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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, October 25, 2016

2016 GGBooks winners announced

The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the winners of the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Awards. The 14 winning titles, chosen from a shortlist of 68 finalists, represent the best Canadian books of the year. They offer readers of all ages the opportunity to enjoy new work by established authors and discover new favourites by first-time winners. 2016 marks the awards’ 80th anniversary.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

MISTER MONKEY By Francine Prose

"In what presents itself as a modest, mischievous little novel, Francine Prose has, modestly and mischievously, given us a great work. Expertly constructed, “Mister Monkey” is so fresh and new it’s almost giddy, almost impudent with originality. Tender and artful, Prose’s 15th novel is a sophisticated satire, a gently spiritual celebration of life, a dark and thoroughly grim depiction of despair, a screwball comedy, a screwball tragedy."

Read more: The New York Times:

The dark side of nursery rhymes ...

"Religious persecution, prostitution, medieval taxes, and the plague: these are not the topics that you would anticipate being familiar with as a new parent. Yet right now, mothers of tiny children around the world are senselessly singing along to nursery rhymes that appear innocent. If you dig deeper, some of these songs unveil an appallingly sinister back story."

“Ring a Ring o’ Roses” originated during the Great Plague of 1665 in London. The “rosie” was the foul rash that formed on the skin of the bubonic plague victim, the stink of which then required concealment with a “pocket full of posies.” The bubonic plague killed 15% of Britain’s population, a fact which is referenced in the song: “atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down.”
More here

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inside the World of Judging the Man Booker Prize

“The rules are clear: the winning novel is, in opinion of the judges, the best book of that year. We know what we’ve signed up to do.”

More: Literary Hub

Gun which Verlaine used to shoot Rimbaud up for auction

On the morning of 10 July 1873 poet Paul Verlaine attempted to murder his teenage lover Arthur Rimbaud because he wanted to end the affair and return to his wife. One bullet hit Rimbaud in the wrist, while the other bullet struck the wall and ricocheted into the chimney. Having been bandaged up in hospital, Rimbaud again begged Verlaine not to leave him but Verlaine pulled out the revolver  and threatened him with it in the street. The 7mm six-shooter he used is coming up for auction for €60,000.

Via: Paris Review

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Atlas of Maps Reclaiming New York’s Untold Stories and Unseen Populations

In Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas Rebecca Solnit, in collaboration with Joshua Jelly-Shapiro, explores “what maps can do to describe the ingredients and systems that make up a city and what stories remain to be told after we think we know where we are.”

Read more:  Brain Pickings

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

52 thousand books reshelved at NYC Public Library

In preparation for the reopening of the Rose Main Reading Room, watch 52,000 books being shelved...in just two minutes.

Video credit: Max Touhey Photography. Music credit: As Colorful As Ever by Broke For Free

Via Boing Boing

Monday, October 17, 2016

Excerpt: Nobody's Son

The following is from Mark Slouka’s memoir, Nobody's Son . Slouka is the author of six books. His stories have twice been selected for inclusion in Best American Short Stories as well as for the PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories, and his essays have appeared three times for Best American Essays. His collection Essays from the Nick of Time, received the PEN/Diamonstein-Speilvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.
"In the summer of 1970, when I was twelve years old, my mother and father and I spent three months in a big wooden house on the shore of one of the Twin Lakes in the northwestern corner of Connecticut. My father, a professor of political science, had gotten a summer teaching gig at some institute of international something-or-other. It came with a house, so up we went.
There may be more beautiful places on earth than northwestern Connecticut in the summer, but if there are, I haven’t seen them yet. I remember that house, that place – the creaky wooden steps, the well-balanced cedar doors, the click of the tongue in the latch. I remember the track of moonlight across the lake, the days of rain hissing in the long grass at noon. I fell in love that summer. Her name was Karen. Karen had long blond hair and, if memory serves, ever-so-slightly crossed eyes, and I loved her. How she felt about me didn’t really come up. Bread’s “I Wanna Make it With You” was on the radio that summer, as was Freida Payne’s “Band of Gold.” Those songs were about us. Every song was about us."
Read more here

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trying To Float - Nicolaia Rips

Trying to Float is a memoir by seventeen-year-old Nicolaia Rips about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel. The book began as a journal for an end-of-year grade 8 project and evolved into something larger. It is told in a series of short vignettes about Nicolaia's childhood, the unconventional denizens of the Chelsea Hotel, her mostly oblivious parents and cruel and sometimes eccentric schoolmates. The author admits that she embellished it over the years but it's darn cute, witty and short and would make a perfect airplane read.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

So Who Exactly is Bob Dylan, Newly Crowned Nobel Laureate?

No battle has raged as fervently as the one about the self of Bob Dylan—whether there was a true self beyond what had been invented for the audience. According to the Nobel Prize committee at least, he is a poet, and a literary genius of the first order—to others, not so much.

More: Literary Hub

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

An Excerpt From Robbie Robertson's New Memoir

The Band and friends perform the show’s finale.
Courtesy Of MGM Media Licensing/© 1978 The Last Waltz Productions, Inc

"When the Band decided to stop touring, they asked a young director named Martin Scorsese to put their farewell concert on film. In an excerpt from his new memoir, Testimony, guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson recalls the night of Thanksgiving 1976, where electric performances by legends such as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell created rock history."

Read It Here 

How To Open A New Book

JohnBLarroquette on Twitter

On This Day

On this day in 1979, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published. Here's an excerpt from it that seems relevant today: 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

21st Century Pop-Up Books

"Fairy Tales, Science Fiction, and Freud: Telling Stories is work by Marianne Petit and Jody Culkin, told in a variety of media that include pop-up books with embedded electronics, animation, 3D papercraft, VR, and other materials and objects. These pieces are based on stories that originated in the 19th century. Marianne Petit’s work illustrates “Struwwelpeter,” a children’s book written in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman, Jody Culkin’s work is based on “1975,” a science fiction play written in 1875 by sculptor Harriet Hosmer, and “The Interpretation of Dreams,” written by Sigmund Freud in 1899."

Struwwelpeter VR Promo: Augustus Who Would Not Eat His Soup from Marianne Petit on Vimeo.
Based on Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffman. Coming January 2017. 

More here