Tag Archives: literature

“Forget Your Personal Tragedy”

July 21st would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 121st birthday. I am a fan of his writing, though many Women’s Studies’ majors have told me I oughtn’t be. No, I don’t like the bullfighting and hunting scenes in his stories, but I love his view of life, the need for courage and acceptance, his understanding of fear and the vicissitudes of love, and I do so appreciate his unpretentious writing. And, of course, I love his love of Paris and his worship of cats. I found three links about him that are worth your time, dear readers: his Nobel Prize acceptance speecha letter of advice he wrote to Scott Fitzgerald (wence came the title of this blog post) – a rather macho letter, but so endearing, so preferable to the usual weasel words we get from others; and his list of essential reading for aspiring writers. Sorry to say I have still not read all of his recommended books, but I am getting there.

Pepys’s Plate

One of the things Significant Other and I like to listen to when we drive somewhere is the Diary of Samuel Pepys, read by Kenneth Branagh. It’s captivating, edifying, vivid, funny and sad. Pepys wrote a lot about his meals – mostly mutton, it seems, and tankards of liquor – and so I found this discovery of one of his silver plates quite fascinating. Coincidentally, Jeff Jacoby wrote a column just last week about anti-Semitism, and opened it by quoting Pepys’s observations on his 1663 visit to a London synagogue.


Today is Bloomsday, a fact which got me to thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions a few years (3, maybe?) back: one of them was to read “Ulysses.” I did indeed read it, and I’m glad I did. It is brilliant, and I can see why it caused such a ruckus when first published. That said, it is also tedious in parts and a tad earthy for my tastes. So for those of you who haven’t read it but would like to appear highbrow enough to have done so, I give you this wonderful abridged version courtesy of YouTube and some guy with what sounds to me like a German accent.

In God’s kingdom, all the Subjects are of Royal Blood

I was thinking about pigeons and it brought to mind this great quote from a book I read a few years back. The book is Masks in a Pageant — and I highly recommend it — by the great American journalist William Allen White. The quote follows:

The thrush, the oriole, the bird of paradise, are esteemed by society, while the unlovely hell-diver is despised. Nature has no favorites. All her creatures are equally beloved; in God’s kingdom all the subjects are of royal blood. The earthworm is as useful as the lion; the amoeba has full fellowship with man.