Ten of the strangest book-related sites on the internet

Tales of One City

If there’s one thing we love almost as much as books it’s bizarre book-themed web sites. Here are ten of the oddest we’ve come across. If we’ve missed out your favourite, leave a comment and let us know.

Weird Book Room

AbeBooks Weird Book Room

“The finest source of everything that’s bizarre, odd and downright weird in books. Everyone’s talking about it – author Neil Gaiman is even tweeting about it, posting a link and suggesting his followers: “Go to this link and gaze on the titles and be made happy. Trust me. It’ll work

Least helpful

“Daily dispatches from the Internet’s Worst Reviewers”

Ask the past

Advice from old – and we do mean old –  books on everything from conversing politely to playing with a cat. The site is authored by Elizabeth Archibald, who has a PhD in History from Yale University.

Awful Library Books

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Butterfly Progress

I’ve been trying to get a butterfly lesson every  6 weeks or so, in addition to Friday night stroke development classes. I’d like them more often, but the coaches aren’t always available in the evenings so it has to be when I can get a day off. I’ve been making steady (but slow) progress.

I booked an hour lesson today. We did lots of drills – lengths of just kick on my front, on my back, kick with single arm, kick with alternating arms followed by both arms, kicking underwater and coming up and doing a big pull as I reach the surface, sculling with a pull… And then we finished off with 15 metres of no fins no paddles, managed to keep the timing ok, managed to breathe, kept in rhythm, full-stroke butterfly! Twice.

 

Snot vs the Neti Pot

I got a bit of a cold in the middle of last December. To be honest, the entire office caught the same cold at the same time. We all started feeling grim on the same Friday night and by early the next week, we were dropping like flies. (What does that mean? Surely the point of flies is that they fly?) I recovered from the cold, but unfortunately and annoyingly, my nose and sinuses remained full of snot. So for the past three months I have had a nose full of snot and bogeys, constantly sneezing and going through boxes of tissues faster than the average teenage boy.

Steam inhalations weren’t helping, constant blowing of the nose wasn’t helping. And then I remembered something I’d heard about in yoga years ago. Neti pots. A neti pot is a little pot with an upturned spout, looking a bit like Aladdin’s lamp, and it’s used for washing out the nostrils and sinuses. You fill it with warm salt water, bend forward at the waist, tilt your head to one side, and then put the spout into your upper nostril. Keep breathing through your mouth (this is very important), and let the water flow. It will go into your top nostril, wash around inside your head, and then drip out of the bottom nostril, taking all the accumulated gunge with it. Blow your nose, then repeat for the other side.

So, I got a neti pot on ebay for under £2, and tried it yesterday. The instructions say dissolve 2g of sea salt in 200ml of warm water, so those are the proportions I used. Using the pot is a weird feeling. The water goes in, and then it feels like ages before it starts to drip out of the other side; I found myself wondering if my head is actually hollow and I was just filling it up like a water balloon. But eventually it comes out the other side, which also feels weird. But, it helps! Just the one session feels like it has cleared all the crud out, I’m not sneezing, I’m breathing freely, I don’t need to blow my nose. I’ll give it another couple of goes to make sure, but I think the neti pot has cleared my 3-month snot collection!