Free libraries crisis

Free LibrariesCracking down on the monstrous evil of tiny Free Lending Libraries

It’s good to know, Charlie Jane Anders reports at io9, that people are focusing on what’s really important. Some local governments have looked past the problems of homelessness and crumbling city services to tackle the real crisis: people are putting up tiny “take a book, leave a book” libraries.

Los Angeles, Shreveport, LA and Leawood, KS have all tried to levy fines and other sanctions against people who put up these tiny birdhouse-like lending libraries.

Read the whole story HERE

“US Company will be Cursed if Ancient Fairy Fort is Destroyed”
Stone RingfortStone ringfort, “Ring of Kerry” in Ireland. (Francis Bijl/CC BY 2.0) Representational image.

Bad luck is sure to befall a US company if it builds a new factory over a fairy fort in Ireland, warns a traditional Irish lore keeper.

West Pharmaceutical Services is building a new factory on a site situated over an ancient ringfort (rath, or fairyfort) which dates back thousands of years.

Eddie Lenihan, famed Irish author, storyteller and broadcaster, says that destruction or removal of the fairy fort would spell dire consequences and bad luck for all those involved in construction or clearing the ancient dwelling, according to the Irish Examiner.

Read the whole story HERE

Stories are addictive
The Story

Photo by Thibaud Saintin

“Sometimes friends will be over, everybody talking, and one of the little kids will get antsy so I’ll pick up a book and start reading,” Ann Finkbeiner writes in Last Word on Nothing. “…pretty soon nobody is talking any more, everybody’s listening to Winnie the Pooh and Piglet track the Heffalump. I’ll bet you can sit in any small coffee shop, open a book, start reading aloud “Once upon a time,” and by the third paragraph, the whole coffee shop will be dead silent.

“Stories.  I’ve always thought of them as addictive entertainment for which – for some reason – we happen to be hardwired.”

Read the whole essay HERE

Native AmericansMatika Wilbur, Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta (Tulalip), 2014. Inkjet print 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Indigenous Americans Without the Stereotypes

Three years ago photographer Matika Wilbur, a member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, set out on a vast road trip across America to photograph members of all 562 of America’s federally-recognized tribes, Natasha Donovan wrote in an article in Yes Magazine.

Her collection so far includes images from more than 200 tribes she has visited in the course of traveling 80,000 miles around the western United States.

Read the whole story HERE

The classical jokes hiding in your favorite children’s books

From Harry Potter to Winnie the Pooh, many well loved children’s books look back to the classical world in unexpected ways, Frances Myatt writes at The Guardian.

For example:
DracoTom Felton as Draco in Harry Potter:

JK Rowling actually studied classics and French, so it’s unsurprising the Harry Potter books are packed full of classical references. Most of the exotic sounding spells are really just simple commands translated into Latin – for example “crucio” means “I torture”, “evanesco” translates as “I vanish” and “accio” means “I summon”. Rowling also drew on the ancient world when naming many of her characters.Take Draco – not only does his name mean “serpent” or “dragon”, but in ancient Athens there was a famously vicious lawmaker called Draco who put people to death for stealing fruit or just being lazy.

Read the whole story HERE

Quirky characters on the streets of Ann Arbor  
Light ReadingDavid Zinn stalks the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, creating temporary illustrations with chalk and charcoal, Christopher Jobson tells us at Colossal.

Zinn improvises each piece on the spot and makes use of found objects, street fixtures, and stair steps to create trompe d’oeil illusions. You can see others in his 2013 book Lost & Unfounded: Street Art by David Zinn.

See more examples HERE

Quote of the Day
By All Meana Paint~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books     Email me
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Read it now?

Or wait?

It’s an ever-vexing quandary.

Should you start a series when the first book is out and then bite your nails as you wait for each new installment? Or wait until the series is complete and read everything at once, possibly running the risk of the early books becoming unavailable before you get the final one?

Well, my Worldweavers series is now complete and all four books are readily available so you can binge read the entire thing. (Click the ‘Buy at Amazon’ link in the sidebar).

Random and Wolf, the first two books of my new series, The Were Chronicles, are both out and the third book, Shifter, will be out in November so it might be safe to start reading now. (Click the Wolf link in the sidebar. Or read an excerpt).

At Off The Shelf, Emma Volk, offers some other series suggestions:

11 Binge-Worthy Literary Series

Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith:

Botswana’s premier lady detective Precious Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wit, wisdom, and a keen moral eye in this long-lasting and bestselling series. Compelling and good-hearted, she never forgets that she is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.”

See all Volk’s suggestions HERE


Scottish children getting automatic library cards
Library CardsIn a bid to promote literacy, Scottish children will be given library cards either at birth, age three or four – or in their first primary school class.

In Glasgow, for example, a pilot program will target pupils in areas with issues of lower literacy and every baby registered will be given a library card.

Access to books and learning materials will help us to make sure that every child has the opportunity to get excited about reading,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

What a fantastic idea. Of course, there are some restrictions on the cards and if it were me, I would soon want a REAL, that is, unrestricted card.

I could read fluently by age 5 and I blew through the children’s section of my own home town library well before I left it for Africa when I was ten years old. In Africa, I had to learn a new language (English, actually), but by the time I was 13, I wanted the run of the adult library. I want ALL the books. ALL of them. I always did. I was word-greedy from an early age…

Scotland leads the way, HERE

Science fiction – a commie plot to undermine American values?

It’s an idea that the FBI was strongly considering during the height of the Cold War, as their lengthy investigation into Ray Bradbury shows, JPat Brown says.

The FBI followed Ray Bradbury’s career very closely, in part because an informant warned them that his writing was not enjoyable fantasy, but rather tantamount to psychological warfare.
Bradbury and the FBI“The general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria,” the informant warned. “Which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would believe could not be won since their morale had seriously been destroyed.”

Read the whole story HERE

Dune Sandworm‘Dune’ – climate fiction pioneer

‘...there’s no more Earth left for you.’

Frank Herbert’s novel turns 50 this year and since its ecological lessons were ahead of its time, the slowly dawning interest in the doomsday potential of climate change may bring new respect for the masterpiece, Michael Berry writes at Salon.

Dystopian fiction has never been so plentiful. Much of it depends on familiar landscapes being ravaged by drought, rising seas and other environmental disasters, and ‘Dune’ stands as an important early example of a novel that explored ecology and environmentalism,” Berry notes.

In 1970, on the First Earth Day, Frank Herbert spoke to 30,000 people in Philadelphia and  told them, ‘I don’t want to be in the position of telling my grandchildren:

‘I’m sorry, there’s no more Earth left for you. We’ve used it all up.’

Read the whole story HERE

50 Books for 50 Classes

At Flavorwire, Emily Temple offers us some surprising choices to create a ‘College Curriculum on Your Bookshelf’

For example:


Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino: This book of short stories delivers all you really need to know about the creation of the universe in one slim package.

Each story is based on a scientific principle, whether factual or erroneous, and spirals out into a glorious, spellbinding work of art. Here you’ll find stories about atmosphere, particles, existence as a single point before space and time, and what happens when you’ve got that one uncle who hasn’t evolved to walk on land and still lives in the primordial sea, and you’d like to introduce him to your new girlfriend.

See her other 49 choices HERE



The romance of a tumbling pile of books waiting to be read is so much more enticing than a grey, plastic screen.”

17 things only real book lovers will understand

Quote of the Day
It's Called Reading~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books     Email me
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TV meets Literature

In Flavorwire, Emily Temple tells us that TV tends to refer to refer to literature to make just about anything a little more highbrow, and adds that “nothing’s more fun than seeing books on the boob tube.”

She picks 50 of the greatest and most memorable literary allusions, shout-outs, cameos, and references on television, as well as real-life author appearances and whole episodes, or even whole seasons, based on books.

For example, she cites The Infinite Jest episode of Parks and Recreation, Maurice Sendak on Colbert, Norman Mailer was on Gilmore Girls, John Cheever and John Updike on the Dick Cavett Show, etc.

Mark Twain on StarTrekIn “Time’s Arrow”, Data and other members of the crew of the Enterprise meets Jack London and Mark Twain when slipping through a time portal. Twain travels with them back into the 24th century.

50 Literary Moments on TV HERE

A very nice 4-star review of Random in Goodreads by Jen that begins:


I was so set to give this a 3-star review and be really glad to expand my reading horizons (Were-anything is not my usual go-to reading fare) and be delighted at Alma Alexander’s way with prose.

BUT NO. She had to go and create these passionate characters in a fascinating universe of differentiated Were clans and structures with adults with possibly shady moments and then THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it. But be aware, there is no way you can’t not track down the second book, whenever that comes out).

[Editor’s note: Book 2 due in the spring]

This wasn’t my favoritest book ever; I think Alexander expects a bit too much of her readers in terms of keeping information. In setting up the Celia story, she left the opening scenes to simmer–and, I think, risked burning them, because I for one had kind of forgotten the finer points when we returned to that time.

Then it felt like the two stories were running parallel for a while; it took me some time to really believe how all the various pieces connected… I

That said, here’s what Alexander is awesome at: the grey outsides.

What I mean by that is the places where you would not have thought there needed to be stories, but there do. I abso-freaking-lutely loved Alexander’s explorations of the Jazz-into-Jesse storyline, playing with sex and gender and all of the ways that male and female trip over each other. I loved her descriptions of Turning and how vivid it was; I loved that she didn’t immediately go for a love interest; I even appreciated the inclusion of the blogging…

Alexander is herself a transplant, and her descriptions of the Marsh family coming to the New World and reinventing themselves were heartbreaking and real, grounded in the confusion of language and mores that absolutely come with being totally out of what you always understood.

I can’t wait to see what Chalky becomes and the backstory of Peregrine. Will definitely be tracking down “Wolf”…even despite myself.

I think she’ll be happy with Chalky in Book 2, and I suspect even happier in Book 3 where he takes center stage. Book 3 is coming by the end of the year.

Another new review comes from Paul Weimer at SF Signal.

PROS: Interesting exploration of a modern take on shapeshifters; epistolary format an excellently used narrative structure.
CONS: “Wham line” (a line of dialogue that radically alters a scene) ending does encourage continuance of the series at the expense of a complete story; vagueness in external world details didn’t work for me.
BOTTOM LINE: An interesting and fresh take on shapeshifters.

You can read the whole review HERE


BTW, I will send a free ebook of Random to the next 10 people who pledge to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or ...

To accept the offer, just send an email HERE with the subject line “Free Random Offer

11 Eulogies for Writers Written by Writers

At Mental Floss, Daniel Kolitz reflects on the fact that te literary eulogy is an ancient art form, and he offers a “grab-bag of belletristic mourning in all its forms, from 19th-century poetry to 21st-century magazine writing.”eulogyImage credit: getty images


“Life in His Language,” Toni Morrison on James Baldwin
Toni MorrisonJames Baldwin





Toni Morrison was close friends with James Baldwin, and when Baldwin died in 1987 she penned this highly moving tribute for the New York Times. Written as a second-person letter to Baldwin, the piece describes the “three gifts” Baldwin gave to Morrison (and, by extension, world literature): Language, courage, and the ability to cut anger with tenderness.

There’s no question Baldwin profoundly influenced Morrison’s work, but what gives the piece its enormous power is that his influence extended not just to her prose style but to the act of writing itself. Morrison, who from Baldwin learned “the courage of one who could go as a stranger in the village and transform the distances between people into intimacy with the whole world.”

Eulogies for Writers HERE

Inspiring quotes

Sometimes a writer’s own words offer the best eulogy. At Buzzfeed, Daniel Dalton selected 15 notable quotes.

Gabriel García MárquezEdgard Garrido / Reuters / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed
Gabriel García Márquez (1927 – 2014)

See the others HERE

Authors Older Than Sliced Bread

Sliced bread has been around since 1928, Off the Shelf tells us, and it has found some authors who are older than that.

betty-whiteHere We Go Again: My Life in Television, by Betty White

Here We Go Again is a behind-the-scenes look at Betty’s career from her start on radio to her first show, Hollywood on Television, to several iterations of The Betty White Show, and much, much more. Packed with wonderful anecdotes about famous personalities and friendships, stories of Betty’s off-screen life, and the comedienne’s trademark humor, this deliciously entertaining book will give readers an entrée into Betty’s fascinating life, confirming yet again why we can’t get enough of this funny lady.


See the others HERE

Quote of the Day

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.”  ~  Robert De Niro

Alma Alexander     My books     Email me

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Worship of Writers

business-of-ferretsBusiness of Ferrets – Image credit: Michael Lyons

50 Collective Nouns to Bolster Your Vocabulary

Collective nouns may seem like quirky ways to describe groups, Lucas Reilly writes at Mental Floss, but 500 years ago, they were your ticket to the in-crowd. As silly as some sound today, the phrases were formal and proper descriptions designed to help gentlemen-in-training avoid the embarrassment of “some blunder at the table.”

Some have achieved widespread currency and acceptance, like a “flight of stairs,” “a board of trustees,” and a “school of fish.” Others, like a “murder of crows,” barely hang on.

Most are little known, but some should be more popular. I mean, how could “Worship of Writers” go out of style?

50 collective nouns HERE

Is longer better?

The Off the Shelf staff offers 7 Great Big Novels

Have you ever spent eight months reading a single book? How about a year? While such a commitment may seem daunting, there is nothing comparable to getting lost in a long, sprawling novel.

For example:
Miss-MacIntoshMiss MacIntosh, My Darling, by Marguerite YoungOne of the most ambitious and remarkable literary achievements of the twentieth century, it might be called the Arabian Nights of American life. In prose that is poetic, incantatory, and extraordinarily rich, Marguerite Young takes us on a search for reality in a world of illusion and nightmare, touching on subjects as varied as drug addiction, women’s suffrage, murder, suicide, pregnancy (both real and imagined), schizophrenia, love, gambling, and perfectionism.


See more at:

12 Books That End Mid-Sentence

Books have long been messing with the heads of readers by daring to not use a period as the last typeset keystroke on the very last page, Gabe Habash tells us at Publisher’s Weekly, and offers 12 examples. He asks help in adding to the list, and notes that the lack of books by female authors is because he couldn’t find any, not one, in hours and hours of searching.
A Sentimental JourneyA Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (1768)

The Ending:

–But the Fille de Chambre hearing there were words between us, and fearing that hostilities would ensue in course, had crept silently out of her closet, and it being totally dark, had stolen so close to our beds, that she had got herself into the narrow passage which separated them, and had advanced so far up as to be in a line betwixt her mistress and me–

So that when I stretch’d out my hand, I caught hold of the Fille de Chambre’s–


At the end of his rambling journey, Yorick finally ends up at a roadside inn. Because there is only one bedroom, he shares it with a lady and her chambermaid, under the condition that he not speak. Of course, he breaks this rule and gets the chambermaid heading toward him. It’s possible, grammatically, to read that Yorick stretches out his hand and catches hold of the chambermaid’s hand. But, given that this is Sterne, the dirtier option (and the fun placement of the word “end” in the sentence) is a lot more enjoyable.

See the rest HERE

Paradise Lost: The Hippie Refugee Camp

Let me tell you about a place called Taylor Camp, a tropical ocean-front utopia without rules, politics or bills to pay“, MessyNessy writes.
Taylor camp Anti-establishment all the way, clothing was optional and decisions were made according to the “vibes”. It was the ultimate hippie fantasy. Taylor Camp began in the Spring of 1969, with thirteen hippies seeking refuge from the ongoing campus riots in America and police brutality. Having fled their homes, they headed for Kauai in Hawaii, then a very remote and unspoilt land with just a single traffic light on the island.

Read the rest HERE

If fiction is the art of invention, memoir is the art of selection and arrangement

Will Boast’s standout memoir, Epilogue, about the death of his mother, father, and brother, is both a wrenching exploration of grief and a moving story of remembrance.

It took me nearly three years of trying to cram my subject matter into a novel manuscript, Boast writes, before I understood that the story I wanted to tell would fit better into nonfiction. It took me another five years to finish the manuscript that became Epilogue. As provisional and context-specific as they may be, here are a few lessons I learned along the way:

Writing a Memoir tips HERE


Memory thrives on storytelling.

How do memory champions accomplish their miraculous feats? They get really good at telling memorable stories to themselves while weaving in what they’re trying to remember. Because the human brain is built for storytelling. The more things you can link together into a narrative, the more readily you’ll be able to recall them later on.

I’m not surprised.

More about memory HERE

DesolenatorCreators of the Desolenator are crowdsourcing development money for a device turns sea or heavily polluted water into clean water.

You can help HERE

Wedding name combos so bad they might want to call the whole thing off

Would you believe MacDonald-Berger? Hardy-Harr? And much much worse!

See the others HERE

A government ban on which prohibited prisoners in England and Wales from having family and friends send them books, has been ruled unlawful.

Quote of the Day
QUOTE Joan Didion~~~~~
Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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Why fiction?

The Forgotten Perks of Reading Fiction
reading perksThe Digital Age has heightened the habit of skimming everything we read, Soli Salgado writes at Utne. But, he suggests, we lose something invaluable when we do.

Books, especially fiction, “introduce you to places, characters and events that would take years, maybe lifetimes, to experience in reality. Within a few books, you’ve become a citizen of the world, exposed to countless alternative realities.”

He cites a study that showed that the brains of readers reacted the same way to events in a novel as if it were truly occurring in their own lives. “You’re not just digesting text, but actually living the story.”

And besides, “reading a captivating book for as little as six minutes can reduce stress by 60 percent.”

Read the article

What is it about bookshops

UK historical crime novelist Sara Sheridan shares her favorite things about bookshop:

I was introduced to the library when I was six or seven and that was a shock. I  thought my love of reading was unusual…and I blithely assumed that there were, I don’t know, perhaps a hundred books in the world…Walking into the library I felt quite overwhelmed at first. I’d read every book we had at home – but this was going to  take longer.

…my top ten favourite things in bookshops:

1 a comfortable chair to curl up in
2 somewhere to wander – shelves that go round corners or up stairs
3 …..

Read the article

Modern Beauty in the Natural World
Keeping-the-WildIn response to those who claim that wild nature is no more, and that human-caused extinction is nothing to be concerned about, Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of the Earth (Island Press, 2014), edited by George Wuerthner, Eileen Crist and Tom Butler, presents essays from scientists, writers and activists who have a powerful point to deliver about the importance of nature.

Read the article

No coffee?!? I’ll never write again!

Eight foods you’re about to lose due to climate change


As worsening drought and extreme weather devastate crops, you may begin seeing global warming when you open your fridge.


Missing could be…


10 Words Every Book-Lover Should Know

The word for a book-lover is a ‘bibliophile’, first used in 1824. Alternatively, there is the more ancient word, ‘bookworm’ , which dates back to 1580.

But what words should every good bibliophile and bookworm know? ‘Interest Literature’ offers some of their favorites.

Including: BIBLIOBIBULI, H. L. Mencken’s word for people who read too much. (Is there such a thing as reading too much?!)

Read the article

THIS ‘n THATearth 'n moonThe Earth And The Moon, In A Single Frame

Read the article

Self-Penned Obituary:Walter George Bruhl Jr. …is a dead person; he is no more; he is bereft of life; he is deceased; he has rung down the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible; he has expired and gone to meet his maker…His spirit was released from his worn-out shell of a body and is now exploring the universe...”

Read the rest

Quote of the Day
QUOTE F. Scott Fitzgerald~~~~~
Alma Alexander
My books

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Global warming = more girls

BabiesGlaciers are melting, oceans are rising, and the male population is dwindling as temperatures continue to increase—at least in Japan, a new study shows.

Japanese researchers found that in the hottest recorded summer, 2010, there was a dramatic increase in female births, whereas the coldest winter, 2011, produced more baby boys, Soli Salgado reports in Utne.

Read the article

50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked

In Hollywood films, writers are the low man on the totem pole, the person banned from the set, the guy who wrote the Great American novel drinking himself to death in Los Angeles, rewriting dumb scripts.

There are a lot of bad movies about writers out there, Elisabeth Donnelly tells us, so Flavorwire came up with “the definitive list of the 50 Best Films About Writers of all time.”

One of my favorites, Finding Forrester, made the list, albeit as number 49 out of 50 with some silly disparaging remarks and a dumb suggestion that a scene I scarcely remember has become a meme. I’d pick any of a dozen other scenes myself.

And their gushing love of Woody Allen movies? Well … never mind…

What do you think of their choices?
Finding ForresterFinding Forrester...This film is pure cheese, one of the infrequent films to feature a black protagonist as a writer, and its most memorable moment is a writing scene — a writing scene! — that’s become a meme, with Sean Connery cheering the young writer on as he types on a typewriter in his inimitable burr, “Punch the keys for God’s sake! Yes, yeeeessss! You’re the man now, dog!”

Read the article

The secret emotional lives of 5 punctuation marks

From the angry period to the dramatic asterisk…
doing-okay-budDoing okay, bud? (iStock)

Punctuation is the homely, workaday cousin to the glamorous word, Arika Okrent writes at The Week. It works quietly in the background, sweeping up and trying to keep the information flow tidy, while words prance around spilling thought, meaning, and feeling all over the place. Punctuation marks accept their utilitarian roles, but they too carry feelings.

The Week takes a look at the secret emotional lives of five punctuation marks, especially in social media.

Read the article


‘YOU’ Poem Goes Viral

See the video

The Force wasn’t with them

Every On-Screen Death In The Original ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy, In Under 3 Minutes

See the video

Telepathy is here, well sort of

Read the article

San Antonio Airport offers Digital Library Kiosks which allow patrons to checkout ebooks. In addition, the kiosks serve as rapid recharging stations for mobile devices.

Quote of the Day
Joss Whedon~~~~~
Alma Alexander
My books

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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

Check out my books

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Comments welcome. What do you think?

Can we stop Armageddon?

Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” is a novel about butterflies, about a messed up migration of monarchs which could lead to oblivion. It was a kick in the gut to read that book, to think about that possibility, to think about the final beat of a butterfly’s wing, to see that moment frozen in time. It’s terrifying.

And it’s happening. When I read that the monarch butterfly migration to Mexico is slowing from a flood to a trickle, I began to realize how bitterly bitterly close to reality Kingsolver’s fiction is, could be. That was no light reading, that was an apocalyptic warning.

 Monarchs aren’t able to survive colds winters and migrate hundreds or thousands of miles to winter in warmer climates, most famously in a few a few acres in Mexico where they hibernate in fir trees. Very few acres. They used to stop in a 50-acre site. Last year, that had dwindled to less than 2 acres.

Migrating monarchsThey hibernate on the same trees each year

There are a number of reasons the population is crashing. One study has linked the monarch’s decline to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide. (link below)

That connection is unproven, others say (link below), but loss of milkweed is a major factor and a massive replanting is needed to save the monarch.

 There’s a new book out about how humans are causing the sixth great extinction in the history of our planet. What are we going to do when we wake up one day and realize that the richness of our biosphere exists only in memory?

Extinction is forever.



Killing the monarch

Not GMOs, but milkweed

It’s our fault


Whale of a tale of awe & wonder

 Bryant Austin’s life was transformed by a literal tap on the shoulder from a whale, Richard Whittaker and Anne Veh write in the Daily Good.

eye to eyeAustin is an experimental multimedia artist whose lifelong passion has been exploring the possibility of connecting humanity with the greatest minds in the water. His drive comes from a deep desire to understand over five million years of evolving culture and communication in the largest brain ever to exist on Earth.

 In a stunning interview, Austin shares stores of his extraordinary journey and mission to use photography to recreate the transcendent sensation one experiences floating an arm’s length away from the eye of an inquisitive whale. He explains how his experiences with whales have given him glimpses of the vastness of the cosmos, helping him to shift from his personal perspective of reality to a grander “earth perspective” of reality.

 Whale of a tale


The diver and the blue whale

 The diver and the bue whaleA British diver swims near a blue whale, SCUBAZOO / BARCROFT MEDIA

An image taken on 28 March 28, 2011 is the first ever to show a human and a whole blue whale in the same shot together, The Telegraph reports.

 Many have battled hard to achieve the feat, but due to the size of the whales have only come up with shots showing divers and parts of the animals. Team members of Scubazoo – a British dive company based in Malaysia – spent 200 hours diving eight-hours-per-day for 25 days trawling the ocean around Sri Lanka in order to capture the scene.

 Roger Munns, from Cornwall, was photographed by Jason Isley, from Essex, making contact with the giant of the seas at around 10 metres depth. Roger said:

 ‘It was amazing. It was murky so we didn’t see the whale until the last minute, and it travelled so fast. The encounter only lasted about 45 seconds and then it was gone. But all those hours waiting were worth it.

The diver and the blue whale


It was just a joke, Isabel Allende says of her ‘mystery’

 Allende, better known for magical realism, has angered the crime fiction community after admitting that “Ripper”, her first foray into mysteries, was written as “a joke” – and that she is “not a fan” of the genre, Alison Floodreports in The Guardian.

 Isabel AllendeReaders took issue with Allende’s “snotty elitism”, and advising the author to “stick to what she knows [if she] sees the genre as being beneath her”. Sookie Stackhouse’s bestselling creator Charlaine Harris took Allende to task on her blog for comments which “translate … [as] I’m so amazingly ‘literary’ that condescending to write a genre novel is incredibly funny … I considered buying it. But having devoted my professional life to genre literature, I don’t think I will,” wrote Harris.

Allende mystery a joke


Quote of the Day

 “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ~ Rita Mae Brown


Alma Alexander

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Can books cure your depression?

Can you read your way to psychological health? Britain is finding out, Leah Price reports in the Boston Globe.

Biblio therapyWhat if a scientist were to discover a treatment that required minimal time and training to administer, and didn’t have the side effects of drugs? In 2003, a psychiatrist in Wales became convinced that he had. Dr. Neil Frude noticed that some patients, frustrated by year-long waits for treatment, were reading up on depression in the meantime. And of the more than 100,000 self-help books in print, a handful often seemed to work.

This June, a program was launched that’s allowing National Health Service doctors across England to act upon Frude’s insight. The twist is that the books are not just being recommended, they’re being prescribed.

The book cure

Books Vs. Films:

Books has created an infographic called, ‘The Ultimate Showdown: Books Vs. Films,’ Dianna Dilworth reports on Galleycat, which explores the question, ‘Which is better the book or the movie?’

The graphic explores of reviews of both books and movies over the past two decades and compares the critical reception of both books and their movie adaptations to decide the winners.

Book or movie?

25 million readers

GoodreadsLast year the reading platform, Goodreads, not only nearly doubled in size, it added 294 million books.

An infographic shows the milestones for 2013. What was the most popular book? Most popular quote? How many pages were read?

Goodreads infograpic

How can you really help your favorite writer?
“Back in 2009, when my career as a novelist went into a nosedive,” Sarah Monette blogs, “somebody asked me what my readers could do to help.”

She didn’t really have an answer then, but five years later, she does and is offering it up  “not merely on my own behalf, but so that you all, as readers, know how to help the career of any writer whose work you like. And, as it turns out, the answer is simple.:

There are three major things any reader can do to support a writer, she says:

Help a writer

She read her way around the world

Reading around the worldBritish journalist Ann Morgan has accomplished a big goal as a reader, Dianna Dilworth reports in Galleycat, she read a book from every country around the world. That is 196 books from authors from Swaziland to Nicaragua.

She came to the decision after she realized that most of the books on her bookshelves were written by British and American authors. To help find titles from various places around the globe, she set up a blog called A Year of Reading the World and got many suggestions about good reads from readers and writers around the worlds.

Reading around the world

Artist Creates illuminated copy of The Silmarillion

The SilmarillionArtist Benjamin Harff created a 400 page hand-illuminated copy of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion for his exam at the Academy of Arts.

All of the initials, calligraphic pages and illumination were drawn by hand using a steel pen and indian ink as well as brushes and watercolour. Harff also created the goat leather binding himself, with some help from a professional bookbinder.

Illuminated Silmarillion


Quote of the Day

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. ~ Saint-Exupery


Alma Alexander

Check out my books

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Comments welcome