“What Middletown Read is a database and search engine built upon the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from November 5, 1891 through December 3, 1902. It documents every book that every library patron borrowed during that period, with the exception of one gap from May 28, 1892 to November 5, 1894.” (The use of “Middletown” for Muncie is a result of Robert and Helen Lynd’s famous sociological studies of the city: Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, 1929, and Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts, 1937.) I don’t have time to investigate it at the moment, but I highly recommend the Slate article by John Plotz describing how he used it to try to recreate something of the life of Louis Bloom (“Born in Muncie, Ind. in 1879, … died in San Francisco in 1936 a government engineer”); Plotz went so far as to “read, or at least to sample, all 291 books Louis Bloom had checked out.” The discussion of Muncie reading habits a century ago is absolutely fascinating, and the (rather bizarre) attempt to replicate Bloom’s reading is charmingly described. I have to point out, though, that “I was oddly delighted to learn that like a French king, he pronounced his name without a final ‘s'” is off the mark; “like a French king” should be replaced by “like everyone in those days”—”Louie” is the traditional pronunciation of the name, and still the first one given in the thirteenth (1967) edition of Daniel Jones’s English Pronouncing Dictionary.