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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.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Eventually the day comes when we all have to go

Henning Mankell, the late Wallander author, who died this week, was writing in the Guardian about life with cancer. In his final entry, he reflects on fearful nights lying awake as the ‘cold winds sweep in’

Read more: The Guardian

‘Dear Mrs James Bond’

Golfers, vicars, gun experts, even Noel Coward: 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, corresponded with them all – defending everything from Bond’s scrambled egg addiction to his moral decay

To Mrs James Bond
Your husband has every reason to sue me for practically every kind of libel in the book, for I will now confess the damnable truth. I have a small house which I built in Jamaica just after the war and some 10 years ago, a confirmed bachelor on the eve of marriage, I decided to take my mind off the dreadful prospect by writing a thriller.
I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous as possible – even his name should be the very reverse of the kind of “Peregrine Carruthers” one meets in this type of fiction. At that time one of my bibles was, and still is, Birds of the West Indies by James Bond, and it struck me that this name – brief, unromantic and yet very masculine – was just what I needed. So there is my dreadful confession together with thanks for the fun and fame I have had from the most extraordinary chance choice. In return, I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming. Perhaps one day he will discover some particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion that might be a way of getting his own back.
More: The Guardian

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The 69 basic rules of punctuation

This infographic and poster from The Visual Communication Guy is a great place to start if you want to learn the basic concepts of punctuation.

Click here for larger interactive version
Via Holy Kaw!

Death and the Afterlife: A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection

I read Cliff Pickover's blog regularly for interesting science-related posts that I can lift for NOTL.

The least I can do in return is plug his new book Death and the Afterlife: A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection.

Throughout history, the nature and mystery of death has captivated artists, scientists, philosophers, physicians, and theologians. This eerie chronology ventures right to the borderlines of science and sheds light into the darkness. Here, topics as wide ranging as the Maya death gods, golems, and séances sit side by side with entries on zombies and quantum immortality. With the turn of every page, readers will encounter beautiful artwork, along with unexpected insights about death and what may lie beyond.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

You Can’t Kill the Rooster

David Sedaris reads “You Can’t Kill the Rooster”—the greatest story in human history—about his brother Paul, aka The Rooster.

Via The Morning News

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

William Blake's Radicalism

Iain Sinclair explores the historical background to William Blake's radical writings. Filmed on the South Bank of the River Thames, Vauxhall, London.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Artist Rearranges Bookcase, Creates Beautiful Patterns

Israeli artist Gali Cnaani has created a series of clever patterns which are the result of her rearranging her large collection of books on her bookcase at home. The series of photos titled "Pattern Book", examines the visual resemblance between the world of literature and the craft of weaving - from the side, the dense warp threads in the loom look like the pages of a thick book.

via  Junkculture

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


"Cats" by Charles Baudelaire

They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover:
When comes the season of decay, they both decide
Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride;
Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.

Like partisans of carnal dalliance and science,
They search for silence and the shadowings of dread;
Hell well might harness them as horses for the dead,
If it could bend their native proudness in compliance.

In reverie they emulate the noble mood
Of giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude
Who seem to slumber in a never-ending dream;

Within their fertile loins a sparkling magic lies;
Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam,
Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and there are many who sing its praises but it took me a very,very long time to get through it
The book opens with a teenaged Holly Sykes fighting with her mother, getting dumped by her boyfriend and running away from home. I was drawn in and looked forward to reading more but the book took off in too many directions and didn't live up to its initial promise.
It consists of six related narratives situated in various international locations  from 1984 to 2043.  Holly Sykes is the first and last narrator and I enjoyed these chapters most. The Holly character makes appearances in all the narratives (as a mixed up teen, a sister, a wife, a mother, a famous author and a grandmother) and I would have been satisfied if the story was all about her.  But two groups of immortals, the Horologists (good guys) and the Anchorites (villains), pop up with increasing frequency to engage in some science fictional age-old battle. Every time they appeared with their mumbo-jumbo I wanted to throw the book at a wall.
The story ends with Holly living out her last days in Ireland. All the predictions about climate change have come true and the world is a Mad Maxian crumbling dystopia. Holly's journey intrigued me but I could have done without the fantasy subplot. In the end The Bone Clocks proved to be too much of a patchwork for my liking. It's as if Mitchell is throwing everything he's got at the reader, hoping something will stick. Holly's story stuck to me but the others slid off me like water off a duck's back.

A Modest Proposal

David Sedaris' latest story in The New Yorker

That night, I proposed for the first of what eventually numbered eighteen times. “Listen,” I said to Hugh over dinner, “we really need to do this. Otherwise when one of us dies the other will be clobbered with taxes.”

“I don’t care,” he told me. “It’s just money.”

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lore Apothecary Library Fragrance

The comforting scent of age-tanned pages and cedar tables intermingling with bitter coffee and earl grey tea wafting from the librarian's desk.

NOTES: Citrus, Cedar woods, Resinous, Strong coffee

Library comes in a 15ml bottle with a black velvet bag.

Buy it here


Thursday, September 17, 2015



I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

by Wislawa Szymborska
from Map –collected and last poems
translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Via 3quarksdaily

Mister and Lady Day

In Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her writer Amy Novesky and illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton tell the story of what is perhaps the only unconditional and untragic love Lady Day ever knew.

Holiday’s life was always full of beloved dogs — among them the tiny poodle she carried in her coat pocket; Gypsy, the Great Dane; Chiquita and Pepe, the baby-bottle-fed Chihuahuas; and Bessie Mae Moocho, the wire-haired terrier. But her true canine soul-mate was a boxer named Mister.

More: Brain Pickings

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The First Edition Covers of 25 Classic Books

Most book covers change over the years, whether minimally, correcting for modern fonts and colors, or maximally, going through radical change after radical change, each generation connecting (or not connecting) to a different design.  Flavorwire collected 25 first edition covers of classic books.