medieval-tome

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In 2007, the small town of Urueña, Spain decided to become a Villa del Libro, or a town of books. This is what it looks like.

Imagine a small medieval town behind a high wall. A castle stands on one end, and all around are vineyards and fields of wheat. Imagine that within the walls the entire town is devoted to reading and writing. Imagine that the entire town is, in essence, one magical bookstore.

One of many European wonders, this fairytale for bibliophiles exists in Spain. The place is called Urueña, and it is only a two hour drive northwest from Madrid. The town sits within a medieval wall, surrounded by vast plains, in the region of Castilla y León. In recent years, it has transformed itself into a Villa del Libro, a village that celebrates books.

Fewer than 200 people live in Urueña, according to the 2014 census. But these few villagers run 12 different bookstores, meaning that there’s one bookstore for every sixteen or so people. Some are general interest shops; others specialize in old and rare books. One focuses on the region of Castilla y León, another on children’s books. A shop called El 7 Bookshop specializes in books about bullfighting. Another concentrates its collection on books about wine, and this one is called The Cellar.

In addition to the bookstores, Urueña is home to an institute of ancient calligraphy that offers classes in the old writing techniques found in medieval handwritten tomes. Similarly, the Artisan Book Binding Workshop of Urueña holds seminars on how to physically create and unite the spines, covers, and pages that make up books

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This Small Village In Spain Is Home To More Books Than People

By John on January 12, 2016

In 2007, the small town of Urueña, Spain decided to become a Villa del Libro, or a town of books. This is what it looks like.

One of the old medieval gates leading out of Urueña, Spain’s Villa del Libro. Image Source: Flickr

Imagine a small medieval town behind a high wall. A castle stands on one end, and all around are vineyards and fields of wheat. Imagine that within the walls the entire town is devoted to reading and writing. Imagine that the entire town is, in essence, one magical bookstore.

One of many European wonders, this fairytale for bibliophiles exists in Spain. The place is called Urueña, and it is only a two hour drive northwest from Madrid. The town sits within a medieval wall, surrounded by vast plains, in the region of Castilla y León. In recent years, it has transformed itself into a Villa del Libro, a village that celebrates books.

Fewer than 200 people live in Urueña, according to the 2014 census. But these few villagers run 12 different bookstores, meaning that there’s one bookstore for every sixteen or so people. Some are general interest shops; others specialize in old and rare books. One focuses on the region of Castilla y León, another on children’s books. A shop called El 7 Bookshop specializes in books about bullfighting. Another concentrates its collection on books about wine, and this one is called The Cellar.

In addition to the bookstores, Urueña is home to an institute of ancient calligraphy that offers classes in the old writing techniques found in medieval handwritten tomes. Similarly, the Artisan Book Binding Workshop of Urueña holds seminars on how to physically create and unite the spines, covers, and pages that make up books.

One of the twelve bookstores in the small town of Urueña, Spain. Image Source: Flickr

Urueña also boasts five well-run museums. Naturally, there’s the Museum of the Book and Writing and the Story Museum. But there is also the Ethnographic Museum, run by a local scholar of regional folklore, Joaquín Díaz, that’s set in a 18th century mansion. The nearby Museum of Music houses ancient and valuable instruments from across Europe and around the world. Finally, the e-LEA Centre hosts exhibits and lectures on literature and writing. While already a center of learning and history, Urueña made a conscious decision to become a Villa del Libro in 2007. It joined the International Organization of Book Towns and modeled its re-branding after cities like Hay-on-Wye in Wales or Brevedoort in the Netherlands where tens of thousands of tourists come every year for literary festivals or simply to look through the second-hand shops. So far Urueña is the only internationally recognized “book town” in Spain. At present, Urueña attracts 40,000 bibliophiles to its narrow medieval streets every year. They cross the vast plains of Castilla to search through old tomes; listen to lectures on writing and take classes in calligraphy, and of course to talk to one another about the pleasures found in books.

killians-dimples  asked:

CS + forced to share a bed (kisses, muffin.)

(for you, my peach pie, anything. + a side of fake relationship because whoever turned down fake dating).

The door has already shut behind them and Emma has kicked off her heels with a deep sigh, exhausted and ready to be off her damn feet after an endless day spent trawling through a succession of Paris museums, galleries, libraries, collections, antique shops, and bookstores, in fruitless hunt of the stolen manuscript she’s been tasked to track down. And even though the euro has almost equalized with the dollar, to the point where she happily doesn’t feel like she’s paying a second mortgage (well, mortgage – a second would imply that she had a permanent home) when she buys a coffee, and even though her compensation is going to be in the high five figures for this, she’s still of the opinion that she’s not getting paid enough. If she’d known that she would be working on the case with him – Killian Jones, wealthy London art dealer, outwardly respectable but has a finger in every seedy black-market backroom pie, hell, he probably stole the damn thing and is cooking up this entire wild-goose-chase to make millions on its return – she would have asked for double.

“Uh,” he says from behind her, just then. “Swan?”

Emma keeps her back sedulously turned. She’s had to pretend to be his beautiful blonde arm candy all day, and she isn’t the mood to humor whatever stupid thing he has to say now. Killian Jones is well known and slavishly welcomed at all of their destinations, the kind of doors only money can open, but it would be odd for him to be accompanied by some suspiciously undercover-agent-looking American woman – unless, of course, she was Monsieur Jones’ la petite ami. So she has to hang on his arm and pretend to adore him (him with his ridiculous eyes, even more ridiculous hair, unmentionably offensive face, obnoxiously excellent French, and other revolting flaws of character) until he can distract the proprietor, and she can case for anything out of the ordinary. She knows better than to ask why they can’t just refer this whole thing to the Gendarmerie. Her clients are not the type of people who appreciate the police.

“Swan?” Killian says again, slightly more insistently. “Were we planning on this?”

“What?” Emma snaps, turning around halfway through shucking her sweaty pantyhose, about to start fumbling in her suitcase for something more comfortable (by which she means sweatpants, and categorically not anything else). Then she lays eyes on the situation, and feels as if she’s missed a step going downstairs.

Of course this would be the night that the bed and breakfast mixes up their booking. They’ve come from Rouen, where they managed to share a room (they’re supposed to be dating, after all; separate rooms would be suspicious) but happily kept to separate beds. But apparently the Parisians either did not get the memo that it was supposed to be one room with two beds, or have archly decided to ignore it. And this being France, whatever the opposite of customer service is appears to be the national pastime (though she’s heard it’s not as bad as it used to be). No way does she want to go downstairs and argue in her ninth-grade French with the front desk about it, but when faced with the prospect of having to sleep in the same bed as him… this is for show, for business, and that’s been uncomfortable enough as it is… this is supposed to be the time where she can forget about pretending, put on her headphones and ignore him…

(Not that she thinks he’d take advantage of it. He flirts with everything female and breathing, which is more than happy to return the attention, but he’s been a surprisingly perfect gentleman with her. Another of those aggravating character flaws. She’ll just have to live with it.)

(No, she is not complaining too much, even considering that her current job is to be paid a lot of money to run around the world’s most romantic city with apparently the world’s most attractive man, trying to find a priceless stolen manuscript. Has to find out if it’s a ring of professional art thieves, or perhaps an inside job, a disgruntled employee or vigilante scholar. There are millions of euros and several powerful interests at stake here. It’s important. She needs to focus. She is right to be upset about anything that could be a potential distraction.)

“Fuck,” she mutters at last, finding it the only appropriate way to encompass the situation, and reaches wearily for her heels, not relishing the prospect of cramming them back onto her blistered feet. “Fine. I’ll go ask them.”

“No, love, you stay here. I’ll do it.” His teeth flash at her in one of those white smiles that definitely do not do anything unwelcome to her insides. “I speak it better anyway.”

So he does. Asshole.

———–

Forty minutes later, Killian returns with an exasperated look on his face and the news that the front desk is très désolé, but the hotel is full up and they cannot ask anyone else to change. He doesn’t say so, but Emma gets the sense they are also amused at this apparent prudishness. Sleep in the same bed – what will it do? Kill you? With such a beautiful companion? (If you say so, Monsieur. We regret the inconvenience very much, Monsieur. Now go away so we can smoke and talk shit about Sarkozy.)

The distant sound of traffic hums by beneath their window. Bicycles rattle past on the cobblestones, and streetlamps pool wreathes of gold against the deep-blue summer sky; it’s almost ten PM, but still not quite dark. The air is warm when she opens the window, can see the distant silhouette of the Eiffel Tower stamped on the horizon, hear the sound of laughter from sidewalk cafes. It’s oddly comfortable. Alluring. Seductive. La Ville-Lumière. Most women would give their eyeteeth to be in her position, Emma knows. She should at least relax and try to act as if she’s enjoying it.

Not too much, though. That is dangerous.

At last, around 11:30, Killian yawns and shuts the book he’s been working through, some deathly fascinating tome on medieval mural art in Burgundy. “Well, Swan, early start tomorrow. What say we make a night of it?”

Emma stiffens. “Yeah. Sure.”

She waits until he’s gone into the pitifully inadequate bathroom to change, then undresses quickly and puts on a T-shirt and baggy pants, crawls into the bed, and curls up on one side, turning out the lights and pretending that she’s already asleep, even though it’s not quite five minutes later when he emerges. She lies tensely, waiting for him to make some smart crack, but he doesn’t. He just pads over, rolls onto the other side; the mattress creaks loudly under his weight. Good thing they certainly aren’t about to get up to any excesses of passion, seeing as the whole hotel would know about it if they did.

(Not that she’s imagining it. Not that she can feel his warmth, listen to his breathing as it slows and deepens. Not that it’s nice, more than she wants ever to admit or put a finger to, not to sleep alone, even in the barest sense. Not that she watches the moon come through the window and fall on his face.)

(Not that she imagines this could ever last.)

vimeo

“The Conservator (Fine Cut)”

“The Conservator” is an ode to the history of an object, the preservation of knowledge, and the meticulous craftsmanship of a woman whose vocation is devoted to both. Melina Avery is a conservator at the University of Chicago. Every day, she breathes life into centuries-old manuscripts and volumes taken from the University library’s vast collections. Her leather-and-parchment patients come diagnosed with ailments ranging from the cosmetic to the near-fatal, and it is her job to make them whole and usable again using a combination of hard science and a soft touch. The film is centered on one such patient, a sixteenth-century text by the Reformation theologian Wolfgang Musculus. Melina’s work is sensual in its imagery: thick paste spread onto ancient spines, Latin text illuminated by a light table, new leather fastened to a medieval tome—all encompassed by the futuristic curvature (and constant background drone) of UChicago’s Mansueto Library.

Shot & edited by: Hans Glick, Ennuri Jo, Thomas Mathew, & Madhu Srikantha