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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.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Mapping ‘Madeline’ Creator’s New York Haunts

Madeline, the smallest of the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” who lived in “an old house in Paris that was covered in vines,” was born in Manhattan. In Pete’s Tavern on Irving Place in 1938, Ludwig Bemelmans scrawled those first rhyming lines that would introduce his petite heroine of the Madeline books. To mark the centenary of the children’s book author and illustrator stepping into Gotham, the New-York Historical Society opened Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans earlier this month. In conjunction with the exhibition, illustrator Adrienne Ottenberg created a map of “Bemelmans’ New York.”

More Here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

South Downs litter picker has truck named after him

If you've read David Sedaris's  FitBit piece you'll know he litter picks. In recognition of his work and dedication the council has named one of their waste vehicles after him. Such an honour!

More: West Sussex County Times

Edward Hirsch’s Elegy for His Son

In a book-length elegy, the poet Edward Hirsch confronts the loss of his son.

A Masterpiece of Sorrow

Adriaen Coenen’s Fish Book (1580)

"Selected double-page spreads from Adriaen Coenen’s Visboek (Fish Book), an epic 800 page tome on all things fish and fish-related. Coenen began work on this unique book in 1577, at the age of 63, and in three years gathered an unprecedented amount of information on the sea and its coasts, coastal waters, fishing grounds and marine animals."

More: The Public Domain Review

Funniest Books

Publisher's Weekly staff members name the funniest books they've ever read. My favourite funny book is Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis but it's not on the list.

See their choices here

Monday, July 28, 2014

In Search of Haruki Murakami, Japan's Great Postmodernist Novelist

Rupert Edwards’ camera follows veteran presenter Alan Yentob through Japan, from the midnight Tokyo of After Hours to the snowed-in Hokkaido of A Wild Sheep Chase, in a quest to find artifacts of the famous yet media-shy novelist’s imaginary world.

More:  Open Culture

Excerpt from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

A folktale from Haruki Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Magdalen

This book by Marita Conlon-McKenna tells the story of Esther Doyle, a young girl growing up in Connemara, Ireland in the 1950s. Her father was killed at sea and her youngest sister is mentally disabled. The family is poor and they all work hard to sustain themselves. Esther is forced to leave school to look after her brothers, her challenged sister and her ailing mother, a difficult life. She falls in love with Conor, a young man from another part of Ireland but when she becomes pregnant he tells her he wants no part of her or the baby. The stigma of illegitimacy leads her family to reject her as well and, with the assistance of the local priest, she is sent to join the 'fallen women' of the Holy Saints Convent in Dublin where she works in the infamous Magdalen laundry while waiting for her baby to be born. The work was gruelling and the women poorly treated but they help one another.

When the baby is born Esther reluctantly respects the agreement she had made and places her for adoption although it breaks her heart to do so. She cannot return to the family who treated her so callously so with the newfound strength gained through her adverse experience she sets off to make her own life.

Approximately 10,000 women are known to have entered a Magdalen Laundry from 1922 until the closure of the last Laundry in 1996. On 19 February 2013, Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially issued a full state apology to the women of the Magdalene Laundries. He described the laundries as "the nation's shame" and said, "Therefore, I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry."

This is a dark tale about an ugly time told in a matter of fact, unsensational way that leaves me grieving for all the Esthers who were subjected to brutality in the guise of religion.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Last Bookshop

The Last Bookshop imagines a future where physical books have died out.
One day, a small boy's holographic entertainment fails, so he heads out to explore the streets of abandoned shops outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient shopkeeper has been waiting over 25 years for a customer...

 Produced by The Bakery in the South-East of England, filming took place in 2011, with post-production completed in 2012. The music was composed by Owen Hewson and performed by Arlet.

Are you a book hoarder? There's a word for that.

How many books is too many books? What makes you a book hoarder? What do you do when you have too many?

In Japanese, there’s a word for it: tsundoku.

More: LA Times

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Struggle Bingo

Life is not long enough to spend it reading all volumes of Knausgaard's story. However a short game of My Struggle bingo sounds okay.


 1. Every player needs to acquire their own copy of My Struggle: Book 1.

 2. Each turn requires the players to open their book to a random page of their choosing and fill out any spaces on the bingo board accordingly.

 3. The winner will receive complimentary bottles of Knausgaard's soon-to-be-launching line of haircare products, My Volume.

Via: The Hairpin

J'apprends eviter les accidents

Learning to avoid accidents in 1961

More: Agence eureka

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

This year, the works of one of the most successful and universal writers of all time came into the public domain in many countries around the world. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck – in all, thirty-three books bearing the name “Beatrix Potter” have sold close to 200 million copies. Frank Delaney enquires into the more complex woman behind the safe and warm-hearted stories.
More:The Public Domain Review

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things Found in Books

"Be careful what you use as a bookmark. Thousands of dollars, a Christmas card signed by Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a marriage certificate from 1879, a baby’s tooth, a diamond ring and a handwritten poem by Irish writer Katharine Tynan Hickson are just some of the stranger objects discovered inside books by AbeBooks.com booksellers."
If I start leafing through my 5000 books do you think I might find that gift certificate I lost last year?

More: AbeBooks

Thanks Bruce!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Leo Tolstoy's Family Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe for Leo Tolstoy’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese dish was not included in Leo Tolstoy’s family recipe book :
 Bring water to a boil, add salt, then add macaroni and leave boiling on light fire until half tender; drain water through a colander, add butter and start putting macaroni back into the pot in layers – layer of macaroni, some grated Parmesan and some vegetable sauce, macaroni again and so on until you run out of macaroni. Put the pot on the edge of the stove, cover with a lid and let it rest in light fire until the macaroni are soft and tender. Shake the pot occasionally to prevent them from burning.
Via  Open Culture