The Little Blue Books That Made French Literature Mainstream

In 1602, brothers Jean and Nicolas Oudot were printers in Troyes, and sustainably minded to boot. Using recycled paper from previously published books, the innovative printmakers created low quality, travel-sized brochures, protected with covers made from used sugarloaf packaging the color of faded denim. These updated editions of classic texts (think fun-sized SparkNotes) this small-format printing model birthed were thus named livres bleus (blue books). Blue books, and the broader Bibliothèque bleue (blue library) publishing house, were made possible through the Oudot brothers’ association with the family of Claude Garnier, who was a Renaissance-era printer of popular literature himself, primarily for the king of France.

Continue @ Atlas Obscura

Music streaming is fueling vinyl’s resurgence

Streaming has been blamed for killing off the CD, but industry experts agree it’s helping bolster the growth and quality of another physical music format: vinyl. Since 2015, streaming income has eclipsed CD sales, and the likes of Apple Music and Spotify have become major players in the music industry. This year the Recording Industry Association of America reported that 75 percent of music revenue in the United States came from streaming services. In the past three years, vinyl sales in the US have steadily risen about $2 million annually.

On paper, it doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone buy an album they can only listen to in one specific environment, when for half the price of a new record, they can put it and millions of others in their pocket and listen anywhere?

Continue @ Engadget

With ‘Motown Magic,’ Netflix Brings Soul Music to a New Generation

Musical history has never been as accessible as it is in the streaming era. At the same time, it’s remarkably disposable: A recent study by the British Phonographic Industry revealed that music from the Sixties accounted for just 6.4% of all streams in the U.K. in 2017. Streamers prefer the recent past by a stunning margin: Music from the 2000s accounted for 60.4% of listening.

Numbers like that add urgency to the imperative to preserve the oldies, and that’s part of what drives the new Netflix show Motown Magic, which uses classic-era Detroit soul music as the basis for an animated children’s adventure series. “I want to make sure that in 10, 20 years, kids are still talking about this music,” says creator Josh Wakely. “It’s Shakespeare; it’s Dickens; it’s Tolstoy. It’s that good, and that’s the reason it stuck around.”

Rolling Stone

3 Ways Music Heals the Soul

Modern society is teeming with stress. Given the extensive demands on both our personal and professional lives, this probably comes as no surprise. What might be surprising, however, is the discovery that ongoing stress over expanded periods of time can lead to certain irregularities in the stress response system. This, in turn, can give rise to a range of conditions including high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and depression. Thus, it is essential for people to be able to cope with stress on a daily basis.

Enter music therapy, which has been gaining increasing popularity as an effective way to combat stress. Using music to improve health has been well-documented. But how does listening to music actually relax us? This question was the focus of a recent study led by Kenichi Itao of Juntendo University in Japan. In order to pursue this inquiry, Itao and his collaborators built on previous research and devised an experimental procedure in which participants arrived at the laboratory, took a seat, completed a short test. From there, they listened to five minutes of silence, followed by three minutes of music, followed by five more minutes of silence.

Continue @ Psychology Today (blog)

Meet the designers behind some of the world’s most beautiful hotels

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The dazzling mosaic-bar of Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, the Italian-chic, cinema-themed Paper Moon Giardino restaurant in Milan, the beach resort chic of the Rosewood Sanya in China.

They’re all the work of a Hong Kong duo, interior designer Ed Ng and architect Terence Ngan, who founded their business AB Concept 20 years ago and have forged a career creating some of the swankiest hotel spaces around the globe

To celebrate two decades of work, the pair’s greatest hits have been compiled into a new book, “AB Concept: A cultural journey through light, form and space,” published by Assouline.

Continue @ CNN

 

Amtrak Is Having a 2-for-1 Sale on Private Roomettes So You and a Friend Can Cross the Country in Style

Travelers looking to take a train ride past some of America’s most beautiful scenery in comfort and privacy can now do so for a fraction of the price with Amtrak’s roomette sale.

Amtrak is offering a two-for-one-deal on its roomettes — private rooms with their own large panoramic windows, sleeping accommodations, and a range of amenities.

Continue @ Travel+Leisure

 

12 things you should know before traveling to Italy for the first time

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Somewhat spontaneously and mostly out of sheer exhaustion, my significant other and I booked a nine-day trip to Italy. Partly due to the fact we had booked our tickets a few weeks before our trip, we didn’t prepare ourselves the way we normally do before traveling to another country.

Here are 12 things that you absolutely need to know before traveling to Italy if you’ve never been before.

Continue @ INSIDER

Highlighting the unseen artists behind comic books

Rob Stull says black comic book artists have always been in the industry, they just haven’t gotten the visibility they deserve.

Growing up in Brookline as a comic book geek, Rob Stull devoured iconic titles like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, and Batman.

As an African-American, he was especially enthralled by Black Panther and X-Men’s Storm, as well as other characters of color in Green Lantern. Stull assumed — correctly, of course — that even these superheroes of color were mostly created by white men like Marvel’s Stan Lee.

Continue @ The Boston Globe

National Geographic explores fiction for first time with new kids book series

Exacad Cha 1 Spot

For 130 years, the name National Geographic has stood for exploration of science and culture in the real world. Now, in an unprecedented move, Nat Geo’s kids division is exploring the world of fiction to spur children to learn more about their planet.

On Sept. 4, Nat Geo will debut the first in its seven-book children’s fiction series, Explorer Academy. The initial installment, Nebula Secret, will roll out in the United States and more than a dozen other countries that include the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Taiwan and Turkey. Subsequent books in the series will be published every six months.

Continue @ USA TODAY