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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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Show Don’t Tell - Curtis Sittenfeld

At some point, a rich old man named Ryland W. Peaslee had made an enormous donation to the program, and this was why not only the second-year fellowships he’d endowed but also the people who received them were called Peaslees. You’d say, “He’s a Peaslee,” or “She’s a Peaslee.” Each year, four were granted. There were other kinds of fellowships, but none of them provided as much money—eighty-eight hundred dollars—as the Peaslees. Plus, with all the others, you still had to teach undergrads.

Full story here

Saturday, May 27, 2017

An extract from The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy’s first novel in 20 years

She lived in the graveyard like a tree. At dawn she saw the crows off and welcomed the bats home. At dusk she did the opposite. Between shifts she conferred with the ghosts of vultures that loomed in her high branches. She felt the gentle grip of their talons like an ache in an amputated limb. She gathered they weren’t altogether unhappy at having excused themselves and exited from the story.
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Bill Gates book list 2017

This summer, Gates has several new recommendations: three memoirs, a big book on humans, and a rare novel. The selected books, narrative-driven and at times emotional, depart from his usually wonky book lists.

The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal appeals to me.

Read the other  titles here

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Enchanted April and Almond Macaroons

"I devoured The Enchanted April in the garden, where it absolutely demands to be read. It follows four women as they escape a grey English winter to spend a month in a small, crumbling castle on the Mediterranean. It's a beautiful book, one that has been recommended to me many times, but that I am pleased I saved for this trip. The cook who works in the castle, Costanza, prepares many delicious sounding meals for the women: omelettes spilling fresh green peas from their ends, long spaghetti that the women try to cut with a knife, and plenty of almond macaroons, the 'best and biggest [they] had ever come across'."

Macaroon Recipe Here

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The original copy of The Big Book is up for auction

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, written mostly by William G. Wilson, co-founder of AA, and first published in 1939, is one of the bestselling books ever; over 30 million copies sold in 43 languages. The original printer’s copy, covered with handwritten notes and edits, is valued between $2 million and $3 million. It’s up for auction on June 8 and AA is suing to stop the sale.

More here 

The Low-Rent Tragedies of Raymond Carver

‘Another tragedy in a long line of low-rent tragedies’—thus the mother of a fifteen-year-old girl describes the situation that arises when the daughter, reacting to her drunken and abusive father, stays out of school for weeks and says that no one can make her go. And thus might most of the stories that make up Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love be described: low-rent tragedies involving people who read Popular Mechanics and Field and Stream, people who play bingo, hunt deer, fish, and drink. 
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American Writers' Museum

 (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Seven years in the making, Chicago's American Writers Museum offers an entertaining and sometimes surprising tour through the whole tradition, from early colonists to modernists such as Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.

More here 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dress made with the spines of old books


Tiny house bookstore will travel around France

La Maison Qui Chemine has melded two things people love: Creative tiny houses and quaint bookstores.

More here

Does This Sound A Bit Cheesy?

British novelist Neil Gaiman has agreed to do a live reading of the entire Cheesecake Factory menu for charity.

More here

Finishing a Memoir with Months to Live

It started in Target. Nina was there with her two little boys. I was there with my husband and our newborn. I knew her from graduate school, but not very well—we had hung in and around the edges of the same group of friends for several years, but she and I had never really talked one-on-one. My husband and I were maybe three weeks into the delirium of new parenthood. Nina seemed to really mean it when she said, “I know how you feel.”

Read more here

Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium

Emily Dickinson exhibition at the Morgan Library contains this wonderful piece:
"424 flowers from the Amherst region, which Dickinson celebrated as “beautiful children of spring,” arranged with a remarkable sensitivity to scale and visual cadence across sixty-six pages in a large leather-bound album. Slim paper labels punctuate the specimens like enormous dashes inscribed with the names of the plants — sometimes colloquial, sometimes Linnaean — in Dickinson’s elegant handwriting."

More here 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

17 Famous Authors and Their Rejections

It’s hard to think that authors who have sold millions of books could ever have been rejected, but everyone had to start somewhere.

Read about them at Mental Floss

Bonebreaker, by Nell Zink

Jed came downstairs. He worked mostly in the sleeping loft, writing serious journalism. His current project was about a friend’s imprisonment on charges related to terrorism. He said, “Laurie.”

“What?” She was sitting at the table, eating cereal and using the Tor browser on her encrypted laptop to read a friend’s personal newsletter. This week it was a funny-unfunny story about breastfeeding in a parking lot.

“We have to go.”

Story continues here

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Country Life

In this third novel by Rachel Cusk narrator Stella Benson is leaving her husband, her parents and her job in London to take on a position as an au pair with the Maddens, a wealthy family with a disabled adolescent son. Her decision to pack up and repair to the Sussex countryside seems to have been made on the spur of the moment. She lands in Jane Eyre/Alice In Wonderland territory not knowing what her duties are nor what to expect from the family, all of whom seem to be volatile and/or mad. Stella's own behaviour as she veers from calamity to calamity would test the patience of even the most understanding of families. Being able to drive was a condition of her employment but she neglects to inform her employer that she has never been behind the wheel of a car before. Despite this she drives Martin, the wheelchair-bound teen she is supposed to care for, to school. She also steals a bottle of gin from the family's supply and drinks it with her charge. She shows up to dinner in a pair of hot pants she has fashioned with nail scissors. Then things get worse! She impales the family dog with a sun umbrella when it attacks her and drunkenly stumbles into the swimming pool. All this happens in less than a week.
I'm glad I didn't give up on Rachel Cusk after feeling rather tepid about two of her other books (Saving Agnes and Outline). This was a very funny book.