Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore


"At first comic books were just cut-and-paste strips; soon they got to be something else."

From Chapter 21, Feminine Rule Declared Fact

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Daily Dose

From Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche


"'One day they will be grown and leave home and you will just be a source of embarrassment or exasperation for them and they won't take your phone calls or won't call you for weeks,' Obinze said, and as soon as he said it, he wished he had not. It was petty, it had not come out as he intended. But Ojuiugo was not offended. She shrugged and said, 'Then I will just carry my bag and go and stand in front of their house.'"

From Chapter 24

Monday, August 19, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Roald Dahl Omnibus: Perfect Bedtime Stories for Sleepless Nights, by Roald Dahl


"I can tell you that I had never in all my life seen anything more terrifying than that mouth. I simply could not stand it coming at me like that. Had it been a red-hot iron someone was pushing into my face I wouldn't have been nearly so petrified, I swear I wouldn't."

From Georgy Porgy

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Michael Hulse


"She stood up, and I, both moved and devastated, remained seated, holding her hand."

From Book One, 10 September

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne


"We'll not stop two minutes, my dear Sir, -- only, as we have got through five volumes, (do, Sir, sit down upon a set -- they are better than nothing) let us look back upon the country we have passed through. --"

From Volume VI, Chapter One

Friday, August 16, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Rise of Silas Lapham, by William Dean Howells


"'Well, it's too late now, mother,' said the girl. 'Perhaps it isn't so bad as you think.'
'Well, we must stand it, anyway,' said Mrs. Lapham, with the grim antique Yankee submission.
'Oh yes, we've got to stand it,' said Penelope, with the quaint modern American fatalism."

From Chapter IX

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Please enjoy a selection of hats

I'm on vacation. Not the sort of vacation for which people buy new clothes or luggage, or reserve a spa day. No. Mine is a very middle-aged person's vacation. The beloved husband, having just survived a small but vital heart surgery, is going back to visit his sister, recently diagnosed with cancer, and to see to his 94 year old father who isn't doing as well as anyone would like. I'm going with dear A., and to see my 87 year old mother. No beaches, no cocktail-umbrellas, no cabana-boys hoping for a generous tip. (Are there still cabana-boys somewhere in the world? Must be.) When we travel nowadays it's to family, but then it's been that way for a long time. Don't remember the last vacation that involved forgetting rather than remembering. Someday. Maybe.

I'm not complaining. It's wonderful to see our people. We don't get back often enough. Wish we could. I'm grateful to be able to still have people to go back home to.

While we're gone, I thought I ought to keep things going as best I could by doing as much as I could in advance of our departure. Continuity can be reassuring. I've got the quotations in place for a "daily dose" each day while we're gone. Easy. I also decided to post some little drawings of hats.

I'm working on a new little book. Manuscript has already been handed over to my editor/friend who takes my digital scraps and arranges them on pages, etc. Already made the book covers too. That's where the hats come from. All these little sketches are part of a larger design. Unlike my previous efforts, this little book will be mostly words, prose. Three small illustrations inside, and about three dozen jumbled together to make the covers for the book. You'll see. It should look nice.

Not being one to let a doodle go to waste, I thought I might as well litter a few across the next week or two. Hats aren't easy to draw. I threw away probably another dozen that did not work. I'm better at faces. All the hats I decided to use are either hats my dad wore, or hats I owned myself. Seems, between us, we've had a lot of hats. Each one here is something of a preview then of the essays forthcoming. Each hat is also, in a way, a piece of my father, and therefor a bit of home.

He's not there anymore, but my mother is, my brother and sister-in-law are, my sister will be up from Texas.  Home will be home again, as best as it can be without Dad, for any of us. That's one of the reasons I decided to gather up essays about him, and home, and make a little book for my mother and my family; it's meant to gather up some small fragments of our past, to preserve them, at least as I remember them. The hats are much the same.

I do see where this exercise may not be quite so full of meaning for anyone else, but I did it anyway, just to keep in touch, as it were, while we are away. Meanwhile I'll just let the hats pile up here. When I get back, I may have made some new memories to add to the pile.

Stay well.


Daily Dose

From The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, translated by Randolph Hogan


"My first impression was that I was utterly alone in the middle of the ocean."

From Chapter Three, Watching Four of my Shipmates Drown

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #170

Daily Dose

From The Story of America: Essays on Origins, by Jill Lepore


"Not long before he died, in 1868, Kit Carson was shown a dime novel cover featuring a picture of a dashing young Kit 'slaying seven Indians wih one hand, while he clasped a fainting maiden with the other.' As the story goes, the old man stared at it for a while, fiddled with his spectacles a bit, and declared, 'That there may have happened, but I ain't got no recollection of it.'"

From Chapter 13, Pride of the Prairie

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Winter, by Ali Smith


"He addresses the flower monsters through a mouth he can himself no longer open, stony and shut, his hands pressed palm to palm as if glued like that, like he once saw a hypnotist on TV make people do to see how susceptible they'd be to the techniques of hypnosis.

He is so fucking susceptible."

From page 152

Monday, August 12, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Tobias Smollett


"'I have never as yet seen, in any book of chivalry, an intire body of a fable, with all its members so proportioned, as that the middle corresponds with the beginning, and the end is suitable to both; on the contrary, one would think the author's intention is commonly to form a chimera or monster, instead of a figure well proportioned in all its parts.'"

From Volume 1, Book IV, Chapter XX

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Clerihew for the Flower of New Jersey


Van Wyck Brooks
Wrote definitive books
On how we broke our English fetters
And invented truly American letters.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From As I Was Saying... A Chesterton Reader, edited by Robert Knille


"The truth about Gothic is, first, that it is alive, and second, that it is on the march. It is the Church Militant; it is the only fighting architecture. All its spires are spears at rest; and all its stones are stone asleep in a catapult."

From Chapter 14, The Architect of Spears

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Collage

Daily Dose

From The Complete Works, by Michel de Montaigne, translated by Donald M. Frame


"The shape of my library is round, the only flat side being the part needed for my table and chair; and curving round me it presents at a glance all my books, arranged in five rows of shelves on all sides. It offers rich and free views in three directions, and sixteen paces of free space in diameter."

From Of Three Kinds of Association

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bag o' Birds

Daily Dose

From Essays, by George Orwell


"The earlier parts of Gulliver's Travels are probably the most devastating attack on human society that has ever been written."

From Can Socialists be Happy?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Finally, A Swan

Daily Dose

From Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey


"The face in the mirror didn't seem to know what or where, or even care very much, but only looked back at him with thirsty eyes."

From page 67

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Shoe Bird

Daily Dose

From Tremendous Trifles, by G. K. Chesterton


"The gloomy view of the universe has been a continuous Tradition; and the new types of spiritual investigation or conjecture all begin by being gloomy. A little while ago men believed in no spirits. Now they are beginning to believe in rather slow spirits."

From Chapter Seventeen, The Red Angel

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #169

Daily Dose

From The Napoleon of Notting Hill, by G. K. Chesterton


"'It is so fortunate,' he said, 'to have tact, to be able to play upon the peculiar talents and specialities, the cosmopolitanism of the grocer and the world-old necromancy of the chemist. Where should I be without tact?'"

From Book III, Chapter One, The Mental Condition of Adam Wayne

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Club of Queer Trades, by G. K. Chesterton


"'It has continually struck us that there is no element in modern life that is more lamentable than the fact that the modern man has to seek all artistic existence in a sedentary state. If he wishes to float into fairyland, he reads a book; if he wishes to dash into the thick of battle, he reads a book; if he wishes to soar into heaven, he reads a book; if he wishes to slide down the banisters, he reads a book. We give him these visions, but we give him exercise at the same time, the necessity of leaping from wall to wall, of fighting strange gentlemen, of running down long streets from pursuers -- all healthy and pleasant exercises."

From Chapter One, The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Daily Dose

From The Flying Inn, by G. K. Chesterton


"In a hamlet round about Windermere, let us say, or somewhere in Wordsworth's country, there could be found a cottage, in which could be found a cottager. So far all is as it should be; and the visitor would first be conscious of a hearty and even noisy elderly man, with an apple face and a short white beard. This person would then loudly proffer to the visitor the opportunity of seeing his father, a somewhat more elderly man, with a somewhat longer white beard, but still 'up and about.'"

From Chapter XVIII, The Republic of Peaceways

Saturday, August 3, 2019


Daily Dose

From Four Faultless Felons, by G. K. Chesterton


"I've been modestly comparing my own backyard to the Garden of Eden."

From The Epilogue of the Garden

Friday, August 2, 2019

Spangled Pigeon

Daily Dose

From The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond, by G. K. Chesterton


"'Lowestoft, Suffolk. These are dark hints,' said Gahagan. 'Do these in themselves point to some awful and suspicious fact?'

'They point,' said Pond, 'to the awful fact that Lady Glenorchy is not Scottish.'"

From When Doctors Agree

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Man Who Was Thursday, by G. K. Chesterton


"'Why, how true that is,' he said, 'and I never thought of it. Sir, you have an intellect beyond the common. You will make a name.'

'Oh, you're drunk as an owl!' said the Doctor."

From Chapter 10, The Duel

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Little Red Hen

Daily Dose

From Beijing Coma, by Ma Jain, translated by Flora Drew


"In the evening, my mother sits on a chair at the end of my bed and rubs my clenched toes. Then she takes out my father's journal again. After flicking through a few pages she begins to read out loud. 'People who have beds to lie on are so lucky. they can dream their lives away...'' Huh, that sounds just like him."

From page 411

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #168


Daily Dose

From If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver


"Isn't it like her to insist that now one can ask of the novel only to stir a depth of buried anguish, as the final condition of truth which will save it from being an assembly-line product, a destiny it can no longer escape?"

From Chapter 6

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe


"This roasted yam soaked in red palm-oil and eaten in the open farm was sweeter than any meal at home."

From Chapter Seven

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Black Boy, by Richard Wright


"Diversion and recreation, with the exception of reading, were unknown."

From Chapter 15