Photoshoot in the Library: Benjamin Von Wong goes to work inside the world’s oldest monastic library

Benjamin Von Wong

Think Beauty and the Beast and a library beyond your wildest imagination.

Then think about how lucky photographer Benjamin Van Wong was to be able to carry out the first creative photoshoot held inside the library at Admont Abbey in Austria.

Completed in 1776 Stift Admont is the oldest monastic library in the world, some have dubbed it the “eighth wonder of the world.” It holds 200,000 books and is adorned with priceless frescoes and needless to say made a perfect backdrop. 

Benjamin Von Wong c


Benjamin Von Wong b

Model Jen Brook,
Clothes by Polish designer Agnieszka Ospia,
Hair and makeup Bianca Kristin Woltsche

More on the shoot at Benjamin Van Wong’s blog, What it’s like to shoot in a real life Disney library – Stift Admont

Story at PetaPixel, A Disney-Themed Photo Shoot in the World’s Largest Monastery Library


A Parade of Thanksgiving Goodness at the Digital Public Library of America

Thanksgiving Raphael Tuck & Sons - CopyThanksgiving Day  Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1907

Did you know that over 2400 items related to Thanksgiving reside at the DPLA?

From Thanksgiving menu’s from hotels and restaurants across this great land to Thanksgiving postcards to images of the fortunate and less fortunate taking part in Thanksgiving day festivities.

Here’s just a taste of Thanksgiving at the Digital Public Library of America.

Enjoy and and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Macy's Parade 1932Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1932 Photograph by Alexander Alland

Thanksgiving Gila Relocation CampJapanese Internment Camp – Gila River Relocation Center, Rivers, Arizona. One of the floats in the Thanksgiving day Harvest Festival, 11/26/1942

Thanksgiving LBJ - CopyAnnual Presentation of Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/16/1967 . Then President Lyndon Baines Johnson presiding

Thanksgiving Ax manA man with an axe in the midst of a flock of turkeys. Greenville North Carolina,1965

Thanksgiving woman carries turkeyWoman carries Thanksgiving turkey at Thresher & Kelley Market, Faneuil Hall in Boston, 1952. Photograph by Leslie Jones

Thanksgiving DINNER HOTEL SCHENLEY PITTSBURGH, PA - CopyThanksgiving Dinner Menu. Hotel Scenley, Pittsburgh, PA. 1900

Thanksgiving Bernhardt Wall pcardBernhardt Wall for Ullman Manufacturing Co., 1907

Thanksgiving Wounded Negro Soldiers More than 100 wounded Negro soldiers, sailors, marines and Coast Guardsmen were feted by The Equestriennes, a group of Government Girls, at an annual Thanksgiving dinner at Lucy D. Slowe Hall, Washington, D. C., Photograph by Helen Levitt, 1944.

Volunteers_of_America_Thanksgiving_1956Volunteers of America Thanksgiving, 22 November 1956. Thanksgiving dinner line in front of Los Angeles Street Post door

This post first appeared on the blog of the Digital Public Library of America. It is part of a new collaboration between Book Patrol and the DPLA where in the coming weeks and months we will scour the vast holdings within the  DPLA to bring you a sampling of material from some of the greatest repositories this country has to offer.

Of Interest – Bomb: The Author Interviews, New Azar Nafisi, A Muse & A Maze, Literary Lives in Focus and Robbins reads Bradbury

BOMB Author Interviews

Bomb: The Author Interviews. Edited by Betsy Sussler. Introduction by Francine Prose. Soho Press, November 2014.

Since 1981 BOMB has been publishing conversations between artists. Collected here are the best from the literary world. These are not your run of the mill author interviews featuring a journalist throwing canned questions at a writer, these are conversations between writers and delve into the essence  of creativity. Pairings include Martin Amis and Patrick McGrath Roberto Bolano and Carmen Boullosa, Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat, Jennifer Egan and Heidi Juilavits, Chaels Simic and Thomaz Salamun, John Edgar Wideman and Caryl Philips among others. 

An amazing compilation of writers talking writing and essential reading for any admirer of contemporary literature.

Buy: Powell’sAmazon

Republic of Imagination


The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books by Azar Nafisi

 What do Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, Carson McCullers and James Baldwin have in common? Each writer had played a pivotal role in providing Azar Nafasi’s her first tastes of America. An America that now “demonstrates little empathy for people’s well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant.”

Nafisi, whose Reading Lolita in Tehran was a runaway bestseller, imagines a new territory and invites readers everywhere “to join her as citizens of the Republic of Imagination, a country with no borders and few restrictions”

I’m in.

 Published by Viking, October 2014

A look at the book on PBS Newshour

Buy: Powell’s | Amazon 

Reading Lolita in Tehran Used/Collectible  | New




 A Muse & A Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery and Magic by Peter Turchi. 

From the author of the critically acclaimed Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer  where Turchi pitted the craft of writing against the art of mapmaking, A Muse & A Maze looks at the relationship between writing, mystery, and puzzles. For Turchi writing is a kind of puzzle with writers always dealing with what to include, what to leave out and how to organize it.

Warning: Do not stare at the cover illustration for too long.

Published by Trinity University Press, November, 2014.

Buy: PublisherAmazon | Powell’s 



writers literary lives in focus

Writers: Literary Lives in Focus Edited by Goffredo Fofi.

A compilation of 250 photographic portraits of writers. A veritable who’s who of the leading writers and photographers of the 20th century. There’s Auden by Avedon, de Beauvoir by Cartier-Bresson, Duras by Doisneau, Proust by Man Ray, Huxley by Halsman, Apollinaire by Picasso, Arundhati Roy by Raghu Rai, Raymond Carver by Bob Adelman, Zadie Smith by Eamonn McCabe . . .

This is not only a book of significant photographs for we also get a glimpse of the unique moment of each portrait. Each image is accompanied by text which explains the reason for the choice, recalls the masterpieces of the author, and narrates the story of the image. 


Published by contrasto, September 2014.

Buy: PublisherAmazon | Powell’s

And if you’re in the market for something to listen to Audible has just released a new audio version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. This one narrated by Tim Robbins, a perfect fit.

“I love this book. Fahrenheit 451 is such an important book in so many ways and it’s so great to revisit it,” said Robbins. “The whole format of audiobooks is, in a way, making sure that Fahrenheit 451 doesn’t happen. It’s creating another way for literature to survive. If the audiobook is heard, more people will discover what is a great book.”

Available here