Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, a billionaire, a philanthropist, and an amateur book club leader. He posted his summer reading list on his website, The Gates Notes. You won’t find any beach reads because Gates prefers nonfiction such as However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls and The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?. You can read the latter along with him.
The Guardian reports that the British Library has made its archive of world and traditional music available online. And it’s free for everyone. What might you hear? “There are Geordies banging spoons, Tawang lamas blowing conch shell trumpets and Tongan tribesman playing nose flutes. And then there is the Assamese woodworm feasting on a window frame in the dead of night.” You might also check out the British Museum’s free online image database. Here you’ll find thousands of images of paintings, etchings, drawings, and artifacts from every country and era of human history, easily searchable by era, country, artist, or subject. In using the database for dissertation research, I also found copyright permissions relatively easy to acquire.
“Between 1990 and 2014, visits to public libraries grew by a whopping 181%. For context, the population of the United States increased by 28% during that period.” Why the library boom? (via The Digital Reader) See also this paean by Daniel Penev in our own pages,“The Library Is Dead. Long Live the Library!”
New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
As a way of commemorating Philip Roth’s 80th birthday, the Newark Preservation and Landmarks committee is offering a $35 bus tour called “Philip Roth’s Newark.” Visitors will get a tour of “places recalled in Mr. Roth’s books” such as Washington Park, the Essex County Courthouse and “various spots in the Weequahic neighborhood where Mr. Roth was born and raised.”
“People who grew up loving From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler and Night at the Museum can now get pretty close to fulfilling their dream of spending the night surrounded by classic books and artworks.” Condé Nast Traveler reports on the hotel at Gladstone’s Library in Wales in Hawarden, Flintshire, where guests can sleep in one of 26 rooms with access to the stacks until 10 p.m.