Paper World

50 Museums to Blow Your Mind / The Godfather Notebook

Books That Belong On Paper Issue No. 18

Books That Belong On Paper first appeared on the web as Wink Books and was edited by Carla Sinclair. Sign up here to get the issues a week early in your inbox.


50 Museums to Blow Your Mind
by Ben Handicott and Kalya Ryan
Lonely Planet
2016, 128 pages, 7.0 x 0.5 x 4.7 inches, Paperback

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I like museums. I like having my mind blown. I am clearly part of the target audience for this book.

Other things I appreciate about this book: It’s a manageable size, slightly larger than a postcard. It features a diverse range of museums, both major institutions and lesser-known, more eccentric collections. Its tone and faux Q&A format are breezy; the authors are like interesting friends who always have the best vacation stories. And like so many Lonely Planet books, it’s eminently flip-through-able.

My favorite section is on quirky museums: those passion projects of eccentric individuals that produce, say, a Turkish collection of women’s hair, or the Japanese museum of instant ramen. I’d love to see this section expanded, at the expense of the more standard museum picks. Yes, the British Museum and the Acropolis are amazing destinations, but they’re also very widely known already. The Watermelon Museum? Less so.

Another suggestion for the next edition, due out in 2020, is greater geographical reach. For one thing, the book includes only one museum in Africa. By 2020, I hope, I’ll have made it to all of the museums in this edition that I’ve bookmarked (or, more accurately, sticky note-d).

Quick quiz for fellow museum geeks. Which of the photos above belong to the following museums? A) Gopher Hole Museum. B) Big Hole & Open Mine Museum. C) Watermelon Museum. D) Sulabh International Museum of Toilets. E) Museum of Alchemists & Magicians of Old Prague

– Christine Ro


The Godfather Notebook
by Francis Ford Coppola
Regan Arts
2016, 784 pages, 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches, Paperback

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The Godfather is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. It’s a Christmas movie right? Well, it’s my favorite movie, and I watch it every year at Christmas. To me, it’s as close to a perfect film as I think you can get. I’ve read Mario Puzo’s novel. I’ve watched every special feature. So, when I heard that this book even existed, I got excited. This is a reproduction of the notebook that director, Francis Ford Coppola, used to bring this wonderful movie to life. It not only lifts the curtain showing how The Godfather came to be, but it reveals Coppola’s invaluable techniques for crafting a story.

Coppola went through Mario Puzo’s novel page by page, developing a synopsis that would shape the script and the direction of the film. Each scene is detailed with tone, setting, and pitfalls. Exposition is trimmed, and some characters are cut completely in order to create a story that would work cinematically.

The book’s pretty hefty, since there’s a whole other book within it. It also includes a wonderful introduction by Coppola, and behind the scenes photos of the young cast. If you’re a big fan of The Godfather or if you’re interested in how film adaptations are made, definitely pick this up.

– JP LeRoux


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