How do you say…?

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

There are words and concepts that cannot be easily explained across cultures, Ella Frances Sanders, “Illustrator in Residence”, tells us, and gives us several examples.

We’ve illustrated 11 of these wonderful, elusive, words – which have no single word within the English language that could be considered a direct translation.

Take the German word Waldeinsamkeit:
Alone in the woodsA feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods and a connectedness to nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson even wrote a whole poem about it.

Or the Indonesian word Jayus:
JayusSlang for someone who tells a joke so badly, that is so unfunny you cannot help but laugh out loud.

We don’t have a word for it

Why we should invest in artists

Rebekah Joy Plett – The art says it all:

Invest In ArtistsInvest in artists

The Book of Legendary Lands

In Brain Pickings, Maria Popova explores Umberto Eco’s book on the greatest maps of imaginary places and why they appeal to us.

Legendary Lands Eco writes in the introduction: Legendary lands and places are of various kinds and have only one characteristic in common: whether they depend on ancient legends whose origins are lost in the mists of time or whether they are an effect of a modern invention, they have created flows of belief. The reality of these illusions is the subject of this book.

The book is “an illustrated voyage into history’s greatest imaginary places, with all their fanciful inhabitants and odd customs, on scales as large as the mythic continent Atlantis and as small as the fictional location of Sherlock Holmes’s apartment. A dynamic tour guide for the human imagination…”


Legendary Lands

50 Photos From The Past – How Things Have Changed

These photographers may have never known the significance of the pictures they took, Jake Heppner tells us at Distractify, “or that millions would be marveling at them in the future. From thousands of images, I chose these to give us a rare and fascinating look at how different (and similar) life used to be.”
ScandalousA beach official measures bathing suits to ensure they aren’t too short (1920s)

The IsolaterThis bizarre helmet supposedly helped focus by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny slit. (1925)

An earlier world

Reading Scribd’s international reader survey

Data show Germans to be the fastest and Canadians the most committed readers, Alison Flood reports for The Guardian. America comes in 14th place in terms of reading speed.

Scribd infographicCross-border browsing … detail from Scribd’s infographic showing the results of its international reader analysis. Photograph: Scribd

Most popular genre in Uruguay? Romance, says Scribd, with Mexico going for religion, Spain for business, Singapore for biography and history, and the US for – and I find this hard to believe when the books we see dominating charts tend to be erotica and thrillers – arts and music.

Reading around the world

Quote of the Day

“Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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What if you were a Were?

Random, the first book in my The Were Chronicles series, is now available for pre-order from the publisher, Dark Quest Books.

The cover shown here is not the final one but is striking in its own way. The back cover description gives you an idea of the storyline:

RandomMy name is Jazz Marsh.

I am a Random Were, which means I am a Were of no fixed form. Like all random Were, my family can become any warm-blooded creature if it is the last thing they see before they Turn.

For me, when my time came, that meant… trouble.

I was quite young when I lost my older sister, Celia, and my family never spoke about her. It was only when I found the secret diaries that she had left behind that I began to discover the truth behind her life and her death.

I never understood what drove my moody and dangerous older brother until I began to get an inkling about his part in Celia’s death… and until, driven to the edge of patience and understanding, he finally had to face his own Turn problems… and disastrously took matters into his own hands.

One thing is clear.

Everything I thought I knew about Were-kind was wrong.

Ysabeau Wilce, award-winning author of the Flora Segunda series, offers her assement of Random with a cover comment:

By taking the traditional tropes of the animal shape-shifter and combining them with the horrors of high school, Alma Alexander has created a gripping and complicated story of family loyalty and teenage rebellion. Alexander’s teenage characters are achingly real, full of teenage ferocity and angst, trying to find their way in a world determined to marginalize them for who they are, who they can not help but be. The brutality of high school will be instantly recognizable to readers, but the inventiveness of Were society and habits is all Alexander’s own. An excellent start to a brave new series.

Readers frequently ask what they can do to support an author who they like. Well, pre-ordering is one of the very best ways. Click on the link and put in your oder today.

For those of you who REALLY wish to support the author, order two – and give one to your local library or local high school library. And tell your local high school to contact me if they want me to talk to their kids about the book and all that it is about.

Pre-order Random

Celebrating William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

And to honor him, we give you his top 12 quotes. Do you know them all? Exactly?

Shakespeare Quotes

33 Amazingly Useful Websites  

Bookmark them all, Buzzfeed says, and “change your life forever.”

For example, if you need a whole new identity, go to the Fake Name Generator, or if you need to come up a comic strip and can’t draw, go to the The Strip Creator.

Scale of the universeScale of the / Via

If you like Cosmos, you’ll love this amazingly simple site that gives you some interactive perspective on the size of the universe.

Amazing websites

Reinventing literary criticism with computers

Big data literary critic Franco Moretti wants to study bad books, preferably without reading them.

Franco MorettiFranco Moretti (Credit: Verso Books)

Laura Miller interviewed him and asked:’re not that interested in studying literary masterpieces. You study literary works in large masses, regardless of whether they’re good or not. You’re not looking at “Middlemarch”; you’re looking at 7,000 mostly mediocre Victorian novels. Why is that interesting to you?

First of all, those novels were there, it’s just that there wasn’t the desire to understand what those 7,000 — or, rather, 6,900, if we don’t count the ones that are still being read today — authors had in mind when they were writing. Why do so many people write things that others don’t like to read in the end? What is going on?

Frank Moretti interview

The golden age of travel

The vintage train and steam ship posters that encouraged Britons to go on holiday – and even buy their Daily Mail while abroad!

TorquayFun in the sun:This Arthur Tranter poster celebrating Torquay was recently discovered and is set to be the star of the exhibition, fetching around £2,500

Travel posters

Why Jane Eyre Is The Most Revolutionary Literary Heroine Of All Time

In honor of Charlotte Brontë’s 198th birthday, Julia Pugachevsky of BuzzFeed gives us 21 reasons.

Jane Eyre7. She admitted that she had fallen for Edward Fairfax Rochester, despite her efforts not to.

Jane Eyre, revolutionary literary heroine

Poor Archie Andrews is headed for that great inkwell in the sky

David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star gives us a poignant look at the pending death of a beloved comic strip hero.

ArchieWhen Archie Comics announced that Archie will die in the July 16 edition, no one was more saddened than Archie himself, who turned to his friends in the Riverdale High School cafeteria for comfort.

“Hey, Jughead! Have you ever wondered what’s out there, beyond the last cartoon panel?”

“Nope. Are you having an existential crisis, Archie?”

“Gee whiz, Jughead, I don’t know.”

“Archie, you should be happier than Scrooge McDuck. Veronica and Betty are crazy about you!”

“They’re as transparent as Casper. Veronica is a materialistic elitist and middle class Betty is hopelessly bourgeois.”

Goodbye, Archie

36 Of The Most Ironic Moments Ever

Ironic incidents are lurking all around us waiting to be captured on camera, Bored Panda tells us. For example:

ironyIrony in pictures

Quote of the Day
Franz Kafka~~~~~
Alma Alexander
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Ladies’ Home Journal RIP

Ladies Home JournalAn icon of American publishing and cornerstone of what were once called the “Seven Sisters” of women’s magazines, Ladies’ Home Journal will cease monthly publication in July after 131 years, Ad Age reports.


It had a peak circulation of 3.2 million.


Magazine dies

13 Kickass Literary Power Couples

It’s common to think of great writers as congenital loners, HuffPost says, “the iconic isolated genius too egotistical or socially inept to have fulfilling personal relationships.” Yet, as HuffPost went on, literary-minded people tend to be drawn to each other and these pairings sometimes result in even greater artistic productivity.

These 13 couples, though not always personally stable or successful, likely produced even better work due to their unions:

Orlovsky, Ginsberg, And WaldmanAllen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky:

Allen Ginsberg, a celebrated poet and leading member of the Beat Generation, met Peter Orlovsky in 1954. The two fell in love and remained partners until Ginsberg’s death in 1997. Ginsberg rose to fame in the mid-’50s with the publication of his seminal work “Howl,” a poem deemed obscene at the time due to its rough language but also celebrated by critics for its virtuosity. Meanwhile, Ginsberg urged Orlovsky, who had considered himself a poet, to begin writing. While he never became a literary powerhouse on the level of Ginsberg, he went on to publish his work and receive grant money for his poetry projects. These two writers were central to the Beat movement that altered the course of American literature. Their sometimes-rocky relationship was open to allow affairs with other men and women, but their bond to each other held through over 40 years of what both considered to be a marriage.

Literary couples

An American Odyssey

First color postcards of the ‘New World’ showcase life in the US at the end of the 19th century. The photographs were taken between 1888 and 1924 and were made into postcards celebrating cities, landscapes and everyday life across the country, Sarah Gordon reports in Mail Online.

The images were produced by the Detroit Photographic Company and will be available in a rather pricey book published by Taschen for £135.

Photos include laundry day in New York, a Seminole Indian family sailing in their dugout canoes in Florida, and San Francisco when it was a pup.

San FranciscoGold rush town: A glorious panorama shows the Californian city of San Francisco when it was still a relatively small settlement

Laundry DayLaundry day: This unusual picture shows a Monday in New York City, when the streets were filled with clean washing being aired among the buildings

Color postcards

30 Writers’ Invaluable Advice to Graduates

Graduation season is fast approaching, Elisabeth Donnelly notes at Flavorwire, the time of the year when many writers are tasked with summing up the lessons learned in ten succinct minutes of witty truth.

These days, a successful graduation speech has the very real chance of going viral, and then living forever as a book: from David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art, the best graduation speeches are finding a new life.

This crop includes the brand new Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by noted author George Saunders, a pretty-in-print encapsulation of his 2013 Syracuse Graduation speech on “kindness.”

It’s reason enough to collect 30 of the best, wisest, and pithiest pieces of advice from the greatest writers to attempt the graduation speech. Here are some of our favorites (and yes, Wallace, Gaiman, and Saunders are included).

Watterson & CalvinBill Watterson, Kenyon College, 1990

“If I’ve learned one thing from being a cartoonist, it’s how important playing is to creativity and happiness. My job is essentially to come up with 365 ideas a year. If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I’ve found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I’ve had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.”

Writers advice to graduates

36 Unexpected Origins Of Everyday English Phrases…

…according to BuzzFeed staffer Daniel Dalton.

brass ballsJeff Carpenter / Shutterstock

That’s probably very cold indeed. This one, like many of the more colouful English phrases, has a Naval origin.

On 18th-century men-of-war ships, the brass trays used to hold the cannonballs became known as the brass monkeys – named after powder monkey, an affectionate name for the young boys who carried gunpowder around the ship.

These trays had 16 cannonball-sized indentations that would form the base of a cannonball pyramid, and were made from brass so the balls did not stick, as they did on iron. The drawback was that brass contracts much faster in cold weather than iron. This meant that on severely cold days the indentations holding the lower level of cannonballs would contract, spilling the pyramid over the deck. Hence ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’.

Go with the FlowAndre Nantel / Shutterstock

Meaning to put objections aside and follow the majority, the phrase is often thought to be of American origin, but is in fact Roman. Marcus Aurelius was crowned Emperor of Rome on 7 March 161. During a turbulent reign beset by war, Marcus dealt with his turmoil through intellectual thought and philosophy, much of which is expressed in his writings The Meditations.

Marcus’s philosophy is based around the flow of thought and the flow of happiness, and led him to conclude that ‘all things flow naturally’, and that it was better to ‘go with the flow’ rather than try to change the natural course of events.

Where it came from

Quote of the Day

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~ Charles William Eliot

Alma Alexander
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Life changes

40 women, 40 words, 40 stories

Two weeks after my husband’s stroke, I saw him get up and take his first step since the moment that he was struck down. I wept. It was my fortieth birthday. This was the best birthday present ever.

I think of this now because of a story in the Boston Globe. To mark the 40th anniversary of Rosie’s Place, novelist Alice Hoffman asked 40 writers each to compose a 40-word essay on the theme: “the day my life changed.’

How does a life change? We reach the door to our futures by chance, or by fate, or by design. We know something we didn’t before. We love someone new, or say goodbye. We pick up a book, or forgive someone. In truth there are many days that can change a person’s life, a series of events that add up to a future, but some are remembered more than any other. This is the day that sticks with us and reminds us of who we are and who we might still become. It’s the day that made us who we are.

Jodi-PicoultAdam Bouska

Jodi Picoult
As the car careened wildly through Hurricane Bob, all I could think was: My baby is coming too early. That’s how life works: Sometimes the unexpected becomes reality. I wasn’t ready for my son, but he was ready for me.  

Julia-AlvarezBill Eichner

Julia Alvarez
August 6, 1960: the bittersweet day my family arrived in New York City. Bitter, because we had left our homeland; sweet, because we had escaped the dictatorship; bittersweet, in balance, when I learned this English and could tell the story.

What’s your story in 40 words?

40 women, 40 stories

How the Internet took over the world

A timelapse map posted at io9 shows just how the Internet spread, quickly and across borders, all around the globe.

I was running a computer with Windows 3.1 and a 40 megabyte (you read that right) hard drive when I first dipped a toe in the waters of the Internet – via dialup. My father would wander past occasionally and sniffily ask when, if ever, he might be able to use the phone again.

It was all slow and cumbersome and oh so basic. In the beginning, I spent most of my time on Usenet — sort of like Facebook for you youngsters. I don’t remember if my monitor was remotely good enough to get decent access to websites, or even what the state of the Web was at that time.

I used Alta Vista, and well remember the days when “Google” was not yet a verb. My first email was to my then-boyfriend, who had helped me set things up, and it snarkily invited him to let me know if he didn’t receive the message.

Years later when we were getting cable speed Internet, the cable guy popped into the back office that I shared with my husband to ask a question. Hubby had his back to the door and was demonstrating how he used to play the viola in high school, sawing an imaginary bow across an imaginary set of strings with great gusto. I didn’t tell him that he was being watched because the expression on the cable guy’s face was far too amusing to break the spell.

This all feels like ancient history. I first stepped onto the Internet stage in something like 1995, 1996 or so. It wasn’t, in chronological terms, THAT long ago but it feels like cyberarchaeology.

Do you remember your first Internet experience?

How the Internet grew

12 Poetry Collections Every Woman Should Read

When I was messed-up teenager“, Julie Buntin writes for Cosmopolitan “my self-esteem hovered somewhere way below sea level, acne was a constant threat, and I truly did not see the point of school, or my family, or, sometimes, my entire existence.

Everyone has a worst time of his or her life — mine was between 16 and 19. During that time, I developed a habit of reading and writing poetry. That outlet kept me sane and helped control my angst. (OK, maybe sometimes it fueled the angst a little, too.)

One of the 12:

Ariel, by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia PlathIf you think Sylvia Plath is for weepy teenage girls, you’re right — but you’re also completely missing the enduring brilliance of the poems collected in Ariel, which are more than shrieks of pain and meditations on despair. Every woman should read this book at least twice — first emotionally when she’s 16 and again when she’s a clearer-eyed 35. Plath’s metaphors elevate her poetry into an almost visual art form. “Love set you going like a fat gold watch,” she writes “In Morning Song,” a poem about her first child. Plath, famous for her suicide and for poems like “Daddy” (in which she compares her father to Hitler), empowered women to own their darkness and their rage.

What’s your favorite collection of poetry?

Poetry for women

Short reads

At Flavorwire, Emily Temple offers us “50 Incredible Novels Under 200 Pages.

Classics you’ve read, classics you’ve always meant to read, and books you’ve never heard of.

Mr RobinsonElect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, Donald Antrim
A surrealist masterpiece that’s oft overlooked. Terrifying, bonkers, hilarious, and filled with gorgeous language and real insight about real humans, it will knock you topsy-turvy.

calvinoInvisible Cities, Italo Calvino
This is the book that launched a thousand art projects, and for good reason: each imaginary city, described by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan, is a mini revelation, a marvelous bauble. But the book adds up to more than the sum of its cities. You’ll just have to read to find out.

Train DreamsTrain Dreams, Denis Johnson
Johnson’s novella is a shimmering masterpiece that takes you from the railroad to the woods of Prohibition-era Idaho with a sort of manic grace. His narrator loses everything but finds something else, something not-quite, in the woods. And it’s the pervasive not-quiteness of this novella that makes it so powerful, so shifting, so freaking good. Read it.

Do you have a favorite short novel?

50 short novels

Quote of the Day

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~ Charles William Eliot

Alma Alexander
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Spoiler alert!

Can you guess these classic books by their one-line spoilers? Alanna Okun asks at BuzzFeed.

She gets hit by a train

He never shows up

The dogs die

She was lying

Everything was predetermined

She doesn’t live forever

The dog dies. So some other folk

There’s a hurricane, a rabid dog, a shooting, and an acquital

She buys the flowers herself

& more

Here’s one book; can you match it to the spoiler? Do you want to?

Tuck Everlasting

Spoiler alert


Poems Everyone Should Read

Must poemsKrystie Lee Yandoli and the BuzzFeed staff have some suggestions:

Maya AngelouStill I Rise” by Maya Angelou

“The first time I read this poem I was still a young girl, trying to figure out who I was and frankly what the hell was happening to my body. Maya Angelou made me feel like who I was becoming — a woman — was something very special, ancient, and wonderful. I physically remember breathing out and sitting up just a little bit taller because of her words.” —Ashley Perez

Jelaluddin Rumi“The Guest House” by Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

“I heard this poem at the end of a yoga class a couple years ago. I had just moved to New York, on a whim, after a failed six-year relationship and dealing with a lot of sadness and thought, Fuck, now what? My uncle was also losing his battle to cancer and my family and I were dealing with the inevitable. This poem helped me through that time and still continues to resonate in my life today. I hope it brings peace to some else out there.” —Chris Ritter

Life Changing Poems


50 Essential Books of Poetry

Emily Temple of Flavorwire weighs in with this selection of whole books of poetry “that everyone should read.”

Metamorphoses, OvidMetamorphoses, Ovid

Despite him being like, so old, Ovid is funnier and sexier than you think. Plus, he’s the original architect of surreal, mythic ch-ch-ch-changes. Can’t beat him.

There’s something for everybody here, from the deeply established canonical works to riveting, important books by newer poets, from the Romantics to the post-modernists, from the goofy to the staid. This list can only reflect personal taste, chance meetings, and wild subjectivity.

Lyn Hejinian

My Life, Lyn Hejinian

Hejinian has the uncanny ability to turn the ordinary observation or idle musing into the profound. Her landmark work is a poetic autobiography, a gorgeous, funny tableau of experiences and memories, a life in fragments. After all, “only fragments are accurate. Break it up into single words, charge them to combination.”

Do you have anything to add?

50 poetry books


An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then …

Robert Krulwich reports on the town that wasn’t, then was, then wasn’t again.

The vanishing town


Daily Routines

In the right-hands, daily routines can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of limited resources… a solid routine foster a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies…” Mason Currey, author of the inspiring book Daily Rituals

Maya Angelou

Created by RJ Andrews,

Creative routines


Quote of the Day

Of all the things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books.” ~ Thomas Carlyle


Alma Alexander

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Women you should be reading

NETHERLANDS-LITERATURE-TARTTDonna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Goldfinch, Time writes, adding that it was no surprise since the novel made the New York Times best-seller list during its first week on the shelves.

Tartt takes a notoriously long time to write her novels: The Goldfinch took 11 years, and she says that we may have to wait just as long for her next book. So Time offers some current female authors who you may have missed and want to add to your reading list. For example:

Chimamanda AdichieChimamanda Adichie, Eamonn McCormack—WireImage/Getty Images

Chimamanda Adichie

Adichie, who is from Nigeria, is credited with heralding a new generation of African authors with her bestselling Half of a Yellow Sun. Her latest novel, Americanah, was named one of the 10 best books of 2013 by the New York Times. Oh, and she’s also a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant recipient.

21 women you should read


How Much Of A Book Addict Are You?

I took this quiz by Buzzfeed and when I checked my score, they informed me tartly that I have a problem.

How about you?

Book addict?


A History of Love (of Bookstores)

I have a long string of past loves, but they’re all bookstores, Janet Potter reports at The Millions.

Loves books


Depending on what you count, I’ve worked at 8-10 bookstores in the last 13 years. I mark time by which bookstore I was working in the way some people do by where they lived or who they were with… Each one attracted me for different reasons, affected my life in different ways, and taught me different things.


A love of books(tores)


The sound and style of a city through the eyes of Elmore Leonard

Elmore LeonardThe Dickens of Detroit

Detroit is the city where Leonard grew up, Michael Weinreb tells us in a beautiful essay at Grantland, and it’s the city where he raised his family, and it’s the city where he died.

And now that he’s gone, it’s the city where his legacy can and should forever be anchored. Without his books, the city would still have suffered the same hellish decline. But because of him, that suffering was rendered into an art form all its own.

Elmore Leonard


Daphne du Maurier: literary genius hated by the critics?

The BBC’s adaptation of Jamaica Inn is set to bring the Gothic imagination of Daphne du Maurier to a wider audience as critics continue to debate her literary merit, Padraic Flanagan reports for The Telegaph

Her dark, macabre tales of Gothic romance and revenge have enthralled millions of readers and remain in print decades after her death.

But for Daphne du Maurier, the wealth and worldwide fame she earned from novels such as Rebecca and Jamaica Inn were a poor substitute for the acclaim she craved from literary critics who dismissed her as a second rank “romantic novelist”.

Daphne du Mauriier

Daphne du Maurier’s most well known works include ‘Rebecca’, ‘Jamaica Inn’ and ‘The Birds’ Photo: REX

Daphne du Maurier


Idaho students to get copies of banned novel

Sherman AlexieHundreds of Meridian, Idaho, high school students signed a protest petition when their local school board banned Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian’ from their 10th-grade curriculum, Joel Connelly wrote in The Seattle PI.

Photo by Mike Urban)

But a private fund-raising drive, organized by two Washington women, has now raised enough money to buy a copy of the novel for every one of the 350 students who protested the curriculum ban.

 Students given banned books


Daily Routines

“In the right-hands, daily routines can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of limited resources… a solid routine foster a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies…” Mason Currey, author of the inspiring book Daily Rituals Thomas MannCreated by RJ Andrews,

Creative routines


Quote of the Day

If a writer does not entertain his readers, all he is producing is paper dirty on one side.” ~ Robert A Heinlein


Alma Alexander

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She hunts with eagles

Girl & eagleA 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia – Photo by Asher Svidensky

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, William Kremer says at the BBC World Service. Today there are around 400 practicing falconers.

Photographer Asher Svidensky took pictures of five boys learning the skill – and Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter.

Hunting with eagles


The 13 greatest opening lines from novels of the 1950s

There are many things that make us read the first page of a book, JPW tells us at Whizzpast.

It can be an author’s reputation, a favorable review, a recommendation by a trusted friend or a breathtaking cover. Yet all these pale into insignificance compared against the importance of a wonderful opening line.

C.S. LewisThere was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

Great opening lines


10 Words and Phrases You Won’t Believe Are 100 Years Old

They may have been on people’s tongues even earlier, but 1914 marks the earliest year the lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary could document these words and phrases in print, Judith B Herman tells us at Mental Floss.

DoohickeyBig screen: A hundred years ago, before there was television with its small screen to provide contrast, the big screen already meant the movies. The Fresno (Calif.) Morning Republican on October 24, 1914 reported, “The stage hands will devise noise effects to help carry out the illusion on the big screen.”

Old words


The Underrated, Universal Appeal of Science Fiction

Why do so many readers still look down on the genre of Orwell and Atwood? Chris Beckett asks.

People who know me have read a book of mine out of curiosity and then told me, in some surprise, that they liked it—”even though I don’t normally like science fiction.” Indeed, when a short story collection of mine won a non-genre prize, it was apparently a surprise to the judges themselves: According to the chair of the judging panel, “none of [them] knew they were science-fiction fans beforehand.”

The assumption seems to be that a book that comes with a genre label like “science fiction” must necessarily be lightweight stuff—not really comparable with “non-genre” works.

SF-FantasyThe appeal of science fiction


Libraries are dying? Think again

Like many visitors in Seattle, Glenn Nagel found himself in the city trying to avoid the rain. After wandering around, he eventually made his way to the Seattle Public Library to escape the dreary weather, Jareen Imam writes for CNN.

Seattle LibraryGlenn Nagel was awestruck by the Seattle Central Library

“It’s just an incredible building,” he said. “I spent an hour and a half just taking pictures, and while doing that, I was getting the idea that I should visit other libraries.”

This past year, Nagel has traveled to 12 libraries across the United States, photographing their shelves and hallways like an explorer.

San AntonioThe main public library in San Antonio was designed to tap into the city’s Hispanic heritage, according to Robey Architecture Inc.’s website.

Thriving libraries


Quote of the Day

Edgar Rice Burroughs


Alma Alexander

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