Books, trees, pages and leaves


The NY Times explores this debate about how environmentally unfriendly a lot of publishers are who refuse to use recycled paper to print books. There’s a lot of books out there, which does mean a lot of dead trees. Some try to demand recycled paper, others ask their books to be printed in plastic. Read more here in Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time

It takes a lot of trees to make a lot of books, and Atlas Obsucra shows us a forest of one hundred thousand trees planted to be used as paper for books one hundred years in the future. Read more about the Forest of the Future Library

You can’t have a book without trees, but this article from Atlas Obscura takes that a step further. Artist Katie Holten has collected famous writings and poems about trees in her book About Trees. This anthology is remarkable too because alongside each piece of writing is a tree-translation. How is this possible? Holten has created a tree typeface, assigning a unique tree to each letter of the alphabet. Check it out over here in Read the Tree Leaves, With an Artist’s Invented Tree Font

This article from Atlas Obscura lists the 7 best famous literary trees from such books as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandHarry Potter, etc. Illustrations accompany detailed descriptions of these remarkable imaginary trees. Read about them in the article 7 Nominees for the Best Trees in Literature.  Not featured in this list is The Giving Tree, but Lit Hub’s article Literary Treeson?: A Revisionist Take on a Beloved Children’s Classic explores problematic messages in Shel Silverstein’s memorable tree tale.

Interested in reading more about trees? There’s a book for that! Check out one of our more popular titles at Browsers:

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Books and Treasure

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Here’s a collection of articles on the treasures found in books. While most of us bibliophiles will agree that a book is a piece of treasure in itself, there are plenty of literal treasures that can be found in, among, or around the pages of a book.

Atlas Obscura shows us glittery jewel-backed bindings of some of history’s more elaborately embellished books. Head over to their site to See the Most Luxurious Medieval Manuscripts in Existence

Reader’s Digest chronicles a curious miscellany of treasures found within the pages of books. Liberians share their discoveries ranging from money to risque pictures to crumbled Cheetos. Check out their article Bizarre Things Librarians Have Found in Returned Books

Atlas Obscura has a similar post to Reader’s Digest, where readers shared hundreds of stories about their surprising discoveries. Check it out here: The Best Things Found Between the Pages of Old Books

And here’s a blog called Forgotten Bookmarks– the blog curator is a rare bookseller, and every post is a photo and explanation of a new discovery (personal, funny, heartbreaking or weird) found within the pages of old books.

At Browsers, I’ve found a lot of sweet treasures, old recipts (from the 20s!) and photographs but my favorite things to find in books are pressed leaves.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island
Walt Disney

On Reading: aloud, in quiet, being read to, and forgetting how

From our newsletter, here are a handful of articles on the nuanced nature and history of the reading act.


Sourced from Quartzy

Quartzy’s post explores the history of reading. Originally a communal engagement, reading was done out loud. Silent reading was taboo–it suggested idleness and allowed for thoughts and reflections to form uncensored by religious scruple. Read more about how The Beginning of Silent Reading Changed Westerners’ Interior Life

After you contemplate reading silently for a moment, check out LitHub’s article on another form of reading out loud, but not communally. Pronounced legally blind at 16, LitHub contributor James Tate Hill grapples with another literary taboo–Do Audio Books Count as Reading? (We here at Browsers say yes they do).

Finally The Globe and Mail discusses a modern phenomenon–a kind of illiteracy we get from our swipeable, scrollable, saturating screen. Cell phones, computers, all our digital modern technologies, (you know the drill), restructuring our minds over-saturated by the omnipresent screen. Read Michael Harris’ article: I Have Forgotten How to Read 

PS If you find yourself nodding along in horror with this last article, there’s a book for that! Check out Catherine Price’s How To Break Up With Your Phone
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March Notes: A Construction Update

As soon as the stairs were torn out it was apparent that the floor upstairs was basically held up by a couple boards and a prayer. Last weekend we moved everything out of the back room – every book and bookshelf as well as everything I had hastily stored on the floor upstairs (brought down by ladder as there are no stairs). Movers came on Monday and hauled everything to a storage unit. The floor and ceiling came down the same day, and today the footings are being poured below the floor for the pillars. What a week. We will definitely be having a party when this is all over.

We were able to cancel or move most of the events scheduled at the store this month but there are still a few things going on. Our book club and poetry club will meet again this month in the front half of the store. The three events listed at the beginning of the newsletter will actually be in the next door space recently vacated by Thomas Architect Studios. The space is currently being renovated as an expansion for Fosbre Academy & Hair Salon and they are so very kindly letting us use it for our events.

In other less-fraught news, I have read some really wonderful books lately. Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir of growing up in a survivalist/fundamentalist Mormon family, deserves every bit of attention it has received. It’s a harrowing yet hopeful account. I finally read Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan – if you are in the mood to fall into a well-written historical novel, this is your book. I also really loved Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Father Gregory Boyle. Next up I am planning to read the first two novels in the Karl Ove Knausgaard seasonal quartet, Autumn and Winter, as well as the March book for our store book club, The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.

We are still open our usual hours and would love to see you. Whew, what a wordy update!

As always, I hope you are reading something good,

On Immunity: An Inoculation

Clare’s Staff Pick:

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On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

This is a beautifully patch worked text, weaving together literature, myth, medicine, science, history, philosophy, literary theory, memoir etc not seamlessly per-se but visibly, brightly, vividly. There are several threads that run throughout the core of this text, to which she returns again and again. My favorite are the parallels she draws between disease and Dracula, not necessarily an original comparison as it were but originally sculpted and integrated here by Biss. She challenges the prevalent militaristic metaphors in medicine and urges us to rethink vaccines and immunity without discounting or discouraging vaccinations. Her account is also brought to life as she throughout explores the challenges and fears of being a new mother in world of fatal diseases. In one breath she quotes both Wendell Berry and Donna Haraway while critiquing dominant metaphors in medicine.

Secondhand Time

Clare’s Staff Pick:

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Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

This is a grand collection of Russian voices speaking about the fall of communism and the rise of democracy in Russia. It’s spider-web like; the center of which is the fall of communism, and the many different interpretations, lives and stories of those living and affected by this great societal shift tendril out to create an epic woven tapestry of voices that might otherwise not have been heard. In her journalistic writing, I particularly appreciated the care which Svetlana Alexievich shows in scribing honestly these interviews. She will bracket and italicize their actions and behaviors: [She cries], [She gets pills out of her purse], [She is silent]… and Alexiovich lets the voices speak for themselves, without imposing her interpretation. Intimate, raw and real this book covers a wide scope of human experience revolving around a single momentous event.