Posts Tagged ‘Other People’s Words’

This popped up in my inbox this morning, and I felt it very worthy of sharing. Steve’s posts are always exceedingly readable, but this one was extra good. Take a look, fellow readers. Take a look.

Our book today is Shakespeare, which Anthony Burgess wrote one morning in 1970 after a 40-pint evening. The morning was raw and scratchy, one imagines, and our author, not at his best, needed some task to distract him before his four-course breakfast and pick-me-up whiskey was ready. The afternoon was already planned: a TV show appearance talking about Truffaut’s cinematic legacy. And the evening was locked up as well: dash off a treatise on pornography and then attend a Jonathan Cape literary soiree and get to work on the night’s 40 pints. But all that still left the pre-breakfast window open, and hence: Shakespeare.

The Burgess Shakespeare!


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Sugar Maple leaves, Vancouver, B.C. October 2014.

Sugar Maple leaves, Vancouver, B.C. October 2014.

Well, this has turned into quite a long silence, here on the bookish blog. Completely unintentional, and nothing’s exactly wrong in my life, except for extreme busy-ness of the sort that has me turning in tight circles. If I were a juggler, Barnum and Bailey would be eyeing me with interest, for the balls are numerous and all – amazingly! – still up in the air and under some semblance of control.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Touch wood!

I’ve been reading Rachel Peden lately, for I find she soothes my somewhat preoccupied mind. Some of you will know her. Those who don’t, a very quick bio. She was an Indiana farmer, naturalist, environmentalist and writer, and wrote a “rural life” column for big city newspaper syndication from the 1940s to the 1970s. She also wrote three highly esteemed books, full of anecdote and natural observations and personal philosophy. These were Rural Free (1961), The Land, The People (1966), and Speak to the Earth (1974). I prize my copies greatly, for they are full of passages such as this:

They come from everywhere, from nowhere, suddenly collected around whatever draws them: vinegar gnats around a bitten apple, people around an accident, fight or fire.

People want to hear about misfortune, wars, deaths, disasters, the bad news. Partly because inherent in man’s developing subconscious mind is the knowledge that change is inevitable and necessary, the very core of evolution.

But probably the greater reason for people’s fascination with bad news is spiritual, based in the deep subconscious mind where in pity and gratitude the onlooker thinks, “There but for the grace…” This is, in its way, a prayer of thanksgiving.

People who say, “I never pray,” are therefore as inaccurate as people who say, “I never dream.” For everybody prays, either consciously or unconsciously. Prayer is any thought or emotion that acknowledges a relationship between mankind and his fellow citizens of earth, and their mutual creative authority.

~Rachel Peden, Speak to the Earth


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A quick recommendation for an interesting site I’ve been dropping by now & again for a few months. I thought today’s topic was particularly worthy of sharing. If you have a minute or two, check out Steve Reads. Here’s a teaser:

Six for the Bookworms!

January 21, 2013

St Catherine Reading a Book

Since there’s bloody little else to do on these wretched state and federal holidays during which the holy Post Office is closed (and with a winter storm coming – that being something of a tradition for Inauguration Days I care about), we can get a lot of extra reading done on Martin Luther King Day. Ah, but what to read? Prior to the advent of Stevereads, this used to be the premiere question nagging every voracious reader: what do I read next? (Now, in the Age of Stevereads, there are two – and only two – equally wonderful options: you can read the books recommended on Stevereads, or you can read Stevereads itself, which is now so vast an archive of verbiage that you’d need a whole day to get through it all!)

It’s lucky for such searching readers (or maybe it’s because of them?) that bookworms like nothing more than the making of lists. Books Read. Books To Be Read. Favorite Books in All Categories. Runners Up. Such lists have featured prominently here on Stevereads all these years, and they’re everywhere else too – it’s understandable, really, since the profusion of books out there makes every winnowing-device feel like a godsend.

Hence, the profusion of books consisting of lists of books! These have been with us for centuries, and now, ironically, readers need help picking which books to read about picking which books to read. And Stevereads is here to offer such help – in the form, naturally enough, of a list…

Enjoy, my fellow readers.

One of my own posts hopefully will appear soon. Still totally immersed in my other project, but I get something of a breather in a few days as I’m turning off the home computer, locking my office door on the seething tides of paperwork within, and heading to the Coast (if the Fraser Canyon road is open – keeping fingers crossed against snowstorms, avalanches and rock slides) for a day or two of being a dance mom. Which means, ultimately, after my chauffeur and audience obligations are discharged, a relaxing evening or two in a hotel room, hanging out with one of my favourite people, to rest and read or perhaps to type out a review or two.


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A blog post found in my internet wanderings, and too good not to share with those of you who have expressed an interest in Walpole. We are not alone!

Is it time for a Hugh Walpole revival of sorts?

  Other People's Words: The Quivering Pen Discovers Hugh Walpole

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who is Hugh Walpole and Why Has He Invaded My Library?

When I tell you the story of how I met Hugh Walpole, I’d have to start off by saying something grandiose like “It was one of those moments when luck, timing and commerce converged.”

Mr. Walpole, for as much as I know him by now, would appreciate grandiosity, mottled with pomposity.  And, by the way, when I say “met Hugh Walpole,” I am strictly speaking in the biblio sense of the word.  The dude’s been dead for 69 years.

I discovered him on a bookshelf, dirty with neglect, in the garage of a modest house in the foothills of Butte, Montana…

Continued here:

David Abrams Books Blogspot – The Quivering Pen


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I would like to share this post with everyone. From Georgi in Australia, writing on her blog 1001 Children’s Books.

I am so much in agreement with her closing paragraph:

Books are survivors. How many things can you buy from 1905, that is in practically the same condition as when it was printed (bar a tiny tear or a splodge on the title page)? How many things from 1910 have survived? Things fall apart, get thrown away, are destroyed, are dismantled to make something new – they lose their original purpose. Not books. They will sit patiently on a shelf, waiting until someone finds them again, be it in 10 years time or 100 years time. They may be fragile – they are made of paper, after all, but they are  resilient as well. Maybe it’s because they are full of ideas. Ideas can be pretty resilient too.

Well said!

On resilience in the face of fading and splodges.

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