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Around The Web: A Book Cover Challenge, Medieval Ink and Evolution of Quarantine Slang

Welcome back, readers! Another week of self-isolation has passed, and I hope you’re all holding up okay. This week’s bookish distractions include a fun novel title quiz, a look at a book cover challenge, a dive into rediscovering Medieval ink, and a linguist’s collection of quarantine terminology.

Name The Title

HP books

Ever wonder what it would be like if all books were titled in the style of Harry Potter novels? This Mental Floss quiz will give you an idea (and maybe a laugh). My personal favourite is Edward Rochester and the Arsonist Wife.


Cover Doubles

Image @mimicychan

Trust New Yorkers to get creative while stuck at home; they’re recreating their favourite book covers and sharing them using #BookCoverDouble, thanks to an initiative started by the New York Public Library. What a fun way to pay homage to cover art!

Medieval Blue Ink

medieval manuscript

Image: Medieval manuscripts were illuminated with folium, and one bore the instructions for recreating the ink. COURTESY PAULA NABAIS. Republished from 'The Mystery of a Medieval Blue Ink Has Been Solved'

This one’s for the history and science nerds: researchers have re-discovered the recipe for the blue ink used in Medieval illuminated manuscripts. The key ingredient is called folium and it comes from a fruit that grows in southern Portugal. The recipe had been lost for the last century—until a team of Portuguese researchers set out to find it.

Quarantine Linguistics

Cocktail making

Have you picked up any new slang in the past few weeks? If you have, you’re not alone. Language consultant Tony Thorne says the pandemic has led to more than a thousand new words, including “quarantini” (a cocktail), “zoom-bombing” (when people hijack or interrupt a video conference), and a bunch of medical terminology (think terms like “PPE” that haven’t traditionally be in common vocabulary). For more on this linguistic development, read this CBC interview with Thorne.

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