Posts Tagged ‘books’
“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it…”*
If the diagram above makes sense to you, you may have succumbed to one of the most pernicious perils of our time. Check the list of symptoms at “25 Signs You’re Addicted To Books.”
And on that subject, enjoy this lionizing of libraries…
* Groucho Marx
As we keep up with the jones, we might spare a thought for Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he died on this date in 1991. After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of nascent young readers.
The more that you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go.
- I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)
Book jackets are supposed to do heavy sales duty: evocative art, enticing text– it’s all supposed to instill an irresistible urge to “buy me, read me.” Facsimile Dust Jackets is a colossal collection of covers, mostly from the 1920s-1950s, that one can buy to wrap around one’s own old books, frame as the works of art that they are… or simply browse for the pleasure of peaking through a colorful window back in time.
* Charles Dickens
As we dust our dust jackets, we might send sentimental birthday greetings to James Hilton; he was born on this date in 1900. While Hilton capped his career as a successful screenwriter (Mrs. Miniver, Foreign Correspondent, Camille, and many others), he is probably best remembered as a novelist– especially as the author of Lost Horizon (thus, the creator of Shangri-La) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
This map, by social realist artist William Gropper, was created to showcase the diversity of national myths and folk stories and was distributed abroad through the U.S. Department of State starting in 1946…
Gropper, born in New York City’s Lower East Side to a working-class family, deeply identified with labor movements and the Left throughout his life. He worked as a cartoonist for mainstream publications New York Tribune and Vanity Fair, as well as the leftist and radical newspapers Rebel Worker, New Masses, and Daily Worker. During the Depression, like many other out-of-work artists, Gropper designed murals for the Works Progress Administration.
The “folklore” on display in this richly illustrated map is a soup of history, music, myth, and literature. Frankie and Johnny are cheek-by-jowl with a wild-eyed John Brown; General Custer coexists with “Git Along Little Dogies.” Utah is simply host to a group of “Mormons,” in which a bearded man holds up stigmata-marked hands to a small group of wives and children, while a figure labeled “New England Witches” flies over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont…
As we revel in regional differences, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that Theodor Geisel– Dr. Seuss– published The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Geisel had published And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street the prior year; 500 Hats was his second children’s book and the first of three (it was followed by The King’s Stilts and The Seven Lady Godivas in 1939), all of which were, atypically for him, in prose. He returned to the rhyming form for which he’s known with his fifth book, Horton Hatches the Egg.
The folks at the blog Book Riot surveyed over 800 of their readers, asking what books they pretend to have read. The “winners”…
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (85 mentions)
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- The Bible
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (21 mentions)
The full list does contain some (though not much) non-fiction; Critique of Pure Reason and The Communist Manifesto make the top 50. Still, it’s a surprise not to see A Brief History of Time near the top…
Read the full story here– and enjoy the comparisons with their “best-loved” and “intended to read” lists.
[Image above sourced here.]
As we rethink our Kindle queues, we might send elegantly-printed birthday greetings to William Caxton; he was born on this date in 1422… or so tradition holds; his actual birthday was surely around this time, but is unknown. Caxton worked as a merchant, diplomat, writer, and translator; but is best remembered as a printer– the first English printer. Caxton and the dissemination of his printed works are credited with helping to standardize the English language (to homogenize regional differences); he’s also credited with establishing the spelling of “ghost” with a silent h (a function of his familiarity with the Flemish spelling).
“Let us read with method, and propose to ourselves an end to which our studies may point. The use of reading is to aid us in thinking”*…
In 2012, the world came to London for the Olympics and I went out to meet it. I read my way around all the globe’s 196 independent countries – plus one extra territory chosen by blog visitors – sampling one book from every nation…
* Edward Gibbon
As we pack our (book) bags, we might recall that it was on this date in 1915 that Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” was first published (in The Atlantic Monthly).
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.