In the vast abyss before time

by Ursula K. Le Guin

In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.

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Narrative Typology


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Does anybody really know what time it is

Artist, writer, and data scientist Ross Goodwin created this brilliant website that tells the current time in your own time zone using passages from public domain digital books available at Project Guttenberg. When you visit Text Clock, you will find paragraphs with red highlighted words providing the time. If you reload the page by pressing Control+R, you will get a completely different set of sentences.

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Britain In Pictures

The books  in the 1940s Britain in Pictures series were designed to boost morale during World War II, but perhaps also record the British way of life in case the Germans completed their European campaign by successfully crossing the English Channel. The books were slim volumes with distinctive elegant covers, but it was the star-studded array of authors that made the series really special.

George Orwell wrote about the British people, Cecil Beaton wrote about English photography, the great poet and printer Francis Meynell wrote about English books, John Betjeman (who penned the immortal line” Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough” in 1937) wrote about cities and towns, Graham Greene wrote about dramatists, the doyen of sports journalists Neville Cardus wrote about cricket and Edith Sitwell wrote about women. Some of the authors have faded in obscurity but they were all experts in their field during those dark days of World War II.

A wide variety of subjects were covered from battlefields to boxing, clocks to mountaineering, butterflies to farm animals, and from waterways and canals to maps and map-makers. In all, there were were 132 titles in the series. Over the years I’ve run across dozens of the title, but usually only paid attention to the “big name” authors, such as Graham Greene, John Betjeman, and George Orwell.

I was not surprised to discover that after the War Orwell refused to allow his edition to be reprinted and distanced himself from the project.

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There and back again (again)

Last year I posted a story about the Oxford Bodleian Library once-in-a-lifetime exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earthwhich was the most extensive public display of original Tolkien materials ever gathered in one place. This week I was dead chuffed to discover that the very same show will be coming to New York City’s amazing Morgan Library and Museum.

The twice-in-a-lifetime exhibition, which will run from January 25, to May 12,2019, will include original maps and illustrations, book designs, early manuscripts, family memorabilia, photographs, artwork, and artifacts.

The admission fee for the show is $20, but you can visit for free on Friday evenings from 7 to 9 PM. If you’ve never been to the Morgan, it’s worth a trip to see this American treasure.

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Paris Remembers

Four years ago  this week, Paris was shocked by the terror attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French street artist Christian Guémy, aka C215,  has paid tribute to the eleven victims of the horrific attack with a mural . At the bottom of the work is a quote from victim Stéphane Charbonnier, better known as Charb, from 2012:  ”  I am not afraid of retaliation, I have no kids, no women, no car, no credit. It may be a little pompous what I am going to say, but I prefer to die standing than to live on my knees  “.


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Isn’t all of Britain fictional

Fake Britain is a marvelous map to more than 400 fictional locations in England, Scotland and Wales featuring made-up towns, villages, castles, islands, and more. Created by Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davis, the map draws from films, television and books. I could have sworn that I spent a wet weekend in Little Tadfield.


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In Case You Were Wondering


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Am I A Book Snob


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Bookstore Tourism: Austin

Over the years I’ve visit dozens of library book sales and used book outlets, but I think that Austin, Texas has to have the biggest bookstore. Situated in an unappealing stripmall. Recycled Reads is a surprising find. The city of Austin has fully committed to increasing sustainability and has supported the idea that all books should be recycled. It’s too bad that every community doesn’t embrace this simple way to keep books out of the waste stream

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