Posts Tagged ‘books’


Where am I reading this time?

October 20, 2016


I love repurposed living spaces, such as this barn turned reading room and guest cottage.  I think it shows great design sensibilities and is a supremely livable space. I want to see what is behind that door – and to curl up in the poofy chair.


From Bookshelf roundup

full story at house and garden

photos by Paul Massey


Where am I reading?

September 29, 2016


A 19th century structure removed from context and re-imagined. A spiraling staircase – a fragment of a coil – standing in half shadow. It’s no longer a means to go somewhere, it has become the somewhere. Once held up by four walls, it is now re-mastered and self-supporting. Leavened by gravity and steel, heavy as the shadows. The oak and pine is pitted with a century and a half of daily rituals. It was discovered as a crumbling splinter of its former self. Careful, painstaking repairs have paved the way for its new function. A discrete yet bold intervention – a seat in place of steps, where dark cushions encourage you to pause. An old thoroughfare is now a place to stop, and read. In solitary contemplation, or intimate recital. The Reading Steps disorder the previous function, and create a new calm certainty. It’s about the beauty of a quiet disruption.


reposted from Bookshelf


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

July 12, 2016

Known as “job  stoppers,” knuckle tattoos make a bold statement because our hands are such public parts of our  bodies.  Photographer Edward Bishop has collected photographs of over 500 knuckle tattoos.  He has been interviewed about the project here and he has a website about the project that includes information about his book and a knuckle tattoo  generator so that you can create something that is unique to your style.

Here are some of  the tattoos he has  collected.  All photographs  are by Edward Bishop.






This would be mine if I had a tattoo, which I don’t, but if  I did . . .



What am I reading?

May 24, 2016


May 23  is the birthday of Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote the iconic children’s book, Goodnight Moon, and a hundred other titles.

Her professional career was influenced by her work at the Bank Street Experimental School in New York City.  This was a time of intense interest in the intellectual development of children. It was there that she began writing children’s books.

Brown was born in 1910 in Brooklyn, New York.  As she matured, she developed a wonderfully independent lifestyle.  She maintained a house in Maine where she would leave champagne bottles on the paths around her house and would skinny dip off her dock to the delight of the local fisherman.  (I cannot imaging skinny dipping in any water I have experienced in Maine.)

Although Brown had no children of her own, I think it was her open-eyed and child-like enthusiasm for life that led to her success in writing for children.  She died too young, from an embolism after an appendicitis – on the eve of her engagement.



What am I reading?

April 4, 2016


This story is a reprint of an article by Paul Kerley in the BBC News Magazine

And here is a related article from NPR

When Sir Ernest Shackleton set off for Antarctica on his ship Endurance, he made sure he had plenty of reading material. But details of precisely what books he took have remained hidden in this photograph – until now.

The image from the ill-fated South Pole expedition – taken in early March 1915 by Australian photographer Frank Hurley – has been digitised by the Royal Geographical Society in London.

It is now known that the explorer carried with him dictionaries, encyclopedias and books chronicling other dangerous polar expeditions.

He took established works by Dostoyevsky and Shelley – but also, explains Alasdair MacLeod from the RGS, “newly published fiction by popular authors of the time”.

“The cabin wall on the left also shows a framed print of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’, which Shackleton carried with him on to the ice floe when the ship sank.”

In January 1915, Endurance and her 28-man crew became trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea. Shackleton and his men would remain there for 10 months – until the ship sank and they moved on to the ice. In April 1916, in three small boats taken off Endurance, the crew left the ice and began an arduous voyage to uninhabited Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton took a small group with him to South Georgia – 750 miles away – where they finally got help.

All members of Endurance’s crew survived.

Scroll down to see the full list of books identified by experts at the RGS – and see more stark images of Shackleton’s struggle for survival.

Books on Shackleton’s bookshelf:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Seven short plays by Lady Gregory
  • Perch of the devil by Getrude Atherton
  • Pip by Ian Hey
  • Plays: pleasant and unpleasant, Vol 2 Pleasant by G B Shaw
  • Almayer’s folly by Joseph Conrad
  • Dr Brewer’s readers handbook
  • The Brassbounder by David Bone
  • The case of Miss Elliott by Emmuska Orczy
  • Raffles by EW Hornung
  • The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett
  • Pros and cons: a newspaper reader’s and debater’s guide to the leading controversies of the day by JB Askew
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Woman’s view by Herbert Flowerdew
  • Thou Fool by JJ Bell
  • The Message of Fate by Louis Tracy
  • The Barrier by Rex Beach
  • Manual of English Grammar and Composition by Nesfield
  • A book of light verse
  • Oddsfish by Robert Hugh Benson
  • Poetical works of Shelley
  • Monsieur de Rochefort by H De Vere Stacpoole
  • Voyage of the Vega by Nordenskjold
  • The threshold of the unknown region by Clements Markham
  • Cassell’s book of quotations by W Gurney Benham
  • The concise Oxford dictionary
  • Chambers biographical dictionary
  • Cassell’s new German-English English-German dictionary
  • Chambers 20th Century dictionary
  • The northwest passage by Roald Amundsen
  • The voyage of the Fox in Arctic seas by McClintock
  • Whitaker’s almanac
  • World’s end by Amelie Rives
  • Potash and perlmutter by Montague Glass
  • Round the horn before the mast by A Basil Lubbock
  • The witness for the defence by AEW Mason
  • Five years of my life by Alfred Dreyfuss
  • The morals of Marcus Ordeyne by William J Locke
  • The rescue of Greely by Commander Winfield Scott Schley
  • United States Grinnell Expedition by Dr Kane
  • Three years of Arctic service by Greely
  • Voyage to the Polar Sea by Nares
  • Journal of HMS Enterprise by Collinson

What am I writing?

January 11, 2016


The Newbery, the Caldecott, the King awards have all been announced for this year, but what about the Bulwer-Lytton Award?  This award, created in 1982 by San Jose University, recognizes the world’s worst sentence.  This award was inspired by Victorian author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who penned the infamous, “it was a dark and stormy night.”   In full:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

More information including writing contest rules, winners, more wretched writing, and a quiz I particularly liked where you have to determine if a passage was written by Dickens or Bulwer-Lytton, can be found at Bulwer-Lytton website.


What am I collecting?

December 19, 2015

library“Books breathe as trees breathe. When all the books have gone our mental climate will have changed. It’s a question whether we’ll survive. Technology cannot replace a book. No matter that I can quickly find a digital version of a novel I’m looking for, I still fly into a rage when I discover I no longer have it, and remember who borrowed and didn’t return it, five, 10, 20 years ago. For it is irreplaceable. It has my scribblings in it. The marginal expletives. The turned-down pages. The bus ticket or taxi receipt or even billet doux employed as a bookmark – not just the marginalia of an intellectual life but the detritus of the heart. And that you don’t get on a Kindle, or a free e-book courtesy of Project Gutenberg. What you can’t bend or throw or write on isn’t, in the end, literature.”

Howard Jacobson. More at BBC

From Bookshelf


Where am I sleeping?

November 25, 2015

hostel library-hotel-book-bed-tokyo-8

hostel library-hotel-book-bed-tokyo-4


From Bookshelf, this B&B, which in this case stands for Book and Bed, an establishment in Tokyo catering to travelers who read.  Looks like my house.

“Book And Bed is an ‘accommodation bookshop’. Shared shower, toilet and shower space are available as well as two types of bed, compact and standard. The new hostel targets overseas and out­ of­ town travelers. Day rates as well as overnight.”

More here


Where am I reading?

October 4, 2015


bookshelfbc3bccherturm2I love this idea.  I am trying to think of a way to incorporate an easy chair and a fridge into the staircase.  Then I would be all set (almost).


These are from the bookshelf blog.


What am I reading?

July 27, 2015

manly art of knittingThe stereotypical knitter is a granny with a cat at her feet who sits by the fire knitting mittens for her grandchildren.  Throughout history, however, men dominated the craft and it is only recently that knitting has been thought of as the province of women.

Here is a (totally factual) story from Huffington Post that talks about the history of men and knitting:

“About 200 A.D., Arabian men were fishing for food but they had no way to catch several fish at once. They caught one fish. Then a second fish. And it was like, Geeze, this is slow as a camel. Then one day, perhaps down by the dock, one of the guys was messing with yarn, forming loops in it, and bam! Fishing net. (Other cultures likely invented knitting elsewhere around the world.)

They stuck the net it in the water and caught a boatload of fish. And someone said, “We just invented the fishing net.” And someone else said, “Let’s invent sweaters.”

Then the Middle Ages came and knitting spread like the plague. There were knitting guilds, which were labor unions–and again this is men we’re talking about. The guild’s head honcho would say, “Join us. We’ll protect your income. We’ll give you insurance. We’ll give you benefits. If your wife dies, we’ll help you with the funeral ceremony.” Nice stuff like that.”

CLICK HERE for more of the story.

Fast forward to 1972 when Dave Fougner thought it was time to bring men back to knitting and The Manly Art of Knitting was published.  This book has been revived by Ginko Press.  You too can follow along with the book’s directions for knitting saddle blankets and dog beds. Good stuff.

saddle blanket