Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle's design of the McAllen Pubilc Library (formerly a Wal-Mart) in Texas.

At the Paris Review blog, Clancy Martin recounts a trip to St. Petersburg, which featured shots of vodka, dancing bears, and his own mission to sleep with a Russian “whom he did not have to pay.”

Classic kids show Reading Rainbow was canceled in 2009 after twenty-six years on PBS, but thanks to a new initiative by longtime host LeVar Burton, it’s now reincarnated as an app. The “Reading Rainbow” app, geared toward kids between three and nine, “is just an updated, interactive version of the TV show, one that takes users right to the books instead of just telling them about them.” Burton explains in a video for Forbes.

Anthony Burgess’s dark, ultra-violent novel Clockwork Orange might not seem like it would make for a good musical, but the author would beg to differ: two years after releasing the book in 1962, Burgess, also a classical-music scholar, put out a “play with music” based on Clockwork, which debuted in Manchester, England, last week. To celebrate the novel’s fiftieth anniversary, graduates of the Royal Northern College of Music performed Burgess’s five original songs at his alma mater, the University of Manchester.

An abandoned Texas Wal-Mart has been repurposed into an award-winning library.

The Joy of Cooking, Our Bodies, Ourselves, The History of Standard Oil, and Alcoholics Anonymous make the Library of Congress’s list of “Books That Shaped America” and offer an elucidating look into the national psyche. The “Books that Shaped America” exhibition is part of the library’s larger “Celebration of the Book” festival.”

We have been thoroughly enjoying Pixar illustrator Josh Cooley’s children’s book treatment of classic scenes in R-rated movies.

A hotel in Newcastle, England, has swapped out the traditional bedside bible for something a little more tech-forward: a Kindle. For the next two weeks, guests at the Hotel Indigo have the option of downloading any “religious text” on their e-readers for free, so long as the good book in question costs less than five pounds.

The Nation staffers and contributors offer their summer reading recommendations.

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