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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Virginia Woolf's Novels Mapped

Map points reflect locations mentioned or visited in ten novels of Virginia  Woolf.


Friday, June 23, 2017

George Saunders Demystifies the Art of Storytelling

An interesting thing happens when you read certain of George Saunders' stories. At first, you see the satirist at work, skewering American meanness and banality with the same unsparing knife’s edge as earlier postmodernists like John Barth or Donald Barthelme. Then you begin to notice something else taking shape… something perhaps unexpected: compassion. Rather than serving as paper targets of Saunders’ dark humor, his misguided characters come to seem like real people, people he cares about; and the real target of his satire becomes a culture that alienates and devalues those people.

More here

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The New Republic‘s 1946 Pan of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

“There are times when a reviewer is happy to report that a book is bad because it fulfills his hope that the author will expose himself in a way that permits a long deserved castigation. This is not one of them, I was expecting that Orwell would again give pleasure and that his satire of the sort of thing which democrats deplore in the Soviet Union would be keen and cleansing. Instead, the book puzzled and saddened me. It seemed on the whole dull. The allegory turned out to be a creaking machine for saying in a clumsy way things that have been said better directly. And many of the things said are not instantly recognized as the essence of truth, but are of the sort which start endless and boring controversy."
Read more: Literary Hub

Titania and Oberon Reissue

“Her bed was a bank of wild thyme where oxlips and violets grew; a canopy of roses and honeysuckle hung over her head."

This edition of Titania and Oberon  from Pavilion Books is a reissue of the classic tale originally published in 1945. It is illustrated by Phyllis Bray, a member of the East London Group of artists. She was a significant talent and an integral part of the lost history of one of the major artistic movements to come out of the London's East End in the last century.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Emil Ferris started work on My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, a graphic novel, when she was a 40-year-old single mom, partially paralyzed by West Nile virus: no longer able to work as an illustrator, she taught herself to draw again by creating the first volume of Monsters over six long years.

More here

Monday, June 19, 2017

The ABCs of WWI, a British Wartime Alphabet Primer

A stands for Austria, where the first bomb was hurled/The Bomb that was destined to startle the world. So begins The Child’s ABC of the War, a book that teaches the letters of the alphabet not through animals or objects, but through a particular British view of the world and World War I. Printed in London in 1914, it was intended for three-year-old boys.

More here


Revisiting The Prophetic Verse Of Eve Merriam’s ‘The Nixon Poems’

Four years before Watergate, Eve Merriam published The Nixon Poems, a collection dedicated “to the Constitution of the United States of America.” It is one woman’s personal condemnation of an administration.

Merriam's poems about Nixon accurately capture the reality of life in the age of Trump :
When the new Presidentintroduced his cabinethe sponsored themon evening primetimepresenting them as men who all have“that extra dimension”and if the Presidential phraseseemed fussily familiar or shopwornfrom being bandied aboutfor brands of cigarettes cough drops shaving cream containerswell what’s wrong witha bona fide business connection?

or this:
I lead the crusade against water pollution by a secret plan that
will be revealed at the proper timeI invite Billy Graham to bless the official White House
bowling alleyAnd I do not change

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore

Discover the signature sartorial and literary style of fifty men and women of letters, including Maya Angelou; Truman Capote; Colette; Bret Easton Ellis; Allen Ginsberg; Patti Smith; Karl Ove Knausgaard; and David Foster Wallace.

More here 

Misprint the legends: famous typos from James Joyce to JK Rowling

The king of all typo-riddled books is Jonathan Franzen’s 2010 novel Freedom. HarperCollins wound up pulping the entire first print run of 80,000 copies after it emerged that an early version of the book was sent to the printers by mistake. As a result, the book teemed with hundreds of mistakes in grammar, spelling and even characterisation.

The Corrections author discovered the catastrophe surrounding his eagerly anticipated book in a brutally public way. Recording a reading for the BBC current affairs show Newsnight, Franzen came to an abrupt halt and said: “Sorry, I’m realising to my horror that there’s a mistake here that was corrected early in the galleys and it’s still in the fucking hard cover of the book.”
More misprints here 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Stunning Photographs of European Libraries

French photographer Thibaud Poirier's series, entitled Librairies, highlights Europeans libraries from Rome to Dublin to Paris and Berlin.

More here

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Fake Hermit

An investigation into American writer Thomas Pynchon, who has never given an interview in his 54-year career by Natalia Portinari.
An aura of mystery still hangs over Pynchon today. The canonical and brilliant writer – whose books have made the best-seller lists in the United States since the 1990s – has never given interviews. If you Google his name, you’ll find only six photos of him. The most recent, taken in 1957, shows the author in a sailor’s uniform (he was serving in the Navy at the time), front teeth protruding, dark hair, and thick eyebrows. More here

We Were the Drowners

The following is from Josie Sigler’s short story, "We Were The Drowners." Sigler is the author of The Galaxie and Other Rides and living must bury, which won the Motherwell Prize and was published by Fence Books. She completed a PEN Northwest Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Residency and has received a NEA Literature Fellowship and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. The draft of her first novel recently won the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.
It was every Dolphin’s loftiest goal: to be chosen by Jim Yablonski, director of the Downriver Municipal Outdoor Pool, as one of his Drowners. From June to August, Monday through Saturday, we, the ten swimmingest members of the girls’ recreational team, climbed onto our banana-seated bicycles in the first morning heat. We pedaled, streamers flowing, toward the pool at the edge of our neighborhood. We entered the beige brick building that smelled of chlorine and mildew. Tucked behind our locker doors, we undressed. In the showers, we shouted the best songs on the radio, our voices echoing, our suits sucking quick and wet against our new bodies, the dents and swells we hadn’t shown to anyone yet. We reported for duty poolside at seven...Read more here 

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Edna St. Vincent Millay 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Creative Book Cover Design.


James Baldwin and His “Aliases”

Baldwin was “Jimmy” to most of his friends and to himself as well when he meditated on the various aspects of his personality.  Baldwin’s 1,884 page FBI file made the mistake of treating variations on Baldwin’s name and identity as a set of potentially criminal pseudonyms. For the Bureau, “James Baldwin,” “James Arthur Baldwin,” “Jim Baldwin,” and “Jimmy Baldwin” were “aliases” needing correlation and correction.

More here