A tale of two bookstores

 

Michael's bookstore frontWhen we first came into the little town of Bellingham in northwest Washington, more than a dozen years ago now, many things delighted us — the trees, the glimpses of mountains, and the shining Sound. But more directly, more pertinently, we found ourselves in a street which had two facing bookstores on it – Michael’s Books, and Henderson’s.

Michael’s was a more chaotic store, a warren of interleading rooms which felt almost Escheresque and interdimensional, dim corners, narrow aisles, and more books than your heart could believe possible, on pretty much every subject under the sun. There was a whole room devoted to SF/Fantasy, which was pretty amazing; some of the books on those shelves were pretty amazing as and of themselves.

The books spilled out of the store, and there was always a cardboard box or three filled with sometimes rather ratty esoterica which may not have been in good enough shape to sell in the store, labelled “FREE!”.

It was run by a genial owner who used to send us birthday cards with book specials on them.

It’s gone. I only just found out but apparently it’s been gone for a while now and I feel as though I have just discovered that a kind friend with whom I’d inadvertently lost touch had suddenly died, and I had no idea that they were even ailing.

Damn, but I’m going to miss that place. I’m going to miss those cavernous spaces teeming with books ranging from natty plastic-covered cared for hardcovers and first editions in closed cabinets, to broken-spined dog-eared and obviously treasured paperbacks of Golden Age science fiction novels complete with cheesy covers featuring tinny spaceships belching flames in the background while the foreground was peopled by bare-chested barbarians or weird angular robots carting about scantily dressed galactic pin-up girls, who sometimes came in Mere Human editions and sometimes turned up with skin which glowed blue or green, headdresses with horns or jewels hanging on the smooth glamorous brows. always wearing as little as could be decently got away with, and baring shapely ankles, and calves, and thighs, oh my.

I’m going to miss just knowing it was there, knowing that those babes and those heroes and those robots and the dragons and the poetry and the cookbooks and the history of papier mache and instruction books on origami and atlases with maps of countries which no longer exist and Doctor Who novelizations and stories of the Alaskan gold rush and Time Life photography books of historical events long in the past and biographies of bespectacled worthies whom you’d never heard of but who must have been important…

What happened to all those books? A part of me weeps, and doesn’t want to know any more…

Hendersons photoThe second store, Henderson’s, is still there, across the street. It’s another weird space, with its relatively narrow road frontage which hides a store that stretches back a full city block. It’s no less wonderful and cavernous and book-stuffed than Michael’s was, but there is a different feeling somehow. This place FEELS more businesslike and more organized. And oh my GOD is it a treasure trove. I found many many great research books there for when I was writing specific novels, and honestly, this is a resource beyond price, and if THIS one ever goes away it will leave a gaping wound. But I was in there today and I took some photos of the canyon walls, books labelled “Literature” and “YA fiction, vampire” and “Central Asia history” and “Local Interest” and the back room devoted to mysteries and science fiction and the how-to section and the sections on theater and the fall of empires and photography and computers and Greek philosophers and the geography of India and French cooking.

I’ve often bought research books here for novels that aren’t even coherent ideas yet – but something triggered a “oh, THAT’s interesting, maybe someday it will be useful” impulse. We’ve walked out of that store before with double armfuls of books, having laid down fifty or a hundred dollars – and this is a SECOND HAND store, remember, with prices mostly to match.

Long live the wonderful treasure troves that are second hand bookstores. Long live the second, third, fifth, ninth, twentieth lives that these books live in these spaces, and the minds and hearts to whom they speak, the hands that reach for them, the glory of their existence. There are modern stores with contemporary and new-published books which are a wonderful thing to visit and to behold, to be sure – but these, these old stores, they are the Temple of the Word and you go in there to worship, and to browse, and to never ever know what might be waiting and what you might find there.

Good bye, Michael’s – you were treasured. Good night, Hendersons – and hopefully I will see you again soon.

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When the words die…

It seems so very long ago that I first tripped over a low-key article about a little known “women’s language”, called nu shu, which once existed in China, passed down from mother to daughter, totally hidden from male eyes.

The article mourned the loss of the last speaker of nu shu who had learned the language in the organic, traditional way – at her mother’s knee. With her passing, the language died too – at least as a living thing, spoken and used. From now on it would only be studied and remembered and dissected, but as a living language it was gone.

It was this story that gave me the inspiration for my highest-flying book, “The Secrets of Jin Shei“, where a similar language formed the basis for my imagined society.

Last Wichita speaker passes away

Just recently I became aware of another language vanishing into those same shadows – this time because of the death of Doris Jean Lamar-McLemore, the last fluent native speaker of Wichita (link, and story by Rhiannon Poolaw of KSWO below). Once again a language once used and shared and vibrant has withered away, and will soon only be a memory.

Bird Of Stone photoIt’s like languages were birds on the wing, soaring on the winds, diving into clouds, full of the joy of living and of existence – until, eventually, inevitably, things start turning to stone, the wings getting stiff, the hearts getting heavy, until the creature falls to the ground, only a stone image of the joyful flying thing it once was, to be picked up and picked over and examined and wondered at by those who come after, those who had never known the living thing that flew.

And with every loss of language comes an inevitable loss of culture, of memory, of things that could only be said or understood in that language.

The loss of words, any words, anybody’s words, makes me sad.

Read more about Doris Jean Lamar-McLemore, the last Wichita speaker HERE

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Sometimes world creators like writers and artists don’t have to make up things. Sometimes things get made up for us that we could never have invented…like a radioactive mineral that exists nowhere else on Earth than in the grave of a nuclear disaster – something rare, and precious, and something that could kill you faster and more thoroughly than any monster in any fairy tale.

In the radioactive woods arond the place that was once known as Chernobyl, there now lives a thing called the Red Forest which crawls with mythological creatures and radioactive fungi that glow in the dark.
Chernobyl desolate sceneChernobyl was a tragedy. Its aftermath is a blend of mythology old and new and it is hypnotic in its stark and deadly beauty.

Read this astonishing essay; it’s well worth your time.

(All images featured are film stills from Stalker. Credit: Filmgrabber All quotations of Chernobyl survivors are excerpted from Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Holocaust.)

Reads the whole essay HERE

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Oh, to live in a bookish town…

When we moved to the place we now call home, it was partly because of two AMAZING second hand bookstores we found in the heart of the town. It could only bode well for the spirit of the place.

But the English town, Hay on Wye, is… a special thing. It’s SPECIAL. How many spots on this planet could bear the weight of this many words congregated together?
Hay On Wye, bookstore photoHay on Wye has been known to me for many years. No, I’ve never been there. Yes, I’d love to go. What other form of paradise is there for someone who loves reading, loves the feel and smell and the promise of books – for someone who is always a little breathless with anticipation before starting a new book, and often breathless with a sense of wonder after finishing a particularly glorious one – than this…?

Read the whole story at storypick.com HERE

Other book towns in the world HERE

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Archive of 6,000 Historical Children’s Books, Digitized and Free to Read Online

An astonishing treasure trove at openculture.com HERE

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A review of Wolf, the second book in my Were Chronicles, by L. Bruce Diamond is the kind authors pick for their blurbs. He says, for example, that Wolf

“is simultaneously frustrating, engrossing, infuriating, and satisfying.”  

If a book can stir up that kind of reaction in a discerning reader, the author’s labors in producing it were well worth it.

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Quote of the Day
Was the West won or lost? posterWinners and losers

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The measure of a town

Bellingham is a bookish town. The plentiful new and used bookstores which we spotted as soon as we arrived on a scouting trip were in no small part the reason we decided to put down roots here.

There are bookstores which were far more seminal to our choice of Bellingham as home, but today I’m talking about one which we didn’t really discover until we had been here some time.Eclipse entrance photo

Eclipse Window Sign photoEclipse, a two-story book cave, is a second-hand bookstore in nearby Fairhaven. There’s something almost organic about the place, with books on all the walls, books stuffed on shelves arranged tightly in the midst of both floors, books rising like stalagmites from the floor in unsteady mounds, or stacked in rich and muddled towers on tables or counters wherever there is a bit of empty horizontal space. Books perch in a precarious pile on a corner of a railing outside the store.

Books. Books. Books. EVERYWHERE.

 

This isn’t the kind of place that gets steady foot go to the light, interior phototraffic – but there’s always someone here. People know about this store. Its name might mean an occlusion, but behind an eclipse is the light of a star, and these books SHINE. I don’t get there nearly often enough. I should go back far more frequently. It’s just that every time I GO there I end up carting home some more of its treasures, and my own shelves are groaning with words. Still…

Eclipse. Wonderful bookstore. Worth a visit, and getting lost in.

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Long long ago in a country far far away I went to school in a castle.

Bodel Castle Autumn The school was located in Bodelwyddan Castle, in Wales, and I went there for a year back in the last century. While I was there I had thought the only ‘dangerous’ thing in its green fields was sheep poop.

But it seems that there was more – like live bullets…  grenades… Good grief.

The Daily Post has reported that a live bullet and remains of a grenade were found on the grounds during an excavations to create replica World War I style trenches as part of a tourist attraction.

The idea of ‘training trenches’ makes my hackles rise. Oh GOD that war. That stupid, pointless, pitiless war. I mean, yes, all wars are stupid, pointless, pitiless, but WWI was a particularly evil incarnation. If there is anything to the reincarnation theory of existence I may well have been some poor sod who bought it in those trenches. My reaction to WWI is visceral and gut-wrenching.

And the idea that those tranquil Welsh fields where I once went to school were once dug up to train cannon fodder young men how to die in Flanders almost makes me physically ill.

They want this… for a TOURIST ATTRACTION? I’d run a mile in the opposite direction, myself. That, or fall on my knees in those trenches and weep all the tears I ever carried inside me.

Read the whole story by Gareth Hughes at the Daily Post website HERE

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NASA’s “Rocket Girls” Are No Longer Forgotten History

When Nathalia Holt stumbled upon the story of one of NASA’s first female employees, she was stunned to realize that there was a trove of women’s stories from the early days of NASA that had been lost to history. Holt was ultimately able to find a group of women whose work in rocket science dates back to before NASA even existed and wrote about them in “Rise of the Rocket Girls“.Computers In 1953 photoThe women “computers” pose for a group photo in 1953. (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Read Naomi Shavin’s whole article at smithsonian.com HERE

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Quote of the DayIQUOTE A Writer Is... posterAmen. Writing is not a choice.

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Dear Author…

In the little over a decade I have been writing full time, I have received some fascinating letters. Two stand out particularly.

I haven’t asked permission of the letter writers – in at least one case, it was so long ago that I am not sure my contact information is any longer valid. So these two examples are essentially paraphrased with names and other personal information excised.

The first was someone who had met me on a major book tour for The Secrets of Jin-Shei, a novel which involves a sisterhood. The letter writer speaks poignantly about how my book made her reflect on her own experiences.

Paraphrased excerpt:

You sat in front of me (on the plane) and eventually, like people who travel, often do, we began to talk. You said you were an author and showed me the cover of the book you had published. You were on your way to a book signing.

Though you did talk to me for most of the trip and even gave me your card, it was the cover of your book that, strangely, remained in my mind. So, that when I went to the library and saw that cover amongst the other books, I remembered it. I didn’t remember you had written it; I remembered the cover…I found your picture on the back and it all fell into place.

So, I started reading the book and that’s when the sadness came. Here in my hands was a book about sisterhood, a mirror reflecting the deep friendships I’ve had with several women, including the teenager I made my mother take into our home as my foster sister… your book helped me remember….and understand that.

The rest is far too personal for me to summarize here without her permission. But I was greatly touched by her letter.

The second also involves The Secrets of Jin-Shei. It was much shorter and rather… unusual.

Paraphrased excerpt:

I have never read any of your books, and up to today had not heard of them. However, last night I had a dream that clearly showed me the name Jin-Shei.

After researching the name on the internet all I could find related to it was your book. Could you possibly share with me the actual historical significance of this name? Does it have an English translation? Is it merely a name you created?…Your book sounds interesting…

I hope he did read it and did find it interesting. After all, his own dream had led him there.

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11 Contemporary Retellings of Classic Literature

At Off the Shelf, Sarah Jane Abbott offers some books by inspired authors that have reimagined beloved novels and iconic characters, using them as them as jumping off points to explore new settings, eras, and characters.

e.g.
Going-Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray:

All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks.

Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel or possible hallucination who sets him on a quest paralleling that of Don Quixote.

 

See all the books HERE

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10 Books To Read Before You See The Movies This Summer

We all love a few hours at the movie theater, Mark Athitakis writes at Huffpost, but there’s just no substitute for curling up with a few hundred pages of printed magic.

One example:

Every Secret ThingBy Laura Lippman: The thriller Every Secret Thing revolves around two teenage girls and the abduction and murder of a baby seven years earlier. Starring Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks and Dakota Fanning, the movie casts more female leads than your average thriller (thank you!) and Laura Lippman, whose 2003 novel inspired the film, has deserved a big-screen treatment of her work for years. But the film was shot in New York, robbing the story of Lippman’s beloved Baltimore and her rich local details about everything from race relations to hairstyles. Let’s not overlook the scary pleasures of her prose, either. “There was something menacing in the very fineness of his bones,” she writes, “as if a bigger boy had been boiled down until all that remained was this concentrated bit of rage and bile.”

Read the whole story HERE

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Dinosaurs and All That RubbishDinosaurs and All That Rubbish Photograph: PR

Daniel Hahn’s top 10 underrated or forgotten children’s classics

The author of the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature chooses the children’s classics you probably haven’t heard of but really should read, from picture books about dinosaurs and bike rides to a historical novel narrated by a dog.

Read the whole story HERE

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66 on 66It’s arguably the most famous road in the world. Route 66 – just saying those words makes you want to hit the road. But did you know there are many wonderful used bookstores along the way from Chicago to Los Angeles?

Abe Books has plotted the ultimate bibliophile’s road trip where you can visit 66 bricks and mortar used bookstores – who all sell on the AbeBooks marketplace – while driving from the shores of Lake Michigan to the beaches of Santa Monica. We are talking about two thousand miles and hundreds of thousands of books. It’s a booklover’s paradise – and worth the trip for that alone. Some folks travel for culinary adventures, some travel for landmarks and museums, but bibliophiles travel for the finest in literary offerings. It’s called Bookstore Tourism, and yes – there’s a book about it.

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS n THAT

Destroying What Remains
Artic sea iceAs sea ice in the Arctic vanishes, the Navy plans training including live bombing runs

Disturbing essay by Dahr Jamail HERE

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We humans are so VERY GOOD at inventing things that kill…
The UrumiThe best bladed weapons are at least somewhat flexible—but the urumi is downright floppy. When swung, it acts like a whip. A metal whip. A metal whip with two sharp edges

10 of History’s Most Terrifying Swords, including THIS

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Quote of the Day

QUOTE Oscar Wilde~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books     Email me
 
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Cats and books

Cat friendsAhh, friend cats reading about friend humans!

Ever wonder what your cat does while you are away?

At Bustle, Caitlin White explains and illustrates.

No matter how great your book club is, it does not compare to the newest book club, and that’s because it is not entirely composed of cats. Yes, cats have started their own book club. What else did you think they did while you were gone working all day?

Read the rest HERE

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BookstoreDo you always have a book with you, even at the movies? begins the About section of the blog – Books, the Universe and Everything.

In this blog post, Emily Wilson tells reports on her visits to a lot of spectacular libraries and bookshops. I spent last year traveling around the world and the US, and along the way I visited as many beautiful libraries and fantastic independent bookshops as I could fit in. Some of them were planned, places that were on my itinerary from the beginning. Some of them I stumbled upon serendipitously. All of them were treasures.

Read the rest HERE

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aw-poohImage credit: E.H. Shepard [poo]

January 18 marked not only the birthday of celebrated English author A.A. Milne, Kristy Puchko writes at Mental Floss, but also—by no coincidence—Winnie The Pooh Day, a holiday intended to celebrate the eponymous bear and his creator. To pay tribute to both Milne and his lovable bear, she has compiled a collection of incredible facts that even the most dedicated visitor to the Hundred Acre Wood might not know.
Real WinnieWikimedia Commons

1. The silly old bear was based on a real, young one.
During World War I, a Canadian soldier named Harry Colebourn made a pet of a black bear cub he bought from a hunter for $20. Named Winnipeg—or “Winnie” for short—the bear became his troop’s mascot and later a resident of the London Zoological Gardens. There, she was an adored attraction, especially to a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, son of author A.A. Milne. In fact, the boy loved Winnie so much that he named his own teddy after her.

Read the rest HERE

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8 Books with Disappearing Protagonists

Why is it that the things just out of reach are the things we want the most? Off the Shelf  asks.

Here at Off the Shelf, we love a book with a good old fashioned disappearance. Perhaps you’ve heard of a  little book called Gone Girl? Or maybe you saw our reviews last month for Last Night in Montreal and Where’d You Go Bernadette? But we’re not just talking murder mysteries here. Here are 8 more excellent books in which the protagonists just…disappear.

100-year-old manThe Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson

Technically, this protagonist only disappears for everyone else, but it’s nonetheless a wonderful read. After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, sure that he’s in his final days. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested, so he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey. It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory. Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them, meeting figures like Chairman Mao and Charles De Gaulle. It’s a great story that will make anyone feel young again.

See the other books HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

Robert Stone, 1937-2015: Robert Stone, who won the National Book Award for Dog Soldiers in 1975, died on January 10.

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What age did the greatest authors publish their most famous works? (e.g. Douglas Adams 28, Jack Kerouac 26…)

Explore the careers of some of the world’s most successful authors – by first published book, age at breakthrough book, and number of books published.

See the chart HERE

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TS Eliot 50 years on – quiz

How much do you know?

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Underwater Sculpture Among Coral Gardens
Reef artBali’s underwater sculpture of a mermaid is one among several “Living Sculptures in the Sea” created by local fishing communities in hopes to help restore local coral reefs
(Photo the Marine Foundation)

Read the rest HERE

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

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Bedroom Quirks

The Bedroom Quirks of 10 Great Authors
Bedroom quirksYou know that Shakespeare, James Joyce and Lord Byron were geniuses when it came to their ways with words, but as anyone who knows a writer can tell you, scribes frequently come with some serious quirks, Stacy Conradt writes at Mental Floss. I’m reading Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg, and the secrets definitely come out. So, without further ado, I give you 10 intimate quirks of some of the finest writers ever.
 
Read the Article

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Teenage rebels in fiction – quiz

To celebrate the 66th birthday of SE Hinton, The Guardian wants to test your knowledge of the great tales of teen trouble-makers and asks: You got a problem with that?

I love the second choice in Question #4.

Take the Quiz

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The 10 best bookstores … make that 11

The rumors of the death of indie bookstores have been greatly exaggerated, Leif Pettersen says in USA TODAY, then hedges:

Well, moderately exaggerated. The harsh fact is that these institutions are facing unprecedented competition from a website named for a river, and many struggle just to stay open. Still, a determined few are thriving.

He misses one of the great ones, Village Books in Bellingham WA, but lists most of the usual suspects. I’ve covered the best bookstores before but I like this one for all the great photos.
Skylight-BooksSkylight Books, Los Angeles – One of the most respected independent bookstores in the country. The hipster-ometer is buried in the red here (in a good way), from the eclectic customers, to the well-read staff, to Franny the store cat, to the arts annex two doors down.

Read the Article

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Women’s Rights News says:
Women Didn’t Just Join Geek Culture, They Invented It
GeeksRead the Article

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Mary Poppins Stumps for Minimum Wage Increase

Mary Poppins

A hilarious video. You will never hear “supercallifagilisticexpialliBULLSHIT”  the same way again.

 

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Read the Article

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Retirement Community’s Awesome Calendar Of Famous Movies

The Contilia Retirement Group in Germany released a calendar that featured  scenes from their favorite movies, Ashley Burns writes at Filmdrunk.

The folks at the Senior Living Communities in the US thought it was a spectacular idea and decided to give it a whirl. The result is an 18-month calendar that takes on classic movies from A Christmas Story to Cleopatra, as well some other great moments in pop culture history that your own great grand-grandparents might call the bee’s knees.
ghostbustersVia Senior Living Communities

Read the Article

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28 Beautiful Quotes About Libraries

The libraries of the world are under threat. At Buzzfeed, Daniel Dalton offers some reasons to care.
EinsteinRead the Article

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Are you a book hoarder? There’s a word for that

How many books is too many books, Hector Tobar asks in the LA Times? What makes you a book hoarder? In Japanese, tsundoku is a noun that describes a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor, on shelves, and assorted pieces of furniture.

Just looking around our house – the books left to breed and multiply on the coffee table, the books stacked sideways on nearby shelves, the double-stacked books on at least three bookshelves in two different rooms – and then there’s the library…
Our libraryWe not only MEET the rather low-ball criterion they offer up in the article, we are POSTER CHILDREN for the Compulsive Book Hoarder Group. Still, there are worse things to be addicted to than books.

Read the Article

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Quote of the Day

Someone asked Pablo Casals when he was 90 why he still practiced every day.  “Because I think I am making some progress,” he answered.

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Alma Alexander
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Comments welcome. What do you think?

Amazon Manifest Destiny?

“I’m here to tell you that working with the power who is out to destroy you will never, ever end well,” Aaron John Curtis says. Mohawk by birth, he offers ten reasons why Amazon’s takeover of online retail mirrors the slaughter of Native Americans.
tobacco-david-and-goliathThe “Threat” Will Take Care of Itself

Some tribes, upon seeing the European’s appetite for tobacco consumption, believed there was no “white problem.”  Left to their own devices, Europeans would smoke themselves to death before they did any permanent damage.

When Amazon began gobbling up book sales, some indie booksellers opined that Amazon was too large.  It would overreach, expand too far too fast, and succumb to the sprightly indies who could respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Hey, guess what?  The spry booksellers and Just Say Nohawks were both wrong.

mexico-cityUrban nightmare (Mexico City)

The End Game
    “Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”Alanis Obomsawin, Abenaki Nation

Amazon’s Manifest Destiny

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The Power of Cherokee Women

Cherokee Mother-and-ChildEuropeans were astonished to see that Cherokee women were the equals of men—politically, economically and theologically, Carolyn Johnston, author of Cherokee Women in Crisis, says.

“Women had autonomy and sexual freedom, could obtain divorce easily, rarely experienced rape or domestic violence, worked as producers/farmers, owned their own homes and fields, possessed a cosmology that contains female supernatural figures, and had significant political and economic power,” she writes.

“Cherokee women’s close association with nature, as mothers and producers, served as a basis of their power within the tribe, not as a basis of oppression. Their position as ‘the other’ led to gender equivalence, not hierarchy.”

Cherokee Women

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This Is Your Brain on Writing

alma writing rik-Durham-reverse-layup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A novelist scrawling away in a notebook in seclusion may not seem to have much in common with an NBA player doing a reverse layup on a basketball court before a screaming crowd, Carl Zimmer writes in the New York Times. But if you could peer inside their heads, you might see some striking similarities in how their brains were churning.

That’s one of the implications of new research on the neuroscience of creative writing. For the first time, neuroscientists have used fMRI scanners to track the brain activity of both experienced and novice writers as they sat down — or, in this case, lay down — to turn out a piece of fiction.”

Your Brain on Writing

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Rejected Princesses

Wu ZetianWu Zetian

Introducing Wu Zetian, first and only Empress of China — seen here poisoning her infant daughter, Imgur tells us.

Now, that’s actually a bit of a historical inaccuracy, we’re told: the generally-accepted truth was that she *strangled* her young daughter, to frame the old queen and get her out of the way. It worked — both the old queen and the old queen’s mother were executed.

From there, she ascended to be Emperor Gaozong’s predominant consort, and set about eradicating all other claimants to the throne. Early on, her method of choice was a slow-acting poison. As time went on and her influence grew, however, she took to engineering treason charges for her opponents, summoning them to the throne room and making them kill themselves in front of her.

More Rejected Princesses

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Quote of the Day

The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.” ~ García Márquez , Love in the Time of Cholera

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Alma Alexander
Check out my books
Email me 
Comments welcome. What do you think?