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Tuesday, 22 May


The Clouds (A Play In Three Acts) (Kvapil) New Online Books

The Clouds (A Play In Three Acts) (reprinted from Poet-Lore; Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1910), by Jaroslav Kvapil, trans. by Charles Recht (stable link)

The Bells and Crosses of The Mission Inn and the Ford Paintings of the California Missions New Online Books

The Bells and Crosses of The Mission Inn and the Ford Paintings of the California Missions (ca. 1912) (stable link)

The Church Bells of Cambridgeshire (Raven) New Online Books

The Church Bells of Cambridgeshire: A Chronicle of The Principal Companalogical Events That Have Occurred Within the County; To Which Is Appended a List of the Inscriptions on the Bells (Lowestoft, UK: S. Tymms, 1869), by John James Raven (stable link)

Disquisitions on Several Subjects (Jenyns) New Online Books

Disquisitions on Several Subjects (London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1782), by Soame Jenyns (stable link)

Essays, Selected From the Writings, Literary, Political, and Religious, of Joseph Mazzini (Mazzini) New Online Books

Essays, Selected From the Writings, Literary, Political, and Religious, of Joseph Mazzini (London: W. Scott, ca. 1887), by Giuseppe Mazzini, ed. by William Clarke (stable link)

Political and Literary Essays, Third Series (Cromer) New Online Books

Political and Literary Essays, Third Series (London: Macmillan and Co., 1916), by Evelyn Baring Cromer (stable link)

Literary Fragments (Brodrick) New Online Books

Literary Fragments (London: Spottiswoode and Co., 1891), by George C. Brodrick (stable link)

Message of the President, Richmond. Va., Nov. 29, 1864 (Confederate States of America. Department of the Treasury) New Online Books

Message of the President, Richmond. Va., Nov. 29, 1864, by Confederate States of America Department of the Treasury (stable link)

Report of Hospital Committee (Confederate States of America. Congress. House of Representatives. Hospital Committee) New Online Books

Report of Hospital Committee (1862), by Confederate States of America House of Representatives Hospital Committee (stable link)

Wit and Humour, Selected From The English Poets; With an Illustrative Essay, and Critical Comments (Hunt) New Online Books

Wit and Humour, Selected From The English Poets; With an Illustrative Essay, and Critical Comments (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1846), ed. by Leigh Hunt (stable link)


The Dead Goldfinch (All That Was Left to Love), George Elgar... The Lion of Chaeronea

The Dead Goldfinch (All That Was Left to Love), George Elgar Hicks, 1878


Books, Cooks, and Crooks (A Novel Idea #3) Any Good Book

Author:  Lucy Arlington
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780425252246
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
February 4, 2014

Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, is bubbling with excitement for the Taste of the Town festival, and Lila is right in the middle of it all.  Along with her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila is organizing a grand celebrity chef event, featuring food television's biggest stars, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

But just as the celebration is about to start, the demo kitchen blows up, taking one of the star cooks with it.  With all the explosive egos of the cook's colleagues, it's hard to find someone who didn't have a motive to eliminate the competition.  Now Lila will have to scramble to figure out which of her clients is a killer - before someone else gets burned.

Lila Wilkins, along with the rest of the agents at A Novel Idea literary agency, are planning the first Books and Cooks Festival and have several authors lined up to attend.  But when they arrive, it's obvious that there's more brewing under the surface with them than there is in a coffee pot.  They don't like each other, and the main attraction, as it were, Klara Patrick, has been making snide remarks to everyone about their cooking, which is making emotions run high.

After a particularly heated encounter, one of the chefs leaves in a huff, and then there is an explosion in the kitchen shortly after.  When it is determined he's been killed, it doesn't take the police long to figure out that he was murdered.  But discovering the reason why or the person responsible isn't going to be easy, and when another chef is also killed, it's obvious that whomever is doing this has some serious hatred toward the deceased.  But figuring it out could be more complicated than anyone expects...

I really was hoping that the author(s) had improved this series by now, but in the first few pages...


Idealized male portrait (the so-called Alcibiades). Roman copy... The Lion of Chaeronea

Idealized male portrait (the so-called Alcibiades). Roman copy after a lost Greek original of the late Classical period.  The lower part of the bust is a modern restoration.  Now in the Capitoline Museums, Rome.  Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.


Light Effects: On Miyoko Itos Abstract Inventions The Paris Review

Center Stage, 1980, oil on canvas.


In the fifties, when she was in her early thirties, Miyoko Ito was called an old lady painter, passe. She recalled the slight when she was sixty and nearing the end of her life, yet still decades away from recognition. Now, thirty-five years after her death, her work looks positively avant-garde for any time. Paintings from her most inventive period, the seventies and early eighties, were recently the subject of Heart of Hearts at Artists Space in New York, curated by Jordan Stein. (The show originated at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.) Itos work is brilliantly sui generis: it touches on the familiar styles of surrealism, minimal abstraction, and synthetic cubism to create meditative color spaces of intermingling forms that allude to landscapes, sexual organs, and urban architecture.

For decades, Ito, who spent her adult life in Chicago, has been a kind of cult figure for certain painters and critics (myself included). She was an outlier: Ito made abstract paintings at a time when her adopted city was mostly interested in figuration, and unlike many of her younger peers, she did not exhibit with a consistent group of artists. She also made her finest work at a time when painting as a medium and surrealism as a mode had been critically discredited. 

Island in the Sun, 1978, exemplifies the qualities that make her work both prescient and, at the time, critically unfavorable. Like much of her painting, it comprises a vocabulary of colorful undulations, jutting triangles, crosscurrent patterns, semicircles, and short, wavy lines. It is thickly painted, each color mixed with a palette knife and usually applied from right to left. Slats of color form the primary structurea triangleand the entire construction rests atop multicolor horizontal planes, one blending into the next. The pale-blue rectangle in the center of the painting indicates a window, but above it sits an ominous mound that seems to recede into a space unconnected from the rest of the image. Island...


Who Gets to Be Brooklyn Born? The Paris Review


I am looking for a place to live. Ill be moving this summer, and in my wildest fantasies, Im headed somewhere I can afford both a mortgage and my steep student-loan payments. I know New York City isnt that place, but I continue kicking around the idea of a returnBrooklyn, in particular, haunts me because it once felt like home and then didnt anymore. Perhaps I wrote my first novel, Halsey Street, about gentrified Bed-Stuy, because I wanted to have a kind of ownership of Brooklyn on the page, if not in deed.

For the last few years, Ive been in Durham, North Carolina. This city is undergoing its own gentrification. Ive seen all the telltale signs: new breweries and hotel bars, the influx of money and affluent patrons. One caf downtown even sells Brooklyn drip, four dollars for a large. In Durham, Im aware of the renewal and displacement, but I spend far less time thinking of how I fit in. When I run into New Yorkers who fled the city for North Carolina, we wind up talking about Brooklyn or the Bronx, the difficulties of life there. Maybe its because for us, Durham is still affordable compared to New York, or else because its easiest to mourn the displacement that displaced you. Its been unsettling to notice in myself the same kind of relative apathy and self-interest that, in my novel, I wrote into the characters who move from the West Village to Bed-Stuy.

In Brooklyn, gentrification felt personal. My awareness of it peaked, unsurprisingly, when I returned to Fort Greene from college. The timing wasnt at all because of some objective fact about the face of gentrification in New York in 2008; rather, the timing was about me. I had finished my time at Yale, where microaggressions left me feeling a mixture of alienation, defiance, and a deep longing to prove my worth, if only to myself. Back in Brooklyn, I didnt like to see the elite worlds of Yale and my private high school encroaching on the familiar streets of home. Young Yalies threw parties a few blocks away from my parents rent-stabilized apartment. Girls from high school moved into the borough. I was unnerved, indignant, unsure of where I fit in. And yet I know it doe...


Noli me tangere, Jehan (Jean) Bellegambe, ca. 1500 The Lion of Chaeronea

Noli me tangere, Jehan (Jean) Bellegambe, ca. 1500

Monday, 21 May


Why Are We So Fascinated by Cults? The Paris Review

Still from Wild Wild Country.


In March, I sent an announcement around to friends and colleagues: watch out for my new novel, Buddhism for Western Children. Its a spiraling story of a powerful, manipulative guru versus a boy who must escape to recover his will, I wrote, and it profiles Western lust for Eastern spiritual mystique and tradition. I got a lot of wonderful goodwill in response, and also quite a few, Waitis this like Wild Wild Country?

What was Wild Wild Country? I dont watch TV, a habit left over from my antiworldly, culty childhood, on which my novel is loosely based, but now, obligated, I turned on Netflix. Like so many others, I was hooked, and I began to wonder anew why accounts of cultsnovels, movies, docudramastitillate and resonate time and again?

Wild Wild Country, the true-crime docuseries directed by the brothers Chapman and Maclain Way, is a sprawling, melodramatic, tricky show that follows the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh from his sixties-era ashram in India to a vast ranch in Central Oregon in 1981. It uses miles and miles of sandy, archival, look-at-me footage (and you feel a little dirty, looking), including incredulous televised broadcasters, and pulls you through a heady succession of the scandals provoked as the cults new city arose. It was really wild country, says one of the key followers, or sannyasins. Helicopter shots zoom in on the frontier, a mountainous, treeless terrain: Everything you can see belonged to you, declares Ma Anand Sheela, Bhagwans irrepressible, blithely arrogant lieutenant, who is arguably the mastermind of the soon-to-be metropolis. The interlopers stream and swarm into Antelope, wearing a color wheel of red hues. The locals feel besieged. As tensions between Oregonians and spiritual seekers simmer, schisms also flare inside Rajneeshpuram. The conflict is further animated by an asto...


Blame the Cat! This Is My Truth Now


Happy Monday!  Last week, I shared how Murphy (the dog) kidnapped my precious copy of Father Figure.  It was returned, in perfect condition! Serious points to the dog! Yet, once again, it turned up missing.  As I started my book hunt, I stumbled upon this scene



img_3382Merlin Enjoying Father Figure


She promised that there will be no drool on the book!  Time will tell!

As for our amazing author man, Jayhe has arrived safely in Italy!  It sounds like he is having a fabulous time!  My secret agents are working on snapping a few photos  I will share as soon as possible.

Have a magical Monday!





astronomyblog: Images captured by NASAs Spitzer Space... The Lion of Chaeronea


Images captured by NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. (Some images include data from other telescopes)

The Spitzer Space Telescope is the final mission in NASAs Great Observatories Program - a family of four space-based observatories, each observing the Universe in a different kind of light. The other missions in the program include the visible-light Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO).

The Cryogenic Telescope Assembly, which contains the a 85 centimeter telescope and Spitzers three scientific instruments

The Spacecraft, which controls the telescope, provides power to the instruments, handles the scientific data and communicates with Earth

It may seem like a contradiction, but NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope must be simultaneously warm and cold to function properly. Everything in the Cryogenic Telescope Assembly must be cooled to only a few degrees above absolute zero (-459 degrees Fahrenheit, or -273 degrees Celsius). This is achieved with an onboard tank of liquid helium, or cryogen.  Meanwhile, electronic equipment in The Spacecraft portion needs to operate near room temperature.

Spitzers highly sensitive instruments allow scientists to peer into cosmic regions that are hidden from optical telescopes, including dusty stellar nurseries, the centers of galaxies, and newly forming planetary systems. Spitzers infrared eyes also allows astronomers see cooler objects in space, like failed stars (brown dwarfs), extrasolar planets, giant molecular clouds, and organic molecules that may hold the secret to life on other planets.

Spitzer was originally built to last for a minimum of 2.5 years, but it lasted in the cold phase for over 5.5 years. On May 15, 2009 the coolant was finally depleted and the Spitzer warm mission began.  Op...


House in the Country, Paul Czanne, 1879-92 The Lion of Chaeronea

House in the Country, Paul Czanne, 1879-92


If you're still doing the art questions, Rebecca Louise Law The Lion of Chaeronea

What is your favorite flower?: The daffodil. I love the way it looks like a small golden trumpet.


Probable Claws (A Mrs. Murphy Mystery) Any Good Book

Author:  Rita Mae Brown
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Digital Book
ISBN : 9780425287156
Bantam Publishing
352 Pages
$27.00; $13.99 Amazon
May 29, 2018

With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia, into a living snow globe.  It's the perfect setting for Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen to build a new work shed designed by her dear friend, local architect Gary Gardner.  But the natural serenity is shattered when out of the blue, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and in broad daylight, Gary is shot to death by a masked motorcyclist.

Outraged by the brazen murder, Harry begins to burrow into her friend's past - and unearths a pattern of destructive greed reaching far back into Virginia's post-Revolutionary history.  When Harry finds incriminating evidence, the killer strikes again.

Heedless of her own safety, Harry follows a trail of clues to a construction site in Richmond, where the discovery of mysterious remains has recently halted work.  Aided as always by her loyal, if opinionated, companions, crime-solving cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker the Corgi, Harry hunts for a link between the decades-old dead, the recently violently deceased - and ancient secrets that underlie everything.  And while other deaths are narrowly averted in a flurry of fur, the killer remains at large - even more desperate and dangerous.  The deep-rooted legacy of corruption that's been exposed can never be buried again.  But if Harry keeps pursuing the terrible truth, she may be digging her own grave.

"Harry" Harristeen lives in Crozet, Virginia with her veternarian husband Fair and her assortment of animals, including her felines Pewter and Mrs. Murphy and her Corgi Tucker.  She has decided to build a new work shed and she's hired architect Gary Gardner, a good friend, to build it.  But when she's standing outside his shop along with Gary and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, a motorcyclist stops and shoots Gary once then drives away.  The bullet is perfectly aimed and he quickly dies from the wound.

But who would want Gary...


Every Trick in the Book (A Novel Idea Mystery #2) Any Good Book

Author:  Lucy Arlington
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN:  9780425251676
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.55; $7.99 Amazon
February 5, 2013

Lila Wilkins has it all: the home of her dreams in he charming town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina; a perfect police officer boyfriend; and a new job she absolutely loves.  At the Book and Author Festival, which is sponsored by the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila expects to discover some talented new authors, but what she finds instead is the body of an editor to whom she bears an eerie resemblance.

Trouble is, the editors death isnt the only literary murder taking place.  Soon a blossoming author is also killed, and Lila has a gut feeling that the two murders are linked.  Now she must hunt down the dark figure who killed these women - and to her surprise, she just mind find the clues hidden in a manuscript...

Lila Wilkins finally has the life shes been dreaming of - a job at a literary agency, a new home, and a new boyfriend.  She should be content, but shes not.  Shes worried about her son Trey whom shes allowed to live in a commune, hoping hell want to eventually go to college.  But she has a lot on her plate right now; the agency is hosting a book and author festival and Lila is going to be busy for the weekend.

What she doesnt expect is to come face-to-face with someone who resembles her so closely they could almost be twins.  The woman, Melissa Plume, is a New York editor whos attending in the hopes of finding a new author or two.  But when an ominously menacing man is staring at Lila, and just as suddenly places a raven feather on her desk, shes shaken slightly and wondering what its all about.

When she learns later that Melissa has been murdered, shes sure its the strange man, and shes also sure she knows his identity.  But if she does, will she chase after him and only put herself in danger?  Lilas sense of justice comes to the forefront, but unfortunately, the killing is quite over yet...



Quartzite portrait sculpture of the 13th Dynasty pharaoh... The Lion of Chaeronea

Quartzite portrait sculpture of the 13th Dynasty pharaoh Neferhotep (I) Khasekhemre.  Artist unknown; ca. 1750 BCE.  From Abydos; now in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago.


The Rest on the Flight to Egypt with St. Francis, Correggio,... The Lion of Chaeronea

The Rest on the Flight to Egypt with St. Francis, Correggio, 1517

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