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English Muse: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Introducing...The Big Lebowski

...Or Dude for short...
Big Lebowski

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! I suspect Winston Churchill would have been flattered to know that his name is so cat worthy. But I couldn't resist the Big Lebowski. It's perfect!!

Have a wonderful weekend!! I'm busy working on my new blog template...hope to launch next week!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Penguin Classics (Red) Editions

So, here's my latest obsession: UK Penguin's (Red) Editions....
Picture 8
Picture 7
Picture 16
I love the text snippets on the covers. It makes the classics seem so current and, well, sexy.

You can see the entire set on the UK Penguin website.

It's for a good cause: a portion of the money raised from the sale of the books goes to help fight AIDS in Africa.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Electronic Books or Hardcovers?

Picture 5 officials announced this week that the company now sells more e-books in its online marketplace than hardcovers.

So I wanted to ask....


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Help Name This Cat...

Hello Everyone,
I would like for you to meet the newest member of our family....
A very large, sweet cat...
He was abandoned by his owner about six months ago and left to wander the streets. When my daughter and I saw him on Friday, he wasn't looking so good. We put him in the car and took him straight to the vet, who fixed him up and then sent him home with us. We're very happy to have him, but we're having trouble deciding on a name!

Any suggestions?

He's the longest cat I've ever seen -- nearly three feet long. At the moment, he's really skinny, but he could top 18 pounds once he's been properly stuffed with Fancy Feast. One of my friends suggested that he might be a Maine Coon -- the most gigantic breed of house cat ever.

I don't even want to tell you how many animals we now have living in our flat for fear our landlady might be reading this blog. But we have a few -- and all of them are black. (Weird how it always turns out that way for me.)

This big lug of a cat with white paws was known around the neighborhood as "Shoes," although Shoes doesn't seem grand enough. Maybe Brando? Joe Kennedy? The Big Boss? (Imagine the jokes at the vet's office..."The Big Boss needs his rabies shot..." etc...)

So...any ideas!?

Thank you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Damn Dan Brown

The literary blogosphere continues to buzz with angst and dismay as thousands -- or maybe even millions -- of people learned the shocking news this week that they write like ...Dan Brown. The growing outrage -- sparked by a computerized prose analysis on a obscure website called "I Write Like" -- could be the biggest controversy involving Brown since the release of his insanely successful but widely reviled book, The Da Vinci Code. (BTW, Audrey Tautou was lovely as Sophie in the movie version.)

In a move that some hoped would calm the fears, the NYT's Paper Cuts blog weighed in on the controversy Thursday with a post titled "I Write Like...Yeah Right."

"I entered my last blog post and was told I write like Edgar Allan Poe," NYT blogger Jennifer Schuessler wrote. "Pretty neat. But then a colleague plugged in a paragraph from Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” and was told it sounded like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

One reader commented: "Thank you for debunking that. It told me I write like Dan Brown,
and I almost killed myself."

Brown, meanwhile, has gone into seclusion after learning that he writes like Jane Austen.

PS: Only parts of this post are true. The rest is fiction. I would like to dedicate it to Jonas (I hope you've gotten that dreadful program to finally give you Hemingway.)

Also, I have no idea who did the cartoon -- now floating freely about the Internet. (Email if you know the source.)

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Postcards and Souvenirs

I'm a predictable flea market shopper. I always end up on a treasure hunt for things I can bring home without much ado...
...Like postcards...
postcards polaroid
....Old matchbooks...
...Fifty-year-old bottles of "My Sin" and pink nylon slips...
perfume bottles
You know, the stuff that's easy to carry to the car in 105 degree heat.
But someday I'm going to make a grand show of it: I'll drive up to the flea market at 6 am in a
U-Haul truck with two brawny guys. We'll cart off all those things I really wanted to buy but didn't because they wouldn't fit into the back of my old Mercedes station wagon. (And I didn't have room in the house anyway. ) ... Someday...

Happy Weekend everyone. It's the third Sunday of the month, which means Long Beach and then coffee at Chuck's! See you Monday!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I write like...Kurt Vonnegut??

My friend Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times' fantastic Jacket Copy book blog had the most clever post today. She found a website -- called I Write Like -- where you can enter a few paragraphs of your prose to find out if you write like Hemingway, Chuck Palahniuk or even Bram Stoker. (There are a bunch of other authors ranging from Stephen King to J.K. Rawlings).

Take the five-second test and let me know here how it goes!

If you write like Jane Austen, you win a special prize -- a date with Colin Firth! (Joking.)

I was surprised to learn that I write like Kurt Vonnegut. I had no idea Mr. Vonnegut used so many exclamation points in his prose, but I applaud him!!


(Above photo found at F--- Yeah, Kurt Vonnegut! on Tumblr.)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

My Terrace Garden: Progress so far...

Pink azaleas and hydrangeas
Screen shot 2010-07-12 at 12.48.06 PM
A white rugosa rose...
Screen shot 2010-07-12 at 12.53.42 PM
New Dawn on the railing...
Screen shot 2010-07-12 at 12.42.30 PM
More photos to follow!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Future of the English Muse, Part II

If You Please
Hello Everyone!
Thank you so much for participating in my little survey. I've been thinking a lot about your answers this weekend and I've decided to turn the English Muse into a blog about books (mostly!). It will focus on the sorts of books that we all love: Decor, fashion, photography, art, gardening and literature. I also hope to include Q&As with authors! It would be impossible for me to write a blog about books without including my two other loves: Magazines and newspapers.

I hope the English Muse will become your destination to learn about interesting, beautiful and stylish printed media.

I'm working on the redesign of the blog now so please stay tuned for the launch date!

Thank you!!


PS: The illustration above is by artist C.J. Metzger. It accompanied an article I did some time ago about etiquette books. I loved the illustration so much that I asked Ms. Metzger if I could buy the original. (The photo she used in the collage is of her grandmother.) It's now framed in my kitchen!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The future of the English Muse

Hello my dears,
I'm working on a revamp of the English Muse and I was wondering if you would be willing to take a little poll about the topics you're most interested in reading about here. I'm thinking seriously about making the English Muse into a very visually oriented books blog. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Terrace Garden

One of the hardest things about moving out of our house into our new flat was giving up our garden, complete with picket fence and roses. But, as my sister-in-law advised me at the time, roses also grow in pots. So I'm excited get started on designing my terrace garden. I've been turning to several NYC sources for ideas.

I picked up a copy of Rebecca Cole's book, Paradise Found: Gardening In Unlikely Places. It's become my favorite gardening tome. She specializes in designing rooftop plots. I love these photos of some of her designs on her website:

I also found a blog, called Garden Bytes, with lots of practical information. Ellen Spector Platt's photo (below) of the rose New Dawn growing on a nearby terrace prompted me to give the rosebush a try on our railing.

More pictures to come!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Wish...

I've got the Airplanes song by B.o.B. (featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore) stuck in my head! It's been popular on the radio stations here since my dad died in May. And, I guess, I could relate to the words because I've been making a lot of wishes these days.

The words of the song go like this: "Can we pretend that airplanes
 in the night sky are like shooting stars
? I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)..."

Here's the official music video:

And, there's an incredible video by Sam Javanrouh on Vimeo that captures the streaks of the planes -- like stars -- over Toronto:

I'd wish on stars, candles, airplanes and speeding buses if there were a chance my wish would come true...

I wish I had my dad back.