Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coincidence in Scarborough

Scarborough is a Yorkshire town in the NE of England. not a place that people think of much. I have been there once and liked it. Imagine my surprise when I started reading two books this week and they both have Scarborough connections.

The books are Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf and The Life of Pi.

I love these quirky things that arise from reading. next time I go to Scarborough it will be a different place to me because of it's literary associations.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Origin of English

I loved this quote on the BBC about the origins of English or "Englishes".

“We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” — James Nicoll

Isn't that the truth.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A New Find

I was listening to the Yale University literature podcast recently and came across a new author, well new to me anyway. Her name is Penelope Lively. The book of hers discussed and that I really enjoyed was Moon Tiger.

As Anne Tyler says, Leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away. A brief synopsis is as follows: Claudia Hampton, a beautiful, famous writer, lies dying in hospital. But, as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work...

A Five star DK Recommendation


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review - Paintings in Proust

Are you a Proust fan? If you are then this book, Paintings in Proust, A Visual Companion to 'In Search of Lost Time' will be very informative. In Proust's book In Search of Lost Time there are a lot of references to various paintings. The book Paintings in Proust has photo's of the paintings intercalated with the relevant quotes in the book. Worth reading and a fantastic reference book.


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function. - Unknown [via IQuote for iPhone]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You are insignificant

Often we have a misguided sense that we are very important, me included. The quote below gives us some perspective.

It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. - John Andrew Holmes [via IQuote for iPhone]

Sunday, June 6, 2010

today's Quote June 6

Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys. - Gail Pool [via IQuote for iPhone]

That doesn't mean we shouldn't try. That is why we have blogs

Monday, April 5, 2010

Audio Book Paradise for the iPhone

I have just found a booklovers tool for the iPhone. It is an application called Freeaudiobooks. You pay a very small amount but get access to over 2700 audiobooks. I have been downloading like crazy!! It is great to listen to a book when you are travelling and motion makes reading hard.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finding Rudyard Kipling

No he was never lost before you ask. Rather I have found him. Until recently I was not aware of the amount of poetry written by Kipling. I was browsing thru a bookshop recently and saw his collected poems. I have purchased the book and luxuriating in the poetry.

More to come...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Grow Take One Good Book and Add a Friend

You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.

Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

People and books have the capacity to transform your life. Without the challenge of others and of new ideas growth is impossible. Books and friends have been my lifelines.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Stretching Your Mind

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.
- Anonymous

What a great quote. Every day I try to stretch my mind with new ideas. By reading, listening to podcasts, talking with friends I have the opportunity to grow. Thats what I love about the Internet, it allows you to easily access new ideas and find like minded people.

Keep well


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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Harness your Dreams

"In forming a bridge between body and mind, dreams may be used as a springboard from which man can leap to new realms of experience lying outside his normal state of consciousness."
Ann Faraday

I find that in reading I fuel my dreams and expand my horizons. One is exposed to new potentialities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Worth of Education

"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week."

Evan Esar

I think this quote tells us something about our priorities. The Greeks put education and physical education as equals - a healthy mind in a healthy body. How did we get so out of kilter that sportspeople get paid so much more money? I guess though there are a lot less pro sports people than professors.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spare a Thought for the Trees

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning

I thought this was a really quirky quote that made me think of the interconnectedness of all things. So next time you read a book spare a thought for the trees.


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Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Learning for Success

"Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. "

Abigail Adams

Books provide us with a rich vein to mine for our learning endeavours. To have book learning you need the right books and an ardor for learning.

One of the key functions of education is to equip you to learn for yourself. Once that has been accomplished you can apply the principles to teach yourself anything.

The Internet has many freely available ebooks, podcasts and videos that will assist you on your life long learning adventure.

Go well

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Salinger Quote about Reading

What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while...
What really knocks me out is a book that,
when you're all done reading it,
you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours
and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
That doesn't happen much, though.
~ J. D. Salinger ~

What a great quote. I have many writers that I would like to have been a friend of, Virginia Woolf would be the first choice of mine.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Misquotation a Sign of Learning

"Misquotation is, in fact, the pride and privilege of the learned. A widely- read man never quotes accurately, for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely. "

Hesketh Pearson

And I thought it was only me that had this problem. I often remember the gist of a quotation but not the exact words.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A View on University Education

"A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students."

The above quote resonates with me. The noble idea of teaching and challenging sudents as seen in the liberal arts colleges has given way to the corporate and practical research led university where students get in the way of research.

I will posit a contrarian view that the liberal arts colleges will see a Renaissance as students look for personal attention and an opportunity to grapple with ideas in an
interdisciplinary environment. Long live the BA and BS.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Trip to Barter Books

Barter Books is one of Britains largest second hand book shops and is located in Alnwick in Northumbria. The shop is situated in a converted railway station and is a book buyers paradise. There are books on so many subjects and the place is huge. There is more than enough room to easily manouevre between the shelves and there are places with comfy sofas to browse the books you are interested in.

Barter Books has an extensive collection of first editions and it was fascinating to look at them (you can see but not touch, unless you are a genuine buyer).

I started off with a coffee and a toasted sandwich at the restaurant and then hit the shelves. I managed to restrain myself and only spend £30 - and I got a 10% discount which made the purchase price £27, a worthwhile saving.

I purchased biographies on Augustus John and E M Forster, a book of poetry and a crime novel. Now I'm sitting down and savouring my purchases.

As well as the books, there is a restaurant and on the way out there is a self service coffee, tea and biscuits located in an alcove by a blazing fire. Given we had just had snow it was nice to sit in front of the fire with a coffee (30p) an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (50p) and a bag of books (£27).

I will be going back there at the first opportunity.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Fear of Reading

Have you ever read a book that has got under your skin and won't escape out of your mind? I have many books and characters locked away in my mind. I liked this quote from Erica Jong:

A book burrows into your life in a very profound way because the experience of reading is not passive

Erica Jong


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Monday, January 25, 2010

hotels planes & trains

I have spent a lot of my business life in and on trains, planes and hotels. It can be very tiring and annoying to be on the road but with the aid of a faithul clutch of books I survive and thrive. It is always great to visit places where fictional characters and their creators have lived.

I am writing this from my hotel room and my companions are Virginia Woolf, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz and Marianne Keyes. An interesting bunch of travelling companions wouldn't you agree?

Who knows which authors will be on my next trip.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading for the Eager or Tired

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read

G. K. Chesterton

Another great quote about reading. I tend to read serious books when I am eager such as the Collected Poems of Ted Hughes and The Renaissance in Europe and crime novels when I am tired. There is a book for every season and for every reason.


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Painting your Diary

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

Pablo Picasso

Writing is not the only way of capturing the events of everyday life. Painting though slower also allows a painter to capture his/her life impressions over time.

In fact as a purchaser of art works the paintings I have obtained are also a diary of my experiences with art.



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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Eternal Reading Triangle

The eternal triangle of reading is the interaction between the Book, the Writer and the Reader.

Cousins puts it well when he says,

"The way a book is read - which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book - can have as much to do with it's worth as anything the author puts into it".

An apposite and enlightening quote.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Great Crime Novel

I have been enjoying the crime novels by Val McDermid recently. Her books have been made into a very successful TV series called The Blood in the Wire.

I have just finished her book called A Place of Execution. It is a great read with the proverbial twist in the tail.

It is about the first big case that a young Police Inspector handles. A young girl goes missing from a very small village and a man is convicted of the murder and is hung. No body is found so the case causes a lot of controversy. The story then moves to the late nineties when the officer is retired and new shocking evidence comes to light.

It is fast paced, full of interest and I highly recommend it.

Life Writing

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

Henry David Thoreau

In my experience the best books are those based upon a lived experience. Whether the writing is factual, novel or poetic the same rule applies. Write about what you know.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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Popular Education

Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom or justice can be permanently maintained.

John Garfield (1831-1881)

I am a great believer in the concept of public education. Every person is entitled to, and benefits from, a public education. Education helps to break the shackles of poverty and ignorance. It allows people to shine and to soar, to add something to the wealth of human endeavour.


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Learning

It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts

John Wooden

John had it right. Every day through reading my ignorance is exposed. On the upside, every day that I read and take in new thoughts, ideas or facts is a day that reduces my pool of ignorance.

Have a great day

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