Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: Susanna Clarke

England, early 1800s. The country is at war with France under Napolean. Magic—the practical kind, anyway—has not been seen in the land for hundreds of years. The only magicians left are theoreticians, men who had never caused a “leaf to tremble upon a tree or made one mote of dust alter its course”. But all …

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The World’s Oldest Library Reopens: The Guardian

Khizanat al-Qarawiyyin, located in the old medina of Fez, is widely believed to be the oldest library in the world, dating back to the ninth century. It was founded by the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Once it is restored, it will be open to the public. "'It was like healing wounds,' says Aziza Chaouni, …

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The Guardian’s Interview with a Bookstore: Parnassus Books

The Guardian publishes interviews with people who run bookstores. This one is  publisher Karin Hayes and writer Ann Pratchett, who opened Parnassus Book in Nashville, Tennessee, because Pratchett decided she could not live in a city without a bookstore. They even have their dogs on the staff! When asked about what the biggest surprise was …

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The Yacoubian Building: Alaa Al Aswamy

Peel away the outer layer of an apartment building and you’ll find a microcosm of life: people living in within a small space with their joys, sorrows, triumphs and despair, just a few feet away from each other. Sometimes the lives become tangled with each other, but more often than not they run on parallel …

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