Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Lit Tats

Deconstructing lit tattoos. The Boston Phoenix examined the growing popularity of literary tattoos among writers, booksellers, librarians and other practitioners of the book trade in anticipation of next week's release of The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor.

"There's a lot of people in the book that are affiliated with publishing or books in some way," said Taylor. "A handful of librarians, a lot of people who work for publishing houses, magazine journalists."

Indie booksellers are prominently featured, and Taylor said she tried to photograph them in their natural habitat: "I wanted to make it a thing about bookstores and about the places where literature is consumed."

During an author event at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida, bookseller Becky Quiroga asked Eric Carle "to sketch a Very Hungry Caterpillar on her arm, then dashed off to the tattoo parlor to make it permanent. She says her ink has been recognized by children and baristas from Florida to Spain," the Phoenix wrote.

Kurt Vonnegut is the most popular literary tattoo author, followed by Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, and Shel Silverstein. "There are as many reasons for getting tattoos as there are people willing to be marked," Talmadge said.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: Read all about it
Sat Sep 25, 1:44 pm ET

Maybe you won't be surprised to learn that some offended readers have tried to limit access to "The Color Purple," with its depictions of race and abuse. Or "Heather Has Two Mommies."

But "Fahrenheit 451" -- a book about censorship?

Or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary?

Or perennial kindergarten favorite "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

Those are just three of the books that Associated Content's Pam Gaulin unearthed in a piece on 10 banned books you might not expect.

For nearly 30 years, the American Library Association has observed Banned Books Week, an annual tribute to the First Amendment and the "freedom to read." This year's just began; it runs throughout the coming week, Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.

But even the event itself has not been without controversy, writes Sylvia Cochran of Associated Content in a brief history of Banned Books Week: In 2002, the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family said the ALA had "irresponsibly perpetrated the 'banned' books lie for too long" and was trying to disguise the creep of explicit literature into children's lives. Another group, Family Friendly Libraries, says the ALA's "annual publicity campaign" seeks to undermine communities' right to request that objectionable material be reshelved or removed.

Most challenges to books are filed by parents, and the most common reason is sexually explicit content, according to Cochran's Q&A on how books get banned.

As for how "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" got on the list: Turns out that was a goof, writes Pam Gaulin of Associated Content.

Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


There's be much talk of late about the popularity of e-books. My question is: How does an author autograph one?

Friday, September 17, 2010

National Reading Group Month

National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads

In connection with National Reading Group Month, which is sponsored by the Women's National Book Association and is designated for October, the National Reading Group Month Selection Committee has chosen a dozen novels and one memoir as this year's Great Group Reads. The titles, recommended for reading groups at bookstores, libraries, online and elsewhere, are:

Blame by Michelle Huneven (Picador)
The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle (Harper Perennial)
Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship by Cathie Beck (Voice)
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger (Gallery)
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (Algonquin)
Little Bee by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin's)
Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden (Picador)
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Doubleday)
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin (Harper Perennial)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown)
Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye (Unbridled Books)
Up from the Blue by Susan Henderson (Harper)

The committee sought "under-represented gems from small presses and lesser-known mid-list releases from larger houses . . . which perhaps have flown under the radar of reviewers and reading groups."

The organization is providing shelf talkers, table-top posters and other display aides for download. Find the National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit at For more general information, go to and

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A sentence from the novel "Tinkers"

This is a sentence from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Tinkers" by Paul Harding.

"He thought, Buy the pendant, sneak it into your hand from the folds of your dress and let the low light of the fire lap at it late at night as you wait for the roof to give out or your will to snap and the ice to be too thick to chop through with the ax as you stand in your husband's boots on the frozen lake at midnight, the dry hack of the blade on ice so tiny under the wheeling and frozen stars, the sound proof lid of heaven, that your husband would never stir from his sleep in the cabin across the ice, would never hear and come running, half-frozen, in only his union suit, to save you from chopping a hole in the ice and sliding into it as if it were a blue vein, sliding down into the black, silty bottom of the lake, where you would see nothing, would perhaps feel only the stir of some somnolent fish in the murk as the plunge of you in your wool dress and the big boots disturbed it from its sluggish winter dreams of ancient seas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Book

A copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, "billed as the world's most expensive book," will be sold at auction by Sotheby's in December, BBC News reported, adding that only 119 complete copies are known to exist, and all but 11 of them belong to museums and libraries. Ten years ago, another edition of the book sold for $8.8 million.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Littlefly, literary jewelry by Jeremy May, is created "by laminating hundreds sheets of paper together, then carefully finishing to a high gloss. The paper is selected and carefully removed from a book, and the jewelry re-inserted in the excavated space.... The beauty of the jewels extends within the piece: text and images pass all the way though the object, only exposed at the surfaces--giving a tantalizing glimpse of the book within."

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Printed Book is About to Vanish

Simon Winchester, author of The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, told the Telegraph that "Until six months ago I was clinging to the idea that printed books would likely last for ever. Since the arrival of the iPad I am now wholly convinced otherwise. The printed book is about to vanish at extraordinary speed. I have two complete OEDs, but never consult them--I use the online OED five or six times daily. The same with many of my reference books--and soon with most. Books are about to vanish; reading is about to expand as a pastime; these are inescapable realities."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is it ADD or Menopause?

I'm in the middle of reading The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith and jumped to Black Widow by Marion Collins. I'm listening to Paula Deen's It Ain't All About the Cookin' in the car and David Sedaris' Live at Carnegie Hall on a CD player. ADD or menopause? Or being laid off for over a year?

A Not-So-Secret Indulgence

My doctoral candidate (and now ex) husband once told me I was better read than he was. He was a writer and I was a reader. (Actually I'm a compulsive reader.) I love literature and especially southern lit - I believe Truman Capote and Eudora Welty are the greatest American authors. But every now and then I have to read a true crime book. Don't know why but I can devour one in a day or two.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Books On Tape

I'm listening to the funniest author to be on tape - David Sedaris, Live at Cargegie Hall. I walk down the street with ear buds in, laughing my head off. It's cheaper than therapy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Salon Web Site

Salon is an award-winning online news and entertainment Web site. It combines original investigative stories, breaking news, provocative personal essays, and highly respected criticism along with popular staff-written blogs about politics, technology, and culture.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bas Bleu the Catalog

My inspiration came from this catalog. It started in Atlanta but has moved out of state. The catalog offers books and gift items.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

From Wikipeida: The Blue Stocking society had no membership formalities or fees but was conducted as small to large gatherings in which talk of politics was prohibited but literature and the arts were of main discussion. Learned women with interest in these educational discussions attended as well as invited male guests. Tea, biscuits and other light refreshments would be served to guests by the hostesses.

The New York Times archives contain an article published on 17 April 1881 which describes the Blue Stockings Society as a women's movement away from the "vice" and "passion" of gambling which was the main form of entertainment at higher society parties. "Instead however, of following the fashion, Mrs. Montagu and a few friends Mrs. Boscawen and Mrs. Vesey, who like herself, were untainted by this wolfish passion, resolved to make a stand against the universal tyranny of a custom which absorbed the life and leisure of the rich to the exclusion of all intellectual enjoyment... and to found a society in which conversation should supersede cards."
(1881, The New York Times).

Many of the Blue Stocking women supported each other in intellectual endeavors such as reading, artwork, and writing. Many also published literature. More notably, author Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806), was a Blue Stocking Society advocate and member who published essays and poetry, and translated Epictetus. Contemporary author Anna Miegon compiled biographical sketches of these women in her Biographical Sketches of Principal Bluestocking Women.
From Wikipedia: The Blue Stockings Society of England emerged in the middle of the eighteenth century, around the year 1750, and waned in popularity at the end of the eighteenth century. It was a loose organization of privileged women with an interest in education to gather together to discuss literature while inviting educated men to participate. The Blue Stockings Society leaders and hostesses were Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Vesey. The women involved in this group generally had more education and fewer children than most English women of the time. During this time period only men attended universities and women were expected to master skills such as needlework and knitting: "It was considered “unbecoming” for them to know Greek or Latin, almost immodest for them to be authors, and certainly indiscreet to own the fact. Mrs. Barbauld was merely the echo of popular sentiment when she protested that women did not want colleges. “The best way for a woman to acquire knowledge,” she wrote, “is from conversation with a father, or brother, or friend.” It was not till the beginning of the next century — after the pioneer work of the bluestockings, be it observed — that Sydney Smith, aided, doubtless, by his extraordinary sense of humour, discovered the absurdity of the fact that a woman of forty should be more ignorant than a boy of twelve." (XV, Cambridge History of English and American Literature). The group has been described by many historians and authors such as Jeanine Dobbs[3] as "having preserved and advanced feminism" due to the advocacy of women's education, social complaints of the status and lifestyle expected of the women in their society, seen in the writings of the Blue Stocking women themselves:

“ In a woman's education little but outward accomplishments is regarded...sure the men are very imprudent to endeavor to make fools of those to whom they so much trust their honour and fortune, but it is in the nature of mankind to hazard their peace to secure power, and they know fools make the best slaves. ”