Bookish sorts

A love story

“I see no one among the living as beautiful as my little wife.” -Poe in a letter to a friend-

On September 22, 1835 Edgar Allan Poe obtained a marriage license to wed Virginia Eliza Clemm. They were first cousins. The official ceremony took place the following May, at the boarding house in which they had stayed. He was twenty-seven, she thirteen (though records list her age as 21).

To most, it seems an odd union, at best.

Some argue they were more like brother and sister than husband and wife; others claim that was not at all the case.

Whatever their private life, correspondence and first hand accounts prove they were a devoted couple, from the day they married until Virginia’s death.

So here’s to Edgar Allan Poe and his Virginia–and eleven years of love and adoration, respect and inspiration . . .

800px-VirginiaValentine-A Valentine poem by Virginia Poe-
In the Field

Friday Field Notes 091914

vintage_travel_reading (01442980xA270B)

Ah, a wee holiday is but days away. That means I’ll be spending this weekend making some big decisions–like what books to take with me. I mean really, packing’s a no brainer; throw a few items in a bag, and you’re good to go. Books are an entirely different matter. You can’t make a rash decisions, you know. Especially for the likes of me, who’ve yet to break down and buy a Kindle. That’s why I lean toward the old standbys: a good fantasy or mystery, with a P.G. Wodehouse thrown in for good measure. You know, fluff and frivolity–what good holidays are made of.

Any suggestions? Do let me know!

And now, a few bookish news items . . .

The Literature of Laughing Gas (the Paris Review)

Revelers at the Jane Austen Festival have reclaimed their record for the largest gathering of people dressed in Regency attire. It’s a good day.

If you’re a big fan of Jack Kerouac, you best start saving your pennies–lots and lots of pennies. Newly discovered letters by Jack Kerouac, dating back to 1939, will be auctioned off in November (2014), by Skinner Inc.

BBC National Short Story Award shortlist . . . who will win on September 30th? That is the question.

And the National Book Awards longlist (the best of American literature, mind).

Here’s a sneak peak at Haruki Murakami’s illustrated The Strange Library, courtesy of The Guardian. If you’re into strange, surely this is one for you.

Bookish sorts

Happy Birthday dear Ag-a-tha!

Today is Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie’s birthday. We, of course, know her simply as Agatha Christie.

In honor of the occasion, let’s pour ourselves a cup of tea, nibble a few Fig and Orange Scones (with fresh Devonshire cream, naturally), and learn a bit more about the woman behind the characters and stories we know so well.

ITV’s Perspectives “The Mystery of Agatha Christie” is a fabulous place to start.

In the Field

Friday Field Notes 091214

Graham Joyce

We lost a most beloved fantasy author this week. Graham Joyce died, September 9, of cancer. He was 59.

I’ve not read his works, mind you. But posts from authors I have read (and whom I respect) piqued my interest. They led me to this post, which led me to this post–the final post of Graham Joyce. It’s at once beautiful and heartbreaking:  ‘And in turn the Heron asks, with shocking clarity as it flies from right to left and left to right: why can’t our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?’ If that be the case, surely Joyce managed to finish the job.

For the rest of us, life must go on.  With that, here are a few other bits of news from the world of books . . .

I’ve never thought much of the future. Sure, I want to do my best to keep the world spinning and all that, for future generations, but I’ve never wished I could be there to join them–until I read about the Future Library.  So far we know a piece by Margaret Atwood will be available when the trees are cut down, to make paper, on which to print the books . . . in 2114. Truly, I love everything about it.

Here’s the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction (and two Americans remain in the running). . .

Ursula K. Le Guin to receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, from the National Book Foundation.

If you’re a fan of T.S. Eliot, you can buy his summer home (for a cool $1.3 million).

Oh, and Maya Angelo’s hip-hop album is set to drop the first part of November. So, there’s that.

In the Field

Friday Field Notes 090514

Floating_PopUp_Library

If you happen to be near the historic Lilac Museum Steamship, at Pier 25 on the Hudson River, New York City, anytime between September 6 and October 3, 2014, do be sure to check out the floating, pop-up library. In their own words, the “Floating Library intends to recodify how we occupy public spaces by bringing activities that are typically confined within privileged institutional walls— such as reading, writing, researching, questioning and debating—to open space.”

In other bookish news . . .

The 2014 longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize has been announced. If you’re looking for a good nonfiction piece, it might be a good place to start.

Eleanor Catton, Booker-winning author of The Luminaries, plans to set up a grant to give writers ‘time to read.’ Love.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the chapter that wasn’t . . .

The man who dug through John Updike’s trash. Sure, we now have artifacts we otherwise would not have had, but it still seems a little creepy to me.

Ten pages of an unpublished and untitled play of Tennessee Williams have been discovered.

A look at Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood recording.

For naysayers who suggest libraries are on their way out, here’s an infographic: Books vs. Burgers (courtesy of H&R Block via Electric Lit).

Attention Neil Gaiman fans: he’s coming out with a new short story collection, TRIGGER WARNING: Short Fictions and Disturbances, available February of 2015. Of course, if you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, you already know this . . .