Bookish News of the Day

Lord Byron

On this date, in 1812, poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords. “A strong advocate of social reform, he received particular praise as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites: specifically, he was against a death penalty for Luddite “frame breakers” in Nottinghamshire, who destroyed textile machines that were putting them out of work. His first speech before the Lords was loaded with sarcastic references to the “benefits” of automation, which he saw as producing inferior material as well as putting people out of work. He said later that he “spoke very violent sentences with a sort of modest impudence”, and thought he came across as “a bit theatrical”

Welcome to your News of the Day!


Born on This Day

1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1902 – John Steinbeck
1910 – Peter De Vries
1912 – Lawrence Durrell
1913 – Irwin Shaw

Died on This Day

1706 – John Evelyn
2008 – William F. Buckley, Jr.


Freedom to Read Week

The 49th Shelf has posted a list of challenged Canadian books that you should read this week!! (It’s Freedom to Read week!!)


The Big Shew

This weekend saw some serious hardware being handed out, with both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars being handed out. There were more than just a few Bookish connections as many vying for honours started their lives as books.

Twitter saw some fun: as people imagined books or authors walking the red carpet. #BooksRedCarpet trended for a good while!

The adorable Michelle Williams is Bookish. YAY!


The Nabokovs – Vlaimir & Dmitri

In some sad news, Dmitri Nabokov, son of author, Vladimir Nabokov, died this past Wednesday in Vevey, Switzerland. He was 77. Nabokov the younger “In contrast with his father, who was said to focus on literature and lepidoptery to the exclusion of all else, Dmitri Nabokov was a bon vivant, a professional opera singer, a race car driver and a mountain climber.

He was also devoted to the full range of his father’s work” and he was responsible for the management of his father’s literary legacy.

Check out this old footage of Vladimir Nabokov as he marvels of the different covers for his novel, Lolita.


Oh Dear – Franzen Does It Again

Last week, Jonathan Franzen wrote in The New Yorker, on the occasion of Edith Wharton’s 150th birthday (paid access content). The piece caused not just a few ripples. He “he harped on her looks and read the biographical record in ways” that caused author Victoria Patterson to respond.


Jane Austen – On Display

World Book Day (this Thursday) will see Bodleian Library in Oxford display ‘new’ Jane Austen portrait and sampler – for one day only.


March Madness – HarperCollins Canada Style

64 books are competing to become HCC’s 2012 March Madness Champion. You could win all 64 books! The brackets of competition will be announced next Monday.


Leonard Cohen

How does a poet of despair survive in rock ʻn’ roll? Ideas are the engine of Leonard Cohen’s success. His ideas are old and radical and, on occasion, surprisingly persuasive.

On occasion of the release of Cohen’s 12th album, CBC’s Radio 3 takes a look at Cohen’s most famous song, Hallelujah.


Poem of the Day


by: George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!


Word of the Day

flexuous \ FLEK-shoo-uhs \ , adjective;

1. Full of bends or curves; sinuous.


Her flexuous and stealthy figure became an integral part of the scene. At times her whimsical fancy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story.
— Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

What is anomalous about Nietzsche in this context is scarcely the hold this plot has on him, but indeed the flexuous sweetness with which sometimes he uniquely invests it…
— Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet


Flexuous is derived from the Latin word flexuōsus which meant full of turns or crooked. This is an interesting example where the suffix changes the implication of the word. Unlike the more common word flexible, which means “capable of being bent” because of the suffix -ible , flexuous has the suffix, -ous meaning “full of.”

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