The writer and sex


The writer and sex

In her book, Love and Trouble, Claire Dederer explains how a book review brought her
“an unforeseen gift, or burden: Suddenly everyone wanted to tell me about his or her sex life. I mean everyone. I heard secrets, nonstop, for months.”

What kind of secrets? Well…

Secret 3: A note from a college friend, via Facebook: “Loved the piece. Struck a chord. These days it seems like I want to Do It all the time and [husband’s name redacted] never wants to. I don’t know what to do. Am seriously thinking about having an affair but HOW???? How do you even do that?”

Fascinating excerpt HERE

The Power of Cautionary Questions:

At BrainPickings, Maria Popova introduces Neil Gaiman’s thoughts on Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ Why We Read, and How Speculative Storytelling Enlarges Our Humanity

“The abiding splendor and significance of the ideas and ideals at the heart of Bradbury’s classic is what Gaiman explores in a beautiful piece titled ‘Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, and What Science Fiction Is and Doe.’ It wasoriginally written as an introduction to a sixtieth-anniversary edition of the book and is now included in his altogether magnificent The View from the Cheap Seats:”

Book city illustration

Book city

One great quote:
“There are three phrases that make possible the world of writing about the world of not-yet (you can call it science fiction or speculative fiction; you can call it anything you wish) and they are simple phrases:

What if … ?
If only …
If this goes on …”

And one more:
“People think, wrongly, that speculative fiction is about predicting the future, but it isn’t — or if it is, it tends to do a rotten job of it. Futures are huge things that come with many elements and a billion variables, and the human race has a habit of listening to predictions for what the future will bring and then doing something quite different.

“What speculative fiction is really good at is not the future, but the present. Taking an aspect of it that troubles or is dangerous, and extending and extrapolating that aspect into something that allows the people of that time to see what they are doing from a different angle and from a different place.”

Read the whole fascinating story at BrainPickings HERE


10 Easy Ways to Raise a Reader

1) Have books in the house
2) Have many different books in the house
3) Let your reader read what they want (they will find their own level)
4) Be available and willing to discuss things that have been read; answer questions willingly and honestly
5) Be a reader yourself and share your knowledge and your favorites
6) Make language something to play with and enjoy rather than a burden to be ‘learned’
7) Don’t be a reading snob – “high literature” is not the only kind of book there is – if your kid wants to read Asimov don’t insist on Nobel Prize winners, or suggest that nineteenth-century novels have to be read in order for the fun stuff to be accessed
8) Get the kid a library card and encourage the hell out of its full use
9) Make reading something to be proud of, not something to hide from your peers because they will think you are “weird”
10) Love books. Period. It’s’ catching.

Common Sense Media has some more ideas HERE


I was quite happy to learn that Laurel Book Store, an indie bookstore in California, has a good listing of my books. I wish my local bookstore would do is well.

The stories motto is:  A little bit of everything and the ability to get the rest.

Check my books out HERE

In the Age of Conventions, YA Fans Rule


Publishers Weekly tells us that “Readers are turning out in droves for the chance to meet favorite authors while collecting tchotchkes, autographs, or memorable selfies with artful backdrops.”

And adds:
“Increasingly, marketing YA books means meeting fans where they’re at—online—and in municipal buildings across America: New York, Seattle, or San Diego, Calif., for Comic Con; Charleston, S.C., for YallFest; or at Santa Monica High School in California for YallWest.”

Read the whole story at Publishers Weekly HERE

Do You Know What These British Words Mean?

Take the Quiz HERE

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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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Sexy ereaders

Few benefits of the e-reader are as attractive as the privacy it affords, Calum Marsh writes at The Guardian, so after the launch of the Kindle, erotic romance really took off.

Spring FlingAn erotica publication geared towards the male market. Photograph: Ellora’s Cave

In public the anonymity is ironclad: you could be reading hardcore BDSM erotica on your Kindle or Kobo, but to your fellow commuters you might as well be poring over PG Wodehouse.

Print versions of erotica are mainly to please the authors because hardly anyone buys them in print.



Read the whole story HERE

Planted in the stars
Beth Moon HerculesPhoto Beth Moon

Stunning Photos of Africa’s Oldest Trees, Framed by Starlight

At the Smithsonian, Melissa Wiley reports that for the past 15 years, fine arts photographer Beth Moon has taken pictures of really old trees. She has journeyed around the world in search of trees notable for their size, age and history, photographing during the day. Her most recent series, titled “Diamond Nights,” however, plays with starlight.

I was living in Zambia when I saw my first baobab tree. I always thought of Baobabs as “upside down trees” because they look like nothing so much as though a giant hand has torn them from the ground and then planted them again head first so that their torn and tortured twisted roots were the only thing that was left showing above the earth.

And now these pictures, which appear to show that these ancient trees are in fact rooted… in the stars.

Beth Moon has found something profound here.

Read the whole story HERE

A Poet Describes Feelings In Color

Kelsey Danielle is a poet on Tumblr who describes emotions, as submitted by her followers, with the colors they feel like.

For example:
Color of loveThe project was inspired, Julia Reinstein reports at BuzzFeed, by a poem Kelsey Danielle wrote a few years ago on visualizing the things she feels as colors.

“It’s a poem that’s always stuck with me because I continue to attach colors to any emotion I’m feeling. I describe it a bit like feeling in colors. It’s been helpful for me over the years by having a visual to focus on when I’m upset or angry.”

Read the whole story HERE

I just bought a book because the first line grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The first line of The Martian by Andy Weir is:

“I’m pretty much fucked.”

It doesn’t include my find, but at BuzzFeed, Sarah Galo finds 53 of

The Best Opening Sentences In Literature
Look at all the booksCreative Commons 2.0 / Via Flickr: stewart

“All this happened, more or less.” —Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

See all the first lines HERE

Can you read?

Yeah, OK. You learned to read in early childhood. But you could always do better, right?

Gretchen Rubin offers
How To Become a Better Reader in 10 Steps

One of her 10 is reading audiobooks. My husband endorses this wholeheartedly. He has ‘read’ hundreds of books this way. Initially, he insisted it was a way to get more exercise. He would download books from the library and listen to them as he walked. His walks got shorter and shorter, but he still listens to a book whenever he has a boring household chore.

Read all her tips HERE


‘Cisgender’ has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary: The term is defined as ‘designating a person whose sense of personal identity corresponds to the sex and gender assigned to him or her at birth.’

Read the whole story HERE

Gilligan's Island cast15 Fateful Facts About ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Bradbury bookendsRay Bradbury’s Demolished Home Turned Into Bookends

Quote of the Day
Northshire BooksNorthshire Books in Manchester VT.

Alma Alexander     My books     Email me
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Boys only?

Not any more!

Boys like pirates, science and sports. Girls like princesses, fuzzy animals, and cooking. That’s how it was at Scholastic, a major children’s publishing house, until an 8-year-old girl put an end to it, Kathleen Culliton writes at Bustle.

When Els, a girl in London, spotted “Amazing Things for Boys to Make and Do” in the Scholastic book catalog, she got royally ticked off and started a petition. The rest, as they say, is history.

Read the whole story HERE

Ray Bradbury. lost and found

In 2012, Lisa Potts rediscovered — literally, behind her dresser — a taped cassette of a long-lost interview with author Ray Bradbury that she made as a college student journalist in 1972. The recording was made in a car on the Los Angeles freeways as Potts and fellow student Chadd Coates were taking Bradbury to present a lecture.

PBS Digital Studios Blank on Blank did a delightful animated video of the interview.
Ray Bradbury videoRay Bradbury interview with Chadd Coates

Quote from the interview

On Fantasy: “Sometimes you have intuitive insight about how you think things are going to be, and you write that. Other times you fantasize completely, which has nothing to do with predicting the future.”

Full story and video HERE

Another literary lost and found

150-year-old Mark Twain stories discovered

Scholars at the University of California, Berkeley have uncovered a cache of stories written by Mark Twain when he was a 29-year-old newspaperman in San Francisco, Nicky Woolf reports in The Guardian.

Mark TwainMark Twain, detail of photo by Mathew Brady, Wikipedia

Twain wrote some of the letters and stories at the San Francisco Chronicle when it was called the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, where his job included writing a 2,000-word dispatch every day and sending it off by stagecoach for publication in the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada.

His topics range from San Francisco police – who at one point attempted, unsuccessfully, to sue Twain for comparing their chief to a dog chasing its tail to impress its mistress – to mining accidents.

Read the whole story HERE

10 Real Alien Worlds That Resemble ‘Star Wars’ Planets

Hot Jupitor

The gas giant planet Bespin appears in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” where it possesses a floating cloud city administered by Lando Calrissian, Tom Chao says at

In reality, a class of exoplanets is called “hot Jupiters,” large gas giant planets that circle extremely close to their stars. One in particular, called TrES-4, is a puffy world, meaning it has an extremely low density.

See all the alien worlds HERE

Messenger’s Mercury trip ends with a bang, and silence

Mercury's MessingerThe probe, illustrated soaring above Mercury, went into orbit around the planet in March 2011

Nasa’s Messenger mission to Mercury has reached its explosive conclusion, after 10 years in space and four in orbit, Jonathan Webb reports at BBC News. Out of fuel, the spacecraft smashed into a region near Mercury’s north pole.

Read the whole story HERE


The Girl Who Started It All

Celebrating 85 Years Of Nancy Drew HERE

14 Of The Most Buzzed-About Books Of 2015

How many have you already read?

Quote of the day

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Alma Alexander      My books      Email me   

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Perfect short stories?

At io9 Charlie Jane Anders, has picked:
18 Perfect Short Stories that pack more punch than most novels

One example of hers is:
Bradbury Soft Rains“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray BradburyThis story is in a special league in the knife-twisting sweepstakes. Like a lot of stories in the years following World War II, it’s concerned with the threat of nuclear annihilation, but also with how our technology might outlive us. The whole thing is one big gut-punch.

I wholly agree with the Bradbury. And the Asimov; it is one of his best stories, ever. And of course, the Le Guin. I haven’t read some of the others, but maybe it’s just my sensibilities in that some of the more recent examples on this list – although technically brilliant and beautifully rendered – have left little permanent mark on me. They just lacked the HEART of some of that older classic stuff.

There is at least one Arthur C. Clarke story I would have added to the list. The Star offers an emotional punch to the gut that is unforgettable.

Agree with her list? Disagree? What would you add?

Read the whole story HERE

I read only 34 out of the 57 books on this list. I should be ashamed of myself. I am less well read than a cartoon sitcom character. I hang my head in shame.

Daria Morgendorffer’s Reading List
DariaMTV’S much-loved animated sitcom Daria centered on a smart, disaffected teenager with a caustic wit. The show was filled with literary references.

Here are 57 books that Daria read or that were mentioned during the episodes. As DariaWiki puts it, “If it’s old, morbid, or esoteric, Daria will read the hell out of it.”

Read the whole story HERE
See how many YOU read HERE

Top 10 castles in fiction
Howl's Moving CastleThe ‘extraordinary and bracingly complicated’ Howl’s Moving Castle.

From classic scary Gothic settings to warm and dreamy refuges, fiction is full of castles. Jessamy Taylor picks the most memorable

There are many things you can do with a good castle. Hide in it. Feast in it. Break into it. Break out of it. Plot in it. Live your whole life in it. Fiction is full of castles: on hillsides, in forests, in towns, on clifftops. Castles dreaming in the distance, or castles looming over your head. Castles made of stone, of wood, of ice; with passageways tunnelling deep into the ground, or spiralling high with turrets and stairways. Castles safe and warm, or frightening and oppressive; busy and functional, or lonely and ruined. They’re everywhere.

Read the whole story HERE

The top 10 knights in literature
KnightsIllustration by Michael Foreman from the book Arthur, High King of Britain by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont). Photograph: Publisher

Author and historian Thomas Asbridge picks his favorite medieval adventurers.

Whether it be a gallant, armour-clad noble racing to the rescue of an imperilled damsel, or a blood-soaked warrior engaged in a savage massacre, the image of the knight in action is inimitably linked to our popular conception of the medieval world. Knights stood at the forefront of European history for centuries, serving as conquerors and keepers of the peace in a barbarous era fraught with conflict and immortalised as heroes in epic myths and romanticized tales.

Read the whole story HERE

Cats and books, what’s not to love?

8 Great Novels Starring Cats
Cats & booksPhoto: Shutterstock

“When I’m not busy working at my day job and writing for Catster,” JaneA Kelley says, “I love to read. I especially love to read about cats, and even a quick glance at my bookshelf or my Kindle library proves that. The stories below are ones I found entertaining, engaging, and fun to read (even during the sad parts).
Silent MiaowThe Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico: This delightful and at times sad memoir is actually a manual for stray cats and homeless kittens on how to convince people that they need a cat in their lives. Written by an older cat who has succeeded in this task, he instructs his feline readers in the art of manipulation, sweet talking, and generally looking cute, and extols the virtues of living with people in a warm, loving home. The Silent Miaow was written in 1964, predating the Internet and its obsession with cats by decades, and includes 200 photos by photographer Susan Szasz.

Read the whole story HERE

Giraffes are…
giraffes_are.Google’s autocomplete, which attempts to guess what you’re searching for by looking at the most common searches, can take you to dark, sometimes hilarious places. Looking at autocomplete results also happens to be a great pastime, which is probably why some geniuses decided to create the game Google Feud.

Read the whole story HERE

Books quizJordan Matter / Via

I got 66 out of 80. How about you?

Take the quiz HERE
Stephen King: I’m rich, tax me

In an expletive-filled condemnation of America’s tax system, the bestselling novelist, who donates $4m a year to charity, says wealthy Americans have a ‘moral imperative’ to pay higher taxes”

Read the whole story HERE

200 years of immigration to the US

“It’s easy now to assume that Mexico has always been among the main sources of immigration to America,” Dara Lind writes at VOX. “but as this wonderful chart by Natalia Bronshtein shows, that’s not even close to true.”
200 years of immigrationRead the whole story HERE

Quote of the Day  

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves… read to live.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

Alma Alexander      My books      Email me   

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The REAL Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the PraiirieThe TV incarnation of the Ingalls family in The Little House on the Prairie. Photo: Rex Features

Rejected by publishers when it was written in the 30s, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography unveils the experiences that informed her children’s books, Alison Flood writes in The Guardian.

Laura Ingalls WilderPioneer Girl, the story of her childhood, was rejected by editors in 1930. It contains stories omitted from her novels, tales that Wilder herself felt “would not be appropriate” for children, such as her family’s sojourn in the town of Burr Oak, where she once saw a man became so drunk that, when he lit a cigar, the whiskey fumes on his breath ignited and killed him instantly. In another recollection, a shopkeeper drags his wife around by her hair, pours kerosene on the floor of his house, and sets their bedroom on fire.

Read the article

Village Books’ Dee Robinson to Retire

The co-owner of my favorite bookstore, Village Books in Bellingham WA, is retiring.

Dee Robinson“It’s been a great job for 34 years,” Dee wrote on Facebook. “On to whatever awaits, starting with a pile of books!”

Chuck Robinson, her husband and co-owner, said, Dee “wants to eat bon bons and read all of those books she’s been stacking up.”

The Robinsons founded Village Books in 1980 and built it into one of the country’s great independent bookstores, one that’s been a leader in showing how indies can be creative and thrive.



11 Things You Learn Your First Month As A Bookseller

Every new job has a learning curve, Buzzfeed reports, but not every job also expects you to instantly absorb the entire scope of the history of literature along with all the hot new releases and hidden gems — but bookselling does.

Here are 11 things Heather and Mackenzie learned in their first month at PorterSquareBooks.
Bookseller triumphNothing beats the feeling of sheer triumph that comes from locating the correct book based only on the information it has a blue cover and the word everything in the title.

Read the article

Tiny Humans Lost In The Majesty Of Nature

I cry when i see big trees. I whimper at perfect mountains. I breathe in the rhythm of the waves breaking when i stand with my feet in the surf at the edge fo an ocean.

I love this world of ours. It is beautiful beyond belief. And fragile. So fragile. And we are doing our damndest to wreck it by human hand.

It makes me heartsick because if there is a real God out there… these are the places he loves and lives in. The wilderness. The grandeur. The beauty. There is no human-build cathedral ever made – and I say this having been in some of the loveliest of those – that holds a candle to offering up a prayer in the shadow of a redwood tree.
Mansfield, Victoria, AustraliaMansfield, Victoria, Australia | Image by Alex Wise

Bored Panda has gathered some stunning photographs showing just how small we can seem when eclipsed by the powerful wonder of nature.
IcelandIceland | Image by Max Rive

See the other photos

25 Brilliant Tiny Homes

At Distractify, Jake Heppner suggests one way we can do what we can try to save some of the majesty of nature by living small.

These micro houses prove that there is a certain beauty in finding a low-impact solution for you and your family. Bigger isn’t always better. Fans of the tiny home movement swear by it: when we simplify our lives and live “smaller” big savings – and improvements to the overall quality of your life – are possible.”
Hobbit HouseHobbit House, Dymitr Malxew
Simon Dale spent $5,000 to turn a plot of land in the woods into a hobbit home. It boasts a number of eco-friendly attributes, which include: scrap wood for flooring, lime plaster (instead of cement) for the walls, bales of straw on dry-stone walling, a compost toilet, solar panels for power, and a supply of water acquired through a nearby spring.

Read the article

Library without books
Florida Polytechnic UniversityExterior of Florida Polytechnic University’s Innovation, Science and Technology building

A fully digital library is among the futuristic features of Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida, Letitia Stein writes for Reuters.

“It’s a boldly relevant decision to go forward without books,” said Kathryn Miller, director of libraries. Students can access more than 135,000 ebooks on their choice of reader, tablet or laptop.

Read the article

Quote of the Day

There is only one type of story in the world — your story.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Alma Alexander
My books

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You rejected WHAT!?!

Evan Hoovler has selected for Blastr examples of a number of unfortunate publishing decisions.

The poster child for misguided rejections is Harry Potter. Author J.K. Rowling received rejection letters for the first book in the series from a dozen publishers before the eight-year-old daughter of the chairman for the relatively small Bloomsbury Press took to the story so much that she begged her father to publish it. The rest is history — the series has sold close to half a billion copies.

But there are a lot of other bad decisions. e.g.

Time Travelers WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife: The 2003 novel about a man with chronological impairment was rejected by 25 publishing companies. Author Audrey Niffenegger finally sent the manuscript, unsolicited, to a small San Francisco publisher. It took off from there, selling millions of copies and inspiring a hit film.


Read the article

British Prison Book Ban

Justice ministers have defended their push to prevent prisoners in England and Wales from having family and friends send them books. They argue that prisoners can earn the right to buy books through the prison’s book selling program, The Guardian reports.

Writers have called the move barbaric.

Describing whitesHeben Nigatu of Buzzfeed welcomes us to the mocha-chocolate-coffee-bean-exotic-butterscotch-caramel-cinnamon-cafe-au-lait side of town.

e.g. He traced his fingers along her supple, cauliflower skin.

Beauty, eye of beholder, what. Reminds me of that priceless moment from “The Gods Must Be Crazy” when the Bushman describes the blonde blue-eyed heroine – perfectly earnestly and to him perfectly truthfully – as looking like something you might find if you turned over a rock.

More descriptions of whites

35 Most Amazing Roads In The World

There are few things more invigorating than exploring a new road alongside a beautiful landscape, Ali Lawrence writes at Lifehack.

To be perfectly honest, some of these roads don’t really have much to recommend them except that THEY SEEM TO GO ON FOREVER – which fact would make it dangerous for me to drive them because it would just put me to sleep.

But some of those roads that look like someone has dropped a tangled ribbon on a mountainside… YOW. *That* would keep you awake all right. Possibly for a week after you’ve left the road behind, as you come down from a life-threatening adrenaline high.
Stelvio Pass, ItalyStelvio Pass, Italy

Be that as it may. That Chapman’s Peak Drive thing? I have been there. Driven on it. A lot of times. It was the site of one of my South African Adventures.
Chapmans-Peak-Drive-South-AfricaChapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa

There’s a gorgeous restaurant which you get to via that road. I once went to a wedding reception with my then-boyfriend. It was a beautiful nigh when we began the drive home,  big full moon, wild ocean on our left full of sparkling moonlight, a totally romantic setting. So when the car sputtered to a stop at some point and we sat there on the narrow shoulder of that spectacular road, you might have thought that the boyfriend was just taking advantage of the moonlight and the romance.

“If you tell me the tank is empty,” I said, “i am not going to believe you.”

He just looked at me, smiled, and gave a small shrug.

“Er. Yeah. The tank is empty.”

The road is amazing. You should go see it. Just bring a full tank of gas for the ride.

Oh, BTW, we eventually flagged down a van full of happy hippy types, and they gave us a lift to the nearest police station… from where I phoned my parents, and we all somehow staggered home. But I still remember that exchange on the roadside in the moonlight.

See the rest of the amazing roads.

You’re probably using the wrong dictionary

NoahJames Somers steers you to the right one and explains why it’s necessary.

For example, he examines: …the fine differences in meaning between words in the penumbra of “flash”:

 … Flashing differs from exploding or disploding in not being accompanied with a loud report. To glisten, or glister, is to shine with a soft and fitful luster, as eyes suffused with tears, or flowers wet with dew.

Did you see that last clause? “To shine with a soft and fitful luster, as eyes suffused with tears, or flowers wet with dew.” I’m not sure why you won’t find writing like that in dictionaries these days, but you won’t. Here is the modern equivalent of that sentence in the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster: “glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface <glistening wet sidewalk>.”

Who decided that the American public couldn’t handle “a soft and fitful luster”? I can’t help but think something has been lost. “A soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface” doesn’t just sound worse, it actually describes the phenomenon with less precision. In particular it misses the shimmeriness, the micro movement and action, “the fitful luster,” of, for example, an eye full of tears — which is by the way far more intense and interesting an image than “a wet sidewalk.”

It’s as if someone decided that dictionaries these days had to sound like they were written by a Xerox machine, not a person, certainly not a person with a poet’s ear, a man capable of high and mighty English, who set out to write the secular American equivalent of the King James Bible and pulled it off.

Read the article

Postcards to Authors

“A little project to say thank you to authors for making good books.” ~ George Dunkley
CaliforniiaEdan Lepucki is the author of California

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Quote of the Day

I want your loves to be multiple. I don’t want you to be a snob about anything. Anything you love, you do it. It’s got to be with a great sense of fun. Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun at it. Ignore the authors who say ‘Oh my God, what work…’ The hell with that. It is not work. If it’s work, stop it and do something else…..I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me my joy.” ~ Ray Bradbury, 2001.

Alma Alexander
My books

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