Monday Miscellany

Robert McCloskey Sketches for “Make Way for Ducklings”

Born in 1914 in Hamilton, Ohio, Robert McCloskey came to Boston to attend the now-defunct Vesper George Art School. He left to live in New York for a time and established a career as an author and illustrator in the late 1930s. Over the years, he became the force behind beloved tales like Homer Price, Blueberries for Sal, and Time of Wonder. His most famous work is Make Way for Ducklings, which tells the story of a pair of mallards in Boston who take their eight ducklings from the Charles River to Boston’s Public Garden. The Boston Public Library has digitized over 100 of McCloskey’s studies for this wonderful work for consideration by the general public. Visitors can zoom in and look around and some of these great works. Visitors can also create their own curated collections for use at a later date.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2013.

Slideshow: The Emily Dickinson Archive

The New York Times offers a good sampling of the materials now available online through The Emily Dickinson Archive. There’s also a link to the archive itself.

What 20 years of best sellers say about what we readKid With Books

How has your reading changed in the past 20 years? From readers shopping in brick-and-mortar bookstores, to the dominance of game-changing online sellers, to a digital era of e-reading and instant delivery, the book industry has gone through monumental change. And USA TODAY has been there all along. Look through 20 years of best-selling books.

This feature by USA TODAY offers an informative look at how reading and books have changed over the last 20 years. Includes lists of the best-selling books for each year.

How Changing Technologies Influence Storytelling

The Internet has changed (and keeps changing) how we live today — how we find love, make money, communicate with and mislead one another. Writers in a variety of genres tell us what these new technologies mean for storytelling.

The New York Times rounds up comments on technology from the following authors:

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Charles Yu
  • Marisha Pessl
  • Tom McCarthy
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Dana Spiotta
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Douglas Coupland
  • Tracy K. Smith
  • Emily Giffin
  • Ander Monson
  • Elliott Holt
  • Victor LaValle
  • Lee Child
  • Meg Cabot
  • Tao Lin
  • A.M. Homes

The 10 Best Mystery Books

Thomas H. Cook, one of the best at what he does, has done it again with 2013’s Sandrine’s Case, which is just as intricate and surprising as you’d expect from the Edgar winner. A veteran thriller and mystery writer of over 20 books, Cook shared his favorite mystery novels.

I love mysteries, but I’ve only read two of the books on Cook’s list for Publishers Weekly. But the two that I have read, A Crime in the Neighborhood and A Simple Plan, are very good.

15 Novels That Stretched My Knowledge

I keep finding book lists on the internet with titles like “Books That Will Change Your Life” and “Books That Will Influence Your Thinking.”

So here’s my list (in no special order): 15 Novels That Stretched My Knowledge and Stayed With Me Long After I’d Read Them.

What novels would make your list? Let us know in the comments. Or, better yet, put your list on your own blog and give us a link in the comments here.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee

Cover: To Kill a Mockingbird

Whenever I get to feeling down on humanity, I reread this little gem of a novel and have my faith in the human race restored.

2. Still Alice (2008) by Lisa Genova

Cover: Stilll AliceMuch is written about Alzheimer’s disease, and almost all of it is from the point of view of either caregivers or family and friends who must watch the heartbreaking decline of someone they love. But what is this disease like from the patient’s point of view? Since the nature of the condition makes patients, at least those beyond the initial symptoms, unable to articulate their experiences, fiction becomes the appropriate vehicle. In this novel neuroscientist Lisa Genova tells the story of Alice Howland, a neuroscience researcher and lecturer at Harvard, as she experiences early-onset Alzheimer’s. Genova demonstrates a range of possible reactions to the diagnosis through Alice’s husband and three adult children, but it’s the focus on Alice’s own experience that makes this novel so stunning.

3. Broken for You (2004) by Stephanie Kallos

Cover: Broken for YouTwo characters form the nucleus of this big, soapy novel. The wealthy Margaret, age 75, has just learned that she has a brain tumor. She’s lonely in her huge mansion filled with expensive antiques and decides to take in a boarder. Wanda, a woman in her 30s who has just come to town in search of a lost lover, answers Margaret’s ad. Gradually the list of the mansion’s residents grows as other people arrive to fulfill various needs, both their own and each others’. These characters grapple with life’s important questions—the meaning of family, friendship, responsibility, and love—in a sentimental yet charming way. Who wouldn’t want a group of companions like these imperfect yet lovable characters?

4. Blue Diary (2001) by Alice Hoffman

Cover: Blue DiaryMost of Alice Hoffman’s novels that I’ve read are haunting, but this one has haunted me the longest. What do you do when you find out your whole world is based on a lie? Jorie Ford faces this question when the police arrive to tell her that her husband killed a young girl 13 years before. Ethan Ford isn’t even the real name of the man she married more than 10 years ago, the volunteer fire fighter and pillar of the community, the father of her son. Can she believe his insistence that he has changed? Can love endure?

5. Mystic River (2001) by Dennis Lehane

Cover: Mystic RiverAs kids, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. Then one day a strange car pulled up on the street, and the driver convinced one of them to get in. When that boy returned after several days, his mother told him never to talk about what had happened. Now the three are grown. Sean is a homicide detective, Jimmy is a small-time thug, and Dave struggles to hold himself and his marriage together. When Jimmy’s daughter is murdered, Sean investigates and discovers that on the night of the murder Dave returned home covered in blood. The investigation reveals how events, especially secrets, of the past influence the people we become.

6. All the King’s Men (1946) by Robert Penn Warren

Cover: All the King's MenI was in ninth grade when I discovered this masterpiece. I don’t remember much else that I read during that time of my life, but I distinctly remember this as the first book in which I was able to see how all the pieces of a finely crafted work of fiction fit together. I’ve reread it a few times over the many intervening years, and each time it shines anew.



7. The Blind Assassin (2000) by Margaret Atwood

Cover: The Blind AssassinAn aging Iris Chase Griffen can’t stop thinking about the suicide of her sister, Laura Chase, who drove herself off a bridge more than 50 years earlier. Iris is also haunted by the deaths of her industrialist husband and of both her parents. Interwoven among her memories is Laura Chase’s posthumously published novel, a science fiction story interlaced with parables. Atwood skillfully manages to weave together all these disparate strands into a novel that embodies the complexities of human relationships.


8. The Knitting Circle (2007) by Ann Hood

Cover: The Knitting CircleDevastated by the death of her daughter, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle to occupy her hands and her mind. As the knitters get to know each other, they learn the healing power of sharing their life stories.

9. The Short History of a Prince (1998) by Jane Hamilton

Cover: Short History of a PrinceAs a boy, Walter McCloud aspired to be a classical dancer. As he grew up, he had to come to accept that he was not quite talented enough to become a top performer. In this novel Jane Hamilton creates a character whom we come to care for before she reveals a key element of the characterization. This novel might not have the same impact today as it did back when it first came out, but at that time I found it an effective antidote to stereotyping and prejudice.

10. Plainsong (1999) by Kent Haruf

Cover: PlainsongThe title says everything about this book: It’s the story of the town of Holt, located on the plains of Colorado, home to seemingly ordinary folks. The novel follows the lives of a group of Holt residents during one year when their lives intersect in unexpected ways. This quiet novel demonstrates that ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things to help each other.



11. We Were the Mulvaneys (1996) by Joyce Carol Oates

Cover: We Were the MulvaneysThe Mulvaneys were one of those families who had it all: beauty, brains, charisma, and all-around good fortune. But the Wheel of Life inevitably turns. This novels covers a 20-year downward spiral initiated by a few seemingly random events. But that Wheel of Life keeps on turning, until finally this family reaches a point of redemption and reconciliation. Psychologically probing and completely credible, this one has stayed with me for a long time.


12. A Simple Plan (1993) by Scott Smith

Cover: A Simple PlanThree friends discover, hidden in the snow, the wreckage of a small plane containing the pilot’s corpse and a bag stuffed with $4 million in cash. It would be so easy, they reason, to keep the money, and they come up with a simple plan to ensure they won’t be found out. Except that on their way home with the bag an old man on a snow mobile sees them, and so. . . . Every step they take seems so logical, yet there is no clearer demonstration than this novel that once you take that first step onto the slippery slope, there’s nowhere to go but down.

13. Middlesex (2002) by Jeffrey Eugenides

Cover: MiddlesexAs Amazon describes it, this is “ the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.” Astonishing and absolutely charming, this novel took my breath away over and over again.

14. The Most Dangerous Thing (2011) by Laura Lippman

Cover: The Most Dangerous ThingAlmost all of Laura Lippman’s non-series novels deal with life’s big issues. I think this one made the list because it’s the one I read most recently. Since Lippman is categorized primarily as a mystery writer, most of the blurbs describing her books emphasize the mystery angle. But this book is more a study of character than a straight mystery. Yes, there’s a mysterious occurrence that happened years ago, when the main group were children, and I kept reading to discover what that event was. But just as important as the event itself is the way that event has shadowed the lives of the characters, both those former children, now middle-aged adults, and their parents. Like A Simple Plan, this novel demonstrates that our actions and choices have consequences that can affect us for the rest of our lives.

15. Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell

Cover: Cloud AtlasI didn’t discover this book until all the hype building up to the release of the movie version. I took the time to read the book—and a hefty book it is, weighing in at 528 pages—before seeing the movie, and I’m glad I did. In a tour de force interweaving multiple writing styles and literary genres, Mitchell creates a mythical universe demonstrating the intersections between people and the consequences of their actions across time and space.


© 2013 by Mary Daniels Brown

Still More Best Books of 2012 Lists

The 10 Best Books of 2012

The venerable New York Times has declared its choices for the year’s 10 (5 fiction, 5 nonfiction) books.

New York Times Best Of 2012: Alternative Reads

But the folks at Huffington Post take issue with the New York Times‘s choices, calling its list “pretty dull” and also, apparently, pretty homogenized:

Three women out of ten. One person of color. Books about the achievements of Great White Men (preferably Kings, presidents or Kennedys.) A book about classical philosophy.

So Huff Post offers its own list of 10.

10 best books of 2012

Newsday has its 10-best list, too.

Christmas gifts 2012: the best crime and thriller books

As selected by Laura Wilson of The [U. K.] Guardian.

Our 50 favorite books of 2012

“So here are 25 fiction and 25 nonfiction titles that reviewers recommend.”

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Best Books Of 2012: The Complete List

I may have linked to individual lists from NPR before, but this is the master list, the mother lode.

Goodreads Choice Awards

Readers have spoken! See what they’ve picked as the year’s best books in several categories.

Best books: a list of what’s listed

Finally (at least for now), Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor for The Seattle Times, has scoured the major lists of 2012’s best books to find the true winners: the titles that appear on 2-4 major lists.

More Best Books of 2012 Lists

Here’s quite a variety of new lists of the best books of 2012.

The Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide Returns Next Monday

Author John Scalzi will offer a shopping guide to which you can contribute:

So: Starting Monday, December 3rd, the Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide Returns! If you’re a writer or other creator, this will be an excellent time to promote your work on a site which gets up to 50,000 visitors daily, almost all of whom will be interested in stuff for the holidays. If you’re someone looking to give gifts, you’ll see lots of excellent ideas. And you’ll also have a day to suggest stuff to other folks too. Everybody wins!

Check out this post for his schedule.

Christmas gifts 2012: the best science fiction

And speaking of John Scalzi, here’s the illustration from The [U. K.] Guardian‘s science fiction recommendations:

USS Enterprise
Boldly going: John Scalzi’s novel Redshirts stirs up memories of the original Star Trek. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Christmas gifts 2012: the best sport books

And speaking of The Guardian, here’s its list of best sports books. This page also includes links to the newspaper’s recommendations in other categories.

BookPage Best Books of 2012

BookPage offers a top-50 list: “Though reading choices—and rankings!—are intensely personal, we think our top 50 has something for every reader.”

2012 Books: Slate Staff Picks

The editors, designers, and columnists of online magazine Slate offer choices that include both fiction and nonfiction.

Notable Children’s Books of 2012

The New York Times has suggestions for various ages.

The 100 best books of 2012

An extensive list from the Listener of New Zealand.

Whatcom County librarians select best 2012 books for young readers

From Washington State, USA: “several local librarians who specialize in children’s literature were asked to name their favorite books from 2012 for children at a variety of reading levels.”

Books About Older Women

Over on my other blog I wrote recently about the fate of women who are lucky enough to reach older adulthood. Here, in no particular order, are some books that portray older women.


All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
The Book of Eve by Constance Beresford-Howe
As We Are Now by May Sarton
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
“Irina” by Mavis Gallant
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside
Half Broken Things by Morag Joss
The Bulgari Connection by Fay Weldon
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
How It All Began by Penelope Lively
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
Glass by Sam Savage
Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell


Going Grey by Anne Kreamer
Balsamroot: A Memoir by Mary Clearman Blew
A Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska
I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
I Love a Broad Margin to My Life by Maxine Hong Kingston


If you have additions to this list, please put them in the comments.

Best Books of 2012: More Lists

Here are a few more entries for this year’s list of lists:

The 10 best books of 2012

From The Washington Post. Presents five selections each in fiction and nonfiction.

There are also links to other lists: best graphic novels of 2012, 50 notable works of fiction, 50 notable works of nonfiction, best audiobooks of 2012.

Books of the year 2012: authors choose their favourites

From The [U. K.] Guardian, recommendations from some well-known authors.

The Globe’s top 29 picks for international fiction of 2012

An extensive list from Canada’s The Globe and Mail. Also includes links for Canadian fiction, and graphic novels and poetry.

Best Books 2012

A list from the Irish Examiner that includes the following categories:

  • biography
  • essays
  • fiction
  • history
  • memoir
  • music
  • science
  • short stories
  • sport

Monday Miscellany

Today’s links.

The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature

 Cover: The MiddlesteinsNeuroses run rampant across three generations of the Middlestein family in Jami Attenberg’s sublime new novel, The Middlesteins.

See why Attenberg includes the families from the following books on her list:

  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Townie by Andre Dubus, III
  • Arcadia by Lauren Groff’
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Medical Problems of 4 Great Writers

Cover: Shakespeare's Tremor and Orwell's CoughJohn J. Ross’s Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough: The Medical Lives of Great Writers is everything you need to know about the afflictions of history’s greatest writers. Ross (a doctor and writer) outlines a few of the maladies of the authors we love.



  • The Brontës
  • William Butler Yeats
  • James Joyce
  • George Orwell

How to believe in yourself—even if you sometimes don’t

Cover: MiddlesexJeffrey Eugenides’s 2007 novel Middlesex won the Pulitizer Prize and was a favorite read at my book group. But Eugenides says that the writing of the novel did not always go smoothly. In 1999 he moved to Berlin with his wife and daughter, and his unfinished manuscript. The change of scenery helped for a while, but then the anxiety symptoms—chest constriction, irritability, paranoia—returned.

And then one night he had a dream:

All that happened in the dream was that an owl, descended out of nowhere, seized me in its talons and blew into my mouth a single breath tasting of blood. That’s it. The dream lasted no more than four or five seconds. But it was one of those dreams that seems somehow more real than a typical dream, as if it were playing out at a level just below my conscious mind, or as if it originated not from my mind at all but from a source outside of me.

The owl, by the way, was gigantic. And not particularly realistic. In fact, the bird was stylized in the manner of a Klimt, with lozenges of color running up and down its wings and over its breast, and a large helmeted ceremonial head. Its eyes were fierce, omnipotent, bright yellow. It fixed these eyes on mine. When the owl lowered its beak to my lips, I opened my mouth. And then the owl exhaled one long forceful breath. With a whooshing sound, my lungs inflated. This inspiration had a taste: the mineral, meaty flavor of a predatory diet.

I awoke from this dream feeling that a message had been delivered to me. The great Owl in the Sky had taken a personal interest in me and my book. The owl had come to give me the power to write it.

Ten years later, having moved back to New Jersey, Eugenides was struggling to finish the manuscript of his recent novel The Marriage Plot. And then one night, outside his window, he heard—you guessed it, an owl. The owl continued to return until Eugenides had finished the manuscript, then vanished.

What matters is that the experience—both of my dream owl and the living one outside my window—arrived at the point I needed it, and helped me persevere.

In the midst of my skeptical, cynical, often pessimistic nature exists a slender capacity to believe, if only temporarily, in a guiding, unseen power, and whenever this happens, I go with it. That’s what inspiration is. You don’t get it from the gods. You make it. The owl at my window was just a bird, after all, trying to get through the winter. The owl in my dream was my own creation. It was me, breathing into myself, in order to breathe out again in a flow of words.

Eowyn Ivey’s Top 50 Books

What is it about lists of books that are so enticing? Can you list your top 50 favorites? Hans Weyandt, of Micawber’s Books in St. Paul, MN, challenged indie booksellers from all over the country to list theirs and posted them to the store’s blog, Mr. Micawber Enters The Internets (read his inaugural list and introduction to the project here). The series has gotten a lot of attention, and Weyandt recently compiled the lists and had them published in Read This!: Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores, with an introduction by Ann Patchett.

Given here is the list submitted by Eowyn Ivey, owner of Fireside Books in Palmer, Alaska, and author of the novel The Snow Child.

I’ve never even tried to compile a list of my 50 all-time favorite books. The closest I’ve come is my annual list of best books read that year.

How about you? Do you have a list of all-time favorites? Let us know in the comments what’s on—or would be on—your list. If we all start now, we might finish before the new year.

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits

Pew Internet and American Life Project reports some good news on the status of reading by young people between the ages of 16 and 29:

More than eight in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. At the youngest end of the spectrum, high schoolers in their late teens (ages 16-17) and college-aged young adults (ages 18-24) are especially likely to have read a book or used the library in the past 12 months. And although their library usage patterns may often be influenced by the requirements of school assignments, their interest in the possibilities of mobile technology may also point the way toward opportunities of further engagement with libraries later in life.


According to our December 2011 national survey, Americans under age 30 are more likely than older adults to do reading of any sort (including books, magazines, journals, newspapers, and online content) for work or school, or to satisfy their own curiosity on a topic. About eight in ten say they read for these professional or educational reasons, more than older age groups. And about three-quarters of younger Americans say they read for pleasure or to keep up with current events.

Pub Scrawl: The Eight Best (Actual) Literary Bars

Here’s a list by Scotland’s own Edd McCracken:

  • The Eagle and Child – Oxford, England
  • Vesuvio – San Francisco, USA
  • Cerveceria Alemana – Madrid, Spain
  • The Oxford Bar – Edinburgh, Scotland
  • La Closerie des Lilas – Paris, France
  • Toners – Dublin, Ireland
  • The White Horse Tavern – New York City, USA
  • Newman Arms – London, England

Be sure to check out McCracken’s notes on each, as well as the photos.

Two for Halloween

Finally, here are two entries to get you into the Halloween spirit:

Otto Penzler puts the ‘boo’! in ‘Big Book of Ghost Stories’

Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn interviews Otto Penzler about his 833-page collection of 79 creepy, unsettling and suspenseful supernatural tales, The Big Book of Ghost Stories (Vintage, $25).

Truly SINISTER – The Ten Best True Crime Books

A list by Meredith Borders over on LitReactor.

I’ve actually read six of these, with a seventh near the top of my to-be-read-next stack of books. How many have you read?

Monday Miscellany: Lists Edition

Top 7 Literary Cities in Europe

Edinburgh, Scotland explores “the top seven European cities for literary tourists”:

  1. Edinburgh, Scotland
  2. Dublin, Ireland
  3. London, England
  4. Paris, France
  5. St. Petersburg, Russia
  6. Stockholm, Sweden
  7. Norwich, England

A List of the Greatest Lists in Literature

Speaking of lists, The Atlantic offers this one: “our favorite lists in literature, from short to impossibly long, from lists that catalogue items to those that follow the train of imagination. Check out the literary lists we think are the funniest, most revealing, most interesting, or flat-out strangest” from the following works:

  • The White Album, Joan Didion
  • I Remember, Joe Brainard
  • Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
  • Ulysses, James Joyce
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, Italo Calvino
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
  • The Hundred Brothers, Donald Antrim
  • “Project for a Trip to China,” from I, etcetera, Susan Sontag
  • “Descriptions of Literature,” Gertrude Stein
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • Bleak House, Charles Dickens
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • “The Glass Mountain,” from Sixty Stories, Donald Barthelme

Listing Explanations for the List of Literary Lists

Inspired by The Atlantic‘s list, Elizabeth Freudenthal, self-described “Thinker for Hire,” asks:

Did you notice that most of the lists are from 20th century works? (Except Dickens: the exception to every rule. Amiright?)

What is it about the 20th/21st centuries that compel writers to use so many dang lists?

Read the five reasons she offers for why 20th- and 21th-century writers resort to listing in their writing.

A History of Sisters in Fiction, From ‘Little Women’ to ‘Sweet Valley High’

And here’s a final list, again courtesy of The Atlantic: “The March brood, the Wakefield sisters, and eight other examples of sometimes-sweet, sometimes-squabbling literary siblings

  • The Dashwood sisters from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • Beezus and Ramona from the Ramona series, Beverly Cleary
  • The Wakefield sisters from the Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal
  • The Marsh sisters from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Cinderella and wicked stepsisters
  • Elly and Iphy Binewski from Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • The Chance sisters from Wise Children by Angela Carter
  • The Blackwood sisters from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • The Chase sisters in The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

5 Most Popular Books on Books

5 Most Popular Books on Books

Do you have irresistible desire for books? Do you feel passionate about reading or has the book changed your life? If yes then read about some interesting plots that revolve around books or book connoisseurs resembling you. Here goes a list of top 5 well-received titles that celebrate books as the main theme, and that can best demonstrate to the readers what difference books can make in one’s life.

I’ve read the first four books on this list. How about you? And what other titles would you add to the list? Post in the comments below.

Monday Miscellany

Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History

Boston Literary HistoryPeople may know about Longfellow and Poe, but do they know about the ongoing literary feud between these two sons of New England? They will after perusing this marvelous digital exhibit from the Boston Public Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society, which explores some of the “forgotten chapters” of the Hub’s literary history. Designed to complement an in situ exhibit, this collection contains six thematic sections, along with an audio introduction and an interactive map of said literary history. The sections include “The Poet Buried on Boston Common,” “Buried Treasure and Turkeys,” and “The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre.” The “Poet” area is quite a find, as it profiles the work of Charles Sprague, a Boston poet of the 19th century who is little-remembered today. The “Buried Treasure” area features rediscovered literary pieces (and some that should have stayed hidden) from the literary magazines published in Boston between 1790 and 1860. One the unearthed gems is “A Winter Walk,” which was originally published under the nom de plume Anonymous, but which was later revealed to have been penned by Henry David Thoreau. Lastly, the section titled “Longfellow’s Serenity and Poe’s Prediction” takes on the literary brouhaha that existed between Longfellow and Poe in the 1830s and 1840s.

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2012.

8 Areas of Culture ‘Moby-Dick’ Influenced

George Cotkin’s book Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick explains how Herman Melville’s hefty novel has influenced many areas of cultural life in the United States:

Cover: Dive Deeper

  • music
  • humor
  • philosophical reflection
  • artistic creation
  • literature
  • film
  • terror
  • academic studies
  • metaphor

Great Story Objects: J.K. Rowling’s hand-written plot spreadsheet for “The Order Of The Phoenix”

If you’ve ever wondered how authors keep track of all the details in a huge book, you’ll want to take a look at this photo.

Dark memories of harbour inspired an award-winner

A NOVEL that eulogises Sydney harbour has won the Kibble Award for life writing by women authors. Gail Jones was inspired to write Five Bells when she was travelling home by ferry one night after moving to Sydney from Perth four years ago.

The dark water reminded her of Kenneth Slessor’s poem Five Bells, which mourns his friend Joe Lynch, who drowned in the harbour after jumping off a ferry. She abandoned a part-written novel set in Melbourne for her story about four troubled adults and a lost child who converge on Circular Quay one Saturday.

In addition, the Dobbie Award for a first book went to Favel Parrett for Past the Shallows, her poetic story of the tensions between a father and his sons.

The Kibble and Dobbie Awards were established in 1994 by Nita Dobbie in memory of her aunt, Nita Bernice Kibble, a librarian from New South Wales, Australia: “The Kibble Literary Award recognises the work of an established Australian female writer while the Dobbie Literary Award recognises a first published work from an Australian female writer.”

10 of the Most Beloved Dogs in Literature

 As July threatens to turn into August, and our hair seems irrevocably plastered to our foreheads, we’re feel like we’re squarely in that special time of year that our mothers used to call the “dog days of summer.” And dogged they are, but in truth, the phrase comes from the ancient Greek and Roman belief that Sirius, also known as the Dog Star for its prominence in Canis Major, controlled the hot weather. The Romans would sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of summer to appease the sultry rage of Sirius, but our offering is a little more whimsical (and less bloody) — a list of a few of the most beloved pups in literature. Because after all, if sacrifices to stars don’t work, who better to help you actually enjoy the sweltering summer than man’s best friend?

Here’s the list from Flavorwire:

  • Argos, The Odyssey
  • Snowy, The Adventures of Tintin
  • Toto, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Buck, The Call of the Wild
  • Tock, The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Lassie, Lassie Come-Home
  • Old Yeller, Old Yetter
  • Ghost, A Song of Fire and Ice
  • Fang, Harry Potter
  • Jip, David Copperfield
Old Yeller
Old Yeller