From the Folio Society edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan. I’m teaching the Earthsea books right now; what a joy.
Perfect to hold in the hand, [the book] was neither too heavy nor large to deter handling, nor too light to feel insignificant. Until this moment I had never considered the physicality of a book for reading (though I could not read this book). It had a unity; the book as object. The cover of the book was not simply the type or the linen, it was also the boards themselves – which I realised was what appealed to me so much. They weren’t heavy and did not suffocate such a modest item. Instead they were light in weight and flexible to touch, so the book could bend, but was not as flimsy as a paperback; so it could fit in a pocket and not become burdensome. It is a book that, if I close my eyes, I still know its quality; it invokes the sense of touch. With its rounded spine, overhanging board and untrimmed page it has a human quality of manufacture.
You know who’s a great guide to our social-media landscape? David Hume, I say. I also have another forthcoming piece on how Hume explains our political divisions.
Paul Wood writes about trees in cities.
I usually don't post super-serious things here, but this post by Freddie is profound.
A photo essay on “the last wild river in Europe,” the Vjosa.
I’ve been reading the Library of America 2-volume boxed set Reporting World War II, and it’s absolutely extraordinary. Harrowing, heart-rending, fascinating. It’s expensive, but worth every penny if you can spare the cash. And right now it’s on sale!
In March of 1968, in Ottawa, Canada, a musician named Jimi Hendrix introduced himself to a singer/songwriter named Joni Mitchell. He noted that they were signed to the same record label (Reprise) and asked her if she might allow him to record her concert at a coffee house that evening. She agreed, and he arrived early and planted himself at the foot of the stage and recorded her whole show. Those recordings were lost for fifty years -- but were discovered, in a private collection, in 2021. Here’s one song from the set. Jimi could’ve been a pretty good recording engineer if he hadn’t had other things to do. After the show he told his diary that he loved the show and enjoyed making the recording. “Fantastic girl with heaven words,” he wrote.