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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 01, 2015

This Book Is a Camera

Artist and designer Kelli Anderson just released her latest book This Book is a Camera, a pop-up book that turns into a fully functional pinhole camera.

Via: Colossal

My Life in a Parisian Bookstore

Shakespeare and Company bookstore on 37 Rue de la Bucherie opened its doors in 1951. Since then, it had become legend, not just for its selection of English-language books but also for its hospitality. Over the second-floor archway, the shop’s founder, George Whitman, had painted the words “Be kind to strangers, for they may be angels in disguise.” The store lived by that motto. Shakespeare and Company claimed to have hosted 30,000 travelers on the narrow beds tucked between its bookshelves in the years since it opened. These guests—including writers like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Anais Nin—were known as “Tumbleweeds.”

Full story: Literary Hub

Monday, November 30, 2015

An Absolutely Serious Analysis of GOODNIGHT MOON

I mean, COME ON, Clement Hurd, what are you trying to do, burn my retinas with your orange and green and blue insanity? Why does this room have to be so crazed with color? It’s like a circus vomited on a neon-art convention and the Hazmat team arrived waaay too late.

More here

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Scotch, beer and cigarettes: my weekend with Patricia Highsmith

Image: Ulf Andersen/Getty

Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy first met novelist Patricia Highsmith for a tour of a cemetery. The two became firm friends, though Pat’s opinions and pride in her own paintings caused a few sticky moments.

Read More: The Guardian

Saturday, November 28, 2015

So Many Books, So Little Time

Writers share their favourite books of the last year in The Guardian. I have read The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and am reading The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink.

It's evident that I'll have to spend less time on social media and more time reading if I want to make it through all the books that interest me on this list. The Elena Ferrante novels are on my bookshelf and I plan to read them on flights to and from the far east in December and January.

These also look like must reads:

The Green Road by Anne Enright
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
John Aubrey by Ruth Scurr
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
Purity by Jonathan Franzen
The Buried Giant by Kazoo Ishiguro
Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess by Andrew Lownie
Margaret Thatcher: Everything She Wants by Charles Moore

If I manage to get through these I'll consider 2016 to be a year well-read.

The Library at Night - Ex Machina / Robert Lepage

The Library at Night is a virtual exploration of 10 of the world’s most fascinating libraries. It was designed by the Ex Machina production company and its artistic director, multidisciplinary artist Robert Lepage, based on an original idea by BAnQ.

Visitors don headsets using 360° video immersion technology* that take them from Sarajevo's National and University Library, magically risen from the ashes, to Mexico City’s Megabibliotheca, the stunning digital-age Biblioteca Vasconcelos, and from the legendary city of Alexandria to the bottom of the sea aboard Captain's Nemo Nautilus.
More here

Friday, November 27, 2015

‘F*cking Apostrophes’Teaches The Rules Of Grammar

Fucking Apostrophe by Simon Griffin is a book that tries to make sense of the rules of apostrophes.

Purchase the book here .
Via DesignTAXI.com

Thanks Bruce!

Faulkner Does Black Friday


Jewel and I come up onto Macy’s fifth floor. We cannot find a present for Pa and we are in bed and bath and lost. The beds look like shorn sheep with their hooves tucked under, heads bowed, prayerful before the slaughter bleeds brown eyes black. Fluorescents burn and hum with terrible impatience.

Deepening by safety elevator to men’s basics, Jewel stares straight ahead, his pale eyes glinting like plastic set into his hard plastic face. The elevator chimes. Jewel crosses the floor in eight strides with the rigid gravity of a mannequin dressed in a herringbone suit and endued with life from the waist down. Then he’s gone.

Revolving doors tuck Jewel back into the city’s wrenching noise, a pair of socks, angry with Atlanta Falcon, tongue from his back pocket.

If I knew what to get Pa I would have but I do not. The lights blur. I can smell my tears.

More: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Thursday, November 26, 2015

All Change At Maggs Brothers

Tomorrow, Maggs Brothers will be closing the door after seventy-eight years in Berkeley Sq prior to opening new premises nearby, but the Gentle Author managed to cross the threshold in time to explore this astonishing five-storey Georgian mansion stacked with rare books and manuscripts.

Read more: Spitalfields Life

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gluttony: A Thanksgiving Reading List

Open the top button on your trousers and, if you can stomach it, digest some of these passages on greedy consumption across the literary spectrum. Adventures in eating from In Cold Blood to Roald Dahl's Matilda.

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
The travelers stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Great Bend. Perry, down to his last fifteen dollars, was ready to settle for root beer and a sandwich, but Dick said no, they needed a solid ‘tuck-in,’ and never mind the cost, the tab was his. They ordered two steaks medium rare, baked potatoes, French fries, fried onions, succotash, side dishes of macaroni and hominy, salad with Thousand Island dressing, cinnamon rolls, apple pie and ice cream, and coffee. To top it off, they visited a drugstore and selected cigars; in the same drugstore, they also bought two thick rolls of adhesive tape.

More: Literary Hub

400-Year-Old Book Made Entirely from Feathers

The title page of The Feather Book. The banner hanging from the branch reads:
 'Dionisio Minaggio, gardener to His Excellency the Governor of Milan was the creator,
and he made [this book] in the year 1618'.
(All Photos: Dionisio Minaggio, The Feather Book, Milan, c.1618,
Courtesy Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library)

In 1618, Dionisio Minaggio, Chief Gardener of the State of Milan, created a series of images of birds and scenes from the era: hunters, tradesmen, musicians and actors from the Commedia Dell’Arte. The pictures were made of feathers, along with some supplementary bird parts: skin, beak and feet. In total, there were 156 images, which were bound into a book: The Feather Book, or Il Bestario Barocco (The Baroque Bestiary).

More: Atlas Obscura

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Great American Novel Map

 "The Great American Novel: Places from the pages of America's finest literary works" chronologically celebrates 42 of the most important works of fiction inspired by life in the United States.

Available for purchase at  Hog Island Press


Penny Dreadfuls, Juvenile Crime, and Late-Victorian Moral Panic

"The 1840s ushered in an era of luridly illustrated gothic tales which were marketed to a working-class Victorian audience. These stories, told in installments and printed on inexpensive pulp paper, were originally only eight pages long and sold for just a penny – giving rise to the term “penny bloods” or “penny dreadfuls.” With titles such as Varney the Vampire and Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, these types of publications were wildly popular, especially with young male readers, and it was not long before the Victorian public began to make a connection between various juvenile crimes and misdemeanors and the consumption of this (allegedly) depraved material"...

More: Mimi Matthews

Thanks Bruce!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Iceland, a Literary Tour Explores Rich History

With a population of about 320,000, the country has more books published and more books read per person than anywhere else in the world, according to a BBC report. One in 10 will publish at least one book, the report said.

More: The New York Times

The Lunatic Behind the Dictionary

When Dr. James Murray was compiling illustrative quotations for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary volunteer Dr. W.C. Minor of Broadmoor provided tens of thousands of examples for certain desired words on demand. What Dr. Murray didn't know was that William Chester Minor was a certified lunatic and murderer. It would take Dr. Murray nearly a decade to learn the true identity of his angel wordsmith...

Read more