books · libraries

And Then They Murdered Jane Austen

When I say that they murdered Jane Austen, I’m not speaking metaphorically. Some person in the distant past didn’t simply eviscerate her work. No, I mean that a few scholars believe that someone poisoned Jane Austen. With arsenic. According to research from the British Library, Jane Austen’s death at the age of 41, her early… Continue reading And Then They Murdered Jane Austen

books

The Ambiguity of Belated Book Sequels: Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman

When an author finishes a book or a series, I consider it done. I read the book(s) with the understanding that the story is complete. Even if I adore the narrative and characters, I don’t typically feel a burning desire for more. (The exception, of course, being when an author stops writing a story in… Continue reading The Ambiguity of Belated Book Sequels: Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman

books

When Dedications Leave Something to Be Desired

How authors dedicate books tells us a lot about them as writers and as people. Often books are dedicated to children, loved ones, or dogs. On rarer occasions, however, authors use the dedication section of books to make a wry joke, sneer at someone who doubted them, or twist a knife. Because these comments can… Continue reading When Dedications Leave Something to Be Desired

books · writing

When a Writer Doesn’t Publish: ‘The Mountains of Parnassus’

  Sometimes authors, even the most lauded of them, do not publish the books that they write. That doesn’t always mean that their words remain lost forever. Though Czesław Miłosz has been dead for over a decade now, Yale University Press has resurrected one of his long buried manuscripts.  Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004) was a Polish writer… Continue reading When a Writer Doesn’t Publish: ‘The Mountains of Parnassus’

books · libraries

The Desperation of a Public Library

These days public libraries operate on desperation as often as they run on anything else. This recently drove several library staff to do something a little reckless. Culling library collections often relies on numbers. If a patron checks out a book, that book is safe in the system. If a book isn’t checked out for… Continue reading The Desperation of a Public Library

books

Just a Tipple: Booze with Literary Flair, Part 1

Many people host parties this season, and I love when I can add a bit of literary flair to those events. Bringing bookish beverages to gatherings or giving them as gifts is one way to make that happen. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing just a few of the drinks that reference literature in… Continue reading Just a Tipple: Booze with Literary Flair, Part 1

books

Read Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ Online

Today’s Google Doodle has just reminded me that today would have been Louisa May Alcott‘s 184th birthday. I have always enjoyed her works, so in honor of her birthday, I want to quickly share a link to where you can read her most famous book, Little Women, online. Project Gutenberg offers the full text of the book… Continue reading Read Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ Online

books

Presidents, Actors, and Royalty: Children’s Books Written by Famous People

When we think of authors, people who make a career out of writing often come to mind, but sometimes a dark horse can pop up from behind and surprise us. It seems that even people famous for their political acumen or their stage presence can still dream of being authors because many of them end… Continue reading Presidents, Actors, and Royalty: Children’s Books Written by Famous People

Quotes

Friday Quick Quote: Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” -Milan Kundera,… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’