Friday, August 31, 2018

Shelf control

The largest libraries in the world

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Bestselling authors

Patten was added due to the fact that he is estimated to have sold as many books as Dr Seuss but one could note that the reappearance here of Christie, Shakespeare, Blyton, Rowling and Theodor Seuss Geisel invite musing on other bestselling authors: Leo Tolstoy's 413 million book sales ensure we don't see a dumbing down or battle between those held high in literary estimation and potboiler writers, while the appearance of manga authors (which presumably includes the artwork) Eiichiro Oda and Akira Toriyama remind us that the term 'author' is more widely used than for conventional print books. Corin Tellado, Jackie Collins and Nora Roberts assure us that romance really is popular, not just a fluke for fans of Cartland and Steel. Crime fiction is huge, so is suspense. Fantasy and its affiliation with children's books. Horatio Alger is testament to success through writing dime novels. R.L. Stine attests to the power of children's series with a catchy hook, Pushkin misleads writers into thinking that playwrights and poets make money - that's if Shakespeare hasn't done the job. And, in the biggest upset, Dean Koontz outsells Stephen King in horror - King would be crying all the way to the bank.
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Saturday, August 25, 2018

A pocketful of poesy

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Collect myself

Poetry book Poet
Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems by Li BaiLi Po and Tu Fu
Eugene Onegin: a Novel in VerseAlexander Pushkin
Complete PoemsEmily Dickinson
The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, ParadisoDante Alighieri
The Complete Sonnets and PoemsWilliam Shakespeare
Paradise LostJohn Milton
Lyrical Ballads: 1798 and 1802William Wordsworth
Don JuanGeorge Gordon Byron
Leaves of GrassWalt Whitman
The Waste Land and Other PoemsT.S. Eliot 
Image result for pushkin dickinsonImage result for pushkin dickinson

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Risk a verse

    Poem Poet
    Sonnet 18William Shakespeare
    Holy Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not ProudJohn Donne
    DaffodilsWilliam Wordsworth
    A Psalm of LifeHenry Wadsworth Longfellow
    On His BlindnessJohn Milton
    The TygerWilliam Blake
    Ode on a Grecian UrnJohn Keats
    OzymandiasPercy Bysshe Shelley
    The New ColossusEmma Lazarus
    The Road Not TakenRobert Frost 
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    Saturday, August 18, 2018

    A fielded crowd

    If I was ever going to be defined, it would be as a poet. If I'd been a more disciplined athlete or dedicated farm kid, would those traits have taken hold? I don't believe so. Given the standard of my earliest efforts, there must have been some deep seated attraction to writing verse.
    What pains me is that I emerge to find folk who, when they're done slinging off at people calling themselves poets, they call themselves poets. Loud, obnoxious, repetitive, obvious, insolent.. there's a lot of scope as to what to utilise in your production and delivery; just as with many another pursuit.

    And that's where I run into trouble. I barely got through Study of Poetry as, by that stage, I had well formed notions of what poetry is and how it should go. These were theoreticians in search of a B muse
    I did get one poem out of humanities (not saying the faculty doesn't appear in other guises) Postmodern Tension

    No, I'm convinced the lingo is what rules. I'm too lazy to go back over all the rules to explain what I mean: language? I'm not a language snob, though it is a broader term than vocabulary or grammar and I'm trying to talk about words and their meanings at that molecular level; the power they possess in all their current and latent form.

    The skill then is in delivering this with gusto, trusting that the message or original impetus remain preserved.

    You have suffered through below par blogging to get to this post but, trust me, it's worth it. If you proceed from theory or sentiment then you can still produce a fine poem but I wouldn't recommend it. My advice (and posterity will out) is to grab at the idea as it passes through your thoughts; flits at first but later gets bolder the more it is noticed. Jot that down in a journal. Maybe you can work straight on the screen but I always kept hard copies and, even though I've written many poems online on message boards and newsgroups and emails and Myspace and Facebook in the intervening years, I still hand write poems in common garden variety exercise books that would have otherwise contained wiggly geometry.


    Poetry has its origins in the vocal tradition so it's little wonder if some privilege spoken word and  slam poetry. Poetry readings fall somewhere across both disciplines: the literal image of some old coot fumbling with his specs before declaiming his scrawl.
    Poetry's in podcasts and blogs and social media groups so it's certainly cyber but the live delivery, however changed, is an ironic foil to that.

    It happens that, even on the page, poetry can pop up in unexpected places. Nestled near an anthology of poetry and a collection there may be a short story or a novel containing scraps of verse; a non-fiction work may preface its chapters with relevant snippets.

    How do you compete where there are 560 million search results for poetry.
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    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Play again

    Without looking let's assume that William Shakespeare totally rules when it comes to poetry and plays. I'm further guessing that Romeo and Juliet holds top position.

    Rather than get in the required mention of Hamlet, Othello, As You Like It, Midsummer Night's Dream or you name it, let's look at the list that Time Out provide

    Play Playwright
    HamletWilliam Shakespeare
    Long Day's Journey Into NightEugene O'Neill
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Edward Albee
    Death of a SalesmanArthur Miller
    Oedipus RexSophocles
    Angels in AmericaTony Kushner
    The Glass MenagerieTennessee Williams
    Look Back in AngerJohn Osborne
    A Raisin in the SunLorraine Hansberry
    WoyzeckGeorg Büchner

    Three on the list are unfamiliar to me and I did see it as UScentric at first blush but there are Polish, Irish, Russian when you go through the top 50. Really just as you're taught in any good literary class and unexceptional in the best way. Still it's a shame not to have an excuse this time to sneak in Waiting for Godot which is waiting just below the top ten.

    Plays now start out on the written page if you don't count the original thought or impulse of the playwright or even earlier works that have influenced them. Collected plays appear in bookshops and libraries and the occasional home.
    Unless there are postmodern deconstructing works that are unable to be performed - which, ironically, wouldn't surprise me - plays are written to be performed on stage or in the round.

    It is getting a little far from the page to talk about radio plays, screenplays and teleplays. Nonetheless they have their origin in works written on parchment to be performed to live patrons. Not even the narrator has disappeared completely; is downright yappy in some shows.

    It is quite fascinating to look at the origin of plays and how they innovated on features we now take for granted. It's also interesting to see how, much like storytelling in general, it exists in an oral tradition before it begins to be written down and codified.
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    Wednesday, August 01, 2018

    Sighs says

    There is varied opinion as to the most significant or well regarded novella and all one list did was point out that The Little Prince is one, necessitating a revision of that 'biggest selling novels' list to include Vardi Wala Gunda, written in Hindi by Ved Prakash Sharma and selling more than 80 million copies.

    Scholars bicker over the length of some works, debating as to whether they should be short stories not novellas or novellas not novels. There are enough mentions of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge in the short story category and A Clockwork Orange in novellas to award some recognition. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson also leapt out at me; probably more because I remember reading it in the horror collection I had - often buying these at second-hand bookshops and reading them on the train.

    Goodreads declare Animal Farm as triumphant among novellas. George Orwell is ever in vogue.

    Leo Tolstoy, whose work War and Peace is always cited for its doorstop status, shows he was a  master of the novella also with The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    Charles Dickens, master novelist, is likewise recognized for both short story The Signal Man and novella A Christmas Carol and for the collection of short pieces Sketches by Boz

    Due to its size, and the fact that the top examples of the novella form are literary, there is no doubt that there are and will be endless dissertations on such classics as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Stranger by Albert Camus, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.


    If you're like me, you would look up other people's selections of great short story collections out of interest or for fun. It just so happens the short story is next.

    When you just look up best short stories, Google gives you a row of short stories with the cover of the book each is in. Leading off is The Lottery and The Signal-Man is also prominent. Those blurred lines become more apparent when you see works classified elsewhere as novellas appearing again. Authors do legitimately reappear here though for the short stories they've written. Hemingway and Kafka. Edgar Allen Poe must have every one of those tales of mystery and imagination featured.
    There are just the kind of stories you would expect like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Rip van Winkle, then there's ones I keep seeing mentioned such as The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and there's ones I hopefully still have in a yellowing paperback stored in a box; The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin and The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs
    I could rave about Guy de Maupassant or ponder at how To Build a Fire by Jack London is completely new to me when it is held in such high regard. Perhaps I've just forgotten the title.

    A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor, The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry and The Dead James Joyce round out the list. I'm quite sure there would be other conversations about all the short stories we've read, all the quirky tales consumed.


    Last in the totem is the novelette, not because it is next in size. It either lies between the short story and the novella or it is the same as a novella if perhaps more flippant. Hardly worth talking about one might say.