Archive | January 2013

I’ve been reblogged!

I’ve been reblogged!

This is exciting for me since it’s the first time anyone ever asked!

Thanks so much to Susan for posting my stuff at her BEAUTIFUL Louisa May Alcott site.


Bad News: Bedbugs and Books

I was a bit concerned about this, actually. It occurred to me that since books are porous and fibrous – well, paper and cloth – perhaps they could carry bedbugs. How horrible to hear that it could happen. Very, very glad to have the freezer suggestion, but I can’t see getting a bag of books and stuffing them in with the frozen chicken every time I buy…


Bedbugs found in UW library books

This is the headline I came across doing some other Internet research.  Apparently the bedbug brouhaha is far from over.  I had heard the warning about the pesky critters when staying in hotels and even when ordering clothes, yet, never thought they would be interested in books.  The Seattle Times article discusses how bedbugs hitch rides in books and live in the spine and come creeping out at night to feed.  This is especially bad news for those of us that fall asleep with a book in hand in bed.

Here is one suggestion: give the little buggers the cold shoulder by popping the book in a Ziploc bag and popping it into the freezer.  The cold makes them chill out for good.  That comes from Stephanie Lamson, head of preservation services at the University of Washington Libraries.

I have often wiped off covers before…

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Regarding Robert Burns, his fans – new and old – on tonight’s Burns Night…

Apparently, tonight is Burns Night. I say ‘apparently’ because I don’t wish for it to seem as though I know a lot about it. I know he was quite a handsome fellow, at least in a particular picture. Robert_burns

The other day I bought a book of his poems. I was thinking of buying one at Barnes and Noble, but they didn’t have an inexpensive one in stock – I guess they aren’t celebrating Burns Night – and I knew a  local used bookshop had one, so I went there to get it. I had popped into the store some days before to check if they had his works, but I didn’t buy it then; I wasn’t thrilled with the edition. Nothing too romantic about this copy. But, when I returned to buy it, I was VERY glad that I had not gotten one at B&N. Why? I found an inscription inside that I’d not noticed before. This one wasn’t too old, 1957, but it made so many wonderful ideas pop into my mind as I mused what it said and the moment of its purchase by its original owners’.

Here’s the inscription:

burns inside

I imagined a couple on a lengthier trip than we take nowadays in an overcast and wet Scotland. I imagined the 1950s styles in solid, non-synthetic fabrics they might have worn.  She might have worn a hat, him too, actually. I imagined a vintage pocketbook, something heavy, dark and, perhaps, compartmentalized, and the couple was arm in arm as they gazed at his house and browsed the gift shop. They cared enough about their having purchased this book at this site to commemorate it by noting it. Probably with a fountain pen. Maybe.

And, then, I imagined them in some old roadster-type car motoring to and from this part of their holiday excursion in the countryside. And, I imagined how they’d gotten to Scotland. What must the plane have looked like back then? But it was probably a ship, wasn’t it? They took an ocean liner. And this book was carried up a boarding ramp in a trunk or old luggage of some kind.

And, while I know, that I’m probably completely wrong with some of this imagery and am probably using some really faulty terminology, you’ve got to admit that a used book can make for some wonderfully romantic fantasies, don’t you?

burns outside

The unknown players of Fruitlands – finally hearing their voices

This is interesting. And, for me, timely….I just read Louisa’s Fruitlands Diary and  Transcendental Wild Oats. (My reflection is here:

Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

What was it like to live at Fruitlands?

Serious Alcott biographers have devoted much ink to the family’s experience during this six-month utopian experiment. Sometimes thoughtful, often absurd and always dramatic, Fruitlands is credited with both the shaping of the famous daughter, and a change in the power structure of the Alcott marriage and family life.

Richard Francis’ exhaustive study, Fruitlands The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia reveals extensive excerpts from the writings of Charles Lane whom, with Bronson Alcott, created the community.

bronson alcott's fruitlandsBut what about other members?

In Bronson Alcott’s Fruitlands, Clara Endicott Sears reveals the lives and writings of two such members: Joseph Palmer and Isaac Thomas Hecker. It is a rare view of Fruitlands from those who simply lived it.

Isaac Hecker

Isaac Hecker was a seeker. Feeling an urgent inner call to an ascetic spiritual life, he came over from Brook Farm to…

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