Have you chosen the name of their child (or pet) based on an author or a character from your favorite novel? Perhaps you've used a creature, a place, a term, or other artifact of literary fame.
It's not really that surprising. It's both an homage and a telltale sign. I've often agonized over finding the perfect name for a character in a story. It's often the same with parents as we chose the name a child will have for the rest of his/her life (unless the child decides to legally change it).
Not all parents who select names like Alice, Emerson, Byron, Harper, Homer, or Anna have thought about the literary connections. Some of us do, however, consider the literary dimension. So, what factors did you consider when you chose your child's literary name?
With every book that comes out, there's the ripple effect of popular names, derived from novels like Twilight, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or The Great Gatsby (yeah, the movie will likely make the character names popular again).
- We are drawn to the character.
- We like the character traits.
- We love the place or time when something has happened.
- We're just book geeks (and want to create a literary personification of a character, place, or creature).
Thus, the name (or some derivative thereof) is further perpetuated.
So, Is there a name you're "saving" for your future son or daughter? Perhaps, you've already named your kids after the characters in Pride and Prejudice or Ulysses. It happens all the time!
Some book geeks even name their kids, pets or cars after book titles or bits of literary trivia. What better way to put our love of literature on display, and make it an even bigger part of our lives?!?
Harper Lee is a world-famous, award-winning author, known for her To Kill a Mockingbird, where her characters argue for tolerance, racial justice and human kindness. Atticus says: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... 'til you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
According to recent reports from Telegraph, Bloomberg, LA Times, and beyond--a literary agent "engaged in a scheme to dupe" Harper Lee into signing away her copyright. In doing so, the agent purportedly knew about Lee's poor health and failing eyesight.
While Lee has avoided most forms of publicity (interviews, appearances, book tours, etc.) in the years since To Kill a Mockingbird was published, she's making a statement now (even if she's still staying out of the limelight as much as possible). With this lawsuit, Lee appears to once again be standing up against the injustice in society (this time, with herself in center stage). To Kill a Mockingbird drew everyone's attention to the racial injustices in the South; her current case sheds light on elder abuse and age discrimination.
Harper Lee celebrated another birthday on April 28--she was born in 1926. It's refreshing to see that she's still fighting back against injustice in all forms, at any time.
- Review: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Rrview
- 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Quotes
- Atticus Quotes
- Questions for Study and Discussion
- Harper Lee Biography
Under the category of NOT THE SAME AT ALL... I came across a great little article from GalleyCat today, about digital autographs.
If you really think about it, a digital signature of this sort makes sense (in an off-kilter, impersonal way). If we're buying more ebooks, the only way for the books to be signed is via electronic means. And, the separate digital nature of the authorgraph allows the book collector/reader/fan to keep all the digital inscriptions in one (safe/secure) place.
But, of course, the concept of a digital inscription misses the point of an autograph altogether (or at least it does in my mind). Remember the times you've stood in line to meet your favorite author(s)? Or, if you've not yet met him/her, at least that's something tangible to look forward to--part of your "someday-dream-to-meet" musings. The autograph represents a real-life connection with the author--in the present, or back through literary history, as you collect the autographed copies of your favorite novel(s).
But, I'm curious, have you ever received an authorgraph from a favorite author? How many autographs have you collected (or gotten from authors (or other favorite persons-of-interest)? Would you want an authorgraph (the digital inscription)... and/or would you consider giving one as a gift?
It's May Day! I love this day. Not only was my baby sister born on this day--greeted with Aurora Borealis in the sky upon the advent of her birth--but it's also the first day of May. The flowers are blooming; the birds are singing; and it seems the perfect opportunity to curl up with a good book and read for a while.
In May Day, Sarah Teasdale writes:
"A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
What are you reading today?
There's something about the smell of books... Umberto Eco said, "I love the smell of book ink in the morning." And, Ray Bradbury said, "Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy. Lord, there were a lot of lovely books once, before we let them go."
I don't recall the first time I recognized that smell. At some point, I just began to yearn after it--to eagerly await the next time I'd visit a library or bookstore. You can tell a lot about a book by the smell. The newness may emanate from the book (crisp pages, ink, and stiff binding), or the leather may give off a musty or sweet odor. It's not always easy to explain...
In Quiet, Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian, Scott Douglas said, "There was the smell of old books, a smell that has a way of making all libraries seem the same. Some say that smell is asbestos." Or some might just say: "It smells OLD."
Even now, I love the smell of books--old and new. George Robert Gissing said, "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."
I guess I'm not the only one who loves the smell of books...
There's even a bookish fragrance, according to The Independent. And, yes, I'm sure it's one of those smells that only a book-geekish bibliophile could possibly love (but I adore the idea). I'm envious enough that he has more than 300,000 books in his library, but now he's working on a book-inspired fragrance. "The book-aholic has found the cure for everyone who misses the smell of paper in these digital times: a perfume that smells of books, thanks to a 'fatty' olfactory mark."
And, no, I don't think it's a strange thing at all. Do you?
Whether you've just purchased the book, you've had the book for decades, it's been passed down in an inheritance, or you're just curious to know before you buy--discovering the value the book is essential. What if the book really is worth something? Or, the book may be a keepsake of more sentimental than monetary value. Do you know how to find out about the value of your book? Read on.
- Book Values
- Pricing Guides
- Book Collecting Guides
- Preserving Classics
- Book History
- Book Collectors
Read more about the value of books and book collecting!
The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a novella first published in 1886. This famous work is often studied in many literature classrooms--high school and college--and you may find it in your favorite anthology or short story collection!
I first read it when I was taking Prof. M. for a World Literature overview course. Classroom discussions were enlivened by Joyce's "Araby," Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, Marge Piercy's poetry, Ursula Le Guin's "Those Who Walk Away From Omelas," Oedipus Rex... and more...
It was one of those courses that seemed ever-more memorable as time and space brought more vivid potency to our connections with literature. Some books, poems, stories, or plays come alive with brutal clarity--as we examine the meaning of life and death. In The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy addresses some of the meaning of life issues, and the inevitability of death. Here, a man who had counted himself a success reevaluates his life as he approaches his final moments. What does he see? What does he know? Regrets?
In one of the most memorable sections of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, we read: "'Maybe I did not live as I ought to have done,' it suddenly occurred to him. 'But how could that be, when I did everything properly?' he replied, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sole solution of all the riddles of life and death, as something quite impossible."
How much do we learn to deal with bullying by watching the plays of William Shakespeare? The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is using small, adapted snippets of the Bard's work in an attempt to curb bullying...
"The idea is to get people thinking and talking about the various roles people play in bullying situations," according to Jeffrey Brown, in the PBS Segment: To Bully or Not to Bully: Using Shakespeare in Schools to Address Violence. And, the idea seems to be gaining momentum. It was back in 2011 that Mashable reported on a collaborative effort with the Ophelia Project and Weekly Reader--to raise awareness about bullying (social aggression).
But, we can learn from the classics--regardless of whether they are part of an anti-bulling program.
In the world of other classics we could learn from... Lord of the Flies is one of the most famous (and controversial) examples of social aggression. And, there, William Golding gives us this line: "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy."
There's that bullying, terror-inducing, fear-mongering...
Have you read his novels? Do you recall this line from Seize the Day: "Bringing people into the here-and-now. The real universe. That's the present moment. The past is no good to us. The future is full of anxiety. Only the present is real--the here-and-now. Seize the day."
He writes: "I labor, I spend, I strive, I design, I love, I cling, I uphold, I give way, I envy, I long, I scorn, I die, I hide, I want. Faster, much faster than any man could make the tally."
What would happen if each of us took that advise (to "seize the day")--if we ceased all our worry, focused on the moment, and challenged ourselves to just make the most of whatever life throws at us (good and bad)?
After all: "He believed that he must, that he could and would recover the good things, the happy things, the easy tranquil things of life..."
What do you dream of? What bits of tranquility do you want in your life?
Cover Art © Library of America. Review
Can you imagine walking into a library and discovering that all the books were gone? Disappeared?
It sounds like some bad nightmare!
To me, it's ALL comforting: the sight of the stacks of books--ranging across the wide expanse of the library--the smell of paper, ink and bindings all combined into a smell that's hard to describe (but fills me with a sense of happiness and longing). It's a colorful array--a montage, a conflagration of ideas that's sure to ignite the imagination.
It's a library.
But, there are a few problems with my romanticized conception of a library.
- The library takes up LOTS of room (depending, of course, on how many books are housed there).
- The upkeep of the traditional library (with repairs, etc.) is expensive.
- Some readers say that they prefer ebooks (which take much less space--we can transport thousands of volumes on one small device)
So, because of the costly factors involved (and the many other limiting factors of a library), it's probably not surprising that more and more people are (at least) beginning to consider turning the traditional library into a digital one. After all, the library is the purveyor of knowledge, and it has also become a place to access online access, computer resources, continuing-education courses and training, and so much more!
Yes, I know... Smaller still means survival. We must all find ways to become more cost effective and more accessible to all library patrons. And, with budget constraints, we won't have the access we need and want unless we get creative!
Bob Shaw (Pioneer Press) says that Washington County library system has seen "per-capita demand for books stagnates, computer demand soars and big, free-standing libraries begin to fade into history." It's what we're seeing across the US.
Shaw quotes Pat Conley: "It is an exciting time. It is an experimental time."
I can't help but get nostalgic. And, when I listen to my son chatter about his recent discoveries at the library, I wonder if he'll be one of the last generations to know the wonders of a library, shelves and all...