Critical Linking: June 21, 2015

The tables in bookstores can be overwhelming: Every book cover looks appealing, every blurb glows with praise. Sometimes, you just need a recommendation from a human, someone you trust. Below, 10 members of the TED community — with very different points of view — share the books they think you’ll enjoy this summer. Their selections are wonderfully untethered to new releases and bestsellers, with a little something for everyone.

A really solid, diverse, well-curated selection of summer reading for every type of reader from TED speakers and attendees. I especially like how they’re arranged topically. Good stuff.


In a uniquely Borgesian twist, the megalibrary Vasconcelos contains more than your average worlds-within-worlds of knowledge, as it literally contains five libraries within its whole. 

Through its “City of Books,” architects re-envisioned the concept of what a modern library could mean, by dedicating separate rooms within the Biblioteca Vasconcelos to five of Mexico’s greatest intellectuals: Ali Chumacero, Carlos Monsiváis, José Luis Martínez, Jaime García Terrés, and Antonio Castro Leal. No two libraries are alike, raging from semi-traditional in design; take, for instance, how the Monsiváis personal library’s 1807 walnut appearance stands in juxtaposition to the light wood-LED-skylight aesthetic of politician Castro Leal’s room. Each man’s collection was assigned a separate design team, making the effect of wandering each truly distinct despite being housed within the grand, protecting umbrella of Biblioteca Vasconcelo itself.

Who is up for a trip?


One of the things that both delights and worries the booksellers of Hobart is the frequent comparison to the much larger and well-established book village of Hay-on-Wye in Wales on the English border. They don’t want to disappoint visitors. Even though they took loose inspiration from the village when they started opening bookstores, and like Hay, they added a festival and lecture series to its offerings, the scale is much different and always will be (Hay-on-Wye has a population of 1,900, and over 20 bookstores in town as well as other businesses). Its festival draws thousands. Hobart is a village of 441 and still is seeking a variety of businesses to help fill out the Main Street, like the planned English pub, to truly become a weekend destination.

The idea of a small town of under 500 having 6 bookstores is one I really like. I’d visit Hobart, New York.

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In a book lover’s life, there’s nothing as magical as a perfect, surprising recommendation from someone who just gets you. But finding those people can be tough! That’s where TBR comes in. Go here to find out more, or just click the image below: