The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Friday Field Notes 022014


From the funnest author we ever met!

Last year was something of a pathetic reading year for me. All the worse since I have a book blog.  Needless to say, this year I have determined to do better. Even still, the question remains–which makes the list? In that regard, David Carr once explained his reading hierarchy: “Books I’d like to read, books I should read, books I should read by friends of mine and books I should read by friends of mine whom I am likely to bump into.” Except for the last bit, I can totally relate. So far, I’m an equal opportunity reader. You?

With that, here are a few bookish bits from the week (emphasis on few):

Princeton University has been bequeathed a rare book collection worth $300 million.

Dr. Seuss has a ‘new’ book coming out July, 2015. And by Dr. Seuss, I do mean Dr. Seuss.

Barnes and Noble gives us 10 reasons they’re inviting Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler to their next dinner party (as if they need to give reasons).

The Guardian takes a look at John Updike.

Abe Books explains how movies can inspire a search for first editions and other fine books. So long as the book truly exists and it goes to a good home, it’s all good.

Friday Field Notes 021314


That’s right–tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! In case you’re looking for a fun little something to give those you love, how about these Zendoodle Bookmarks?  After all, you’re never too old to color. And you can never have too many bookmarks. With that, I hope your weekend is full of all your love–including books. Lots and lots of books . . .

The Guardian gives us a looks at the joy of sex, 1684-style. Mmm, hmm.

Rob Dunn explores The Hearts of Mary Shelley (The Huffington Post). It is the question with emerging technologies, is it not–shall it result in horror or a happy ending? Only time will tell . . .

The Millions is at it again–judging books by their covers. This time they’re comparing U.S. vs. Netherlands. From a strictly aesthetic perspective, the Netherlands has my vote. You?

Gabrielle Emanuel gives us a peek at Tiptoeing Along a Balance Beam: Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Book (NPR).

TIME releases their list of 100 Best Children’s Books. You know how we feel about best lists, right? Also, am I the only one annoyed with lists in slide form?

Alison Flood explores F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tips for saving money (The Guardian). Good to know if you have so much money you routinely lose track of thousands of dollars.

Scott Porch introduces us to The Man who Wrote Every Rock Star’s Book (The Daily Beast).

The New Yorker visits Richard Flanagan in his writing “shack,” on the island of Tasmania. May I just say, it warms my heart to hear the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction admit:

“There are no distractions; in the end all that stands between me and writing the book I wish to write is my own mediocrity and complete lack of talent.” — Richard Flanagan

The moral of that story: even if you feel you’ve no talent whatsoever, if you love to write–write!

A love story (of sorts)

chest_bonesImage Source

We’re nearing Valentine’s Day, you know—which seems a mighty fine time to read a romance novel or two.

Of course, I’ve never much been one for romance novels (unless it’s the Jane Austen variety). Perhaps my grandmother is to blame.

You see, Helen Eloise loved her romance novels. As a matter of fact, in a spare room, to the back of her house, rose bookshelf upon bookshelf—floor to ceiling—filled to capacity with her Harlequin romances. Grandma’s special books, she called them.

I could see why; they seemed perfect. Small spines—perfect for little hands—bright, fanciful colors. Naturally, I had to read them.

My grandmother paused, a look of panic etched in her face. Not now, she said. Wait until you’re sixteen. You can read them when you’re sixteen. Sixteen, of course, seemed a lifetime away. No doubt she hoped that was the case; she hoped a lifetime would cause me to forget all about those books.

Alas, children may forget to brush their teeth, clean their rooms, and do what they ought, but they rarely forget the juicy bits. Upon my sixteenth birthday, I marched back to that sacred room, threw open the door . . . and found little more than barren shelves. There was nary a book to be had.

Suddenly her special books were nothing of the sort. When I inquired as to their whereabouts she feigned ignorance. Oh, those old books? She said. I believe I boxed those up some time ago. They may be somewhere around here, but I can’t really say for sure.

So you see, at the moment I could have been introduced to a lifelong love affair with the romance novel, I was introduced, instead, to intrigue. Guess you might say that was the start of a lifelong love affair with a good mystery . . .

Friday Field Notes 020615

Harper Lee Quote

I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Harper Lee is set to publish her second novel in July. At this point, the news is really no news at all, seeing how it’s been splashed everywhere, all week. First there was excitement—To Kill a Mockingbird will not be her only work after all. Then there was the speculation—she’s being coerced into publishing. I don’t know, but if she wasn’t manipulated, we better watch it, or she may recall why she wasn’t going to publish another book to begin with . . .

In other bookish news . . .

Livia Manera Sambuy looks back: The Journalist + Philip Roth (The Believer). Quite lovely, that.

Richard Lea warns: Big Brother is watching you e-read Mein Kampf. (The Guardian) In other words, if you think no one will ever know you’re reading whatever-it-is-your-reading-on-your-eReader, you might want to think again.

Anne Tyler will soon release her 20th novel, A Spool of Blue Thread. It may or may not be her last.

This book uses facial recognition to judge whether you deserve to read it. The pressure!

Workers at a Goodwill in Maine found a gun hidden in a “book.” Let this be a lesson: watch out for unusually heavy used books. They may be packing heat.

And Mr. Peter Koch wins the quote of the week, in speaking of CODEX 2015:

“We’re like a great group of friends,” says Mr. Koch. “For people who do what we do, this is sort of the Burning Man of books—with clothes.”

Beyond the Horizon


Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was born October 16, 1888 in a hotel room off Broadway, in what is now Times Square, to a stage actor father. You might say theatre ran in his veins.

In his early twenties he dedicated his life to writing plays. He began with one act plays; soon he was writing full-length plays. But it was February 2, 1920 that he truly caught our attention. February 2, 1920 Beyond the Horizon, debuted at the Morosco Theatre in New York. The Play would go on to win him the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for drama–the first of four Pulitzers won in his lifetime.

Of course, his life was every bit the drama portrayed on the stage. Despite the fact he remains one of America’s most celebrated playwrights, his life possessed the makings of a great tragedy.

. . . in a nutshell, you see.

If you’d care to delve deeper into the life and work of Eugene O’Neill, check out PBS American Experience & Eugene O’Neil.

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