Ernest Hemingway: Salt water, rum, coconut and lime, cigar smoke, Spanish wine
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Gin, citrus, oak (prep school, amirite), in a champagne-flute shaped bottle with gold flecks in it
Jane Austen: Darjeeling tea, snowdrops and pansies (flowers from her garden), meadow grass
Dorothy Parker: Whiskey sour, vanilla, mandarin, white musk
Edgar Allan Poe: Poppies, absinthe, sandalwood, and mold
Flannery O’Connor: Church incense, soap, vanilla, ginger
Jack Kerouac: Cigarettes, cheap beer, unwashed youth, patchouli, car leather
the Bronte Sisters: Heather, sea air, vetiver, primrose, black tea
Louisa May Alcott: Fir tree, red currant, blood orange, coffee beans
Tolstoy: Vodka, musk, black tea, black peppercorn, cedar
Sylvia Plath: Freshly washed linen, vanilla, daffodils, lavender
Margaret Mitchell: Musk, magnolia, tea, sugar, gardenia blossoms
Dickens: Cloves, tobacco, patchouli, brandy water, river water
Anne Sexton: Vodka martini, tobacco, lemon verbena, peppermint
Today is the birthday of James Joyce, who was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882, and wrote in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
To celebrate his life, we present an August 1929 recording of Joyce reading a melodious passage from the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” chapter of his Work in Progress, which would be published ten years later as Finnegans Wake. The recording was made in Cambridge, England, at the arrangement of Joyce’s friend and publisher Sylvia Beach. “How beautiful the ‘Anna Livia’ recording is,” wrote Beach in her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, “and how amusing Joyce’s rendering of an Irish washerwoman’s brogue!”
This week 50 years ago, the first edition of The Bell Jar was published in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. It didn’t make it to the United States until 1971, because Aurelia Plath was embarrassed by what her daughter had to say about her family. But make it to the States (as well as many other countries) it did, and in the last half century years, Sylvia Plath’s one and only novel has become a cult favorite, a classroom staple, and a source of inspiration and solace for thousands of young people.
Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize in literature
BBC: Chinese writer Mo Yan is the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for literature, making him the 109th recipient of the award. The Swedish Academy praised his work, saying the ‘hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.’
Photo: File via AP
My favourite place in Venice, the Libreria Acqua Alta.
It’s a bookshop right on the canal that floods every year, so the eccentric, stray-cat-adopting owner keeps his books in boats, bathtubs and a disused gondola to protect them.
There’s also a staircase made of books outside that you can climb up and get a gorgeous view of the canal, and a courtyard of seats made of books where you can sit and read.
Seriously, books, canals, cats and boats. Can a place get any better?
As independent bookstores crash and burn in the United States and Britain, the book market in France is doing just fine. France boasts 2,500 bookstores, and for every neighborhood bookstore that closes, another seems to open. From 2003 to 2011 book sales in France increased by 6.5 percent.
The French Still Flock to Bookstores - via NY Times
Scarthin Books in Cromford nr Matlock, near Derbyshire, UK.