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English Muse: August 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

English Muse is Moving!!

I'm moving English Muse from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress tonight! I'm a little terrified actually...

If I lose you along the way, please meet me at! Leave me a message to let me know that you arrived safely.


Cats, Small and Large

Here in my little office with my working companions...Kali, 8 pounds, and Shoes, 18 pounds.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Very Good Saturday Night

I changed my Tumblr theme (snapshot above, new page and photo credits here.)

And I started a new book, "Everything Beautiful Began After," by Simon Van Booy.

It's a love story, set in Athens, and this is how it starts:

"For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home. Places where lonely people can live in exile of their own lives--far from anything that was ever imagined for them. Athens has long been a place where lonely people go. A city doomed to forever impersonate itself, a city wrapped by cruel bands of road, where the thunder of traffic is a sound so constant it's like silence..."

I'm hooked. Now I want to read everything Van Booy has ever written. Susan Salter Reynolds spotted Van Booy's promise in 2007, after the debut of his first book, "The Secret Lives of People in Love."

She wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "One worries, after reading a debut short-story collection this breathtaking, what Simon Van Booy could possibly do for an encore. Write something longer? Take up haiku? Wander the world like a sadhu for a few decades and send us another book as chillingly beautiful, like postcards from Eden?"

Yes, exactly. A book like a postcard from Eden. This is a very good Saturday night.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Textile Covers on Classic Books

I admit it: I'm a textile junkie. I keep fabrics, large and small, stacked in clear boxes. So I was excited to discover that Virago Modern Classics has again teamed up with textile designers to create covers for another set of modern classics. (Including one of my favorites, The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy.)

The designers include: Eley Kishimoto
, Lucienne Day
, Florence Broadhurst
, Angie Lewin for Liberty 
and Neisha Crosland. They're available now from UK booksellers. More info here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Lost Art of Postcard Writing


The New York Review of Books just posted a brilliant essay by Charles Simic on this subject. An excerpt:

"Until a few years ago, hardly a day would go by in the summer without the mailman bringing a postcard from a vacationing friend or acquaintance. Nowadays, you’re bound to get an email enclosing a photograph, or, if your grandchildren are the ones doing the traveling, a brief message telling you that their flight has been delayed or that they have arrived. The terrific thing about postcards was their immense variety. It wasn’t just the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, or some other famous tourist attraction you were likely to receive in the mail, but also a card with a picture of a roadside diner in Iowa, the biggest hog at some state fair in the South, and even a funeral parlor touting the professional excellence that their customers have come to expect over a hundred years."

I miss snail mail.

(Photo by Moline)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anna Ådén: Summer Cottage & Tree House

Such a charming little cottage and tree house in Sweden. Taken by Umeå-based photographer Anna Ådén. More on her blog!