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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, November 25, 2014

Salvador Dali’s Cookbook

Salvador Dali's cookbook Les Diners de Gala was published in 1973. This is the table of contents:
1. Les caprices pincés princiers (Exotic Dishes)
2. Les cannibalismes de l’automne (Eggs - Seafood)
3. Les suprêmes de malaises lilliputiens (Entrées)
4. Les entre-plats sodomisés (Meats)
5. Les spoutniks astiqués d’asticots statistiques (Snails - Frogs)
6. Les panaches panachés (Fish - Shellfish)
7. Les chairs monarchiques (Game - Poultry)
8. Les montres molles 1/2 sommeil (Pork)
9. L’atavisme désoxyribonucléique (Vegetables)
10. Les “je mange GALA” (Aphrodisiacs)
11. Les pios nonoches (Sweets - Desserts)
12. Les délices petits martyrs (Hors-d’oeuvres)
Prices on Amazon range from $300 to $490.

More: Dangerous Minds

Lewis Carroll's Typewriter

Twenty years ago when Charlie Lovett found a small handwritten note by Lewis Carroll in which he asked for help in operating his new typewriter he did not know that Carroll's actual machine still existed. He wrote an article for a small Lewis Carroll journal titled “Lewis Carroll’s Typewriter” in which he described the Hammond No. 1 typewriter that Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Dodgson) had bought in 1888.

In 2012 it came up for auction at a small auction house in England and Lovett purchased it. He did more research and wrote an article for an exhibition catalogue and was able to illustrate the article with pictures of the actual machine.

Read more here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cassady letter that inspired Kerouac found, to be auctioned

It’s been called the letter that launched a literary genre — 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950.

Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.

It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.

Via:  NY Daily News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Four Days, Sam Shepard

Best thing I've read in a long time. From Shepard's 2010 collection of short narratives, Day out of Days. 

Majesty: (Highway 101 South)

We stop in a place called Smith’s in Paso Robles and order turkey-gumbo soup and lemon-meringue pie with black coffee. This ensemble somehow fits together although it sounds as though the tastes might clash. The theme from The Godfatheris playing on the jukebox; very dreary and always reminds me of that shocking scene with the decapitated horse head. What goes on in Coppola’s mind? How could a guy come up with that? You must have to be Italian. The skinny waitress here has the worst skin I’ve seen in a long, long time. She seems to be drowning in Clearasil, poor thing. Already suffering and she’s barely sixteen. The decor in here is very weird: old-time meat hooks hanging from the ceiling, unless maybe they’re ice hooks. Either way it’s incongruous for a roadside café, it seems to me. After blowing laboriously on his gumbo soup, Dennis, out of the blue, starts telling me how his aunt had a stroke recently and can’t remember the names of things. Some sort of aphasia or something. She seems to recognize the object itself but can’t remember the correct name for it. Like “door” might become “key” in her mind or “dog” might turn into “bug.” Close but way off. I remember that happened to me once when I was a kid—not a stroke but the confusion about naming a thing. My mother became very alarmed about it and marched me over to the icebox. She threw the door open and began hauling out things like a cube of margarine, for instance, holding it up close to my face and demanding that I pronounce the name of it. I knew it wasn’t butter because we never had butter but I couldn’t remember the other name so I called it “majesty.” I remember the panic on her face, as though she suddenly thought she had a cabbage head for a son on top of everything else she was worried about like the old man and taxes and the price of milk. I think it may have also been the extreme heat back then. We were having one of those desert heat waves that summer where it would sit and swelter around a hundred and twelve at midnight for days on end. No rain. And this was in the time before air-conditioning was even thought of. The hills were all black and smoky from wildfires and when you breathed in you could taste the ash on the back of your tongue. At night I would have dreams where the clouds would just ignite into flames. Anyway, I don’t know why it was that I suddenly had this little spell of not knowing what to call things. It didn’t last long but it was as strange to me as it must have been for my mother. I absolutely could not remember the name for margarine. That’s all there was to it.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Color of Shadows - Colm Toibin


Ali Hyland, one of the neighbors in Enniscorthy, phoned Paul in Dublin to say that his aunt Josie, his father’s sister, had been found that morning on the floor, having fallen out of bed in the house where she lived alone; they thought that she had been lying there most of the night. An ambulance had come, Ali said, and taken Josie to Wexford hospital, ten miles away.

More:The New Yorker

Traveling library made in the seventeenth century.

This traveling library looks like an oversized book. Its shelves contain 40 small volumes, bound in vellum. The blue-painted frontispiece, opposite its shelves, catalogs the contents; the small books bear no titles on their spines.

While scholars don’t know exactly who was responsible for this volume’s construction, they believe it was commissioned by William Hakewill, an MP, lawyer, and student of legal history. Hakewill seems to have gifted four such sets to friends and associates in the years 1617 and 1618.


The Victory of Penelope Fitzgerald

Tara Heinemann/Camera Press/Redux

"...she made her debut at the age when others are going off or giving up, and after diffident beginnings rapidly emerged as an utterly distinctive talent, with no obvious debts to anybody. In America she achieved fame at the age of eighty with The Blue Flower, her finest and most demanding book, and also her last. She died, aged eighty-three, in 2000."

More: The New York Review of Books

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Akiko Noguchi's Tiny TV

Akiko Noguchi's tiny TV is made of wood with a body just one inch tall. Inside the body are three miniature books, each one focusing on a different aspect of the lives of Japanese children during the 1930’s and 40’s. By altering the order of the books inside, you can alter the image on the screen. The set also comes with it’s own tiny instruction manual.Link

Via Blort

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bad Sex In Fiction Award

The Literary Review sets out to find "the most egregious passage of sexual description in a work of fiction", and describes itself as "Britain's most dreaded literary prize". Established by Auberon Waugh in 1993, its purpose is to draw attention to "perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them", with former winners including Sebastian Faulks, AA Gill and Melvyn Bragg.

The shortlist in full:

The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

The Age of Magic by Ben Okri

The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

Desert God by Wilbur Smith

Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Life She's Chosen

This short story debut by Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum has been sitting on my bookcase for many years, perhaps since it was published in 2005. Reading it was part of my quest for a few empty shelves in my library. These are stories about Pacific northwest women of Scandinavian extraction whose relationships with their families are uncomfortable. Alienation, the emotional distance between people, is the theme that ties the collection together. On the surface the stories seem uncomplicated but there is a haunted feeling that lurks beneath. The subtleness of Lunstrum's writing makes each story exquisite like a tiny perfect gem or an orchid. I'd like to read other books she's written.

If Literary Characters were Lifestyle Bloggers

When Spots Won’t Listen -
L. MacBeth 
You’ve tried commanding them to leave, but those spots won’t be ousted—and they’re driving you mad. Try this mix of baking soda and… 

It’s Just the Wind” and Other Ways to Distract Your Date from the Mad Person in Your Attic - Ed Rochester 
Don’t let your crazy spouse put a damper on your romantic evening. Try these sure-fire lines to redirect the conversation… 

Gingham and Rubies: How to Mix High- and Low-Fashion Pieces -
Dorothy Gale 
Learn how to balance your wardrobe with these high and low pieces and your frenemies will be green with envy…


Cool City, a Lego Concept Book

Independent Lego artist Sean Kenney has created several volumes of clever Lego design concepts including Cool City, a book about the trials and tribulations of living in the city.

Via PeopleForBikes

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Afghanistan - Raymond Carver

The sad music of roads lined with larches.
The forest in the distance resting under snow.
The Khyber Pass. Alexander the Great.
History, and lapis lazuli.
No books, no pictures, no knick-knacks please me.
But she pleases me. And lapis lazuli.
That blue stone she wears on her dear finger.
That pleases me exceedingly.
The bucket clatters into the well.
And brings up water with a sweet taste to it.
The towpath along the river. The footpath
Through the grove of almonds. My love
Goes everywhere in her sandals.
And wears lapis lazuli on her finger.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

First Editions, Second Thoughts

On December 2, Christie's will auction 75 first-edition books, each of which is a unique object that has been annotated with words and/or illustrations by its author. 

More: NYTimes.com