Smollett Family Reunion

Marching on…let’s brighten the dreary month of March celebrating Tobias Smollett’s birthday with a Smollett Family Reunion. Born around 16 March 1721, Smollett wrote picaresque (not picturesque) novels like The Adventures of Roderick Random and other writings, and translated Don Quixote. He wrote and wrote until he left us in 1771. Funny how much someContinue reading “Smollett Family Reunion”

California Mini-Trip

One of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck, was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. My favorite book by Steinbeck–The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Boy, what a book! Makes you think twice before complaining. I took a trip to California years ago, and revisiting photos, came across those that reminded me of Steinbeck, although not takenContinue reading “California Mini-Trip”

Attack of the 42 Year-Old Man

Recently I blogged about 37-year old women, and within one week, just happened to watch three movies, each featuring a 42-year old man going through his midlife crisis; Movies, not literature, I know, but a story is a story, right? Plus, a movie starts with a screenplay or sometimes a book anyway, so…literature! (But ifContinue reading “Attack of the 42 Year-Old Man”

Trees Please 1: Ode to Elms

What hath the elm tree to do with literature? The American elm was mostly destroyed by Dutch elm disease, first recorded in the US in 1930. Lone, isolated American elms still exist, but only one alley of American elms remains, found in Central Park, New York City. These beautiful, curvy survivors line Literary Walk, alternatingContinue reading “Trees Please 1: Ode to Elms”

Picture Frames and Ephemera: A Valentine from Hankry and Hankrietta Grunt

Raking Goodwill for books and other stuff I don’t need, I harvested a vintage frame for another painting, and in that frame, this lovely floral print, ©1926 Manz-Chicago in the lower left. The color print company Manz Corporation opened in 1866, originally as J. Manz Engraving Company. (Information courtesy of Wikipedia.) Another beautiful bit ofContinue reading “Picture Frames and Ephemera: A Valentine from Hankry and Hankrietta Grunt”

Philly Ephemera:Treasures Revealed in Vintage Books

I fell in love with vintage books a few years ago. I cannot rightly say why, but then, is love ever explained by reason? They can be had on the cheap and the forgotten bookmarks within reveal bits of the past. Sometimes it feels sacrilegious removing the bookmarks, as if the reader will return toContinue reading “Philly Ephemera:Treasures Revealed in Vintage Books”

5 Weird Places to Write

Pull up a chair and enjoy few weird places to write! Sure, I have a studio in my home and libraries around corner, but sometimes one needs a place private yet public, quiet yet alive, under the radar yet odd–all without home distractions. A few of my favorite spots… If I were cool, I wouldContinue reading “5 Weird Places to Write”

Reviews and Rants: Attack of the 37 Year-Old Woman

Title inspired by the 1958 movie Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman. Blog inspired by Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. Ah, the spinsterly age of thirty-seven! That’s how poor Nora, the self-deprecating protagonist of Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs sees it, acting like her life is over because she’s thirty-seven, single, no kids, and nothingContinue reading “Reviews and Rants: Attack of the 37 Year-Old Woman”

Tidbit II: Silly Book Covers

Digging through Goodwill Superstore bins, I came across three books with winning covers. For anyone honing their marketing skills in the self-publishing world, these examples offer rich insight and exciting possibilities: Mother’s in the Kitchen. Of course Mother’s in the kitchen. Where the f*ck else would she be except the laundry room? Maybe that’s whereContinue reading “Tidbit II: Silly Book Covers”

Women in White: A Quick View from Literature and Life

When I think of women in white, coming from a Western culture, I think of brides. However, women in white in literature and culture are not just brides. Specifically, this blog visits Wilkie Collins’ 1860 The Woman in White; Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula; the Lady in White from Isles of Shoals lore;Continue reading “Women in White: A Quick View from Literature and Life”