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Alvin Langdon Coburn / New York Public Library via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

One of the World’s First Audio Books Discovered in Canada

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Alvin Langdon Coburn / New York Public Library via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A recording of one of the world’s earliest audiobooks has been discovered by a collector in Canada, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 1935 recording of an audio version of the novella “Typhoon” by Joseph Conrad was the world’s first audiobook of a long literary work, though a Bible recording and one of an Agatha Christie mystery novel had already been released.

Conrad's “Typhoon,” released in 1902 (he's pictured in 1915 in the image above), was part of the first wave of audiobooks, then designed for blind literature fans rather than today’s road trippers. Before that time, audio recordings of literature was mostly limited to short works like poetry. The four LPs of the book were discovered by a Canadian collector who contacted a teacher at Queen Mary University of London, Matthew Rubery, whose book The Untold Story of the Talking Book was just released.

The UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People started making its “Talking Books” in 1935 as a service to blind veterans of World War I. The institution already produced braille books, started a braille magazine in 1871—it’s still published today—and created an Arabic braille code and a dictionary of braille contractions over the subsequent few decades. Though the organization now has digital downloads of books, it’s extremely rare to find one of the original vinyl recordings.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

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Hamilton Broadway
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A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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New Tolkien-Themed Botany Book Describes the Plants of Middle-Earth
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While reading The Lord of the Rings saga, it's hard not to notice J.R.R. Tolkien’s clear love of nature. The books are replete with descriptions of lush foliage, rolling prairies, and coniferous forests. A new botany book builds on that knowledge: Entertainment Weekly reports that Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium provides fantasy-loving naturalists with a round-up of plants that grow in Middle-earth.

Cover art for botanist Walter Judd's book
Oxford University Press

Written by University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, the book explores the ecology, etymology, and importance of over 160 plants. Many are either real—coffee, barley, wheat, etc.—or based on real-life species. (For example, pipe-weed may be tobacco, and mallorns are large trees similar to beech trees.)

Using his botany background, Judd explores why Tolkien may have felt compelled to include each in his fantasy world. His analyses are paired with woodcut-style drawings by artist Graham Judd, which depict Middle-earth's flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and shrubs in their "natural" environments.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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