Tag Archive: books

read in july 2015

He improved his manners. He overheard one
officer tell another, “As much of a contrivance
as the aristocracy has always been, it
still constitutes the best check against mobs
of the uneducated and the unreflecting.” He
watched how the officers repeatedly bestowed
honor upon any native who resembled
a nobleman (or, at least, who resembled
some English idea of a nobleman).
On every island they visited, the Resolution’s
officers would single out any brown-skinned
man who had a finer headpiece than the others,
or who wore more tattoos, or who carried
a bigger spear, or who had more wives,
or who was borne upon a litter by other men,
or who—in the absence of any of these luxuries—
was simply taller than the other men.
The Englishmen would treat that person
with respect. This would be the man with
whom they would negotiate, and upon whom
they would bestow gifts, and who, sometimes,
they would pronounce “the king.” He
concluded that wherever English gentlemen
went in the world, they were always looking
for a king.
They gave up once more on the Northwest
Passage. They sailed to Macao. He saw fleets
of Chinese junks, and again encountered representatives
of the Dutch East India Company,
who seemed to be everywhere in their
simple black clothes and humble clogs. It appeared
to him that everywhere in the world,
somebody owed money to a Dutchman. In
China, Henry found out about a war with
France, and a revolution in America. It was
the first he had heard of it. In Manila, he saw
a Spanish galleon, loaded, it was said, with
two million pounds’ worth of silver treasure.
He traded his snowshoes for a Spanish naval
jacket. He fell ill from the flux—they all
did—but he survived it. He arrived in
Sumatra, and then in Java, where, once
more, he saw the Dutch making money. He
took note of it.

But Banks was talking forward, as though
all were decided. “I’m funding a Peruvian
botanical expedition, and it departs Wednesday
next. You’ll be led by Mr. Ross Niven.
He’s a tough old Scot—perhaps too old, if I
may be candid—but he’s as hardy as anyone
you’ll ever meet. He knows his trees and, I
daresay, he knows his South America. I
prefer a Scotsman to an Englishman for this
sort of work, you know. They are more coldminded
and constant, more fit to pursue
their object with relentless ardor, which is
what you want in your man abroad. Your
salary, Henry, is forty pounds a year, and
although it is not the sort of salary upon
which a young man can fatten his life, the
position is an honorable one, which carries
along with it the gratitude of the British Empire.
As you are still a bachelor, I am certain
you can make do. The more frugally you live
now, Henry, the richer a man you will
someday become.”

There was a florid scratching of pens,
and then Banks was lazily waving the letter
in the air to dry, saying, “Your task, Henry, is
the cinchona tree. You may know of it as the
fever tree. It is the source of Jesuit’s bark.
Learn all you can about it. It’s a fascinating
tree and I’d like to see it more deeply studied.
Make no enemies, Henry. Protect yourself
from thieves, idiots, and miscreants.
Take plentiful notes, and be sure to inform
me in what sort of soil you find your specimens—
sandy, loamy, boggy—so we can try to
cultivate them here at Kew. Be tight with
your money. Think like a Scot, boy! The less
you indulge yourself now, the more you can
indulge yourself in the future, when you have
made your fortune. Resist drunkenness, idleness,
women, and melancholy; you can enjoy
all those pleasures later in life, when you are
a useless old man like me. Be attentive. Better
if you don’t let anyone know that you are
a man of botany. Protect your plants from
goats, dogs, cats, pigeons, poultry, insects,
mold, sailors, saltwater . . .”

Ever the orchardman’s son, Henry quickly
realized that most of the cinchona trees were
in poor condition, sick and overharvested.
There were a few trees with trunks as thick
as his own midsection, but none any bigger.
He began to pack the trees with moss,
wherever the bark had been removed, to allow
them to heal. He trained the cascarilleros
to cut the bark in vertical strips, rather
than killing the tree by horizontally banding
it. He severely coppiced other sick trees, to
allow for new growth. When he became sick
himself, he kept on working. When he could
not walk from illness or infection, he had his
Indians tie him to his mule, like a captive, so
he could visit his trees every day.
He stayed up in Loxa for four miserable
years, barefoot and cold, sleeping in a hut
with barefoot and cold Indians, who burned
manure for heat. He continued to nurse the
cinchona groves, which legally belonged to
the Spanish Royal Pharmacy, but which
Henry had silently claimed for his own. He
was far enough back in the mountains that
no Spaniard ever interfered with him, and
after a time the Indians weren’t bothered by
him, either. He gleaned that the cinchona
trees with the darkest bark seemed to produce
a more potent medicine than the other
varieties, and that the newest growth produced
the most powerful bark. Heavy pruning,
therefore, was advisable. He identified
and named seven new species of cinchona,
but most of them he considered useless. He
focused his attention on what he called cinchona
roja—the red tree, the richest. He
grafted the roja onto the root stock of more
sturdy and disease-resistant varieties of cinchona
in order to produce a higher yield.

Henry had no idea what the man was talking
about, but he stayed silent. He had
learned in the past four years to speak only
when he knew that which he was speaking
about. Moreover, he had learned that silence
can sometimes relax a listener into thinking
that one might be intelligent.

To be fair to Henry, his head was not entirely
lucid. He had been alone for many
years in a remote forest, and a young man in
the forest can become a dangerously unfettered
thinker. Henry had discussed this
topic with Banks so many times already in
his mind that he was impatient now with the
actual conversation. In Henry’s imagination,
everything was already arranged and already

When Banks began to laugh, Henry’s
stomach collapsed upon itself and folded into
a small, hard cube. His throat narrowed as
though he were, at last, noosed. He shut his
eyes and saw murder. He was capable of
murder. He envisioned murder and carefully
considered the consequences of murder. He
had a long while to ponder murder, while
Banks laughed and laughed.
No, Henry decided. Not murder.
When he opened his eyes, Banks was still
laughing, and Henry was a transformed human
being. Whatever youth had remained in
him as of that morning, it was now kicked
out dead. From that point forward, his life
would be not about who he could become,
but about what he could acquire. He would
never be a gentleman. So be it. Sod gentlemen.
Sod them all.

What’s more, Alma was clever like him.
Sturdy, too. A right little dromedary, she
was—tireless and uncomplaining. Never took
ill. Stubborn. From the moment the girl
learned to speak, she could not put an argument
to rest. If her millstone of a mother had
not steadfastly ground the impudence out of
her, she might have turned out to be frankly
rude. As it was, she was merely forceful. She
wanted to understand the world, and she
made a habit of chasing down information to
its last hiding place, as though the fate of nations
were at stake in every instance. She demanded
to know why a pony was not a baby
horse. She demanded to know why sparks
were born when she drew her hand across
her sheets on a hot summer’s night. She not
only demanded to know whether
mushrooms were plants or animals, but
also—when given the answer—demanded to
know why this was certain.
Alma had been born to the correct parents
for these sorts of restless inquiries; as long as
her questions were respectfully expressed,
they would be answered. Both Henry and Beatrix
Whittaker, equally intolerant of dullness,
encouraged a spirit of investigation in
their daughter. Even Alma’s mushroom
question was granted a serious answer (from
Beatrix in this case, who quoted the esteemed
Swedish botanical taxonomist Carl
Linnaeus on how to distinguish minerals
from plants, and plants from animals:
“Stones grow. Plants grow and live. Animals
grow, live, and feel”). Beatrix did not believe
a four-year-old child was too young to be discussing
Linnaeus. Indeed, Beatrix had commenced
Alma’s formal education nearly as
soon as the child could hold herself upright.
If other people’s toddlers could be taught to

lisp prayers and catechisms as soon as they
could speak, then, Beatrix believed, her child
could certainly be taught anything.
As a result, Alma knew her numbers before
the age of four—in English, Dutch,
French, and Latin. The study of Latin was
particularly stressed, because Beatrix believed
that no one who was ignorant of Latin
could ever write a proper sentence in either
English or French. There was an early dabbling
in Greek, as well, although with somewhat
less urgency. (Not even Beatrix believed
a child should pursue Greek before the
age of five.) Beatrix tutored her intelligent
daughter herself, and with satisfaction. A
parent is inexcusable who does not personally
teach her child to think. Beatrix also
happened to believe that mankind’s intellectual
faculties had been steadily deteriorating
since the second century anno Domini, so
she enjoyed the sensation of running a

private Athenian lyceum in Philadelphia,
solely for her daughter’s benefit.
Hanneke de Groot, the head housekeeper,
felt that Alma’s young female brain was perhaps
overly taxed by so much study, but Beatrix
would hear none of it, for this is how
Beatrix herself had been educated, as had
every van Devender child—male and female—
since time immemorial. “Don’t be
simple, Hanneke,” Beatrix scolded. “At no
moment in history has a bright young girl
with plenty of food and a good constitution
perished from too much learning.”
Beatrix admired the useful over the vapid,
the edifying over the entertaining. She was
suspicious of anything one might call “an innocent
amusement,” and quite detested anything
foolish or vile. Foolish and vile things
included: public houses; rouged women;
election days (one could always expect
mobs); the eating of ice cream; the visiting of
ice cream houses; Anglicans (whom she felt

to be Catholics in disguise, and whose religion,
she submitted, stood at odds with both
morality and common sense); tea (good
Dutch women drank only coffee); people
who drove their sleighs in wintertime
without bells upon their horses (you couldn’t
hear them coming up behind you!); inexpensive
household help (a troublesome bargain);
people who paid their servants in rum
instead of money (thus contributing to public
drunkenness); people who came to you
with their troubles but then refused to listen
to sound advice; New Year’s Eve celebrations
(the new year will arrive one way or another,
regardless of all that bell-ringing); the aristocracy
(nobility should be based upon conduct,
not upon inheritance); and overpraised
children (good behavior should be expected,
not rewarded).
She embraced the motto Labor ipse Voluptas—
work is its own reward. She believed
there was an inherent dignity in remaining

aloof and indifferent to sensation; indeed,
she believed that indifference to sensation
was the very definition of dignity. Most of all,
Beatrix Whittaker believed in respectability
and morality—but if pushed to choose
between the two, she would probably have
chosen respectability.
All of this, she strove to teach her

Alma learned that her father was impatient
with his workers, with his houseguests,
with his wife, with herself, and even with his
horses—but with plants, he never lost his
head. He was always charitable and forgiving
with plants. This made Alma sometimes long
to be a plant. She never spoke of this longing,
though, for it would have made her look like
a fool, and she had learned from Henry that
one must never look like a fool. “The world is
a fool who longs to be tricked,” he often said,
and he had borne it down upon his daughter
that there is a mighty gap between the idiots
and the clever, and one must come down on
the side of cleverness. To show a longing for
anything that one cannot have, for instance,
is not a clever position.

Alma always went to the woods fitted out
in the most sensible dress, armed with her
own personal collecting kit of glass vials, tiny
storage boxes, cotton wool, and writing tablets.
She went out in all weather, because delights
could be found in all weather. A late-
April snowstorm one year brought the odd
sound of songbirds and sleighbells mingled
together, and this alone was worth leaving
the house for. She learned that walking carefully
in the mud to save one’s boots or the
hems of one’s skirts never rewarded one’s
search. She was never scolded for returning
home with muddied boots and hems, so long
as she came home with good specimens for
her private herbarium.
Soames the pony was Alma’s constant
companion on these forays—sometimes carrying
her through the forest, sometimes following
along behind her like a large, well-mannered
dog. In the summer, he wore
splendid silk tassels in his ears, to keep out
the flies. In the winter, he wore fur beneath
his saddle. Soames was the best botanical
collecting partner one could ever imagine,
and Alma talked to him all day long. He
would do absolutely anything for the girl,
except move quickly.

In her ninth summer, completely on her
own, Alma learned to tell time by the opening
and closing of flowers. At five o’clock in
the morning, she noticed, the goatsbeard
petals always unfolded. At six o’clock, the
daisies and globeflowers opened. When the
clock struck seven, the dandelions would
bloom. At eight o’clock, it was the scarlet
pimpernel’s turn. Nine o’clock: chickweed.
Ten o’clock: meadow saffron. By eleven
o’clock, the process begins to reverse. At
noon, the goatsbeard closed. At one o’clock,
the chickweed closed. By three o’clock, the
dandelions had folded. If Alma was not back
to the house with her hands washed by five
o’clock—when the globeflower closed and the
evening primrose began to open—she would
find herself in trouble.

Things must
be kept track of—even things one could not
comprehend. Beatrix had instructed her that
she must always record her findings in drawings
as accurate as she could make them, categorized,
whenever possible, by the correct
Alma enjoyed the act of sketching, but her
finished drawings often disappointed her.
She could not draw faces or animals (even

her butterflies looked truculent), though
eventually she found that she was not awful
at drawing plants. Her first successes were
some quite good renderings of umbels—
those hollow-stemmed, flat-flowered
members of the carrot family. Her umbels
were accurate, though she wished they were
more than accurate; she wished they were
beautiful. She said as much to her mother,
who corrected her: “Beauty is not required.
Beauty is accuracy’s distraction.”

Whenever Alma encountered the workers’
children in the woods, she was struck by fear
and horror. She had a method for surviving
these encounters, though: she would pretend
they were not occurring at all. She rode both
past and above the children on her stalwart
pony (who moved, as always, at the slow and
unconcerned pace of cold molasses). Alma
held her breath as she passed the children,
looking neither to her left nor to her right,
until she had cleared the intruders safely. If
she did not look at them, she did not have to
believe in them.

“What sort of name is Whittaker? I
find it so uncommon.”
“Midland England,” Henry had replied.
“Comes from the word Warwickshire.”
“Is Warwickshire your family seat?”
“There, and other places, besides. We
Whittakers tend to sit wherever we can find a
“But does your father still own property in
Warwickshire, sir?”
“My father, madam, if he is still living,
owns two pigs and the privy pot under his
bed. I doubt very much he owns the bed.”
The Whittakers were not invited back to
dine with the Binghams again. The Whittakers
did not much care. Beatrix disapproved
of the conversation and dress of fashionable
ladies, anyway, and Henry disliked
the tedious manners of fine drawing rooms.
Instead, Henry created his own society,
across the river from the city, high upon his
hill. Dinners at White Acre were not playing
fields of gossip, but exercises in intellectual
and commercial stimulation. If there was a
bold young man out there in the world somewhere
accomplishing interesting feats,
Henry wanted that young man summoned to
his dinner table. If there was a venerable
philosopher passing through Philadelphia, or
a well-regarded man of science, or a promising
new inventor, those men would be invited,
also. Women sometimes came to the
dinners, too, if they were the wives of respected
thinkers, or the translators of important
books, or if they were interesting actresses
on tour in America.
Henry’s table was a bit much for some
people. The meals themselves were opulent—
oysters, beefsteak, pheasant—but it
was not altogether relaxing to dine at White
Acre. Guests could expect to be interrogated,
challenged, provoked. Known adversaries
were placed side by side. Precious beliefs
were pummeled in conversation that was
more athletic than polite. Certain notables
left White Acre feeling they had suffered the
most impressive indignations. Other
guests—more clever, perhaps, or thicker of
skin, or more desperate for patronage—left
White Acre with lucrative agreements, or beneficial
partnerships, or just the right letter
of introduction to an important man in
Brazil. The dining room at White Acre was a
perilous playing field, but a victory there
could establish a fellow’s career for life.

Astonishingly, at some point, a sputtering
torch was thrust into her hands. Alma did
not see who gave it to her. She had never before
been entrusted with fire. The torch spit
sparks and sent chunks of flaming tar spinning
into the air behind her as she bolted
across the cosmos—the only body in the
heavens who was not held to a strict elliptical
Nobody stopped her.
She was a comet.
She did not know that she was not flying.

While Beatrix spoke, Alma stared. How
could anything be as pretty and disturbing as
Prudence’s face? If beauty were truly accuracy’s
distraction, as her mother had always
said, what did that make Prudence? Quite
possibly the least accurate and most distracting
object in the known world! Alma’s sense
of disquiet multiplied by the moment. She
was beginning to realize something dreadful
about herself, something that she had never
before been given reason to contemplate: she
herself was not a pretty thing. It was only by
awful comparison that she suddenly came to
perceive this. Where Prudence was dainty,
Alma was large. Where Prudence had hair
spun from golden-white silk, Alma’s hair was
the color and texture of rust—and it grew,
most unflatteringly, in every direction except
downward. Prudence’s nose was a little blossom;
Alma’s was a growing yam. On it went,
from head to toe: a most miserable

Fav flavors from Flavorwire , over the past week

The 10 Best Sites for Culture-Savvy Women    Jezebel ,Bitch ,  The Toast  , xoJane  , The Hairpin  ,  XX Factor  ,  The Cut   , The Beheld ,   The Gloss ,  Rookie 

The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History Norman Mailer . Maurice Sendak ,Gore Vidal ,Gertrude Stein .Christopher Hitchens ,Charles Bukowski ,Patricia Highsmith .Vladimir Nabokov

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

8 of the World’s Most Idyllic Creative Retreats

10 Famous Artists’ Stunning Studios

Charming Paintings of Contemplative Girls Doing Crafts

Pics :-

Pablo Picasso’s atelier – Cannes, France


Dorset, Dorchester, Max Gate - home of the late Thomas Hardy,  by the time of his death in 1928 was England's most renowned writer - old photo early 1930's

Max Gate was where Thomas Hardy lived after the age of 34.


Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage is in the beautiful Lake District of England, and is where William Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and wrote much of his famous poetry in the early 19th century.

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico


Paper books

Rethinking Life




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Poetic flavours from Flavorwire

  • Your Favorite Poets’ Favorite Books of Poetry

  • 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry in 2013- ( In the context of Rape Joke by By Patricia Lockwood )

  • The Fascinating, Handwritten Poems of Famous Authors

“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently,” Jean Cocteau once said. When examining the handwritten poems of famous authors — those made popular by their texts and several famous for other art forms — there is an unparalleled intimacy that typed words cannot convey. Many of these poems were born from spontaneous bursts of creativity or late-night meditations, unsparing and instinctive in thought. Words are ostensibly silent, but these handwritten poems speak volumes about their creators. See what poets put pen to paper and revealed their inner worlds.





Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems


Emily Dickinson wrote many of her poems on torn scraps of paper, envelopes, and other fragments. Artist Jen Bervin and Dickinson scholar Marta L. Werner have compiled a beautiful collection of the writer’s “envelope poems” in The Gorgeous Nothings, releasing this October. You can pre-order the book about Dickinson’s “crucially important, experimental late work,” or spring for the limited-edition.








Bob Dylan, “Little Buddy”


“Your too late sir my doggy’s dead.”


A teenage Bob Dylan, born Bobby Zimmerman, proved to be a lyrical artist at an early age in this poetic revision of the Hank Snow song, “Little Buddy.” The future singer-songwriter saw his poem published in the Herzl Herald — the official newspaper of the Wisconsin camp where Dylan spent summers (but didn’t learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”).




John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”


Looking at the Romantic poet’s handwritten verse, we can almost imagine him under a plum tree in the garden of his London home. Keats’ friend Charles Armitage Brown observed the poet deep in thought while composing one of his most famous works:


“In the spring of 1819 a nightingale had built her nest near my house. Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song; and one morning he took his chair from the breakfast-table to the grass-plot under a plum-tree, where he sat for two or three hours. When he came into the house, I perceived he had some scraps of paper in his hand, and these he was quietly thrusting behind the books. On inquiry, I found those scraps, four or five in number, contained his poetic feelings on the song of our nightingale.”


See more handwritten pages by Keats, here.








Virginia Clemm Poe’s Valentine’s Day Poem to her Cousin and Husband Edgar Allan Poe


“Ever with thee I wish to roam —
Dearest my life is thine.
Give me a cottage for my home
And a rich old cypress vine,
Removed from the world with its sin and care
And the tattling of many tongues.”


Although Poe’s teenage wife (his first cousin) was not a poet, she wrote this Valentine’s Day prose to him in 1846 – the year before she died of tuberculosis. At the time, she lived with the troubled author in a small cottage in Fordham (Bronx), New York. The “tattling of many tongues” is believed to be a reference to Poe’s scandalous relationship with writer Frances Sargent Osgood, who was married — though people had plenty to talk about when it came to the boozy, tormented Poe.




Charlotte Brontë’s Tiny Poem


“I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods
And mid flowery smiling plains
I’ve been listening to the dark floods
To the thrushes thrilling strains.”


The Brontë sisters often wrote their works in a minuscule handwriting on whatever scraps of paper they could find. A magnifying glass is often required to read the texts. ………








“There is No Frigate Like a Book (1286),” by Emily Dickinson


Short, sweet escapism:


There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page (read the rest here)




“Notes on the Art of Poetry,” by Dylan Thomas


The Welsh writer waxes lyrical about the “delight and glory and oddity and light” between pages:


I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,
splashing all over the pages (read the rest here)








“Ode to the Book,” by Pablo Neruda


The Chilean poet advises that books invite new possibilities, but we should never forget that wisdom is also gained from experience:


When I close a book
I open life.
I hear
faltering cries
among harbours.


(read the rest here)




“The Land of Story-books,” by Robert Louis Stevenson


The magic of books as seen through a child’s eyes:


At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.


Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.


There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.


(read the rest here)


Painting of William Wordsworth


“The Prelude (Book Fifth — Books),” by William Wordsworth


An epic poem that frames books as doors to dream worlds and autobiographical reflections:


While listlessly I sate, and, having closed
The book, had turned my eyes toward the wide sea.
On poetry and geometric truth,
And their high privilege of lasting life,
From all internal injury exempt,
I mused; upon these chiefly: and at length,
My senses yielding to the sultry air,
Sleep seized me, and I passed into a dream.  (read the full poem here)





We couldn’t choose a favorite between these charming Robert William Service poems — one of which laments that the writer never has enough time to read as much as he’d like (i.e. all the time):


“Bookshelf,” by Robert William Service


I like to think that when I fall,
A rain-drop in Death’s shoreless sea,
This shelf of books along the wall,
Beside my bed, will mourn for me.


(read the rest here)


“Book Lover,” by Robert William Service


I keep collecting books I know
I’ll never, never read;
My wife and daughter tell me so,
And yet I never head.
“Please make me,” says some wistful tome,
“A wee bit of yourself.”
And so I take my treasure home,
And tuck it in a shelf.


And now my very shelves complain;
They jam and over-spill.
They say: “Why don’t you ease our strain?”
“some day,” I say, “I will.”
So book by book they plead and sigh;
I pick and dip and scan;
Then put them back, distrest that I
Am such a busy man. (read the rest here)





“Old Books,” by Margaret Widdemer


The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet reminds us that books are the best kind of soul medicine:


The people up and down the world that talk and laugh and cry,
They’re pleasant when you’re young and gay, and life is all to try,
But when your heart is tired and dumb, your soul has need of ease,
There’s none like the quiet folk who wait in libraries–
The counselors who never change, the friends who never go,
The old books, the dear books that understand and know!


(read the rest here)




“Good Books,” by Edgar Guest


The homespun poet allows us to identify with his sheer joy and appreciation for books:


Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you’re lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby. (read the rest here)







Rand take-downs

This article I  read at flavorwire  (The All-Time Greatest Ayn Rand Takedowns   – after the latest by Chris Kluwe – I agree with his opinion of Galt lacking empathy and divorced from reality) , sent me into one of my periodic Ayn Rand musings . I first “discovered ” Rand , in the form of an old tattered edition of  The Fountainhead  , on a searching spree after a loss – and the result of my treasure-hunt –  Fountainhead , Reader’s digests from the 60s and 70s etc. etc. – from the old attics in the village .

Thus started my  “relationship”  with  Ayn rand ,-from a  fanatic idealization of her philosophy , to a passionate  take-down and now we are on a neutral territory – Rand and I , but this was definitely not the case in my late teens when  I read  “The Fountainhead” – it was during that confusing transitory phase from adolescence into adulthood (do we ever fully crossover ??? ) and I’m sure all those “randians” who have read her  at that age will identify with me when I say that  most of  us turned into “Roarks” or “Rombies “(randian zombies , in my opinion) ,as i explained in an earlier  “Rand Ranting” ( https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/348/ )   . Well the Rand phase lasted for a long time  , and the latest article stirred up memories , Rand will always have her critics , but legions of  “RAN-doms”  – Ayn Rand Fandoms you know you are getting addicted to tumblr when you start using the word fandom ) and the websites , even the critics  are proof of her pure genius (only a masterpiece can spawn such passionate take-downs years  after its written ) and lets admit it – for all the rand bashing we indulge as adults now  , Roark  , or not to forget , John Galt  is certainly not a bad example to look upto  as a youngster .

So here’s the link and one can decide based on his/her “present”  opinion of her works


with this palatable side dish – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=randroid

Write text here…


What’s even better than drinking while reading? Eating while reading, of course (hint: you can have a drink, too). With the news that Biblio, a book-themed eatery, was popping up in Williamsburg, Flavorwire took to the Internet to put together a guide to a few amazing-looking literary-themed restaurants from around the world. Indulge your eyes (and, if you’re close enough, your stomachs) at these bookish establishments.

Perfumes Inspired by Dead Writers


Perfumes Inspired by Dead Writers –

a few………..

Jane Austen: Darjeeling tea, snowdrops and pansies (flowers from her garden), meadow grass

Dorothy Parker: Whiskey sour, vanilla, mandarin, white musk

the Bronte Sisters: Heather, sea air, vetiver, primrose, black tea

Louisa May Alcott: Fir tree, red currant, blood orange, coffee beans

Tolstoy: Vodka, musk, black tea, black peppercorn, cedar

Dickens: Cloves, tobacco, patchouli, brandy water, river water

what about agatha christie ?????????????????????         ( ……. or rand or doyle or maugham…………etc.etc ) , but gud to see austen and the bronte sis’ s in 1 place


The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Wallace Steevens, “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm”

q, books


haruki murakami


“How people treat you is their karma;
how you react is yours.”

Wayne Dyer



My Definite Chief Aim

I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.

Bruce Lee

Jan. 1969

A hand-written note from Bruce Lee, courtesy of Cojourneo.

(via blinksoflife)   just-rise-again:Queued <3

“It was a small dingy bookshop in a side street … I sidled through the doorway. It was necessary to sidle, since precariously arranged books impinged more and more every day on the passageway from the street. Inside, it was clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”

Agatha Christie, The Clocks, 1963

“Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you’ve finished just to stay near it.” - Markus Zusak