Critical Linking: August 3, 2014

Converted into a cinema in 1929, the building that houses El Ateneo underwent its most recent rebirth into a bookstore in the early 2000s.

Stunningly photogenic and vast, the majestic former theater retains its century-old ornate architecture and decor.

The stage and theater boxes have been converted into reading spaces.

Let’s take a trip to the coolest bookstores in the world.


YA definitely doesn’t mean a solely young adult readership, unless we elide (or are charitable about) the “young”. At YALC, Meg Rosoffrevealed that 55% of YA titles are bought by adults. Presumably, some of these are gifts for teenagers, but casting an eye down the average Tube carriage reveals YA titles aplenty, read with absorption by those who won’t see 15 again. The “crossover” phenomenon incenses clickbaiters with nothing better to worry about, and induces much taking up the cudgels on YA’s behalf in return. Of course there’s plenty of bad young adult fiction out there – formulaic, unchallenging – but there’s plenty of bad grown-up fiction too, and no one is lumping together the whole body of books marketed to adults to dismiss it as pointless, probably female-authored, escapist tripe. (Nick Lake, defending Twilight at YALC, remarked that successful YA books written by women tend to draw opprobrium in a way that men’s work doesn’t.)

What does “YA” really mean? Does it matter what it means? Are we muddying things up even worse when we try to pin down a definition?


The mysterious magician Svengali appears in George du Maurier’s novel Trilby (1894) in which he uses hypnosis to transform the title character from a tone-deaf laundry-worker into an operatic diva. Du Maurier’s novel was immensely successful at the time of its publication (selling more than 200,000 copies in America alone in 1895), which doubtless helped to popularise not only the use of Svengali as a nickname for an illusionist or hypnotist, but also helped to gave Trilby hats their name.

When a character is memorable enough, sometimes their names become descriptive terms in our language. Talk about a story that lives on.


the little bride


This is what happens when pop culture is reimagined as children’s books.

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