Stranger's Guide

Photo by Janet Donovan

Did you know that architecture was once an Olympic sport? According to Stranger’s Guide Magazine: “International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin, a historian with a love for ancient Greece, considered art an essential part of the competition. In 1912, he finally succeeded in his efforts to include art categories in the games, and they enjoyed a long run in the competition before being pulled after the 1948 competition. (Olympic officials eventually defined artists as professionals, who thus shouldn’t compete in events designed for amateurs at the time.)”

Did you know or do you even want to know that an 1852 edition of John Milton’s Poetical Works was bound in the skin of a murderer, George Cudmore. “The practice of binding books in human skin—known as anthropodermic bibliopegy—wasn’t as unusual as you might imagine. The Anthropodermic Book Project (yes, it’s a real thing), has so far identified 18 books globally that were bound that way. During the French Revolution, there were rumors that a tannery for human skin existed just outside Paris for this purpose.”

Publisher Abby Rapoport was honored at a party in Washington, DC for the latest issue at The Russia House on Connecticut Avenue. Guests soaked up Russian cocktails and vodka. The feature story took a deep dive into Russia’s capital city with reporting and commentary from some of Moscow’s best writers and photographers.  “Moscow is in the headlines—but how much do you know about Russia’s capital? This issue offers a fascinating look at the city, from its Soviet past to the current rule of Vladimir Putin, from rap battles and night life to political repression and rapid change, featuring work by Dmitry Bykov, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Michael Idov, Lara Vapnyar and many other great writers on what’s happening to the city that everyone’s talking about.”