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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.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Colm Toibin The Journey to Galway


She remembered an unusual silence that morning – a stillness in the trees and in the farmyard, and a deadness in the house itself, no sounds from the kitchen, and no one moving up and down the stairs. But she wondered later if the silence had been real or, instead, if it had been something she had merely imagined afterwards. She was unsure if the news had not actually changed her memory of the hours that came before. At times she thought that it hardly mattered, but at other times, especially when she woke to dawn light and dawn birdsong, the details of how word of Robert’s death came, and precisely what the period before was like, belonged to her life as much as her breath did, or her heartbeat.
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NPR's Book Concierge


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Monday, December 05, 2016

JOAN DIDION TALKS ABOUT WRITING AS AGGRESSION

Watch a rare interview from the 1970's with Tom Brokaw and Joan Didion. Didion discusses the power of writing and her love for California.


More: Literary Hub

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Song of the Last Place


Song of the Last Place from Gary Yost on Vimeo.

THE SONG MT. TAMALPAIS SINGS
by Lew Welch
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
Human movements,
but for a few,
are Westerly.
Man follows the Sun.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
Or follows what he thinks to be the
movement of the Sun.
It is hard to feel it, as a rider,
on a spinning ball.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
Centuries and hordes of us,
from every quarter of the earth,
now piling up,
and each wave going back
to get some more.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
“My face is the map of the Steppes,”
she said, on this mountain, looking West.
My blood set singing by it,
to the old tunes,
Irish, still,
among these Oaks.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
This is why
Once again we celebrate
the great Spring Tides.
Beaches are strewn again with Jasper,
Agate, and Jade.
The Mussel-rock stands clear.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
This is why
Once again we celebrate the
Headland’s huge, cairn-studded, fall
into the Sea.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.
For we have walked the jeweled beaches
at the feet of the final cliffs
of all Man’s wanderings.
This is the last place. There is nowhere else we need to go.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

"Open Book" Fountain

The "Open Book" Fountain is situated at at the end of Henszlemann Imre Utca street, in Budapest, Hungary.



Thanks Bruce!

Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector peering down at her typewriter while smoking a cigarette, ca. 1950s.

Via Ferocious Sprout 

THE WORLD’S OLDEST LIBRARY: FOUNDED BY A WOMAN, RESTORED BY A WOMAN


"Al-Qarawiyyin Library is better known for its manuscripts than its books. It houses one of the country’s two main collections and includes 5,600 titles, more than half of which include multiple copies. The texts include everything from the Muqadimmah, a 14th-century historical treatise by the renowned scholar Ibn Khaldun (previously displayed by the Louvre in Paris), to a 9th-century Quran. Al-Qarawiyyin Library was a hub of intellectualism for hundreds of years following its founding in 859 C.E. all thanks to its founder—Fatima al-Fehri."

More: Literary Hub

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Seedy Underbelly Of Antiquarian Bookselling


The problem with planning a rare books heist, it seems to me, is not so much the theft itself, which anyone possessed of a little dexterity and a decent tote bag ought to be able to pull off, but rather converting your hard work and criminal ingenuity into cash money.
A Visit to the Shadowy World of Rare Book Theft

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Proper Use of the Comparative Words ‘Like’ and ‘As’ Within a Descriptive Sentence

Mary Norris aka “The Comma Queen” explained the proper use of the comparative words “like” and “as” within a descriptive sentence.



Via 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book & Bed Hostel


Book & Bed is a self-described “accommodation bookshop” with beds built into bookshelves. For the first time, it was socially acceptable to wander into a bookshop, pick up a book, and then doze off to sleep.

Via  Spoon &Tamago

Monday, November 28, 2016

De Mulieribus Claris

De mulieribus claris (On Famous Women) by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) was published in 1374 and is the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature.

Unknown Artist Marcia Painting Self-Portrait using Mirror
(from Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) De claris mulieribus,
Anonymous French Translantio, Le livre de femmes nobles et renomees,
France c 1440 British Library Artiste faisant son autoportrait


Roman des Girart von Roussillon, Cod. 2449, f. 167v, Flemish, 1447,
Österreichishe Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Women Building


Livre de la Cité des dames, c. 1401-1500, Français 607, f. 2r,
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits.


More Here

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Jack London, a century on


Yesterday, as Dennis Duncan has noted, was the seventieth anniversary of a controversial book – J’irai cracher sur vos tombes (I Shall Spit on Your Graves) by one “Vincent Sullivan” – who was really Boris Vian in a mischievous mood. Go back further, another thirty years: today, November 22, it is a century since the death of Jack London, another self-inventing and occasionally trouble-making author.
More: TLS

Thank you, and have a bodacious Heffalump.

WE ARE WORDS from the always entertaining Paul Bassett Davies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Reading List for Thanksgiving



These should give you an excuse to avoid getting into an argument with your Trump-supporting relatives. None of the  stories were written in 2016, but the themes of our contemporary American Thanksgiving traditions—family, identity, history—remain relevant. Read them at  Longreads

Poem: “At a Motel Near O’Hare Airport,” by Jane Kenyon


Poem: “At a Motel Near O’Hare Airport,” by Jane Kenyon:

I sit by the window all morning
watching the planes make final approaches.
Each of them gathers and steadies itself
like a horse clearing a jump.

I look up to see them pass,
so close I can see the rivets
on their bellies, and under their wings,
and at first I feel ashamed,
as if I had looked up a woman’s skirt.

How beautiful that one is,
slim-bodied and delicate
as a fox, poised and intent
on stealing a chicken
from a farmyard.

And now a larger one, its
tail shaped like a whale’s.
They call it sounding
when a whale dives,
and the tail comes out of the water
and flashes in the light
before going under

Here comes a 747,
slower than the rest,
phenomenal; like some huge
basketball player
clearing space for himself
under the basket.

How wonderful to be that big
and to fly through the air,
and to make so great a shadow
in the parking lot of a motel.