Disappearing words

Languages change. But losing words like “Buttercup” and “Kingfisher” in favor of things like “Broadband” and “chatroom”saddens me.

In Orion, Robert Macfarlane talks about an edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary that has culled words concerning nature that it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, bluebell, dandelion, and fern in order to make room for block-graph, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail.

The substitutions —the outdoor and the natural being displaced by the indoor and the virtual—are a small but significant symptom of the simulated life we increasingly live. What is lost is something precious: a kind of word magic, the power that certain terms possess to enchant our relations with nature and place.

Read the whole essay HERE

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An 1819 book warns of

10 Things Kids Shouldn’t DoClimb treesImage credit: “The Accidents of Youth

In Mental Floss, Erin McCarthy examines a book of short cautionary tales published almost 200 years ago. The authors hoped the stories would encourage children to improve their conduct, presumably by scaring the crap out of them with tales of the extreme consequences of foolish activities such as breaking an arm or a leg, cutting or burning yourself, swallowing pins, poisoning, and laming or killing yourself (or others).

But did they listen?

Read more HERE

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150 odd years later…

Top 10 books about women in the 1950s

“I was only five years old when the 50s ended,” historian Virginia Nicholson writes in The Guardian, “but even at that age the flawless, impossibly-proportioned models featured in my mother’s copies of Vogue undoubtedly embodied my idea of female perfection.”

Women always felt that they fell short of perfection, she says, and their actions and assumptions were governed by the idea that women have no independent identity outside men.

The Village

 

The Village by Marghanita Laski: One book she chose was “this wonderful Romeo-and-Juliet novel that was published in 1952, and is an example of how social historians should turn to fiction from time to time, to get true insights into the past. Laski paints a painfully well-observed picture of middle-class pretensions. But above all she writes beautifully about love in the period of postwar transition, when – after a relative suspension of hierarchy, and women’s brief release from domesticity “for the duration” – home counties Britain subsided into its former petty snobberies, and women retreated into the home.

 

Read the whole story HERE

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“‘I do not have a licence to kill or be buried at sea either”

When she got her umpteenth warning letter from the BBC, writer Jackie Morris, who travels the UK encouraging people to read books, sent them a testy letter.Jackie Morris“I recently received a letter from you…. (about) my lack of a TV license. I am sorry, but after 25 or more years I still do not have a license, and now I have run out of patience…. as someone who has been without a TV or the need for a TV for a half of their lifetime I think it’s time you cut me some slack.”

Then she provided them a list of other licenses she doesn’t have.

Read her delightful letter HERE

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I’m Alma Alexander and I fully endorse this message from Paper Fury.Tell WritersNumber six is:
“OH YOU FINISHED THAT DRAFT OF YOUR NOVEL? WE SHOULD CELEBRATE! LET ME TAKE YOU OUT FOR COFFEE AND CAKE AND PERHAPS BUY YOU A SMALL ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS IN CONGRATULATIONS!”

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

At Distractify, Matt Buco offers
33 Insanely Clever Innovations That Need To Be Everywhere Already

Here’s one
Wall outlets with USB chargers
Wall outlets with USB chargers

See all the others HERE

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Losing bookstores

The number of independent bookshops in Britain has halved in the past decade and nearly 600 towns have none at all. Heavy discounting by supermarkets, the rise of internet retailers and the growing popularity of e-readers mean the number of independent bookshops in the UK has fallen below 1,000 for the first time.

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“Suddenly, Every Movie Romance Involves First-Edition Books,” Kyle Buchanan says at Vulture. That’s kinda weird, she says and wonders why.

Read the fun essay HERE

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Quote of the Day

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” ~ Logan Pearsall Smith

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Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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