June 12, 2011


Sean S.

If they won't fit in your library, the Bonds would find a welcome home in mine. Free shipping!

ward jones

When you get to be my age you'll have as many (and maybe more) novels on your shelves as I do.

Aleja Boland

I happen to also own that addition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which amused me. And I must report that I've tried the fudge recipe in the back, and it is splendid. :)

George Djuric

Do you have Dog Years or Berlin Alexanderplatz there?


I so regret giving up my own Ian Fleming collection in a move years ago.....Nice photo.


Young(ish) librarian here affirming your choice to place "Mc" after "Ma." The Mac/Mc divide is an old one and generally no longer honoured (at least in the libraries and book stores with which I'm acquainted).

book review websites

I have to admit that I am jealous that you have such a vast and amazing collection that you have to worry about where to place things and have certain letters take up more than just one shelf. I didn't really get into reading myself until I was in Junior High but since then I always love having a book handy. I hope to eventually amass a great collection that I can devote a whole to containing. I think it would also be neat if I could make a bookshelf that opened up to reveal a panic room for reading of sorts.

Mark Hinton

The only thing more enjoyable than occasionally reorganizing your bookshelves is reorganizing your liquor cabinet.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."