Uroko House: Bookcase Bedroom

Like an architectural version of a text within a text, it’s the Bookcase Bedroom, aka the Uroko House. Appears to have been built inside a loft somewhere in Japan. I love that someone did this, but I think I’d want to build it against a wall with a window. Must be dark in there.

This photo-stealing site shows the building sequence nicely, but the original flickr set provides more photos. Thanks to pyeplant for the link.

Ok, Errata is now officially a blog about bookcases.

Library Carts As Bookcases

Our new apartment, unlike our old, doesn’t have built-in bookcases. We were trying to decide between making or buying a bunch of plain vanilla wooden bookcases when kad had a stroke of genius: library carts, aka book trucks. Librarians use them to reshelve books, but no reason they can’t be the shelves.

We ordered a few standard-issue flat shelf carts from Vernon Library Supplies, though they’re also available with slanted shelves and in various other configurations. In addition to Vernon, School Outfitters and Brodart also have a bunch of different models.

The House That Wordie Built

And by house I’m not talking about a metaphorical or metaphysical empire of words–I’m talking about an actual house. In which one climbs the bookcase staircase to take a seat under the rafters, surrounded by dictionary plastered walls.

A few of these touches by themselves might be just whimsical, but combine them all and the motif is full-bore OCD, where Martha Stewart gets her MLS and stops taking her meds, a house in which you can’t not read.

And where you sleep under these bed linens, which tell their own bedtime story. Thanks to reesetee for the link, via Miss Cellania.

You’ll be all the cozier knowing the place is insulated with newspaper. Finally a good argument for a physical newspaper instead of the online version: higher R value.

25 Gifts for Wordinistas

For your literate friends and loved ones, a selection of gift ideas. Items are divided into three sections: stuff, books, and good causes.


“Bookinist” chair. For the Wordie who has everything. It has space for 80 or so books, a built-in reading light, a secret compartment in the arms for your bifocals or whatever, and a wheel. €2,127 (US$3,154), presumably not including shipping from Germany.

Typewriter font coasters. For the Wordie who likes to drink. They’re from the Sundance catalog, which is kind of like the J. Peterman Catalog, but not as classy. The about page is unbearable: “In the beginning for us there was no end. Now, it’s hard to remember the beginning.” Robert Redford: not a Wordie. $8.

Typewriter key cuff links. For the well-dressed Wordie. Available in different keys. $38.

This is prolly my awesomest shirt. For the ironic Wordie. I threw this in because I know how many Wordies detest the words “prolly” and “awesome.” I saw some dude wearing this at my gym and wanted to hug him, but restrained myself, ’cause he prolly would have knocked my teeth out. $21.97.

Scrabble jewelry. For the Wordie who really, really likes Scrabble. Charm, $28. Also available: cufflinks, $85; necklace, $39.95.

Crappuccino Mug. For Wordies who support Wordie… and can’t resist a frothy mug of crappuccino. $12.99.

VoxTec Phraselator. For Wordies abroad. Developed for the U.S. military. Translates phrases from English into one of 60 other languages. It can’t translate in the other direction, but that doesn’t matter, since Americans don’t listen to foreigners. $2300.

Magnetic Poetry. For poets, I guess. Very retro ’90s, but still a crowd pleaser. $19.95.

Wrap a laptop with words. A little more DIY than the others, which is part of the appeal. Use a word list in cloud view as source material, or any other text. Around €25 (~US$37), including shipping.

Fischer Space Pen. For Wordies in Space. Also works well in New Jersey. Note that this image is not to scale: the Space Pen is not actually the same size as an astronaut. $50.

Flowbee. For the well-coiffed Wordie. This has nothing to do with words, other than having an awesome name, and just being… awesome. $59.95.

Sesquipedalian Onesie. Another fine Wordie product. All babies are aspiring Wordies. $10.99.


The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two, by Anu Garag. $10.40.
Anu is the impressario behind WordSmith.org, and has been since 1994. I love that the title includes one of my favorite words ever.

That’s Amore!: The Language of Love for Lovers of Language, by Erin McKean. $8.07.
From Erin McKean, lexicographer to the stars and editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary. I’ve heard her other books are great too.

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. The classic true story of murder, insanity, and dictionaries. $11.16.

The F-Word, noted lexicographer and OED editor-at-large Jesse Sheidlower’s illustrated lexicon of the word “fuck.” $11.40.

On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt. Which totally sounds like a fake name–c’mon, Harry Wiener? He’s for real, though. He’s a licensed philosopher, at Princeton. This is perhaps more about meaning than language, though the two are intertwined, one would hope. In any case, it makes a fine companion volume to “The F-Word”. $9.95.

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Whether you’re a Canadian, or just wish you were, you now have a first-rate dictionary from which to learn the origins of cougar, poutine, shit disturber, and other exotic gifts from the north. $32.59.

Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log, by Mark Liberman and Geoffrey K. Pullum. $22.00.
From the folks behind the language log blog.

Mo’ Urban Dictionary: Ridonkulous Street Slang Defined, compiled by Aaron Peckham.

Urban Dictionary is like Wordie’s bad older brother, who taught it to smoke and swear. That doesn’t stop me from thinking it wasn’t a great idea to put “ridonkulous” in the title.

The Oxford English Dictionary, edited by John Simpson and Edmund Weiner. Twenty volumes, 22,000 pages, 500,000 words, 2.5 million quotations. You know you want it. $6,295.00 for the blue leather edition, or $995.00 for the regular binding, plus $60.25 shipping. Or get the CD-ROM version (yes, they still make those) for only $235.00. Or a one year subscription to the online version for $295.00.

Would someone who works at a library please put the CD-ROMs on bittorrent? Please?

Good Causes

826 Valencia
“826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the literary arts.”

Founded by meta-memoirist Dave Eggers. And they have a pirate shop!


First Book
“First Book is a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.”


Book Aid International
“Book Aid International promotes literacy in developing countries by creating reading and learning opportunities for disadvantaged people, in order to help them realise their potential and eradicate poverty.”

Founded by “Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly,” who you might think is an 11 year old Harry Potter fan who rules an imaginary kingdom. You’d be wrong, though.

Reading is Fundamental
“Reading is Fundamental prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most.” Founded by Margaret McNamara, wife of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. I’d make a crack about RIF being some kind of black-ops front organization, except that they do such good work, and I’ve watched so frickin’ many of their PSAs, that I really can’t. I mean shouldn’t.