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The Floating Bridge of Dreams ★★

The Floating Bridge of Dreams was written by Ota Nampo. Born into a samurai family, he expressed his literary talents in satirical forms, such as kyoka and kibyoshi. The focus of this story is Eitai Bridge. Two hundred meters long and six meters wide, it was the biggest bridge in Edo. In 1807, during the Fukagawa Hachiman festival, the bridge collapsed under the weight of sightseers who had flocked from all over Edo. Over 400 people died. They included a woman who went to the festival to spite her unfaithful husband. In the wake of the accident, painful farewells and chance meetings fill the city with drama. In this level-headed account, Nampo looks at the causes and effects of an unprecedented disaster.

和訳: 1808年頃に書かれた「夢の浮橋」。作者は大田南畝(おおた・なんぽう)。武士の家に生まれ、狂歌や黄表紙といった滑稽のジャンルで文芸の才能を発揮した。舞台となった永代橋(えいたいばし)は、隅田川にかかる全長200メートル、幅6メートルの江戸第一の橋。1807年、深川八幡宮の祭礼で、江戸市中から見物客が詰めかけたことが原因で永代橋が落下。400人以上の犠牲者を出した。夫の浮気の腹いせに、祭りに出かけ亡くなってしまった妻。事故が生んだ別れや出会いのドラマが街にあふれた。この未曾有の大参事を、南畝は冷静にみつめ事故の実態と意味を書きとめた。

From NHK’s J-Bungaku

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Der Struwwelpeter ★★★

Translation:

Just look at him! there he stands,
With his nasty hair and hands.
See! his nails are never cut;
They are grimed as black as soot;
And the sloven, I declare,
Never once has combed his hair;
Anything to me is sweeter
Than to see Shock-headed Peter.

Der Struwwelpeter (1845) is a popular German children’s book by Heinrich Hoffmann. It comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior in an exaggerated way. The title of the first story provides the title of the whole book. Literally translated, Struwwel-Peter means Shaggy-Peter

Hoffmann, a German psychiatrist, wanted to buy a picture book for his son for Christmas in 1844. Not impressed by what the stores had to offer, he instead bought a notebook and wrote his own stories and pictures.[2] Hoffmann was persuaded by friends to publish the book anonymously as Lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder mit 15 schön kolorierten Tafeln für Kinder von 3-6 Jahren (Funny Stories and Whimsical Pictures with 15 Beautifully Coloured Panels for Children Aged 3 to 6) in 1845. It was not until the third edition in 1858 that the book was published under the title Struwwelpeter. The book became very popular among children throughout Europe, and, writes author and researcher Penni Cotton, the pictures and characters showed a great deal of originality and directness.[2]

Struwwelpeter has been translated into several languages. The first English translation appeared in 1848. Mark Twain‘s English translation of the book is called “Slovenly Peter.” A link to an English translation of the entire book ishere.


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World’s Best Bookstores ★★★

Thank you, Mieko, for sharing this with me.

10) Hatchards in London

Although the bookshop of Cambridge University is technically the oldest bookshop in Britain, Hatchards of Piccadilly, which has been trading since 1797, is definitely the most aristocratic. Not only does it boast three royal warrants, meaning it supplies books to Her Majesty, it has counted Disraeli, Wilde and Byron among its regulars. Today it retains the spirit of days past, with an interior described by one follower as “reminiscent of being inside a rambling old house, with six floors of small rooms all linked together curling around a central staircase.”

9) Keibunsya in Kyoto

If you love bookshops even where you can’t read the language, thenKeibunsya in Kyoto needs to be on your list too. Some say it’s the lighting, others the well-proportioned panels around the walls. Or perhaps it’s the little galleries embedded in the bookshelves. Most agree it’s just the quiet dignity of the place that’s hard to beat. Lots of pretty Japanese art books to marvel at and a few English language ones as well.

8. El Péndulo in Mexico

The Polanco branch of Pendulo in Mexico City has long been known as one of the best ways to beat the heat in the largest city in the world. Although it only has a small English language section, its open architecture populated with several trees makes for an excellent afternoon’s escape. In honesty, as popular for its excellent cafe as it is its books.

7) Posada in Brussels

Located in a dear old house near St Magdalen’s church in Brussels,Posada Books is as famous for its pretty interior as it is for its collection of new and second-hand art books. Has a remarkable collection of exhibition catalogues, which goes back to the beginning of the last century, and holds occasional exhibitions too.

6) Scarthin’s in the Peak District

Of course, others might prefer the altogether more earthy beauty of a shop like Scarthin Books in the Peak District. Scarthin’s has been selling new and second-hand books since the mid-1970s. It has rooms full of new and old books, a delightful café and what can best be described as a small exhibition of curiosities on the first floor. It is a bookshop so beloved, that it advertises local guest and farmhouses on its websites where devotees can stay overnight.

5) Borders in Glasgow

The might of the Michigan-based megastore may make a lot of independent booksellers fearful, but few book lovers can fail to be beguiled by the neo-classical architecture of its behemoth Glasgow branch. Originally designed by Archibald Elliot in 1827 for the Royal Bank, Borders has occupied a prime spot on Royal Exchange Square since the millennium and won over many of the city’s book lovers. People reading on the steps outside have become as much a feature of Glasgow as the traffic cone on the head of Wellington’s statue. Well, almost. Would have been higher on my list if the aesthetic magnificence of the building had in any way been matched by the interior.

4) Secret Headquarters comic bookstore in Los Angeles

A mere profiterole to the fabulous layer cakes of Porto and Buenos Aires, but the Secret Headquarters more than holds its own. Nestled in the creative cluster of Silver Lake, just east of Hollywood, this boutique store offers a sophisticated alternative to most of its rivals and has a reputation for being one of the neatest, friendliest comic stores anywhere. Canadian science fiction author Cory Doctorow rates it as thefinest in the world.

3) Livraria Lello in Porto

Proving that purpose-built bookshops can be every bit as beautiful as converted buildings, the divine Livraria Lello in Porto has been selling books in the most salubrious of settings since 1881. Featuring astaircase to heaven and beautifully intricate wooden panels and columns (see for yourself with these gorgeous 360-degree views), stained glass ceilings and books – lots of lovely books.

2) El Ateneo in Buenos Aires

All the world’s a page at El Ateneo, a bookshop converted from an old theatre in downtown Buenos Aires. As you can see from this photomontage the El Ateneo has retained its former splendour, with high painted ceiling, original balconies and ornate carvings intact. Even the crimson stage curtains remain part of the show. Comfy chairs are scattered throughout, the stage is utilised as a reading area and café, and even better, the former theatre boxes are used as tiny reading rooms.

1) Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht

What does a city do with an 800-year-old church with no congregation? Well, it could make like the Dutch and convert it into a temple of books. The old Dominican church in Maastricht was being used for bicycle storage not long ago, but thanks to a radical refurbishment by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod it has been turned into what could possibly be the most beautiful bookshop of all time. The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, which opened just before Christmas, retains the character and charm of the old church, while being fitted with a minimalist and modern interior design that overcomes any suggestion of fustiness. From the images you can find on the web you can see that it is abookshop made in heaven.

This article was taken from:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jan/11/bestukbookshops

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