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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.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Lover

THE girl is twenty-five. It has not been very long since her divorce but she cannot remember the man who used to be her husband. He was probably nice. She will tell the child this, at any rate. Once he lost a fifty-dollar pair of sunglasses while surf casting off Gay Head and felt badly about it for days. He did like kidneys, that was one thing. He loved kidneys for weekend lunch. She would voyage through the supermarkets, her stomach sweetly sloped, her hair in a twist, searching for fresh kidneys for this young man, her husband. When he kissed her, his kisses, or so she imagined, would have the faint odor of urine. Understandably, she did not want to think about this. It hardly seemed that the same problem would arise again, that is, with another man. Nothing could possibly be gained from such an experience! The child cannot remember him, this man, this daddy, and she cannot remember him. He had been with her when she gave birth to the child. Not beside her, but close by, in the corridor. He had left his work and come to the hospital. As they wheeled her by, he said, “Now you are going to have to learn how to love something, you wicked woman.” It is difficult for her to believe he said such a thing.

Read “The Lover,” a short story by Joy Williams – Biblioklept

Literary Pilgrims Flock To Imaginary Garden

Giorgio Bassani, author of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, in 1974.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis was invented in Giorgio Bassani’s 1962 historical novel of the same name. It was so lovingly described in the book that many devoted readers have made a pilgrimage to the city of Ferrara, in Italy’s northeastern province of Emilia Romagna hoping to visit it only to be told that the garden existed only in Bassani's imagination. Now an Israeli sculptor named Karavan is going to do an installation called The Garden That Doesn't Exist. It will present as "large walls of glass covered in passages from the book in multiple languages, with an opening in it like a garden gate. Railway tracks interrupt it, evoking the deportations to death camps. Around the wall will be green grass, and inside only sand. And against the wall will rest a ladder, like the one used by the novel’s characters."

Read More: Atlas Obscura

Friday, February 15, 2019

Tolstoy Ghosted His Wife Then Up and Died

Leo and Sophia, six weeks before his death in 1910. PUBLIC DOMAIN
At three in the morning on a cold winter’s night Countess Sophia Berss woke to thumping of footsteps. Her husband, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, arguably the nation’s most famous writer, was restlessly pacing in the next room at their home estate, Yasnaya Polyana, about 100 miles south of Moscow. He told her he had taken some medicine, asked her to go back to sleep, and shut the door behind her. When she woke again the next morning, her husband was gone.

Read more: Atlas Obscura

“Cross” — Langston Hughes


My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m going to die,
Being neither white nor black?


Not Waving But Drowning

Stevie Smith discusses and recites her poem Not Waving But Drowning


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914)

The Public Domain Review has published some of their favourites from the first hundred years of the book cover.

Ex-Wife, A Racy Jazz Age Novel

"Ursula Parrott was accused of promoting a dangerous sexual freedom. In her best-selling novels, the controversial author chronicled “life in the era of the one-night stand” during the twenties and thirties. Parrott’s extraordinary life took her to the heights of literary New York and pre-Code Hollywood, then left her jailed, penniless, and alone. Today, her books are out of print, and her name is all but forgotten."
Read More

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Bolted Book

A replica of avant-garde design book, Depero Futurista, could be yours. The campaign to publish the first exact copy of Fortunato Depero's 1927 masterpiece ran in 2016. The facsimile was published in 2017, and a new campaign for a reprint of the facsimile is live through March 19.

The Bolted Book Facsimile from Designers & Books on Vimeo.


Tweet Of The Day

The Cost Of Living

This slim volume contains author Deborah Levy's reflections as she embarks on a fresh start post-divorce. It is subtitled A Working Autobiography. Levy is 50, no longer a wife, with two daughters. She is a mother and a writer learning to live in a new reality. In spite of all sorts of upheaval she somehow manages to put one foot in front of the other. She rents an apartment with wacky heating and plumbing.She continues to write in a neighbour's backyard garden shed. She has a conflict with a fellow tenant over parking her bicycle, she fixes her blocked pipes, the chicken she has purchased for dinner gets flattened by a car but is still edible. It's about gender and motherhood and work and how life goes on.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

The suspense author whose life is stranger than his fiction

Ian Parker's recent piece in The New Yorker is about author Dan Mallory, who has written a bestselling thriller under the name A. J. Finn. Mallory is brilliant and charming. He is also an imposter. It's a fascinating story.

Read it here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

British Library's collection of obscene writing goes online

‘Private Case’ is a collection of sexually explicit books dating back to 1658 ranges from the hijinks of Roger Pheuquewell to pioneering gay porn in the 19th century. Adrian Edwards, head of printed heritage at the library, said the collection “offers extraordinary insights into many facets of human sexuality over at least three centuries.

Read more: The Guardian

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Kerouac Beat Painting

Kerouac Beat Painting Edited by Sandrina Bandera, Alessandro Castiglioni, Emma Zanella. features 80 paintings and drawings by Jack Kerouac, most of which have never before been published, shedding a completely new light on the father of the Beat Generation, and showing how he brought the same energy to visual art as he did to all of his other endeavors.

Read more

Poem Of The Day