Books

Pages from Plastic Surgery of the Face by Harold Gillies

Inside a Trailblazing Surgeon's Quest to Reconstruct WWI Soldiers' Disfigured Faces

A new book profiles Harold Gillies, whose efforts to restore wounded warriors' visages laid the groundwork for modern plastic surgery

In “EmilyBlaster,” the gameplay is shooting at words to form Emily Dickinson poems.

You Can Now Play 'EmilyBlaster,' a Video Game Inspired by Emily Dickinson's Poetry

Players assemble poems by shooting at words in the '80s-style adventure

Desert Breath is a one-million-square-foot artwork smack dab in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Good News

Eight Works of Art in Unlikely Places

In a new art atlas, author Grace Banks takes readers on a journey to some of the most fascinating artworks found outside of museums and galleries

Aerial view of flooding in Livingston, Montana—a gateway town near Yellowstone National Park—on June 14, 2022

History of Now

What Extreme Flooding in Yellowstone Means for the National Park's Gateway Towns

These communities rely almost entirely on tourism for their existence—yet too much tourism, not to mention climate change, can destroy them

Margaret Atwood tried burning the new, fireproof version of her novel The Handmaid's Tale with a flamethrower.

Margaret Atwood Tried—and Failed—to Burn a Copy of 'The Handmaid’s Tale.' Here's Why

A fireproof version of her bestseller is a weapon in an ongoing fight against literary censorship

In her new historic novel, Brooks reimagines the life of the itinerant artist Thomas J. Scott, who rendered the distinguished race horse in the oil painting, Portrait of Lexington, ca. 1857, a work that Smithsonian curator Eleanor Harvey describes as "visually riveting."

The Lost Story of Lexington, the Record-Breaking Thoroughbred, Races Back to Life

For her latest novel “Horse,” the Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks found inspiration in the Smithsonian collections

A fossilized Modocia typicalis trilobite from Utah

Five Places to See Trilobites in the United States

In a new book, fossil collector Andy Secher takes readers on a worldwide trek of trilobite hotspots

The book included reader-supplied recommendations for clubs and baths in countries such as South Africa, Yugoslavia and Panama. Two-thirds of the 1965 edition, though, were devoted to the U.S.

LGBTQ+ Pride

Where Could Gay Men Dine in the 1960s South? This Coded Guide Held the Answers

For locals and tourists alike, the "International Guild Guide" identified places of refuge in a ruthlessly homophobic society

Translator Daisy Rockwell and author Geetanjali Shree hold their International Booker Prize awards.

For the First Time, a Hindi Author Has Won the International Booker Prize

A novel about borders garnered Geetanjali Shree the prestigious award

The Blue-Haired Fairy and the Talking Cricket try to make Pinocchio drink a medicine in an illustration for the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890).

Who Was Pinocchio's Mysterious Blue-Haired Fairy?

Author Carlo Collodi may have drawn inspiration from one—or a few—female figures in his life

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of wood.” An Italian tradition, epitomized by the fictional Geppetto, continues at Bartolucci’s shop in Florence.

The Real Story of Pinocchio Tells No Lies

Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood

The Great Hall boasts works by nearly 50 American painters and sculptors.

What Makes the Library of Congress a Monument to Democracy

The world’s largest book repository has expanded far beyond its original scope to include sound recordings and digitized collections

As recent archival finds and reappraisals of well-known documents show, Liss forged her own path to freedom—and may have even spied on the British while doing so.

Women Who Shaped History

Did an Enslaved Woman Try to Warn the Americans of Benedict Arnold's Treason?

New research sheds light on Liss, who was enslaved by the family of a Culper Spy Ring leader and had ties to British spymaster John André

Museum visitors admire a Pablo Picasso portrait of Dora Maar.

Meet the Muses Who Inspired Some of the World's Most Iconic Artworks

A new book examines the lives of muses across history and the role they played in shaping treasured works like "The Kiss" and "Ophelia"

Hector the Deinonychus skeleton

Should the Skeleton of a Dinosaur That Helped Inspire 'Jurassic Park' Be Sold to the Highest Bidder?

The rare fossil could sell for $6 million at auction

Still from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018). 

The Surprisingly Long History of 'Choose-Your-Own-Adventure' Stories

From the 'I Ching' to an upcoming Netflix rom-com, interactive fiction dares us to decide what happens next

This watercolor from a devotional poem shows the richness of South Asian art—a long art history overlooked by some in the Western world.

You Can Now Explore an Open-Source Encyclopedia of 10,000 Years of South Asian Art

The online reference aims to make the region's masterpieces more accessible than ever

A Book of Ryhmes by Charlotte Bronte

Cool Finds

Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscript Sells for $1.25 Million

The tiny booklet contains the author's last unpublished poems

This is how you really sweat to the oldies.

Want to Work Out Like Walt Whitman or Henry VIII? Try These Historic Fitness Regimens

Travel through time by lifting like passengers on the Titanic or swimming like the sixth U.S. president

The 700-year-old book is thought to be the oldest surviving document of its kind. 

Holocaust Survivors Ask Israel Museum to Return One-of-a-Kind Haggadah

Their lawsuit claims the Passover book was stolen, then purchased under dubious circumstances

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