Following the Thread - Great Book Design

When I was browsing in our local independent bookstore recently I happened to see a weighty edition of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women on the shelf in the children's classics section, and I grabbed it. It's on my list of parenting imperatives, of books I absolutely must read my daughters, and since Poppy is almost ten, I figure it's high time for Little Women.

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The Secret Life of Books

Ever wondered what happens inside the bookstore when the last staff member turns the key for the night?

Thanks to Sean Ohlenkamp, an associate creative director at Lowe Roche Advertising in Toronto, and about 25 volunteers, we now know!

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O Tannen...book!

This year my husband and I unwittingly purchased what can only be considered a "Charlie Brown tree". If you sneeze, it loses needles. There's a gaping hole in the back that we've awkwardly pressed up against the wall, and it leans in its stand. And though I'd be the first to admit we still love it, I had to wonder if David Maybury, co-editor of Inís magazine, didn't have the right idea! He (and friends) constructed a Christmas tree entirely out of Irish picture books:

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Crafty gift ideas for book lovers

Looking for a crafty gift idea for a book lover - how about about a pair of bookends?

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Brian Dettmer's Book Dissections

Let's play word association! If I say dissection what words come to your mind?

If you're anything like me it will be something like "biology lesson" and "yuk". Or, at least that would have been the case until a few months ago when I first encountered Brian Dettmer's three-dimensional book sculptures which he creates by dissecting his way through books to display their inner beauty. Working only with books that are no longer wanted such as old encyclopedias that are headed for the junk heap, Brian, with the help of just a knife, tweezers and a bit of glue and varnish, carves away the layers to reveal the book's inner beauty.

Here are a couple of his works based on single books:

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Literary map - great gift idea for booklovers

If you're looking for a unique and relatively inexpensive gift idea for a literary friend, you might want to wend your way to the Literary Gift Company, based in England but online at theliterarygiftcompany.com, for a copy of their USA literary map. Available as an 84x59cm poster (that's 33x23 inches to those in the USA) it's a fun and intriguing gift.

At first glance, it looks a simple enough concept - author names laid out to form a map of the USA. But the fun starts when you start to try to work out the reason for each author's placement. Not yet in possession of the poster itself (which costs £9.95, about $16, plus shipping) I had to resort to peering at the online version with the aid of a magnifying glass - and some of the positionings sent me scurrying to read up on the author.

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