Do you know what love is?

What is love?Maria Popova has assembled famous definitions of love from 400 years of literary history in a Brain Pickings article just in time for Valentine’s Day.

They range from the profoundly cynical:

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary

to the truly profound

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is ~ Anaïs Nin in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953:

See all the quotes.

What is love

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Best Bookstores In The World

Ashley Lutz tells us at the Business Insider about 18 bookstores every book lover must visit at least once.

From Venice to Mexico City, check out some of the most interesting book retailers out there.

Boekhandel Selexyz DominicanenBert Kaufman on Flickr

Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Holland.

This epic bookstore is a converted Dominican church from the 13th century. The serene alcoves of the church now serve as reading nooks.

A superb example of adaptive re-use, the Selexyz Dominicanen infuses rich and historic architecture with plentiful shelves ripe with information,” writes Diane Pham at inhabitant.com.

El AteneoWikimedia Commons

El Ateneo, Buenes Aires, Argentina.

This bookstore is housed in an ornate theater building from the 1920’s. Customers can sit in still-intact theater boxes to relax and browse their books.

While the selection of books on offer is standard chain store fare, bibliophiles will find the staggeringly opulent display of books to be reason enough to pay El Ateneo Grand Splendid a visit,” according to Atlas Obscura.

Bookstores around the world

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As I’ve always argued, ALL fiction is fantasy, damnit.

J. R. R. Tolkien on fairy tales and the language and psychology of fantasy

In 1939, J. R. R. Tolkien gave a lecture titled Fairy Storie, defining what a fairy tale is, Maria Popova writes in Brain Pickings:

A “fairy-story” is one which touches on or uses Faerie, whatever its own main purpose may be: satire, adventure, morality, fantasy. Faerie itself may perhaps most nearly be translated by Magic — but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power, at the furthest pole from the vulgar devices of the laborious, scientific, magician. There is one proviso : if there is any satire present in the tale, one thing must not be made fun of, the magic itself. That must in that story be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away.

Hans Christian Andersen
Tolkien on fantasy

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And then we have the incomparable Ursula’s thoughts.

Ursula Le Guin on fantasy

What is fantasy? On one level, it is a game: a pure pretense with no ulterior motive whatsoever. It is one child saying to another child, ‘Let’s be dragons,’ and then they’re dragons for an hour or two. It is escapism of the most admirable kind–the game played for the game’s sake.

On another level, it is still a game, but a game played for very high stakes. Seen thus, as art, not as spontaneous play, its affinity is not with daydream, but with dream. It is a different approach to reality, an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with experience. It is not anti-rational, but para-rational; not realistic but surrealistic, superrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud’s terminology, it employs primary, not secondary process thinking.

It employs archetypes, which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe. And their guides, the writers of fantasy, should take their responsibility seriously.

From the essay, Elfland to Poughkeepsie, a speech to the second annual Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop.

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Shelter Encourages Kids to Read to Cats

Book Buddies
Fascinating
Olivia B. Waxman at TIMENewsfeed tells us about the Book Buddies program in which children in grades 1-8 can read to homeless cats at The Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

Once youngsters complete five books, they receive a prize like stickers or pretzels. According to the shelter’s website: ”The program will help children improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals. Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.”

Reading to cats

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Quote of the Day

Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. ~ Siobhan Harmer

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Alma Alexander

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