Category:
Books

Soviet Bus Stops

Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig has been on a mission to raise awareness of Soviet bus stops. He feels that they're an under-appreciated form of architectural art, "built as quiet acts of creativity against overwhelming state control." But he warns that they're disappearing fast due to demolition.

He collected together over 150 of his photographs in the 2015 book Soviet Bus Stops. More recently, a documentary film, again titled Soviet Bus Stops, follows his years-long effort to photograph the bus stops.

More info: Soviet Bus Stops







Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 14, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Architecture, Mass Transit, Books, Documentaries, Bus

Patience Worth

Pearl Lenore Curran wrote four novels and many poems, but claimed that they had all been dictated to her by a woman named Patience Worth who had lived over two hundred years earlier. So, A body of work that was literally ghost-written.

Info from Superstition and the Press (1983) by Curtis MacDougall:

For 15 years, 1913 to 1928, Mrs. John Curran of St. Louis, who lacked even a high school education, wrote four full-length novels and almost 2,500 poems that she said had been dictated to her by Patience Worth who was born in 1694 in Dorchestershire, England, migrated to the New World and was killed during an Indian attack during King Philip's War. The novels were well reviewed and five Patience Worth poems were included in Braithwaite's Anthology of Poetry for 1917, more than ones by Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell and Edgar Lee Masters. Patience, Mrs. Curran said, first made contact with her through the Ouija board one letter at a time; later she got words and sentences at a time.

Note: the Patience Worth poems were included in Braithwaite's 1918 anthology, not the 1917 one.



More info: Wikipedia, Smithsonian magazine

You can also find the Patience Worth novels on archive.org.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 12, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Literature, Books, Poetry, Paranormal

Don’t sit on your kids

I have a feeling that the author didn't intend for the title to sound funny.



Pittsburgh Press - Jan 18, 1985

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 23, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Children, Parents, Books

How many books do college students read?

We previously met Suellen Robinson as Miss Biological Research. Here she's posing by a stack of books that represents the number of books an average coed supposedly would read (back in the 1960s) during her four years at college. The number is 376.

Officials of the Renault car company somehow arrived at this figure when they decided to sponsor a National College Queen Contest.

To read that many books a student would need to finish two books a week during the school year, and a book a week during Summer break.

I'm skeptical that the average college student (either back in the 1960s or now) reads anywhere close to that number. Perhaps they're assigned that many (though even that seems a bit high), but they're not reading them.

Orlando Evening Star - Apr 29, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 19, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Education, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia, Books, 1960s

Gilbert Young, most rejected author ever

Gilbert Young first came to the attention of the British press in the 1960s as a crusader for a single world government. He ran repeatedly for various political offices but never won an election.

Below is an ad he placed in the papers seeking new members for his "World Government Party."

Bristol Daily Press - Jan 29, 1964



But his real claim to fame came in the mid 1970s when the editors of the Guinness Book of Records learned that, for years, Young had been trying to get his book published but had only received rejections from publishers. His book, World Government Crusade, had, by 1974, been rejected 80 times. So Guinness listed him in its 1975 edition as the record holder for the "greatest recorded number of publisher's rejections for a manuscript."

Bristol Daily Press - Sep 26, 1974



Guinness Book of Records 1975



For over fifteen years Guinness continued to list him as the holder of this record. Every few years it would update the number of his rejections. By 1990 his book had been rejected 242 times.

Guinness Book of Records 1991



I thought that perhaps Young's book would now be available to read or purchase somewhere on the Internet. But no, as far as I can tell it's still unavailable.

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 14, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Eccentrics, Politics, World Records, Books

Making Pigeons Pay

Wendell Levi's book is about how to make make money raising pigeons. Not about getting revenge on them. Though the latter would doubtless be a more interesting book.

You can read the entire book for free at the Internet Archive.



Browsing through his book, I learned that squab is the term for pigeon meat. (I'm sure most WU readers knew this already, but it was news to me). I've never eaten squab. Nor can I recall ever seeing it for sale in a supermarket, or on a restaurant menu. But it's readily available online, such as at squab.com.

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 06, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Farming, Books

Anne Carroll Moore and her Doll Nicholas

The famous children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore was wont to tote around a doll named Nicholas and make people interact with it.



She eventually wrote a whole book (300+ pages) about Nicholas: Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story.

You can read the book here.

I have tried in vain to find a real photo of Nicholas. However, here is his depiction from the book.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 05, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Books, Libraries, 1920s, Dolls and Stuffed Animals, Mental Health and Insanity

Face-O-Metrics

Jessica Krane was the inventor of "face-o-metrics." This was a technique for removing wrinkles by stroking your face. At least, Krane claimed that wrinkles would disappear.



I like that the blurb on the jacket of her book declares, "BASIC WOO is for you— and so is EXTENDED WOO!"

'Basic Woo' was one of her wrinkle-removal techniques, but of course 'woo' can also mean bunk, poppycock, etc. Was the highlighting of this word some kind of surreptitious message to readers from a copywriter?

My Macbook's dictionary notes that the meaning of 'woo' as bunk originated in the 1970s "probably in imitation of a wailing sound traditionally attributed to ghosts and humorously associated with mysticism and the supernatural." So, since Krane's book was published in 1969, 'woo' wouldn't have yet had it's modern meaning. Still, an odd coincidence.



You can read Krane's book online at archive.org.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 29, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Books, 1960s, Skin and Skin Conditions

One Hundred Proofs That the Earth Is Not a Globe

Bone up on your arguments for this perennial topic!

Read the 32-page book here.





Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 19, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Eccentrics, Gonzo, Demento, Kooky, Wacky and Out-there, Pseudoscience, Books, Nineteenth Century

Sedimentary Geology and the Civil War

I'm sure Hippensteel's new book (Sand, Science, and the Civil War) is quite interesting (especially if you're a Civil War buff), but the extreme narrow focus of his argument made me laugh. From a review:

It "describes the influence of sedimentary rocks and sediments on the tactics employed by both armies during the Civil War and the effects of these materials on the weapons, fortifications, and landscapes from the conflict". Hippensteel believes that "sedimentary geology and sedimentary rocks were important on far more battlefields than either igneous or metamorphic rocks," and that this influence "has been underappreciated by historians."

More info: University of Georgia Press

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 01, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: War, Environmentalism and Ecology, Books, Nineteenth Century

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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