About Me

My photo
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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Missed Connections of J.D. Salinger

A.M. Homes on the short-story writer’s “For Esme—With Love and Squalor,” and the long-lasting effects of transient encounters.

Read the article: The Atlantic

Noted Irish poet Macdara Woods dies at age 76

photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The poet Macdara Woods, who died on Friday at the age of 76, was regarded as one of the senior figures in Irish poetry. Dublin-born Woods was married to the current Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin with whom he was also a co-founder and editor of the literary journal Cyphers, a title also given to one of his earliest poem sequences.

by Macdara Woods
I am here in my waiting room
Over the aural park
Hearing the announcement
Of how the railway lines
Will soon be disconnected 
But how beautiful is the luas
That runs above the park
Beneath my bedroom window
Quick and busy in the dark
Imprinting sense on things 
Up here where I turn on the light
To make a note of it
While down there nightly in the rain
The ghost-train of my life
Rolls on across the steppes 
from The Cotard Dimension
By kind permission of the author and Dedalus Press

Read more

Read Like A President

Literary Hub has compiled a list of all the books President Obama has recommended or put on a list of favourites. I'd be interested in seeing  a similar list for Trump (does he even know how to read?)

“I once wrote a book on my own search for identity, so I was curious to see what Alex, daughter of a Burmese mother and Iowan Irish-Catholic father—and a friend of mine—discovered during her own. What she came up with is a thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what makes us who we are—the search for harmony between our own individual identities and the values and ideals that bind us together as Americans.”

See more of Obama's favourite books. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nine literary cafes to visit in Italy

Italy’s tradition of literary cafes began in the 18th century. That is when cafes provided a jolt of caffeine to the revolutions of the century, and became intellectuals’ and patriots’ tribunes, schools, theatres, libraries, political headquarters, and literary salons.

More here 

100 Club Stories

The 100 Club, launched in 1942 as the Feldman Swing Club, was frequented by GIs during the war, and by the stars of British and global jazz in the 1950s, including BB King and Muddy Waters. But it was in the 1970s when it became an iconic venue for the punk scene.

 Fred Perry and Ditto are launching a new book to celebrate London's legendary club

The Life & Times Of Mr Pussy

Spitalfields Life is looking for investors! Over the past nine years of publishing daily in the pages of the Spitalfields Life blog, some of the best loved stories have been those about The Gentle Author's old cat Mr Pussy who died last summer. He is collecting them into a book entitled THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY, A Memoir Of A Favourite Cat to be published by Spitalfields Life Books on 20th September.

You can preorder the book here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Photograph of Leopold Bloom's House

In James Joyce’s Ulysses,  Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged advertising salesman, makes tea and toast for his wife then leaves his fictional home at 7 Eccles St., Dublin to get a kidney for his own breakfast.
In 1950, Harvard archaeology professor, Phil Phillips, photographed Dublin sites mentioned in Joyce’s book including 7 Eccles St.

Via The Rosenbach

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Richard Russo's Advice on Writing Through Self-Doubt

If you have a comic view of the world, and you sharpen that sensibility and hone your craft, your stories will probably wind up being funny. “I don’t make anything funny,” Russo tells his writing students. “I’m simply reporting the world as I find it.”

 Read more 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bats Welcome In These Libraries

(Julie H. Case)

In Portugal, there are two 18th century libraries where colonies of bats are invited to roam free. Why? They eat the insects that would otherwise munch on the pages of the books shelved there.

More Boing Boing

On Self-Respect: Joan Didion’s 1961 Essay from Vogue

Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. She wrote it not to a word count or a line count, but to an exact character count.

Read the essay in its original layout 


8 Recent Rare Book Finds in the Wild

Courtesy Swann Galleries.

Thomas Paine, American Crisis

"You’re pawing through a stack of old books at an estate sale and suddenly you spot a first edition of The Great Gatsby in its coveted dust jacket (worth upwards of $100,000) or a vintage Batman comic book (worth ten times the Gatsby). Think it couldn’t happen? It may be a bit like a lottery win, but it happens often enough to disprove the notion that all the great discoveries have been made, or that the Internet has made book hunting a hopeless pastime."

Read more: Literary Hub

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Finland pays tribute to the public library

Apila Library, Seinäjoki, 2012. Credit: Tuomas Uusheimo
Finland loves its libraries. At this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, the country has placed the best of its bookish architecture on display in its "Mind-Building" exhibition. Thanks Bruce!

More here 

Preparing Libraries for Nuclear War

Flickr/Daniel Mennerich

From seemingly useless under-desk drills to legit bunkers, the general public was prepared for nuclear war during the Cold War. But what about libraries? Reference librarian Brett Spencer examines how libraries and librarians braced for the coming threat.

Read more: JSTOR Daily

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Should Writers Have Kids?

Are children the enemy of writing? Are children the saviors of writing? Does writing ruin you for parenthood? Does parenthood ruin you for writing? Do children launch you into new heights of creativity? Do children sap your energy until you are a talentless blob? How many children should you have? Can only men be art monsters? Should only women be art monsters? Is it perhaps different for everyone.
14 Famous Writers on Whether or Not to Have Kids