The antecedent of The Princeton Review and Kaplan… Or nerdiness then and now.



Wu-edition Punctuated and Annotated Edition of the Book of Documents with Repeated and Similar Phrases
Traditionally ascribed to K’ung An-kuo (Han Dynasty) with explanations by Lu Teh-ming (T’ang Dynasty)
Southern Sung imprint This is a reference book that was used for preparing for the civil service examinations. The small size of the imprint made it convenient for traveling and sometimes was snuck into the examination hall by less scrupulous examinees, evidently for cheating. Since it was a book prepared when the demand appeared, very few have survived, making this quite precious.

http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh95/grandview/books/account_3_en.html has the photo

Does this mean that my old test prep books could someday be “quite precious”? I suppose Asia is something of the mothership for nerdiness… It’s glorious, there is a 24-hr bookstore (Eslite!!! — TIME article: http://www.time.com/time/asia/2004/boa/boa_mind_bookstore.html ), at least one bookstore per 1 mile radius as far as I can tell, and stationery stores 3 stories high (9×9– one floor of pens, one of notebooks and cards and little magnetic bookmarks, and one of DIY/art papers, etc.).

Apparently, Eslite is quite the pick-up place after clubbing or bar hopping (I would assume the flagship branch at Ren-Ai Circle would be much more prone to post-clubbers due to proximity than the Xinyi branch by Taipei 101). That hasn’t been my experience there, but it’s lovely to be surrounded by books. There are at least the languages of Japanese and English and Chinese on the shelves there.

Page 101 is an easier foreign language browsing experience, as all the English books are mostly together– and the art collection there kind of blows my mind– it’s not just the collection, it’s the way it’s shelved — covers facing out for display.

I loved the bookstore in Seoul too by Gangnam in another huge mall, if I recall correctly, but Eslite and Page 101 actually have atmosphere– not just a supermarket for books per se. There’s more friendly lighting than cold fluorescence all over the place (though it is there, depends on the section, for some reason in my mind, fiction tends to be less cold than the languages section of Eslite).

I still miss the Strand in NYC, but Barnes and Noble could learn a bit from Taiwan.

This bookstore is around Ren-Ai, but not Eslite (forget the name of it, but I had to shoot these just for the shelving categories).



Note how the “Male Authors” and “Female Authors” shelves face each other?  I’m wondering if that means the rest of the authors on the shelves fall elsewhere on the spectrum…  Seriously though, if it’s a marketing decision to get men to by the “Male Authors” books and women to buy the “Female Authors” books, how are they different?  Better study more zhongwen!



1 Response to “The antecedent of The Princeton Review and Kaplan… Or nerdiness then and now.”

  1. January 26, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    those are beautiful bookstore pictures!! the look quite yummy. mmmm, books.

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Free Rice

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