Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived, the project asks.
It was a long flight, and one woman had brought Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese to occupy herself. When she got to the book’s saddest passage, she started sobbing. “I mean complete, shameless, snot flowing down my face sobbing,” she says. That’s when another woman sitting across the aisle from her handed her a tissue she had been holding in anticipation of this moment. “I read that book a few weeks ago, and I knew you were getting close,” she said.
This is one of many anonymous stories about books that has been told to Ishmael, of the site Call Me Ishmael, since it launched in June. The premise is simple: Anyone can call the site’s phone number and answer the prompt, “Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived.”
Ishmael, who is voiced by TED-Ed director Logan Smalley, turns one of those voicemails each week into a video by sticking his iPhone to his typewriter with silly putty and running a transcription of the message through the roller to the speed of the audio. From a single prompt, the site has unleashed a wide range of stories.
The pages of The Drinkable Book are made with silver nanoparticle-coated paper that filters 99.9% of bacteria, such as cholera, E. coli and typhoid from contaminated water. Invented by Carnegie Mellon researcher Dr. Theresa Dankovich, the paper costs pennies to produce per page. When someone receives the book, they tear out a filter, place it in the filter box that encases the book, and pour water through.
One of the most unique and little-noted features of the dead-tree reading platform is its smell. A crisp new edition of Pride and Prejudice is scented a whole lot differently than the musty, middle-aged printing still being read in many a high school English class today.
But what causes these smells? A UK chemist and teacher who runs the blog Compound Interest, an exploration of everyday chemical compounds, went to investigate and came up with an infographic to explain the matter.
If you’ve ever read—or, more likely, tried and failed to read—James Joyce's Ulysses, you’re familiar with the sense that the swirling mass of words is deliberately taunting you with its obscurity. Ulysses can be a fun, funny book, but even the most diehard fans would acknowledge that it’s also supremely frustrating. It’s a book that always forces you to think about reading. And so goes Ariel Malka's new app, which plays on the act of reading without really being a reading app.
Every kid loves a flipbook. It’s magic, at first sight, the way flipbooks bring sketches to life one frame at a time. But, horribly, flipbooks might also represent one of the first of many disappointments in a kid’s life: Pages run out, the animation stops dead.
Now, artist Juan Fontanive has discovered the equivalent of flipbook immortality, or maybe the fountain of flipbook youth.