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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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Saddest Children's Book in the World

A Bubble, the artist and musician Geneviève Castrée’s posthumously published last work, is, in essence, a children’s board book. Castrée died in July 2016. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the previous year, four months after she gave birth to her daughter. This knowledge lends A Bubble the quality of a saint’s relic and makes it nearly unbearable to read.

More here

Sunday, July 15, 2018

On This Day

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov died of tuberculosis on this day in 1904. The doctor examined him and prescribed him a glass of champagne. Chekhov finished his glass, commented on the taste, lay back down and died.


Via Dr. Caligari's Cabinet

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Jane Austen's Writing Table

Jane Austen’s writing flourished in her Chawton home where she was given time and space to write on a small 12-sided walnut table which was placed near a window for light. 

More here

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Stanley Kubrick’s Annotated Copy of The Shining

The web site Overlook Hotel has posted pictures of Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which is normally kept at the Stanley Kubrick Archive, but has been making the rounds in a traveling exhibition. The book is filled with highlighted passages and largely illegible notes in the margin---tantalizing clues to Kubrick’s intentions for the movie.

More: Open Culture:

Winnie-the-Pooh Map Sells for £430,000 at Auction

Image: Sotheby's

E. H. Shepard’s original illustrated map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood has sold at auction for  £430,000, the highest amount any book illustration has ever sold for at auction.
More here

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

By the sword.

Two  superb Japanese books from the 1850s, outlining designs of Samurai banners and coats.

More here

Writers' Fridges: Otessa Moshfegh

"I travel a lot, and when I’m in California I go to Luke’s house two hours away. Luke’s fridge is a lot like Luke, exploding with deliciousness–who could be luckier than me? Luke opens his mouth and whole chocolate cakes fall out. He snaps his fingers and voila–chicken cacciatore. One time he rolled over in bed and left in his wake an entire patch of strawberries. I don’t know how to explain it. He’s the most wonderful man in the world. I’m always well fed when Luke is around."

More here

Monday, July 09, 2018

The Importance of Sentence Length in Writing


25 Alice Munro Stories You Can Read Online

Canadian short story writer and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro turns 87 tomorrow. Celebrate her birthday by reading some of her short stories online. Start with “Boys and Girls,” which might be my favourite, although all her work is masterful.

More: Literary Hub

The English Patient wins public poll of best Man Booker in 50 years

The Golden Booker was held this year to mark a half-century of the Booker prize. A panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker’s history. Their five choices were then put to a public vote. Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient was named the best winner of the prize of the last 50 years.

More here

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Taytay's Tales

Taytay’s Tales
is a book of Hopi and Pueblo stories retold with analysis by ethnographer Elizabeth Willis De Huff  and illustrated with the help of two young Hopi natives. It was published in 1922.

Via perfect for roquefort cheese

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

If you could read only one book, which one would you choose?

The Atlantic asked literary types to recommend the one book everyone on earth should read. Their answers ranged from Yertle The Turtle to The Iliad.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

I, Too

Langston Hughes's poem envisions a day in which whites and blacks will eat "at the table" together, in which black citizens will be truly classified as equal Americans.

I, too, sing America...

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

~Langston Hughes

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Poisonous Books

The librarians at the University of Southern Denmark wanted to read the scraps of manuscript used to make the covers of three rare books from the 16th and 17th centuries. When they put the books under X-ray analysis they found the books’ covers were suffused with arsenic.

More: Atlas Obscura

Sunday, July 01, 2018


Less by Andrew Sean Greer is about a minor American novelist who is about to turn 50 (precipitating a mid-life crisis) and goes to great lengths to avoid going to a wedding. Arthur Less decides he'd rather participate in a number of tedious literary events around the world than attend his much younger ex-boyfriend's wedding. He meets new people, runs into old acquaintances, has a suit made, escapes a sandstorm in the desert, has a couple of romantic flings and turns 50 (he couldn't run away from that). He is worried that he will end up lonely and professionally unrecognized. But his adventures abroad didn't really grab me and I found his emotional detachment off-putting. His sorrow over the loss of his love seems more like mild irritation and it's hard to understand why he would try to assuage it with an unpleasant trip around the world. It's an amusing book with a certain charm but I just couldn't relate to Less. I bought this book because it won the Pulitzer Prize this year but, for the life of me, I can't figure out why.