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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, January 16, 2017

Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books - The New York Times

"Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama.

Last Friday, seven days before his departure from the White House, Mr. Obama sat down in the Oval Office and talked about the indispensable role that books have played during his presidency and throughout his life — from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship, to his youth when they helped him to figure out who he was, what he thought and what was important."
More: The New York Times

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sales of Rep. John Lewis' Graphic Novel Skyrocket

Three years ago, Representative John Lewis published the first book in a three-part graphic novel series about his experience as a leader for the Civil Rights Movement. Today, March is one of the biggest books in the country, selling out on Amazon overnight. And it’s all because the next president decided to pick a fight.


The Five Most Dangerous Children’s Books Ever Written, According to Sean Hannity

1. Clifford the Big Red Dog
by Norman Birdwell

According to a reliable source, Norman Birdwell, a close personal friend of Karl Marx and adviser to Pol Pot, was a card-carrying member of the American Communist Party. The metaphor is obvious: a big red canine teaches children the importance of sharing and working together. (While cleverly ignoring the consequences of such un-American behavior.) ...

More: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

London Bookshops

The Best Bookshops in London 

Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam, was a Russian writer who was arrested under Stalin and exiled in the 1930s. Sentenced to a labor camp in Siberia, he died en route at a transit camp, aged forty-seven.

Take for joy from my outstretched palms
A little honey and a little sun
As we were implored by the bees of Proserpine.

No one can loose a boat that is unmoored.
No one can hear the shadow shod in fur.
One cannot track down fear in the dense forest of life.

We are left only with kisses,
Prickling like tiny fuzzy bees
Which die, having left the hive.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Classic Literary Obituaries

Whether you’re contemplating your inevitable death or trying to avoid it by reading articles on the internet on this luckiest of days, here is a collection of Classic Literary Obituaries, From Virginia Woolf to Marcel Proust

From Lewis Carroll's Diaries

Lewis Carroll, died on this day in 1898. These diary pages record the first time he told the story of Alice:

From Lewis Carroll's Diaries

Friday, January 13, 2017

James Joyce's Death and Wake

On this day in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich at the age of fifty-eight, from peritonitis brought on by a perforated ulcer. Even without the dislocation of WWII, Joyce's last years were beset with difficulties -- the schizophrenia of his daughter, his son's floundering career and broken marriage, his own poor health, ongoing battles over Ulysses and new worries about Finnegans Wake

More here

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Write in Mark Twain's Personal Library

Need some literary inspiration? The Mark Twain House and Museum is offering the chance to write in his personal library in Hartford, Connecticut.
More here

A Poem by Rochelle Hurt


A shirtless rack makes a cozy hang for beatings
if a girl’s hard-pressed or steamed. Words get worn
this way: at festivals, we tuck our violence in
our bras with cash for cigarettes and pretzels.
Neon sparks in spacious skulls — girlness is a gas
to tap, so we trap its heat against our breasts,

which vent little whines when the Zipper cage flips us.
Whipped fright froths our kid lips and we run
our mouths at the carnie hand-humping his lever
below. He holds us catawampus to better glimpse
our tits while shouts burst bright on blacktop sky.
For future wives, there is only coming down

from here, so we best burn serotonin slow
and tamp fissures with new clothes. Fashion
schools us: a slut can wear her insides out,
but sleevelessness is also cloak. Wal-Mart magic:
black-strapped tongues ventriloquize sex
into ribbed white cotton — a boy sees his skivvies

laid on his mother’s lap. A hurling urge
is natural, as far as we know, so we tempt a hit
to temper it — sheer force of half-flash. No soap
will wash the bull’s-eyes off our asses, so why not
don the darts, pre-marked as prizeless. Fair games
are always rigged — even girls know that.

Rochelle Hurt is the author of In Which I Play the Runaway (Barrow Street, 2016), winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014). She is a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Brief Guide to Tintinology

Tintin was introduced 88 years ago today, in a 1929 issue of Le Petit Vingtième with the following missive from the paper, before the very first panels that would begin the story soon to be known as Tintin in the Land of the Soviets:

Read more: Literary Hub

12 Contemporary Writers on How They Revise

“Writing is rewriting,” says everyone all the time. But what they don’t say, necessarily, is how. Various writers describe their revision processes. J.K. Rowling responded graphically:

More and transcript here

More: Literary Hub

Monday, January 09, 2017

In Her Wake

This psychological thriller by Amanda Jennings begins with Bella returning to her family home when her mother dies. She is understandably distraught but more tragic events ensue and her life as she knows it is turned upside down. She learns that everything she thought she knew about herself and her family is fiction and suddenly her mother's neurotic over-protectiveness makes sense. The devastating revelation takes Bella to Cornwall where she attempts to uncover the truth about her stolen childhood. It's a painful process, one that makes her question the meaning of family and the dependent, strait-jacketed life she had been leading. Will the truth set her free or will it destroy her? The female characters have great depth and believability (the males are more one-dimensional) and there are plenty of interesting plot twists. It's an emotional story about devastating loss and the power of secrets that stayed with me for days after I finished it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Top 10 unreliable narrators

The Guardian: From Edgar Allan Poe to Gillian Flynn, storytellers who cannot be trusted are great devices for writers, and a compelling challenge for readers