WoW’s Dalaran Cupola Library vs. Real Round Libraries

Games, Geek out!, Stunt Double

I was browsing my WoW screencaps for something entirely different when my eye fell on two shots from the Dalaran inscription trainer’s place. (This is in the Legion version of Dalaran.) Both are actually from inside the book-filled cupola: the first looks up towards the impossibly high ceiling, the second down towards the trainers’ room floor.

WoW Dalaran Inscription Tr Book Dome2 Sm

Screencap from the Dalaran inscription trainer’s place in World of Warcraft.

WoW Dalaran Inscription Tr Book Dome Sm

Screencap from the Dalaran inscription trainer’s place in World of Warcraft.

Neat, right? Well, I wondered whether anyone’s actually done anything similar for real and hit the Internet. And I found some!


Stockholm Public Library in Stockholm, Sweden

The functionalist stadsbibliotek was designed by Gunnar Asplund and opened in 1928.

Flickr Marcus Hansson Stockholm Public Library

Marcus Hansson on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


Round Reading Room in the Maughan Library, King’s College London in London, UK

The Round Reading Room of Maughan Library, the main university library of King’s College London, can be found on the Strand Campus.

Wikimedia Kings College London Maughan Lib Round Reading Room Sm

Colin via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).


Picton Reading Room in Liverpool, UK

The Picton Reading Room, completed in 1879, is now part of the Liverpool Central Library.

Flickr Terry Kearney Liverpool Central Library Picton Reading Room

Terry Kearney on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).


A home in Toronto, Ontario

Designed by Katherine Newman and Peter Cebulak, this two-level library is in a private residence in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Architectural Digest Toronto Ontario Home

Tony Soluri via Architectural Digest.


The Octagon Room, Islamic Studies Library at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The library is situated in the neo-Gothic Morrice Hall building that previously housed the Presbyterian College of Montreal from 1871 to 1961.

McGill Islamic Studies Library Klaus Fiedler Sm

Klaus Fiedler, McGill Library.


None of them are exactly the same as the game library cupola, of course: apart from the the scale of the rooms, the scale and direction of the bookcases might differ. But apparently it isn’t terribly far-fetched to make a round multi-storey library and pack it chock-full. 😀

Images: Stockholm Public Library by Marcus Hansson on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Round Reading Room of Maughan Library by Colin via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). Picton Reading Room by Terry Kearney on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). Toronto home by Tony Soluri via Architectural Digest. Islamic Studies Library at McGill by Klaus Fiedler, McGill Library.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

April 2018 Reading Pile

Books & Mags, Geek out!

I noticed I haven’t featured my reading piles in a while. Here are the most photogenic books in my reading pile for the month:

Reading Pile Apr 2018

From left to right, Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker, The Stone Sky by J.K. Jemisin, Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff, Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines and Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko.

I’ve already read a bunch, too, including Space Opera by Catherynne Valente, Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer and The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson.

April 2018 Already Read

An honorary mention has to go to Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. It’s her debut novel, it was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her long fiction!

What are you looking forward to reading?

July 2017 Library Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Now that the Hugo Awards reading is aaallmost done, I’m looking forward to other interesting reads like these:

Library Reading Pile Jul 2017

All of the books above come from my regional library system or local library. Very nice!

(Anne Corlett: The Space between the Stars; Meg Elison: The Book of Etta; Nicky Drayden: The Prey of Gods; Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry; Karin Tidbeck: Amatka)

Spotted at My Local Library

Books & Mags

My local library has clearly made a concerted effort to update its collection, including science fiction and fantasy. Just about every month I see acclaimed but slightly older books on the new acquisitions shelf. This is what I spotted recently:

Local Library New Books Fall 2016

Two trilogies, one (Tao trilogy) by Wes Chu and the other (The Fall of the GasLit Empire) by Rod Duncan. The timing is especially nice for the Tao trilogy, for it was just announced that it’s being developed for tv.

Good times. 🙂

Banned Books Week 2016: September 25 – October 01

Books & Mags, This Is Important

The Banned Books Week just started. This year it runs from September 25 to October 01, and the focus is on diversity. 2016 Banner

Banned Books Week Coalition /

According to ALA, the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2015 are:

  • John Green: Looking for Alaska
  • E. L. James: Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings: I Am Jazz
  • Susan Kuklin: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
  • Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • The Holy Bible
  • Alison Bechdel: Fun Home
  • Craig Thompson: Habibi
  • Jeanette Winter: Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
  • David Levithan: Two Boys Kissing

James LaRue, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, wrote in a blog post Defining Diversity about the significance of diversity to the Banned Books Week:

“While ‘diversity’ is seldom given as a reason for a challenge, it may in fact be an underlying and unspoken factor: the work is about people and issues others would prefer not to consider. Often, content addresses concerns of groups who have suffered historic and ongoing discrimination.”

He further went on to identify a common thread why many of these ten books may have been challenged so often:

“In collaboration with other sponsors of Banned Books Week, we are highlighting the diverse content in the list of 2015 Top Ten Most Challenged Books. Talking about this commonality may offer some insights into the current concerns of those who challenge materials.

“For instance, four of this year’s titles clearly fall into the LGBT category: Beyond Magenta, Fun Home, I Am Jazz, and Two Boys Kissing. Three books deal with religion, and challengers’ suspicion of it: Islam in Habibi and Nasreen’s Secret School; and Judeo-Christianity in the Bible. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time centers on the disability of the main character, who is autistic. Call it neuro-atypical: a mode of cognitive processing and emotional responsiveness that falls somewhat outside of the norm. OIF staff agree that all of the above fall well into our common understanding of diversity.”

I don’t have time this year for a specific banned / challenged books project, but it occurred to me that in a way my 21 Authors project counts, because the ten newest books (from Lowachee down in the picture below) are mostly by women of color:

21 Authors Project 13 Newest Books

While to the best of my knowledge the SF/F authors on my list haven’t been challenged, book challenges or bans are just a tip of the iceberg. Publishing in U.S. in general is not the most hospitable of environments towards authors who fall outside the perceived norm, whether their difference is of gender, race, sexual orientation, neurotypicality, religion and so on. I’ll use race and gender as an example below.

People of color face many obstacles in getting their stories published that whites don’t. For example, children’s and teens’ literature has “a long way to go” before it reflects the existing diversity, both with regard to protagonists and authors (Cooperative Children’s Book Center). The publishing industry is still overwhelmingly a white business (Publishers Weekly, 2016). Young adult book covers have a whitewashing problem (School Library Journal, 2009; YALSA, 2012). In the speculative fiction market, the number of stories by black authors remains staggeringly low (Fireside Fiction, 2016). Books written by whites are reviewed more than books written by people of color (Roxane Gay, 2012). Also, books written by women are reviewed less often than books by men (Strange Horizons, 2015), which implies that books by black women are reviewed even less.

If talking about banned and challenged books matters, then talking about the obstacles faced by non-white authors also matters. Some of these obstacles, especially when compounded, amount to de facto silencing, which is what banning also is: a way to deny someone their voice.

One step towards redressing that silencing is to create demand for books by minority authors. Reading widely and trying new genres or authors is something we can all do, especially with the help of libraries.

I’ll finish with a short personal experience.

A couple of years ago I started consciously reading more books by women. That lead me to read more about the state of publishing and gender balance in the U.S. market, which lead me to consciously include more authors of color, more QUILTBAG authors and more disabled authors in my reading. As a result, I’ve discovered many, many talented, new-to-me writers to follow and so many books to be excited about. I am loving the fantastic stories and worlds I read nowadays. I haven’t even finished 21 authors yet, and I’ve already got my next reading project lined up.

In addition, my efforts indirectly lead to Husband’s first commercial short story publication. Most likely I wouldn’t have seen the call for submissions for the Hidden Youth anthology had I not started paying more attention to the publishing climate. Hidden Youth, in its turn, has introduced me to another new set of authors I want to check out. It’s a cycle I’m thrilled to be a part of.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A Samuel R. Delany Collection at Boston University

Books & Mags

Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center has a large collection from SF/F author, professor and literary critic Samuel R. Delany.

Flickr Houari B Sam Delany 2007

Samuel R. Delany “The Star Pit” 40th Anniversary 2007-10-02 by Houari B. on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

There are manuscripts, extensive journals, printed material from ca. 1959 to the present, correspondence, photographs, audio and video recordings and other material. Delany’s collection of underground comics is also housed at the research center.

The manuscripts include several unpublished and incomplete works of fiction and non-fiction alike. In addition, there are drafts of various articles, essays, stage plays, poems, screenplays, and public addresses.

Other material in the collection includes juvenilia, drawings and sketches, teaching materials and correspondence including letters from Leslie Fiedler, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin and Joanna Russ.

Sounds like a great resource! Unfortunately for the present, the research center hasn’t made any material available online. For more information, visit the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center website and the Samuel R. Delany collection scope description.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing. Because librarians rock! 🙂

This Little Library Is Much Bigger on the Inside

Books & Mags, Geek out!

Little Free Libraries aim to increase access to books for children, young people and their families.

This particular little library is certainly taking advantage of Doctor Who mythos!

Little TARDIS library via Little Free Library Project UK

Little TARDIS library via Little Free Library Project UK.

From the project website:

“The Little TARDIS Library will now embark on a tour of the UK sharing stories with children and young people to help promote their love of reading. Stocked with hundreds of classic books (because the Little TARDIS Library is bigger on the inside) it will be landing in schools, libraries and parks across the UK.

“The Little TARDIS Library is designed to engage children and young people and is scaled as such, being 1.2 metres high x 600 mm wide.”

Just lovely. 🙂 Best of luck with the tour!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Book Donation to Ferguson

Books & Mags, This Is Important

We’re in the middle of Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 03, 2015). This year I didn’t do a project like last year, but my BBW reading did make me raise my eyebrows.

According to the American Library Association, there are disproportionately more attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about communities of color from libraries and school curricula. Eighty percent of the 2014 Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books reflect diverse authors and cultural content.

Ferguson Book Donation

Earlier this year, I sent a book donation to Ferguson, MO public library as my appreciation for the work they did following the shooting of Michael Brown at the end of 2014: the duology Proxy and Guardian by Alex London. Having seen the latest ALA statistics for challenged books, I’m doubly glad I sent books with a POC protagonist.

Disclosure: Author Alex London was in my class at library school. I wasn’t paid or perked to mention his books, though; just passing along a good thing.