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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Parasite to be made into graphic novel

Grand Central Publishing is collating Korean director Bong Joon Ho's storyboards to form a 304-page book, celebrating his unusual process.

More here

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Book Nooks

Book nooks are charming miniature worlds created between books that depict a scene or an environment from a particular book. Some are incredibly elaborate.

See Reddit thread.

Via Boing Boing

Monday, February 17, 2020


Emily Ruskovich's debut novel is about a family who is visited by an unspeakable act of violence. When I started reading it I found the story confusing - I'd mistakenly started reading the book about three quarters of the way through and didn't realize until I reached the end. I started again at the beginning and was immediately engaged. On a hot summer day a mother, father and their two little girls are collecting wood on an isolated mountain when, without warning, the mother kills the youngest child and the older girl disappears into the Idaho woods. It is told from numerous perspectives and the story goes back and forth over half a century but it is not disjointed. This is not a murder mystery; it is a story of family, the challenges of rural life and illness, pain, love, imagined and lost memory and, above all, human dignity, kindness and forgiveness. Idaho a very sad tale, beautifully told. Ruskovich won the 2019 International Dublin literary award for this book, a well-deserved honour.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy is about to become a ballet.

"You really have to admire the vision/insanity of someone who looks at Margaret Atwood’s trilogy of nightmarish cli-fi novels—Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam—and thinks to himself: this would make a hell of a ballet."

Read more: Literary Hub

Friday, February 14, 2020

50 States, 50 Love Stories

In honor of Valentine’s Day, The New York Times has listed works of fiction from each of the 50 states that explore matters of the heart.

Censored Words from a 1919 Treatise on Love

"The use of Latin to conceal or encode sexually charged or controversial language has a long history (see, for example, our essay on Emmanuel Swedenborg’s erotic dreams). As one might expect, a no-nonsense 458-page treatise on the "science of sex-attraction" would present plenty of opportunity for such Latinate veiling and Bernard S. Talmey’s Love does not disappoint."

Read More: The Public Domain Review

“Sophocles” - Gordon Lish

"Take egg. Boil until hard-cooked. Crack shell. Hold under running water. Remove shell. Set shell aside. Peel away white. Set white aside. Use heel of spoon to mash yolk in midsize mixing bowl. Add one teaspoon heavy cream, one tablespoon granulated sugar, one teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, three teaspoons almond extract, dash salt. Blend until blended consistency has been achieved. Set mixture aside."…
From Self-Imitation of Myself  (1997)

Read more: Biblioklept

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“With the Beatles,” by Haruki Murakami

"What I find strange about growing old isn’t that I’ve got older. Not that the youthful me from the past has, without my realizing it, aged. What catches me off guard is, rather, how people from the same generation as me have become elderly, how all the pretty, vivacious girls I used to know are now old enough to have a couple of grandkids. It’s a little disconcerting—sad, even. Though I never feel sad at the fact that I have similarly aged.

I think what makes me feel sad about the girls I knew growing old is that it forces me to admit, all over again, that my youthful dreams are gone forever. The death of a dream can be, in a way, sadder than that of a living being. "

Read more: The New Yorker:

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Charles Dickens 'treasure trove' goes to London museum

A new collection of letters, manuscripts, original artworks and personal effects has been acquired by the Charles Dickens museum in London. Among the 300 items is a note to his butler on how to serve alcoholic beverages at a dinner party.
 Under the heading “Wine”, he writes: “At supper, let there be a good supply of champagne all over the table. No champagne before supper, and as little wine as possible, of any sort, before supper.”
Also: “Mitchell or John [his staff] to keep gin punch in ice under the table, all evening, and to give it only to myself or Mr Lemon [Mark Lemon, the founding editor of Punch].”

Read more about the collection: The Guardian

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Rereading Joan Didion in This Hard American Winter of 2020

"In 1961, shortly after having been hired by Vogue, Joan Didion—then in her late twenties—composed one of the essays she would become best-known for, a short, yet surprisingly capacious meditation on self-respect. “Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception,” she mused in the piece, which was simply titled “On Self-Respect,” and would later appear in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, her seminal collection of essays from her Vogue years. It is difficult to truly lie to ourselves, Didion reflected, because what helps in our lies to others will fail with ourselves; if it may seem easy to imagine the magic that might trick someone around us, there are far fewer spells in our grimoires that can truly deceive ourselves."
Read More: Literary Hub

Friday, February 07, 2020

A Scandal in Bohemia

A multimedia presentation by Texas-based digital design studio Paravel:

"To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer—excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory."
Continue reading 

Via Imperica

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

The right mix of approachable but urgent

In the five years Tom Etherington has worked as a book cover designer at Penguin, the London-based designer has touched some of the best-loved texts in the English language. Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man and most recently, Greta Thunberg’s No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, are just a few titles gracing Tom’s graphic handiwork. Now, he’s decided to go down to part time at the historic British publishing house, spending more time on other creative projects and hoping to experiment with the art of bookmaking just for some plain ole’ fun.
More here

The older I get the more I appreciate the wit of Mark Twain

Mark Twain posted this message on his front door after his house was burgled:

Via Futility Closet

The Shape of the Sword

 A short story by Jorge Luis Borges:

His face was traversed by a vengeful scar, an ashen and almost perfect arc that sliced from the temple on one side of his head to his cheek on the other. His true name does not matter; everyone in Tacuaremb√≥ called him “the Englishman at La Colorada.” The owner of the land, Cardoso, hadn’t wanted to sell it; I heard that the Englishman plied him with an argument no one could have foreseen—he told him the secret history of the scar. He had come from the border, from Rio Grande do Sul; there were those who said that over in Brazil he had been a smuggler. The fields had gone to grass, the water was bitter; to put things to right, the Englishman worked shoulder to shoulder with his peons. People say he was harsh to the point of cruelty, but scrupulously fair. They also say he liked his drink; once or twice a year he would shut himself up in the room in the belvedere, and two or three days later he would emerge as though from a battle or a spell of dizziness—
pale, shaking, befuddled, and as authoritarian as ever. I recall his glacial eyes, his lean energy, his gray mustache. He was standoffish; the fact is, his Spanish was rudimentary, and tainted with the accents of Brazil. Aside from the occasional business letter or pamphlet, he got no mail.

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The bookstore where you can buy a book and a kitten!

Just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, you 'll find Otis & Clementine’s Books & Coffee. As you'd expect, there are plenty of books but there are also kittens napping, playing, and getting into trouble, waiting for you to adopt them. One stop shopping at its best.

More: For Reading Addicts