About Me

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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 22, 2017

Amazon Is Making a Series of Agatha Christie’s ‘Ordeal By Innocence’

Amazon has purchased the rights to a bulk of material by late mystery master Agatha Christie. As of now, the only project being publicized is Ordeal By Innocence, an adaptation of the novel with Bill Nighy, Catherine Keener, Alice Eve, Ella Purnell and Matthew Goode already cast. In fact, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Ordeal began production at the beginning of the month.

More here 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Over 2,000 cassettes from the Allen Ginsberg archives are now streaming from SearchWorks.

Irina Ratushinskaya, Soviet Dissident and Writer, Dies at 63

Irina Ratushinskaya in 1987. Credit: Ewa Kuryluk

Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya has died at the age of 63. Sentenced in 1983, on her 29th birthday, to the seven-year maximum term for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda,” Ms. Ratushinskaya composed some 250 poems in prison, many drafted with burned matchsticks on bars of soap. She memorized them and smuggled them on cigarette paper through her husband to the West, where they were published, and where human rights groups indefatigably lobbied for her release.

More: The New York Times

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Literary Love Triangle: The Making of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

"Ernest Hemingway was busy in 1926. He’d just written his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, based on a trip to Spain he’d taken the year before. His new pal F. Scott Fitzgerald loved it, and was working on getting it published by Scribner’s, the same house that had published Fitzgerald’s breakout work, The Great Gatsby. But Fitzgerald wanted Hemingway to cut the opening of the book, which would produce a major shift in tone. Fitzgerald had to broach this subject lightly, as Hemingway took criticism like a spoiled six-year-old."

More here

When they call you a bitch, say thank you.

Olivia Gatwood reads her poem Ode to the women on Long Island.

Via MetaFilter

A First-Hand Account of Severe Autism

Naoki Hidishida has severe, nonverbal autism. Using an alphabet grid he was able to document his experiences of autism in his first book, The Reason I Jump, when he was 13 years old. Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8 is his further account of life as a young adult navigating the world with autism, and was translated by the novelist David Mitchell with KA Yoshida.

Read an excerpt  from Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Marcel Proust's Letters to His Noisy Neighbors

Letters to His Neighbor, newly translated into English by Lydia Davis, is a colllection of twenty-six letters from Marcel Proust to his upstairs neighbours at 102 boulevard Haussmann, complaining about the noise and pleading desperately for quiet.

"Already suffering from noise within his cork-lined walls, his poor soul was not ready for the fresh hell when his neighbor Dr. Williams married a widow with small children.
Chiefly to Mrs. Williams, these ever-polite letters (often accompanied by flowers, compliments, books, even pheasants) are frequently hilarious―Proust couches his fury in a gracious tone. In Lydia Davis’s hands, the digressive brilliance of his sentences shines: “Don't speak of annoying neighbors, but of neighbors so charming (an association of words contradictory in principle since Montesquiou claims that most horrible of all are 1) neighbors 2) the smell of post offices) that they leave the constant tantalizing regret that one cannot take advantage of their neighborliness.”
More here 

Jane Austen Quote On New Tenner Spoken By Someone With No Interest In Books

The new Jane Austen banknote has been unveiled on the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. Austen becomes the first female writer (following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens) to feature on a banknote.
Some images and this quote appear on the note: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” It appears that someone has not read Pride and Prejudice, the source of the words spoken by Caroline Bingley to Mr Darcy as he reads a book. Indeed she has no interest in books and is simply grasping at the opportunity to sidle up next to him.

A 1928 Review of W.B. Yeats' The Tower

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;
More Substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

Read a Review of W,B. Yeats' The Tower  by Percy Hutchison, The New York Times, July 22, 1928

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

'Bookseller From Hell' Quits His Shop

Britain’s rudest bookseller is to quit and “not a moment too soon”, according to relieved residents fed up with him driving tourists away from their Yorkshire Dales village. Steve Bloom admits he is a man who “doesn’t butter his parsnips” when dealing with members of the public.
The 63-year-old hit the headlines earlier this year when the was criticised for asking visitors for a 50p entry fee to Bloomindales, his secondhand book shop in Hawes.

More here 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Novels Bill Gates thinks everyone should read

Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, has said he breezes through about 50 books a year — or about a book a week.

Most of the books are nonfiction. But Gates recommends the few fictional books with as much enthusiasm as the history or science books he loves so much.

See his recommendations here

A Humorist at Work

Fran Lebowitz’s trademark is the sneer; she disapproves of virtually everything except sleep, cigarette smoking, and good furniture. Her essays and topical interviews on subjects ranging from the difficulty of finding an acceptable apartment to the art of freeloading at weekend houses have come to be regarded as classics of literary humor and social observation.

More here

Sunday, July 16, 2017

In 1953, a limited edition of "Fahrenheit 451" had asbestos covers to prevent them from burning

Ray Bradbury’s most famous work Fahrenheit 451, was published in 1953.The name of the novel designates the approximate temperature at which paper auto-ignites. In 1953, a special edition of the novel included 200 signed and numbered copies bound in asbestos so that the books wouldn’t burn if the novel turned out to be a prophetic prediction of the future.

More here 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Crime and the City: A Sleepy Little Murdertown Called Reykjavik

"What does Reykjavik bring to mind for most people? A pretty city of charming houses with pastel-colored roofs, Bjork, geo-thermal springs, and a particularly messy banking crisis. The city is not known for its crime rate and, if surveys can be believed, its citizens are not overly worried about being murdered in their beds. Visitors rarely get mugged or slaughtered in a city where the biggest problem is usually pronouncing the street names—Kalkofnsvegur, Laugavegur, Arnarh├│ll, L├Žkjagarta. The city is a very safe place in reality, but decidedly less so in fiction."

Read more

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Enduring Relevance of a 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Design Manual

The Sanli tu is a medieval book, completed in 961 CE, that represents the oldest extant illustrated guidebook to the canonical texts of Confucianism known as the San li, or the Three Rites.

Facsimile pages of the Sanli tu are on view at Bard Graduate Center, where an illuminating exhibition explores the book’s significance and legacy in design.

More here