Worship of Writers

business-of-ferretsBusiness of Ferrets – Image credit: Michael Lyons

50 Collective Nouns to Bolster Your Vocabulary

Collective nouns may seem like quirky ways to describe groups, Lucas Reilly writes at Mental Floss, but 500 years ago, they were your ticket to the in-crowd. As silly as some sound today, the phrases were formal and proper descriptions designed to help gentlemen-in-training avoid the embarrassment of “some blunder at the table.”

Some have achieved widespread currency and acceptance, like a “flight of stairs,” “a board of trustees,” and a “school of fish.” Others, like a “murder of crows,” barely hang on.

Most are little known, but some should be more popular. I mean, how could “Worship of Writers” go out of style?

50 collective nouns HERE

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Is longer better?

The Off the Shelf staff offers 7 Great Big Novels

Have you ever spent eight months reading a single book? How about a year? While such a commitment may seem daunting, there is nothing comparable to getting lost in a long, sprawling novel.

For example:
Miss-MacIntoshMiss MacIntosh, My Darling, by Marguerite YoungOne of the most ambitious and remarkable literary achievements of the twentieth century, it might be called the Arabian Nights of American life. In prose that is poetic, incantatory, and extraordinarily rich, Marguerite Young takes us on a search for reality in a world of illusion and nightmare, touching on subjects as varied as drug addiction, women’s suffrage, murder, suicide, pregnancy (both real and imagined), schizophrenia, love, gambling, and perfectionism.

 

See more at:

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12 Books That End Mid-Sentence

Books have long been messing with the heads of readers by daring to not use a period as the last typeset keystroke on the very last page, Gabe Habash tells us at Publisher’s Weekly, and offers 12 examples. He asks help in adding to the list, and notes that the lack of books by female authors is because he couldn’t find any, not one, in hours and hours of searching.
A Sentimental JourneyA Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (1768)

The Ending:

–But the Fille de Chambre hearing there were words between us, and fearing that hostilities would ensue in course, had crept silently out of her closet, and it being totally dark, had stolen so close to our beds, that she had got herself into the narrow passage which separated them, and had advanced so far up as to be in a line betwixt her mistress and me–

So that when I stretch’d out my hand, I caught hold of the Fille de Chambre’s–

Why?

At the end of his rambling journey, Yorick finally ends up at a roadside inn. Because there is only one bedroom, he shares it with a lady and her chambermaid, under the condition that he not speak. Of course, he breaks this rule and gets the chambermaid heading toward him. It’s possible, grammatically, to read that Yorick stretches out his hand and catches hold of the chambermaid’s hand. But, given that this is Sterne, the dirtier option (and the fun placement of the word “end” in the sentence) is a lot more enjoyable.

See the rest HERE

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Paradise Lost: The Hippie Refugee Camp

Let me tell you about a place called Taylor Camp, a tropical ocean-front utopia without rules, politics or bills to pay“, MessyNessy writes.
Taylor camp Anti-establishment all the way, clothing was optional and decisions were made according to the “vibes”. It was the ultimate hippie fantasy. Taylor Camp began in the Spring of 1969, with thirteen hippies seeking refuge from the ongoing campus riots in America and police brutality. Having fled their homes, they headed for Kauai in Hawaii, then a very remote and unspoilt land with just a single traffic light on the island.

Read the rest HERE

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If fiction is the art of invention, memoir is the art of selection and arrangement

Will Boast’s standout memoir, Epilogue, about the death of his mother, father, and brother, is both a wrenching exploration of grief and a moving story of remembrance.

It took me nearly three years of trying to cram my subject matter into a novel manuscript, Boast writes, before I understood that the story I wanted to tell would fit better into nonfiction. It took me another five years to finish the manuscript that became Epilogue. As provisional and context-specific as they may be, here are a few lessons I learned along the way:

Writing a Memoir tips HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

Memory thrives on storytelling.

How do memory champions accomplish their miraculous feats? They get really good at telling memorable stories to themselves while weaving in what they’re trying to remember. Because the human brain is built for storytelling. The more things you can link together into a narrative, the more readily you’ll be able to recall them later on.

I’m not surprised.

More about memory HERE

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DesolenatorCreators of the Desolenator are crowdsourcing development money for a device turns sea or heavily polluted water into clean water.

You can help HERE

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Wedding name combos so bad they might want to call the whole thing off

Would you believe MacDonald-Berger? Hardy-Harr? And much much worse!

See the others HERE

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A government ban on which prohibited prisoners in England and Wales from having family and friends send them books, has been ruled unlawful.

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

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Bookmobiles around the world

There are few things that can match the pleasure of walking into a building filled with books, Vincze Miklós writes at Io9. But these bookmobiles, book boats, and beasts of book burden have brought the joys of reading to people who couldn’t easily access brick and mortar libraries.

First bookmobileA horse-drawn cart in Washington in the 1900s. It was one of the first American bookmobiles, built in 1905, but was hit and destroyed by a train in 1910.

Iranian bookmobileA mobile library in Kurdistan, Iran, in 1970

Donkey bookmobileA donkey library in Colombia

Bookmobiles

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I am off to Orycon. If anyone is going to be there, look me up and say hello.

I have a reading at 1 PM on Friday where I will doing an excerpt from my new novel, Abducticon. A perfect setting, wouldn’t you say?

I also have an autograph session with a bunch of other fine writers on Saturday, 3 to 4.

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Think digital distractions have killed our attention spans? Think again

The rise of complex TV series and vast novels shows that we still prefer commitment to a quick fix, Stuart Jeffries argues in The Guardian

Books are getting longer, even while articles moaning about our declining attention spans are getting more frequent. Eleanor Catton’s recent Booker-winner The Luminaries is 832 pages; the new translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, called The Wretched, which comes out on Thursday, is 1,416 pages.

In a culture of speed-dating, quick fixes, fast food, bullet trains…the single-minded commitment required to read a long, absorbing book serves as a rebuke to a culture that favours those who can simultaneously email/tweet/instant message/hold up their end of a phone call/Skype while live blogging the whole shebang.

Long books are back

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Moby Dick’s One-Star Reviews on Amazon

Biblioklept.org has put together a list of one-star reviews of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. The book has 939 total reviews — 530 five-star reviews, 154 four-star reviews, 107 three-star reviews, 73 two-star reviews and 75 one-star reviews.

OMG, this is tedious and torture to read,” one of the one-star reads.

One-star Moby Dick

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These Abandoned Toy Factories and Shops Will Haunt Your Nightmares

Once these stores and factories sold the stuff of children’s dreams, Vincze Miklós writes at Io9, but now that they lie abandoned—filled with decaying displays and disembodied doll heads—they are more likely to inspire nightmares.

Doll factoryDoll factory – The last production, via Bousure.

Abandoned toys

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China is basically Blade Runner

China skiesIn China, the air is so filthy and the smog is so crushing that beautiful blue skies can only exist when they’re shown on giant video screens, Boing Boing writes.

The picture was taken at Tiananmen Square by Feng Li for Getty and the fake blue sky against the backdrop of the real toxic air makes this so hilariously perfect.

Blue skies in China
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Alma Alexander

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