Bennington Bookshop, Books, Bookstores, Celebrations, Dragon Keeper's Handbook, Dragons for Beginners, Fiction, Independent Bookstore Day, John Goodrich, Linda Foulsham, Phil Lewis, Readings, Stories, Writing
I love bookstores. I love the smell, the sound, the welcoming pace of bookstores.
Since I was a little kid, I’ve found joy and solace roaming among the stacks, pulling up a piece of floor or cushy chair, and exploring the magic of East Egg or The Land, deciding whether or not to make friends with Thomas Convenant or the Sandman and bring them home with me.
Back in the day, of course, every little town had a bookstore – or two. Independent and distinct, they offered classics and bestsellers, dictionaries and guides to local flora and fauna. They also reflected the personal tastes of their proprietors: some might be heavy on kids’ books, some on politics or contemporary fiction. And if you wanted that obscure new book your cousin Lily mentioned at Sunday dinner, out came Books in Print and an order would be graciously placed.
As a reader, this was heaven. As a writer, my appreciation has only grown.
The bookstore landscape has changed over the years. First, behemoths like Barnes & Noble and their late rival, Borders, moved in. They had space and inventory and remainder bins. You didn’t have to wait a week for that special order, a marketing edge in a culture that thrives on immediate gratification. Then came e-books and the leviathan of all leviathans, Amazon.
Loud and long, the literary pundits sounded the death knell of the independent bookstore. Fortunately, over the past couple of years communities of book lovers around the country are proving pundits wrong. There is a positive resurgence of independent bookstores. That, in itself, is cause for dancing in the street!
This Saturday, May 2, 2015, is Independent Bookstore Day. Bookstores and their patrons around the country are celebrating.
In my own backyard, the new owners of the Bennington Bookshop, Linda Foulsham and Phil Lewis, are presenting a full day of bibliocentric fun. There will be tales for the kids, evening wine and book chat for the grown-ups. My friend and fellow author, John Goodrich, will be talking about getting published, and I have the honor of giving a reading from my books and stories – about Dragons, of course.
If you are in the area, do stop by. If far away, check out your own local bookstore. Celebrate their uniqueness. Perhaps pick up a few literary friends and bring them home.
Schedule of Events on May 2:
10.30am: Story time for children with Chris Gingo
11.30am: Local author – Shawn MacKenzie
2.00pm: Local historian – Joe Hall
3.00pm: Local poet – Steve Haggerty
4.00pm: Local author – John Goodrich
5.00pm – 7.00pm: Cheese and wine and book conversations
Happy Earth Day.
Ok, I know that is an autumn photo, but the Dragons insisted. I hope everyone is able to get out and walk lightly through the world, eyes wide with wonder.
And now..drum roll, please…the answers to Sunday’s literary quiz are:
- Alice Walker (p) Temple of My Familiar
- Anne Rice (d) Cry to Heaven
- C.S. Lewis (k) Out of the Silent Planet
- Charles Dickens (e) Dombey & Son
- F.Scott Fitzgerald (b) Babylon Revisited
- Henry James (q) Washington Square
- Herman Melville (g) Mardi
- Jane Austen (i) Northanger Abbey
- Joseph Conrad (j) Nostromo
- Leo Tolstoy (l) Resurrection
- Mark Twain (h) Mysterious Stranger
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (m) Celestial Railroad
- Oscar Wilde (n) Reluctant Giant
- Rudyard Kipling (c) Captains Courageous
- Virginia Woolf (f) Jacob’s Room
- Willa Cather (o) Song of the Lark
- William Faulkner (a) A Fable
And for extra points:
How did everyone do?
Now go out and take that walk!
Happy Sunday! I hope everyone’s taxes are paid and the little grey cells are well rested.
It has been a busy week and the next promises more of the same. Still, I do not wish to abandon my quixotic quest for cultural literacy entirely.
Today I offer something literary and fun. No need for math here!
Below you will find 17 well-known authors, all with prodigious bibliographies. You will also find the titles of 17 works, less well-known to some, yet each corresponding to an author. Simply match one from column A with one from column B. (Give yourselves bonus points if you can match the author to their picture above.)
- Alice Walker
- Anne Rice
- C. S. Lewis
- Charles Dickens
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Henry James
- Herman Melville
- Jane Austen
- Joseph Conrad
- Leo Tolstoy
- Mark Twain
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Oscar Wilde
- Rudyard Kipling
- Virginia Woolf
- Willa Cather
- William Faulkner
a) A Fable
b) Babylon Revisited
c) Captains Courageous
d) Cry to Heaven
e) Dombey and Son
f) Jacob’s Room
g) Mardi: And a Voyage Thither
h) The Mysterious Stranger
i) Northanger Abbey
k) Out of the Silent Planet
m) The Celestial Railroad
n) The Reluctant Giant
o) The Song of the Lark
p) The Temple of My Familiar
q) Washington Square
Answers will be posted on Wednesday.
I hope everyone had a delightful holiday weekend.
And I hope everyone breezed through the performing arts leg of our cultural literacy excursion.
Below are the answers, along with a few extra bits of information and visual aids, of course. To refresh your memories – goodness knows mine is shot! – the choices were:
- Agnes de Mille – A – Founding member of ABT; “Rodeo,”…
- Alvin Ailey – A – Alvin Ailey Am. Dance Theatre; “Revelations,”…
- Bessie Smith – C – Empress of the Blues
- Buffy Sainte-Marie – C – Cree folksinger/songwriter
- Charles Mingus – C – Jazz bassist
- David Gilmour – C – Pink Floyd vocalist/guitarist
- Feodor Chaliapin – C – Basso profundo; quintisential Boris Godunov
- François Truffaut – D – auteur director of Jules et Jim, 400 Blows,...
- George Balanchine – C – Choreographer, New York City Ballet
- George Roy Hill – D – director, The Sting, Slaughterhouse-Five,…
- Harold Prince – B – B’way director: West Side Story, Sweeney Todd,...
- Jane Campion – D – Director, The Piano, Bright Star….
- Jean Rosenthal – B – Pioneer in lighting design
- José Limón – A – Modern dancer/choreographer
- Joseph Papp – B – Director/ producer; founder of The Public Theatre
- Julie Taymor – B – Director/designer, The Lion King,…
- Katherine Dunham – A – Dancer/choreographer/activist
- Lee Strasberg – B – Actor/teacher, Actor’s Studio & the Group Theatre
- Louis Malle – D – Director, Pretty Baby, Lacombe Lucien,...
- Ma Rainey – C – Mother of the Blues
- Marie Petipa – A – Russian prima ballerina
- Merce Cunningham – A – Dancer/choreographer, M. Cunningham Dance Co.
- Michael Kidd – A – B’way choreographer, Guys & Dolls, Finian’s Rainbow,…
- Milos Forman – D – Director, Hair, Amadeus, One Flew…Cuckoo’s Nest,…
- Nadia Boulanger – C – Classical composer/conductor/pianist/teacher
- Patti Smith – C – Punk-rock icon
- Pedro Almodovar – D – Director, Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, Volver, Talk to Her,…
- Peter Brook – B – British Director, Marat/Sade, The Mahabharata,…
- Philidor – C – Oboe virtuoso
- Ray Manzarek – C – Keyboardist for The Doors
- Robert Altman – D – Director, *M*A*S*H*, Nashville, Gosford Park,…
- Ruth St. Denis – A – Modern-dance pioneer; Denishawn Dance School
- Santo Loquasto – B – Stage design titan
- Savion Glover – A – Tap dancer/choreographer
- Sergei Diaghilev – A – Ballets Russes founder
- Susan Stroman – B – B’way director/choreographer, The Producers,…
- Trevor Nunn – B – Director, Royal Shakespeare Co., Cats, Les Miz,…
- Tyrone Guthrie – B – Director/founder, The Guthrie Theatre
- Werner Herzog – D – New German Cinema director, Fitzcarraldo,…
- Yehudi Menuhin – C – Violinist/conductor
Music, theatre, movies, dance – the performing arts intersect out lives daily. We turn on the radio, catch a matinee at the local Cineplex or on TV.
Live dance and theatre may elude many outside of metropolitan areas, but thank goodness for PBS and cable.
So…today I give you a list of 40 people. Some familiar, some less so. They are associated with
Mix, match, and have fun!
- Agnes de Mille
- Alvin Ailey
- Bessie Smith
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Charles Mingus
- David Gilmour
- Feodor Chaliapin
- Francois Truffaut
- George Balanchine
- George Roy Hill
- Harold Prince
- Jane Campion
- Jean Rosenthal
- Jose Limon
- Joseph Papp
- Julie Taymor
- Katherine Dunham
- Lee Strasberg
- Louis Malle
- Ma Rainey
- Marie Petipa
- Merce Cunningham
- Michael Kidd
- Milos Forman
- Nadia Boulanger
- Patti Smith
- Pedro Almodovar
- Peter Brook
- Ray Manzarek
- Robert Altman
- Ruth St. Denis
- Santo Loquasto
- Savion Glover
- Sergei Diaghilev
- Susan Stroman
- Trevor Nunn
- Tyrone Guthrie
- Werner Herzog
- Yehudi Menuhin
Since many of us are in the midst of chocolate bunny/matzo frenzy, I wish one and all happy holidays and will post the answers on Tuesday.
Into April and still frosty here in the northeast. I think the weather gods are taking Mark Twain’s words too much to heart and passing the buck to their subordinates.
I reverently believe that the maker who made us all makes everything in New England, but the weather. I don’t know who makes that, but I think it must be raw apprentices in the weather-clerks factory who experiment and learn how, in
New England, for board and clothes, and then are promoted to make weather for countries that require a good article, and will take their custom elsewhere if they don’t get it.
But all that doesn’t keep me from providing the answers to Tuesday’s literary quiz.
- Samuel Beckett …h) Waiting for Godot
- John Irving …d) The Hotel New Hampshire
- Lillian Hellman …f) Little Foxes
- Stephen R. Donaldson …j) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
- Virginia Woolf …g) To the Lighthouse
- Henry James …i) The Europeans
- Anton Chekhov …a) The Seagull
- Richard Adams …b) Watership Down
- Alice Walker …c) The Color Purple
- E.M.Forster …e) Howards End
- Ursula K. Le Guin …c) The Lathe of Heaven
- Edward Albee …e) A Delicate Balance
- Samuel Butler …g) Erewhon
- Wendy Wasserstein …a) The Sisters Rosensweig
- Carson McCullers …h) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- Bertolt Brecht …b) Mother Courage & Her Children
- Edith Wharton …j) House of Mirth
- George Eliot …i) The Mill on the Floss
- D.H.Lawrence …d) The Rainbow
- Luigi Pirandello …f) Six Characters in Search of an Author
- Thomas Middleton …f) Women Beware Women
- Mikhail Bulgakov …i) The Master & the Margarita
- Murasaki Shikibu …h) The Tale of Genji
- Jean Anouilh … d) Thieves’ Carnival
- Flannery O’Connor … b) Everything That Rises Must Converge
- Michael Ondaatje …a) The English Patient
- Brendan Behan …c) The Hostage
- Isabel Allende …j) House of the Spirits
- Jean Racine …e) Phèdre
- James Baldwin …g) Giovanni’s Room
How did everyone do?
Now, tomorrow I will be cooking for our seder, so nothing new until Saturday. Then we will begin questing through the forest of the performing arts – dance, music, theatre, and film. (I know, film falls into a grey area – part visual, part performance – but I relish the grey.)
Most of us know books, even love books. And some of us love them with an unruly passion. When I was growing up, I explored shelf after shelf, floor to ceiling, of novels and histories, poetry and plays. One of my favorite places in the world was the used-book store where unimagined treasures could be found. All of this gave me a thirst for literature. It also gives me an ocean of opera and authors upon which to draw for today.
This, naturally, presents its own set of problems. So many possibilities! Who to choose, who to omit. (This is where subjectivity runs amok. It is, after all, my list. :-) )
When I first pulled together today’s quiz, I was informed by someone who also loves books that it was way too hard. Oops.
Time to rethink, to break things down and be more inclusive.
So…below are 30 names and 30 titles. They are divided into 3 sections – Easy, Medium, and Hard(er) – a little something for everyone.
- Samuel Beckett a) The Seagull
- John Irving b) Watership Down
- Lillian Hellman c) The Color Purple
- Stephen R. Donaldson d) The Hotel New Hampshire
- Virginia Woolf e) Howards End
- Henry James f) Little Foxes
- Anton Chekhov g) To the Lighthouse
- Richard Adams h) Waiting for Godot
- Alice Walker i) The Europeans
- E.M.Forster j) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
- Ursula K. Le Guin a) The Sisters Rosensweig
- Edward Albee b) Mother Courage & Her Children
- Samuel Butler c) The Lathe of Heaven
- Wendy Wasserstein d) The Rainbow
- Carson McCullers e) A Delicate Balance
- Bertolt Brecht f) Six Characters in Search of an Author
- Edith Wharton g) Erewhon
- George Eliot h) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- D.H.Lawrence i) The Mill on the Floss
- Luigi Pirandello j) House of Mirth
- Thomas Middleton a) The English Patient
- Mikhail Bulgakov b) Everything That Rises Must Converge
- Murasaki Shikibu c) The Hostage
- Jean Anouilh d) Thieves’ Carnival
- Flannery O’Connor e) Phèdre
- Michael Ondaatje f) Women Beware Women
- Brendan Behan g) Giovanni’s Room
- Isabel Allende h) The Tale of Genji
- Jean Racine i) The Master & the Margarita
- James Baldwin j) House of the Spirits
Have fun. (And give yourself an extra point if you can name the authors pictured.) I’ll post the answers in a couple of days.
So, how did everyone do with our first trip to the cultural literacy well?
Here, for the curious – and with visual aids – are the answers to Saturday’s 25.
- Francis Bacon – painter
- Jean-Michel Basquiat – painter
- Rosa Bonheur – painter
- Louise Bourgeois – sculptor
- Matthew Brady – photographer
- Julia Cameron – photographer
- Ernest Crichlow – painter
- Jacques-Louis David – painter
- Walter Gropius – architect
- Inigo Jones – architect
- Shoji Hamada – potter
- Louis Kahn – architect
- Wassily Kandinsky – painter
- Le Corbusier – architect
- Fernand Leger – painter
- Pierre L’Enfant – architect
- Roy Lichtenstein – painter
- Jacque Lipchitz -sculptor
- Warren MacKenzie – potter
- Joan Miro – painter
- Henry Moore – sculptor
- Robert Motherwell – painter
- I.M. Pei – architect
- Henri Rousseau – painter
- J.M.Turner – painter
Tomorrow: A little literature. Should be a Snap.
Yesterday, in heart-wrenchingly depressing fashion, it was brought to my attention that Americans are rapidly descending into a morass of cultural illiteracy. The systematic elimination of arts from public school curricula, the emphasis on preparing young people for a job rather than a life in college, all seem to be leading us to generations of uncurious individuals. Even with the world at our Internet-connected fingertips, the basic level of knowledge about our world is melting away. Appalling!
I am not talking about our individual blindspots – we all have those. I, for example, am noticeably – some might say egregiously – ill-informed about contemporary music and sports. No, I am talking about a basic body of information about our cultural heritage – arts, history, literature, science – that rounds us out, sparks our curiosity, and helps us grow as human beings.
As I was pounding my head against my desk over our increasing provincialism, I was reminded of something from my childhood. Something which seems worth resurrecting here, in this brave new digital world.
Fifty-plus years ago, when I was just a kid, my father was a professor in the Art Department of the University of Minnesota. Twice every term, beginning and end, he would give his students a list of 100 well-known artists and ask them to identify their field – painting, sculpture, architecture, etc. Some students did well, others not so much. That was to be expected. Even though he would pre-test the list with my sister and me to be sure it was fair, this was back in the day when state universities were still open to just about everyone and art courses had an errant reputation for being “gut” courses. Still it was a fun way to gauge what people knew coming in and, by term’s end, encouraging to note that everyone who was paying attention did much better the second round.
In that spirit, for your fun and erudition and in hopes of sparking your intellectual curiosity, I am, over the next few weeks, offering my own lists, starting with visual arts, moving to literature, performing arts, and possibly even history.
Today I offer 25 names. Are they either:
Monday, the answers and 25 new names. Play along. Have fun.
- Francis Bacon
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
- Rosa Bonheur
- Louise Bourgeois
- Matthew Brady
- Julia Cameron
- Ernest Crichlow
- Jacques-Louis David
- Walter Gropius
- Inigo Jones
- Shoji Hamada
- Louis Kahn
- Wassily Kandinsky
- Le Corbusier
- Fernand Leger
- Pierre L’Enfant
- Roy Lichtenstein
- Jacque Lipchitz
- Warren MacKenzie
- Joan Miro
- Henry Moore
- Robert Motherwell
- I.M. Pei
- Henri Rousseau