Everywhere was gauzy.
Up the street, down the street--ethereal
It seems that otherworldly dancers passed through, too, leaving behind their handkerchiefs, as they often do, on lawns, beside paths, and in the woods:
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After I finished re-reading The Story of the Stone by Hughart, I continued on with Eight Skilled Gentlemen (also a re-read). Both books are considerably weaker than Bridge of Birds, but they're both still amusing and full of interesting little details.
Most of the other things I've read this week have been online articles that are research for the same project that got me re-reading Master Li and Number Ten Ox.After several days of that (and writing, and work being chaotic and stressful), I wanted something pleasant and easy. So I spent some time on Big South American River, looking up favorite children's authors. I discovered that not only has someone put a number of my favorite Sally Watson historicals into e-books, they also included Poor Felicity (although the author herself seems to have re-named it The Delicate Pioneer, which strikes me as a really "dead" title). I first read this at a Girl Scout summer camp, where I was a pudgy bespectacled weirdo bookworm who hated sports but was totally unafraid of snakes and bugs, and I haven't seen it since.
Felicity Dare is a sickly, rather spoiled 19th-century Southern (U.S.) girl whose parents lose all their money in bad investments and decide to go out west to settle in Oregon/Washington territory. Both parents die along the way, leaving orphaned Felicity to her good-natured but hapless uncle. They end up in what eventually becomes Seattle, where Felicity gradually becomes healthier because of being out in nature (shades of The Secret Garden!), makes friends with kids who would definitely have been considered below her social class back East (include some Native Americans), and learns to forage, cook, and shoot a rifle. There's also an ongoing feud with a rough-hewn boy who despises her for most of the book. In the end, when her snooty cousins show up at last (they went by ship instead of overland), she has to confront their faulty assumptions and her own grudges.
It's fun, slight but with lots of interesting details, and an easy, fast read (aimed at about 10-13 year-old readers).
Rato Kim is a toy artist from Seoul, South Korea who makes mainly cat themed toys. One of his latest creations is this BreadCat toy. He planned this item for a long time and was inspired by the image of cats sitting with their paws hidden so he created a cute toy of that shape. Rato Kim said: 'The most difficult thing ctreating this Breadcat was to decide what facial expression they'll have. Cats have various expressions so I chose to show few of them on Breadcats and not to go with only one face".
The mail brought an Amazon package containing an item I only recently added to my wishlist (because it’s only just been published), Shushan Avagyan’s translation of Viktor Shklovsky’s Гамбургский счет, The Hamburg Score (with a very touching note from the generous reader who ordered it for me — thanks from the bottom of my heart, Clay). I have been unreasonably fond of Shklovsky’s writing ever since I read A Sentimental Journey, his memoir of “the travels of a bewildered intellectual through Russia, Persia, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus during the period of the Russian Revolution,” to quote the Dalkey Archive description (Dalkey Archive Press has been issuing all of Shklovsky’s work as fast as they can get it translated, just one of the outstanding services they provide the world of literature — go buy books from them!). I don’t know what it is; those quirky sentences arranged into tiny paragraphs that constantly leap in unexpected directions are like catnip to me. I don’t even care if he’s right or wrong (and I’m quite sure he’s wrong about Velimir Khlebnikov being “the champion” of early-20th-century Russian literature — the Formalist critics had a passion for the Futurist poets in general and Khlebnikov in particular that mystifies me), I could listen to him deliver obiter dicta and crack obscure jokes for hours.
I haven’t had time to do more than glance at this beautiful, compact paperback yet (work! work!), but I’ve already learned something. I ran across the expression «гамбургский счёт» [Hamburg calculation/reckoning/score] years ago, learned that it meant ‘objective measurement of who’s better than who,’ and assumed it had been around since, say, the early 19th century (when Russians habitually went to Germany for education and culture). But it turns out Shklovsky was the one who publicized it, after hearing an anecdote at the Herzen House restaurant in Moscow (and got in trouble for it after World War II, when he was accused of unpatriotic leanings for favoring a German city); his preface to this book begins:
The Hamburg score is a very important concept.
All wrestlers cheat in matches and fall on their shoulder blades at the behest of the entrepreneurs.
But once a year wrestlers gather at a pub in Hamburg.
They wrestle behind closed doors and curtained windows.
It is a long, hard, and ugly fight. But this is the only way to determine their true worth — to prevent them from getting corrupted.
We need a Hamburg score in literature.
As I say, he calls Khlebnikov the champion, but I say Shklovsky is the champion of Formalist critics and Dalkey Archive Press is the champion of literary publishers.
Please join me in meeting and greeting our newest Star Kit, Sookie. She is 4 weeks old from Louisiana.
Hey y’all. Just got Sookie from our local non kill shelter. She stole my heart at first glance! She is so sweet and a purring machine!! She loves her pink blanket and takes biscuits and tries to nurse on it. She’s a beautiful ball of fur and I can’t wait to make many memories with her.