It was traditional, particularly before the invention of the printing press and books were all hand written manuscripts, to letter a curse into the book to prevent theft, Book Porn tells us. For example:
Steal not this book, my worthy friend
For fear the gallows will be your end;
Up the ladder, and down the rope,
There you’ll hang until you choke;
Then I’ll come along and say –
“Where’s that book you stole away?”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have worked very well, as the books also had to be chained into place. Even chains had limited effect. Witness the many ancient libraries where there are still chains in place… but no books.
When printed books came along, bookplates were sometimes used to make the same point.
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Writer At Work
If you’ve ever had questions for a writer but were afraid to ask, here’s your chance.
Well, if you live anywhere near Bellingham, Washington anyway.
I’m spending a few hours tomorrow, July 25, at Bellewood Acres as writer in residence. I’ll be the one tapping away on my laptop in the apple orchard’s store, working on my newest book.
Bellewood Acres, located near Bellingham, a few miles from Canada, is home to one of Northwest Washington’s largest apple orchards. You can pick your own apples and your own pumpkins from their pumpkin patch.
Since writing is usually a solitary occupation, this will be a welcome break for me. Customers can stop by and ask about my books, the writing life, or what I am working on, which currently is a new Young Adult title.
I haven’t been to Bellewood Acres in a while, and I sure miss their incomparable Apple Pie.
The 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places On Earth
“These real life ruins offer an eerie glimpse into a world without humans,” Lara Starr writes at The Open Mind. “Their dark walls inspire a sense of wonder like I’ve never felt before.”
I mean, where do these rails go? What kind of a train rides them? It feels elegiac, like you’re riding through the heart of golden Fall, already half memory, and heading straight into the gloaming of a winter just around the corner somewhere (where it could already be starting to snow lightly in the twilight). A far gentler, lovelier, softer winter than George R R Martin ever thought about… but I guess… winter is ALWAYS coming…
Wreck of the SS America – Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
This former United States ocean liner was wrecked in 1994 after 54 years of service.
The Perspective-Shifting Habit of Extremely Creative People
We spend a lot of time racking our brains in morning meetings and staring at blank computer screens waiting for an aha moment, Alena Hall writes at The Huffington Post , but science shows we might be better off removing ourselves entirely from our typical work environment to gain a fresh perspective.
Maya Angelou, the late poet and civil rights activist, was full of inspiring words, most of which came to her in hotel rooms she rented for the sole purpose of writing. Even as a homeowner, she chose to inhabit these solitary spaces when it was time to get to work.
Charles Dickens: The great English novelist found inspiration for some of his most beloved story characters as he strolled the streets of London. The city served as one of his most influential muses throughout his career.
From The New Yorker Archives
Now that The New Yorker has made some of its archives available online for free until the end of this summer, Isaac Fitzgerald of BuzzFeed has selected 14 of the best fiction pieces that you might want to read.
Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images Entertainment
“Escape From Spiderhead”: George Saunders, author of Tenth of December and Pastoralia, takes a foray into mind-bending science fiction with a story full of exotic drugs and unethical experiments, as told by a human lab rat who is faced with impossible moral dilemmas.
Quote of the Day
“You don’t need to correct all of your flaws. It’s OK to be human.” ~ Matthew Perpetua