In the Field

Friday Field Notes 100914

agatha-christieWhy, Agatha Christie, of course

The blood moon must have had an effect on the book world this week, there there was quite the intrigue. For example, in 2006, Jennifer Grant purchased a trunk that once belonged to Agatha Christie’s mother. Nestled inside was a rather hefty lockbox, which sat unopened for years. Finally, she’s had enough, so she asked for help to pry it open. Crow bar in one hand, box in the others, they found a diamond brooch, a diamond ring, and a purse of gold coins–items intended to be passed down to Agatha and her sister, Madge. If you’re interested, they’ll be back at auction next Wednesday, at Bonhams.

And now, for a few other bookish bits . . .

The Swedish Academy has awarded Patrick Modiano the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.” Hmm, that must be a translation thing, because it’s not entirely clear–but congrats to Modiano, all the same!

The Paris Review gives us the inspiration for Annie.

The Huffington Post gives us 10 writers who wrote oh-so-very slowly. Gives me hope, it does.

Emory University has acquires journals, letters, and personal effects of Flannery O’Connor. Thankfully, they do not intend to keep them all to themselves. Do stay tuned . . .

Boston’s famed lion statue gave up a 113-year-old time capsule–which just happens to include a mysterious book. It’s a red hardcover with no visible title or markings; that’s all we’ll know until it can be properly handled for inspection.

J.K. Rowling (Twitter @jk_rowling) is throwing Harry Potter fans into a tizzy. After mentioning she’s working on a novel and editing a screen play, she sparked a flurry of speculation. So, what did she do? She posted a riddle, of course:

Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My want won’t tolerate this nonsense.


Double-duty bookends

Just think, you would never have to worry about losing your reading glasses again.

Unless you lose your bookshelves, in which case, we’ve got nothing for you . . .

Glasses_Holder_BookendOwl bookend and eyeglasses holder from Uligo
In the Field

Friday Field Notes 100314


Well, October has arrived–time to prepare for All Hallows’ Read. If you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, you’re well versed in this particular ‘holiday.’ If not, the premise is simple: the last week of the month, or on Halloween itself, give someone a scary book. That’s it. So simply and yet frightfully fun. And now you have at least 3 weeks to prepare.

Now, for bookish news from the week:

Welsh poet Dannie Abse, one of the judges of this year’s Forward Prize for poetry, has died. He was 91. You know, I’m rather particular where poetry is concerned. However, from the lines highlighted in The Telegraph, I feel the words of Abse must find a place on my bookshelf:

From Last Words:

“And how would I wish to go?
Not as in opera – that would offend –
nor like a blue-eyed cowboy shot and short of words,
but finger-tapping still our private morse, ‘…love you,’
before the last flowers and flies descend.”

Speaking of which, the winner of the 2014 Forward prize for best collection . . .

The finalists for the 2014 Kirkus Prize . . .

The National Book Foundation’s ‘5 under 35′ 2014 edition . . .

Of course, Nikesh Shukla argues book prizes are just more of the same. I don’t know; seems book prize judges have long leaned toward the same types of books, if nothing else. What do you think? Any one you’re certain should have at least been long/shortlisted for an award?

A new 007 novel is one the way. Anthony Horowitz will write the latest escapades of James Bond, based on an unpublished story by Ian Fleming.

Just for fun: a look at locations of literary importance in the San Francisco Bay area.


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.