keep going, or that they still don’t. They do, of course they do. But I guess what I’m saying, mostly to myself, but also to you and to anyone else who might be struggling with this, is that you don’t need a book deal for your commitment to your writing to be valid, you do not need a grant or a residency or an MFA. All of those things are nice, and by all means you should go after them, but I guess what I’m saying is that you do not need permission. You give yourself permission, one day at a time, you find the hours and protect them, you treat them as important and they become important, you treat your work as valid and it becomes valid.

I still think the day I became a writer was not the day I sold my book, nor the day I was accepted to a la-di-da program. It was probably the first time I set an alarm and actually got out of bed, when I went to the kitchen and ground the beans and poured the water, and most importantly when I told myself to sit down and get to work because this mattered.

ted thompsonTed Thompson
photo via Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop

by Patrick McDonnell

From William H. Gass’ essay, Gutenberg’s Triumph: An Essay in Defense of the Book:

We shall not understand what a book is, and why a book has the value many persons have, and is even less replaceable than a person, if we forget how important to it is its body, the building that has been built to hold its lines of language safely together through many adventures and a long time. Words on a screen have visual qualities, to be sure, and these darkly limn their shape, but they have no materiality, they are only shadows, and when the light shifts they’ll be gone. Off the screen they do not exist as words. They do not wait to be reseen, reread; they only wait to be remade, relit. I cannot carry them beneath a tree or onto a side porch; I cannot argue in their margins; I cannot enjoy the memory of my dismay when, perhaps after years, I return to my treasured copy of ‘Treasure Island’ to find the jam I inadvertently smeared there still spotting a page precisely at the place where Billy Bones chases Black Dog out of the Admiral Benham with a volley of oaths and where his cutlass misses its mark to notch the inn’s wide sign instead.

first lessonFirst Lesson
Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

[h/t to Biblioklept for the lead-in to the essay...]

Don’t know why but I became obsessed with the cursive capital letter “G”

It was the middle of the night in the middle of a dream about baseball and cars. I suddenly became obsessed with the cursive capitals since I couldn’t remember how to make the “G”. I knew it had a loop at the top but didn’t remember where the rest of the letter went. I also knew that all the lines had to be connected in an elegant returning curve but the memory of it was gone. Now understand I haven’t used cursive since the 7th grade when I abandoned it in favor of block lettering. Not sure why I became the rebel with that cause – my handwriting wasn’t that bad and my marks in penmanship were worthy of note.

I remembered being challenged by my 7th grade social studies teacher, a severe man who wore the same brown suit, white shirt, patterned tie and thick black glasses every day when he stood with chalk in his hand at the blackboard lecturing us on history. I sat in the front – for behavioral reasons – and when he saw my blocky handwriting he stopped the class to lean over my binder.

“Why aren’t you writing in script?”, he demanded holding the chalk as if his weapon of choice.

I shrugged, as I usually did under pressure, and told him it was faster.

“You can’t keep up with me like that!” he said throwing the gauntlet down. I shrugged again which, in those days, was an infuriating gesture to anyone who stood in front of the room or at the head of the table.

“We’ll see,” he said and clicked his heels (or so I remember) and returned to the blackboard.

He started his lecture again, went on for a moment or two, then abruptly stopped.

Walking over to me with his weapon still in hand, he slid his glasses up onto his forehead, leaned down, and looked at my notebook.

Squinting his eyes, he stared at my handwriting, then stood up, harrumphed his glasses back on his nose, walked back to the blackboard, and never bothered me again.

And I never used cursive again.

But now, unnecessarily needed, decades later, I fought with the cursive letter “G”. The anxiety only became worse as I realized that I forgot the capital cursive for “H” as well. Then “D” disappeared. I remembered that “Q” was the oddest letter although the “F” may have been a stranger one. The magic of cursive was never lifting your hand off the page but how do you make an “F” or an “H” without doing that?

So the first thing I did this morning was try to find the cursive capital alphabet. It was a relief to see the letters again and yes, the “Q” was odd.

Yet the oddest letter by far was the capital “Z”.

But you knew that didn’t you…



Full cursive chart can be found here including instructive animation…even for the letter “Z”…

Full charts and practice sheets are here…you’re going to need them…




- Bernadette Jiwa, The Story of Telling

shoemaker2Vissarion a shoemaker at work
Pyotr Konchalovsky, 1926

No better way to say it…


About the state of things lately – not the typo I mean. Sometimes there are too many things in the pot for it to go to a boil. Sometimes you can’t get the heat high enough. Sometimes the pot was left on the stove too long and it boiled out. Bottom line – there ain’t no soup.

In other words –  I’m stuck.

Now you’ve got the picture.

Be back soon.

[photo originated from Pinterest...but turned up in a Seth Godin post on why that typo might matter...]


– from an interview with film-maker Werner Herzog

Werner-HerzogWerner Herzog in Los Angeles.
Photograph: For The Guardian by Dan Tuffs

[The first film of his I had seen was Aguirre, The Wrath of God with Klaus Kinski. Then Fitzcarraldo, again with Kinski. Quite an impressive combination of actor and director. Both worth viewing...again...]

© Bill Israel

What I'm reading now...

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