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22nd August 2014


A hedge of thorns around the palace

A large hedge of thorns soon grew round the palace, and every year it became higher and thicker, till at last the whole palace was surrounded and hid, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen. But there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping Rose-Bud (for so was the king’s daughter called); so that from time to time several kings’ sons came, and tried to break through the thicket into the palace. This they could never do; for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them as it were with hands, and there they stuck fast and died miserably.

From ‘Rose-Bud’ in Grimms’ Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm (Penguin Popular Classics, 1996)

Tagged: booksliteratureallegoryplantsfairy talesBrothers Grimm

19th August 2014


Too beautiful to be examined

I remain a student of history, more of one than ever, now that our century has torn its way out of its chrysalis and become too beautiful to be examined, too alive to be debated and exploited by played-out intellectuals. The important thing is no longer to predict in what way its grand convulsions might next shake us. Now the important thing is to ride it into the sky.

Denis Johnson, The Name of the World (2000)

Tagged: bookswritinghistoryliteratureDenis Johnson

18th August 2014


She had a funny way at the ends of her sentences. Rather than a pause, she created a plunge.
— Denis Johnson, The Name of the World (2000)

Tagged: bookswritingspeechlanguageliteratureDenis Johnson

16th August 2014

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Police brutality is only one facet of the crystal of terror and oppression. Behind police brutality there is social brutality, economic brutality, and political brutality.
— Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice (1968)

Tagged: booksracepoliticseconomicsEldridge Cleaver

15th August 2014


Dying before dying

I understand that the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, and also the rites of passage of the native cultures, enabled people to go through a kind of dying before dying. The 17th-century German Augustinian monk Abraham of Santa Clara put it very succinctly: The man who dies before he dies does not die when he dies. Once you have this experience, you do not see death as the end of who you are, but as a fantastic journey, as a transition to a different mode and level of existence. Whether this is a profound cosmic truth or a merciful delusion, as some of the materialistic critics of transpersonal psychology assert, it can certainly transform people’s lives.

Stanislav Grof, The Consciousness Revolution: A Transatlantic Dialogue (1999)

Tagged: bookspsychologydeathmysticismtranspersonalStanislav Grof

15th August 2014

Photo reblogged from From Within a Book... with 202 notes


Books made out of books


Books made out of books

Tagged: bookssculpturepaperbook artpaper artEmma Taylorbookshelves

15th August 2014

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Unrequited passions

One of the advantages of unrequited passions, I find, is that there is no need to worry about infidelity.

One can fall in love with a new person every day and hurt no one except oneself.

No recriminations, no sulking, no painful divorce.

I was an old hand.

Lucy Ellmann, Varying Degrees of Hopelessness (1991)

Tagged: bookswritinghumourlovefeelsLucy Ellmann

12th August 2014

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What I could do

What I could do

I could mend nets. Thatch a roof. Build stairs. Make a basket from reeds. Splint the leg of a cow. Cut turf. Build a wall. Go three rounds with Joe in the ring Da put up in the barn. I could dance sets. Read the sky. Make a barrel for mackerel. Mend roads. Make a boat. Stuff a saddle. Put a wheel on a cart. Strike a deal. Make a field. Work the swarth turner, the float and the thresher. I could read the sea. Shoot straight. Make a shoe. Shear sheep. Remember poems. Set potatoes. Plough and harrow. Read the wind. Tend bees. Bind wyndes. Make a coffin. Take a drink. I could frighten you with stories. I knew the song to sing to a cow when milking. I could play twenty-seven tunes on my accordion.

Timothy O’Grady, I Could Read the Sky (1997)

Tagged: booksIrelandIrish booksIrish literatureTimothy O'Grady

10th August 2014

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The sound that would one day be language

By the time she was a few weeks old she had learned to distinguish the undulating cadences of the sound that would one day be language to her. The drone from a distance: a deep sound alternating with a series of lighter notes, the ebb and flow of conversation between Gerald and Ivy in the next room. An increase in volume and steep rise in pitch always preceded a face looming over her cot, its lips pursing and stretching to push the sing-song, melodic sound towards her. The faces chirruped and trilled at her, all of it meaningless but vital as milk.

Jenny Diski, Like Mother (1988)

Tagged: booksspeechlanguagelanguage acquisitionJenny Diskibabies

3rd August 2014

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The language of corporations is like a vampire without fangs; it has no venom or bite but you don’t want it hanging off your neck just the same.
— Don Watson, Gobbledygook (2003)

Tagged: bookslanguagevampiresmetaphorscorporatespeakEnglish usagegobbledygookDon Watson