Tag: culture

Check Out These Fourth of July Recommendations!

 

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just to make sure you’re out there living your absolute best life! This week, we’re taking a break from the usual routine to bring you some summer reading for the 4th of July! Here are some reading recommendations as you relax on a beach, prepare to lounge by the pool, or take in the fireworks!

 

Image via Amazon

 

5. Shapes of Native nonfiction edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton

 

Shapes of Native Nonfiction by Elissa Warburton is a collection of essays that helps us remember America’s first people, the Indigenous Americans, even as we celebrate our own independence from British rule. This collection features a full range of dynamic Indigenous talent designed around the theme of lyric essays. Featuring imaginative and well regarded talent putting on a full range of work, this collection is one to read about America’s heritage and certainly a relaxing read beneath the warm skies.

 

Image via Amazon

 

4. Because Internet by Getchen McCulloch

 

Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch is a good book to get yourself back into the internet swing of things in a relaxing fashion. This book defines the language and slang of the internet for not so savvy internet users, as the internet is making language change faster than perhaps our brains can keep up with. The author helps unpack the evolution of digital language, providing a survey of everything from the appeal of memes to the true meaning of ‘LOL.’

 

Image via Amazon

 

3. Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman

 

Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman is a rock and rolling book about reliving the turbulent days of youth. Goldman was Bob Marley’s first UK publicist but also wrote searing music reviews in the 70s and 80s. She now turns her pen to telling the stories of female music writers and women’s relationship to the music that defined generations. She tells stories of the genre’s rebel women such as Bikini Kill, Nehen Cherry, and activist punks. Goldman’s book explores their lives, capturing the spirit of rebellion to get you pumped for July 4th.

 

Image via Amazon

 

2. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

 

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino is a collection of essays revolving around our own self-destruction, fueled by the rise of social media and our increased isolation. You might not think that’s an optimistic, breezy read, but the author tackles the essays with humor and grace, tackling challenging topics with easy to understand context. This may be a little more challenging, but if you’re looking for a way to truly stop your self-reflective sense of self-delusion and self-destruction, this is the read for you.

 

Image via Amazon

 

1. A Death in the rainforest by Don Kulick

 

A Death In the Rainforest by Don Kulick discusses what it means to truly study another culture that is not your own. It tells of Don Kulick, who went to the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language, Tayap. Over thirty years, he documented the slow death of Tayap and the look of vanishing death. The story tells not only of Don’s illuminating look into the native language, but also the white society’s reach into the farthest corner of the Earth, and Kulick’s realization that he had to stop his study of the culture altogether.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon

 

Belgium Monks Make Beer History with Recipe from Lost 1700s Book!

According to The Guardian, Father Karel Stautemas, “in the presence of the town’s mayor and 120 journalists and enthusiasts,” made a startling announcement.

 

The 'Aliens' Meme

Image Via Cactus Hugs

The abbey, which Reuters notes has a phoenix emblem ‘with the Latin motto ‘Ardet nec consumitur’, meaning ‘Burned but not destroyed’,” was burned down in 1798 by French secular revolutionaries. As a result, the 12th century recipe was thought to be lost, but turns out the recipe, along with 300 others books, had been smuggled out and hidden within ancient archives.

Thus, Father Karel Stautemas told the awaiting crowd that, after “four years of research into the methods of monks that brewed beer in the Norbertine monastery” they had recreated the beer.

Hooray!

 

Father Karel Stautemas, subprior of Grimbergen Abbey, sips a glass of the rediscovered medieval beer in front of a stained-glass window symbolically depicting the phoenix

Image Via The Daily Mail

It seems that after rediscovering the recipes, the Monks called in some volunteers to read the old Latin and old Dutch, who revealed that the newly-discovered recipe had “details about the original monks’ brewing methods, specifically their use of hops rather than fermented herbs, which put the monks ahead of many of their contemporaries”.

The monks got to work. They did their best to keep the brewing as authentic as possible, such as using “wooden barrels and exploitation of particular local soil”, but changes had to be made. The Monks used only a few selected methods for brewing from the old manuscripts given that, as Master brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon explained to Daily Mail, “[i]n those times, regular beer was a bit tasteless, it was like liquid bread’”.

Who wants to drink liquid bread except for the person sitting to your left, dear reader?

Plus, changes keep in line with tradition, according to Father Stautemas, who said that that the monks of ancient times “kept on innovating” and thus “changed their recipe every ten years”.

 

2016, Abbot Erik de Sutter of Belgium's Grimbergen Abbey tastes a beer

Image Via UK Reuters

And this wasn’t their first rodeo. In 1950s the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre, located at Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium, were approached by local brewer Maes. Since then, the abbey has famously created and worked with commercial brewers to “to use the Grimbergen name and emblem on its ‘abbey beer’.”

The ale won’t be available for mass consumption until the late 2020s, but maybe that’s a good thing. The Daily Mail warns us to “be careful” because “the new ancient brew – at 10.8 per cent alcohol content it’s likely to blow your cassock off.”

Personally, I’d take my chances

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian

A New York Public Library Card

I Lost My Library Card Just in Time for Culture Pass

Several weeks ago I lost my library card. At one point it was in my wallet and then it was gone. I have no leads on its whereabouts. Presumably, it could be anywhere along the east coast, following I-95 from D.C. to New York City. Blown away on an illiterate wind. Realistically, it’s probably stuck in some sidewalk crack or floating in a puddle under the subway tracks. 

 

I know that if somebody has found it, they haven’t used it. Online, I see that I have no new checkouts aside from the two books I took off the shelves almost sixteen weeks ago and keep renewing with the hope that I will find the time to sit down and read them. What kind of monster would checkout books on somebody else’s library card?

 

The reason I haven’t gotten a replacement library card is twofold. First, I think I owe the library a fifty cent late fee, which I am loathe to pay. And second, I don’t want to wither under the scorn of the librarian who has to jump through the bureaucratic hoops to get me my (hopefully complimentary) replacement card. Which is a shame because you can now use a New York Public Library card to get into museums and other cultural destinations for free!

 

The Met

 

As a transplant from Washington, D.C. to New York City, I have been spoiled by the Smithsonian Institute and its dedication to intellectually enriching Washingtonians for free with tax dollars from the rest of the country. It was minor culture shock to see admission prices at the doors to many New York based museums, which is why I am glad I can visit some of these places without spending any money. My inner cheapskate penny pinches for joy.

 

The list of included institutions is pretty expansive, including the likes of the Whitney, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), and the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) to lesser known spots like the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island. Time for a Himalayan exhibition!

 

 

Feature Image Via The New York Public Library

Church of Scientology

The Author Who Holds the World Record for Most Publications Is Not Who You Think It Is

The most published author of all time has officially been declared by The Guinness Book of World Records (and, surprisingly, it’s not the king of fiction himself, Stephen King) as none other than the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

 

Take a second to breathe that in; it’s shocking, alarming, and even a little unsettling, I know. 

 

Over the past few years a plethora of Scientology documentaries have been released on HBONetflix, Amazonhulu, and more, making L. Ron Hubbard a bit of a household name. 

 

But, if you happen to be unfamiliar with Hubbard, or Scientology in general, here are some of the basic things you should know:

 

L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. He spent much of the first part of his life working as a fiction writer, gaining notoriety for his science fiction and fantasy short story contributions to pulp fiction magazines in the 1930’s. He also had works published under romance, adventure, western, mystery, aviation, and mystery, and even wrote the screenplay for the Columbia Pictures feature film, The Secret of Treasure Island.

 

In 1950, Hubbard went on to publish a series of “psychological self-help” books entitled Dianetics. Dianetics is a system of levels to work your way through that are stated to help remove psychosomatic disorders by eliminating dangerous or harmful images from your mind— the process involves sitting in a room with an “auditor” who interrogates you, forcing you to reveal your innermost thoughts, past traumas, and any secrets you may have so that you may erase that part of your mind and reach contentment, awareness, and sanity. Dianetics would become the foundation of the creation of Scientology.

 

In May of 1952, Hubbard finally launched his, now infamous, cult-like religious system, Scientology. Scientology is stated to be a system of graded courses and levels to work through with the goal of self-awareness, spiritual fulfillment, and super powers beyond that of any normal, everyday human. The entire process of working through the levels typically takes decades and costs around $500,000 (graduation from the program alone is $100,000, and additional $100,000 fees are given to anyone who speaks publicly about the practices). Once you’ve reached the final level, you are said to gain magical abilities such as telekinesis, immunity from all illnesses, superior senses, and mind control. (No scientologists to date have reported ever witnessing someone reach this final, mystical level and gain said powers.)

 

By the time Hubbard opened The Church of Scientology on February 19th, 1954, he already had a steady following of loyal and believing scientologists ready and willing to join.

 

And, by the time the 1960s rolled around, Hubbard had found himself the leader of a worldwide movement containing thousands upon thousands of members (some celebrity members have included and continue to include Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Moss, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, and John Travolta).

 

As the years went on and more was revealed about Scientology and what was really going on within The Church, investigations were launched against Hubbard, forcing him to spend his remaining decades living in hiding.

 

L. Ron Hubbard suffered a stroke and passed away on February 24th, 1986, leaving behind a powerful, sinister legacy of systems still in place today (The Church of Scientology is stated as currently having around 25,000 members, with numbers in a steady decline).

 

Even in death Hubbard is still managing to make headlines; since his passing he has been awarded three separate records through The Guinness Book of World Records, and still holds the titles today:

 

1. Most Published Works by an Author1,084 publications

2. Most Languages Translated to by an Author: 71 languages

3. Most Audiobooks Recorded by an Author: 184 audiobooks

 

 

The strangest thing about all of this is that Hubbard feels like some sort of evil super-villain we can’t defeat; Scientology has caused a lot of pain for a lot of people and, though it’s numbers are decreasing, there are still many people following it today. The Church has a scary amount of power, making it extremely dangerous and nearly impossible for members to ever leave; and it’s all thanks to L. Ron Hubbard, the man who turned simple science fiction stories into an infectious, disease-like-religion that seemingly can’t be stopped.

 

But, if we can’t tear Scientology down in it’s entirety, the least we should be able to do is beat Hubbard’s World Records and get him off the list.

 

So, get to writing, we’ve got publications to stack!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via The Los Angeles Times

SNOOP DOG READING

5 Smokin’ Books to Celebrate 4/20

As a token of our appreciation for our wonderful readers, we wanted to give you some spaced out books to read this holiday season regardless of if you partake in the festivities. These books will fire up your creativity and spark that epiphany some of the more bookish smokers are looking for. Enjoy responsibly.

 

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

 

Fear and Loathing

Image Via idwpublishing.com

 

Hear me out. This drug induced trip will mix fact and fiction and soon you’ll be as gonzo as Dr. Gonzo himself. This book gives an alternative lifestyle of people trying to live their American Dream. Who knows, you may find yourself along the way.

“We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.”

 

2. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés

 

Although some of you may want to go on a creative journey, some of y’all would rather spend your time indica-couch. For these dreamers, a nice picture book would do just the trick. And hey, it doesn’t hurt that it’s funny. We recommend the dramatic reading by none other than Samuel L. Jackson himself.

 

3. The Scratch & Sniff Book of Weed by Seth Matlins, Eve Epstein, illustrated by Ann Pickard

Scratch and Sniff

Image Via Konbini.com

 

For those of you who are looking for a learning experience, you can go from not knowing the difference between Grape Ape and Purple Haze, to being able to identify a strain by smell alone. Get Canna-busy with this masterpiece!

 

4. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

Nights at the Circus

Image Via Amazon

This crazy surrealist 80s novel will take you on a trip with Sophie Fevvers, a winged woman who soars away from her life to joins the traveling circus. Carter plays with the classic fairy tale genre to create a postfeminist work of magical realism. Oof. That’s quite a lot to ingest! But I guarantee you won’t regret this kooky adventure. I recommend you get lost in the craziness.

 

5. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass

Image Via poets.org

 

I just read this for class and let me tell you that Whitman was definitely on something when he wrote it. His unhinged poetry embodies freedom, just like his whacky use of the “I,” transcending, person, and body, and place. Side note isn’t he handsome?

I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.
Loafe with me on the grass

He’s literally talking about hanging out with his soul on the grass. It doesn’t get much more trippy than that!

 

A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

 

Featured Image Via Drewgossip.com