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Archive for June, 2009

hubble_34sfwMusic takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.”

Helen Exley

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The Chained Library - click on picture for larger view

“In a room of the eastern tower of Wimborne Minster, Dorsetshire, is an important collection of chained books. Mr. H. R. Plomer has recently [c. 1890] inspected this library, and from his account we gather that it contains some 240 volumes. ‘The books,’ says Mr. Plomer, ‘are arranged on shelves round the sides of the room, with their backs turned inwards, each book being attached to the shelf by a small chain fastened to an iron rod.’

The library was formed in 1686, and the greater part of the works were presented by the Rev. W. Stone, a former rector of the parish. A manuscript volume of prayers, the work of the monks, written in 1343, is the oldest work in the collection [as of 1890]. It is not finished, as the initial letters are omitted. The Breeches Bible, dated1595, strongly bound in wood, is there. Walton’s Polyglot Bible, several well-known commentaries, numerous works of the Old Fathers, Camden’s ‘Life of Elizabeth,’ Barnes’ ‘Life of Edward the Third,’ Chamberlayn’s ‘State of England,’ 1670; also a copy of Sir Walter Raeigh’s ‘History of the World,’ bearing date 1614. Of this latter work, Mr. Plomer says that ‘several pages of this book have been burnt, and tradition has made Matthew Prior, the poet, the culprit; the story being that, whilst reading in the library by the aid of a candle, he fell asleep over the volume, and the candle committed the ravaegs.

Judging from the appearance of the holes, it is much more likely that these were made, as suggested by a correspondent of Notes and Queries, with a red hot poker. By whatever mischance the accident occurred, the destroyed part of each page has been neatly patched, and the text restored – that also, and with more probability, a work attributed to Matthew Prior.’

Source: From Old Books

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Humor is… despair refusing to take itself seriously.

Arland Ussher (b. 1899 – d. 1980) Anglo-Irish academic, essayist and translator.

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arabesque

“A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words… the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.”

Mark Twain

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“Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.” Mark Twain

 

 

 

 

 

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Marco

Marco

 

 

Marco is the protagonist in my (yet to be published) children’s book, The Dead Cats’ Society.  He’s also a real cat. See photo at left. 

Marco has another role in my life, being that of my muse. It’s a complex relationship, but it works. He’s the one I talk to when I need a sounding board for something I’m writing. See A Conversation with my Muse. and “How to explain cyberspace to your cat.”

So, knowing he’s the hero of my story,  my hidden partner has suddenly decided he wants some of the limelight. Being a subtle cat, he didn’t make a lot of noise about this desire of his. Instead, he left me the following note in my ‘Suggestion Box’.

“I’d like people to know I’m more than just a furry paperweight. Have you told them I am a Reader cat? You could share something about my favorite books with your readers? They might find this interesting.   Marco”

Furry paperweight

Furry paperweight

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I hadn’t got around to writing a post specifically about him. Up ’til now he’s only appeared in the form of my muse. But Marco definitely deserves a blog post of his own. Not only does he fulfill that warm, fuzzy pet need and the higher calling of a muse, but Marco is also one of the endangered species of cats who can read.

You read that right and there’s others out there. Your cat might be a reader too, but you might not be aware of it. Cats will wait until everyone is asleep before cracking a book, since they hate it when everyone makes a big deal out of it. They embarrass easily, so if you do catch them, just pretend like you don’t notice or that it is normal. If you’ve encountered books scattered out on the floor when you get up in the morning, now you know how it happened. Whatever you do, don’t try to make your cat put the books back on the shelves. They will absolutely balk at this and probably never pick up a book again.

I like to keep my cat happy, so I will post things that he leaves in the Suggestion Box from time to time.  A recent read on Marco’s bookshelf is  The Palace of Laughter, by John Berkeley. I picked this one out myself, but he finished it before me. (He has loads more reading time.) Marco liked this book, but not quite as well as I did. I found Palace of Laughter well written with a great cast of characters and just the right touch of the wicked evil. 

The story begins when the Circus Oscuro comes to town in the dead of night. Miles, an orphan boy who lives in a barrel, is the only one who sees their mysterious arrival. When Little, a tiny circus performer who is actually a 400 year old winged girl, escapes from the sinister circus, the duo sets off to rescue two friends from an even more sinister sideshow called ‘The Palace of Laughter’.

With characters named Lady Partridge, the Great Cortado, The Null and Baltinglass of Araby what’s not to love? Marcos’ favorite characters were Lady Partridge and Miles. We agreed on that much. We tried to work out a compatible book rating system, but they don’t quite mesh. (Marco’s ratings are from one to four paws. Mine is on a scale of 1-5 stars.)

Marco rated The Palace of Laughter is:  three paws.  He would have given it four, except he said there were no cats in the story. I mentioned the tiger, but he said it wasn’t the same. I didn’t argue with him, but I gave the book a big 5 star rating. I would highly recommend for any younger reader.

Thankfully, Mr. Berkeley kept on writing. Palace of Laughter is part of the “Wednesday triology”. The next one is titled The Tiger’s Egg which we will review soon.

Do you suspect your cat reads? Please share your story.

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“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.” Ray Bradburykindred spirit

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