Friday, February 08, 2008

Pocket reads

Every now and then, I like to get away from the topic of beauty and write about something else. Here, I'd like to share three series of books that don't require major commitments of time to reading and that you can readily fit into your purse.

Very Short Introductions

Very Short Introudctions from Oxford University is a series featuring 160 titles that cover topics in history, philosophy, religion, science, and the humanities. These books feature covers with ombre watercolor illustrations and measure 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches (about 160 pages).


Discoveries is a series of books from publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. These books measure 7 x 5 x 0.5 inches and also run about 160 pages. Unlike VSI, however, Discoveries contains many color photographs and other images. A book on Gandhi has other features, such as appendices with his speeches, writings, and commentaries by others.

I found separate kiosks for VSI and Discoveries at a Borders store in St. Louis. You may shop VSI and Discoveries at

BüK is probably the most unusual series of the three. This series consists of pamphlets that measure 5 x 7 inches and run only about 16-32 pages - according to the web site, reading that can be done in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. You have to visit the web site to see the odd selection of titles. BüK even offers its pamphlets as hotel room amenities: imagine! Something other to read than the Gideons Bible!

I found a BüK kiosk at a Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods Market in St. Louis, but the kiosk would be ideal for point of purchase at a coffeehouse. And how's this gift set for Valentine's Day:

BüK Collector’s Kit I

It features a slipcase featuring six BüKs, a package of Hawaiian-grown and roasted coffee beans, and a bright red mug with the BüK logo.

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