Reading Companions

Source: all-cats-are-beautiful-acab

What a sweet fluffy reading companion this beautiful cat makes. My cats absolutely love it when I sit down to read. Sometimes a little too much, because they will literally lay right on top of my book. Do you have a dog or cat that likes to hang out with you while you read? Drop a reply below in comments to tell me all about your furry (or feathered) friends!

Dark Side of Wonderland: Ahead of V&A Museum Show, New Book Explores Alice in Wonderland

As the Victoria & Albert Museum prepares to celebrate Lewis Carroll’s heroine, ties to mysticism and magical societies have come to light in a new work, Through a Looking Glass Darkly

Great art spawns imitation. And great weird art, it seems, spawns still weirder flights of fancy. Lewis Carroll’s twin children’s fantasies, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There have both inspired a string of adaptations, artistic and musical responses down the generations.

Now, as the Victoria & Albert Museum prepares to celebrate Alice and her cultural influence in Curiouser & Curiouser, a landmark exhibition next month, a new book containing unseen original images is to expose the secrets behind the darker world of the second Alice story.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“Together these books are really the first psychedelic texts and I like them because there’s no moral lesson. They actually parody authority, like the judiciary and the monarchy, rather than supporting them,” said Jake Fior, an Alice expert and author of Through a Looking Glass Darkly. “Carroll had a definite interest in the esoteric. I have a catalogue of his possessions, including his library, and he had lots of books on the supernatural,” he told the Observer. Fior’s fresh version of Alice’s journey attempts to elaborate and even improve upon Carroll’s difficult follow-up work, 150 years on from its publication.

“If you think about the structure of Through the Looking Glass, it’s very weird and I always felt it could be improved. The idea of going through a mirror into a reflected dimension is fine, but then suddenly there is this Jabberwocky epic poem and the Vorpal sword and these mythical beasts which are never mentioned again. It is framed as a chess game in which Alice goes from pawn to queen in eight chapters, but it doesn’t run in a fluid way like Wonderland. It is a more flawed book, yet some of the moments are better, so I kept those in my version.” During the author’s research for his new approach to the story he discovered images that will now go on public display for the first time in the V&A show.

Fior, who is the proprietor of the Alice through the Looking Glass shop in the West End of London, was already the owner of several original pieces of Carroll memorabilia when he came across a sketch book that had belonged to Carroll’s famous original illustrator, Sir John Tenniel.

“It shouldn’t have been there, but I was at a rare book fair three summers ago and there it was, nondescript, with just the word ‘costume’ written on the front,” remembered Fior. As a student Tenniel used to skip his classes at the Royal Academy of Art and take his sketch books to the British Museum instead. This book was full of studies of armour and knights, prototypes of the images he went on to use in the Alice books.

Fior uses these images in his book just as Carroll used Tenniel’s work: a dynamic mix of text and illustration, which he believes looks towards the arrival of the graphic novel. Fior’s story tells, in parallel with Alice’s journey, the true story of Samuel Liddell Mathers, a distant relative of the real girl Alice who had inspired Dodgson.

Fior discovered that he had formed the secret magical society known as The Golden Dawn, patronised by major literary figures such as Bram Stoker, E Nesbit and Arthur Conan Doyle, and also by the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley.

“There is no evidence that Carroll was practising magic, but he was interested in telepathy and was a member of the Society of Psychical Research. He also had a well known obsession with wordplay and especially acrostics, and these come from Hebrew mysticism, which he would probably have known,” said Fior.

While working on the book he found that although Carroll was not a Freemason, the Liddell family were very involved in the organisation. The V&A exhibition, Fior suggests, will be a good opportunity for fans to go back to the darker side of the stories, something that the Disney cartoon version has almost obliterated. “The Disney image has become so strong, it has almost effaced Tenniel. But I find the animated visuals a bit saccharine. I always think of the phrase from Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange “weak tea, new brewed” as opposed to the Tenniel which is full strength, with no sugar.”

Stephen King Country by George Beahm

Stephen King Country: The Illustrated Guide to the Sites and Sights That Inspired the Modern Master of Horror by George W. Beahm

  • Publisher: Running Press;
  • First Edition, First Printing.
  • Black binding, red gilt titles
  • Hardcover, 44 pages, illustrated throughout, resources, index
  • Condition: Dustjacket present (not price-clipped), some edgewear.
  • Bumped lower corners, just a few places highlighted in the chapter regarding his first edition and rare books.

Discover the real-life sites and sights behind his horror classics, including the Stanley Hotel of Estes Park, Colorado (site of The Shining’s eerie Overlook Hotel), King’s home town of Durham, Maine (the inspiration for Salem’s Lot), and more. An illustrated biography on King and his home town. Looks at the world in which author Stephen King lives and the real-life places that inspired the settings for some of his most popular works.

Antique Illustrated Book: The Pilgrim’s Progress (early 1900s)

  • Title: The Pilgrim’s Progress, with illustrations in color
  • Author: John Bunyan
  • Publisher: Gilbert H. McKibbin, New York
  • Publication Date: No date – Circa 1900
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Book Condition: Good, some wear to covers

192 pages. Cloth embossed binding with 28 color illustrated plates.

The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious, theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print..

#books #antique #parable #illustrated #historical #allegory

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – Vintage Pocket Books Edition Illustrated by Gordon Ross

  • Title: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
  • Author: Omar Khayyam, illustrated by Gordon Ross
  • Publisher: Pocket Books, NY
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Size (approx. width x height): 4.25 x 6.50 inches
  • Copyright Year: 1941
  • Edition: 1948 4th Printing
  • Book Condition: Very good, no spine creasing, some minor edge wear and page tanning from age.

Fully illustrated by Gordon Ross. 178 pages. No markings or previous owner notations!!

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is said to be one of the ten best known poems in the world, and probably the most popular piece of Oriental literature in the Western World.

#book #vintage #poetry #illustration #rubaiyat #Persia #Persian

Mid Century Catholic Sunday Missal

Vintage mid century Catholic Missal with Latin, larger type Edition, pocket-size.

My Sunday Missal Rev. Joseph F. Stedman, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, New York, 1944. Mass Calendar dates starting with January 1956.


This is a pocket edition and is a paperback “leatherette style”. Covers ARE NOT LEATHER.

Latin to English version; complete Pulpit text of all Epistles and Gospels as read from the pulpit. Book measures approx 5″ x 3 1/8″

Religious artifacts from the past are a neat time capsule – buy it because it’s like your Grandma’s or if you decorate Midcentury Modern style, it’s age-appropriate for your bookshelf or coffee table.


#midcenturymodern #catholic #liturgical #missal #vintage

Create a Miniature Adventure – a Creative Bookish Activity

A tiny book being held in an adult's hands

Make like “The Borrowers” and create a tiny adventure where you’re the star! This creative activity is perfect for families to do on a walk, or in your local park or garden.

  • Imagine what it would be like to be the size of your thumb!
  • Think of a simple story about your adventures at home or in your school or outdoors.
  • Draw a story board for your adventure.
  • Create a mini you.
  • Cut out your figures.
  • Time for the adventure!
  • Turn your adventure into a book.
  • and more neat ideas / concepts for you to try at home

Step-by-step inspiration and illustrations for this activity can be found here, courtesy of The British Library:

Rare Book Collector Reveals Tibetan Book Printed Before the Gutenberg Bible

Pages from A Tibetan Buddhist Text Circa 1410

The Gutenberg Printing Press truly revolutionized western society with its introduction of mass produced printed materials for a relatively cheap price, which helped encourage literacy among the lower classes. However, the practice of printing books had actually been occurring long before 1450 in the Far East. A rare book collector on Twitter recently debuted a Sino-Tibetan “concertina-folded book” that is estimated to have been printed in Beijing around 1410. This beautifully preserved book of Buddhist recitations was created about 40 years before the Gutenberg Bible entered circulation.

Twitter user Incunabula explains that the book contains “Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities” and its inner pages of bright red ink are protected by black outer coverings which feature 20 icons of gold painted Tathāgatas—a Sanskrit name for Buddha. The text was designed for both European and Asian readers in mind. According to Incunabula: “The book may be read in the Indo-Tibetan manner by turning the pages from right to left or in Chinese style by turning from left to right.”

See more images and read the rest of the article here>>

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Rare Charlotte Brontë ‘little book’ to go on show at Haworth

A rare book the size of a matchbox written by the teenage Charlotte Brontë will go on public display for the first time after a museum paid €600,000 (£505,000) to bring it back to Britain.

Curators said they wept when they finally received the book, which arrived from an auction house in Paris. It was penned by the oldest of the Brontë sisters at the family’s home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, 200 years ago.

Handwritten by Brontë at the age of 14, the book has just 20 pages and contains three entire short stories.

It is one of six surviving “little books” penned by the author of Jane Eyre and had been in a private collection since her death in 1855.

In November last year, the Brontë Society was able to bring the “hugely important” academic work back to Britain when it went up for auction.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum, at the home of the sisters, launched a fundraising appeal after being outbid at a previous auction. Donations of £85,000 from more than 1,000 supporters added to money from trusts and public funding bodies.

The historic piece of literature was eventually bought for €600,000 and will go on display for the first time on Saturday.

Ann Dinsdale, the principal curator at the museum, said she had been there for 30 years and had never seen such a display of emotion.

“We had a welcome committee of staff who’d made a point of being in the museum to see it arrive. It was like a historic occasion,” she said. “Some of us felt a little tearful. So much effort and passion had gone into bringing it to Haworth and we’d worked so long and so hard to make it happen.

“It seemed extraordinary that there had been this huge interest in such a tiny item.”

The manuscript, called The Young Men’s Magazine, contains more than 4,000 handwritten words in a meticulously folded and stitched magazine.

It is made up of three stories: A letter From Lord Charles Wellesley, The Midnight Song and Journal of a Frenchman.

Part of it describes a murderer driven to madness after being haunted by his victims, and how “an immense fire” burning in his head causes his bed curtains to set alight.

Experts at the museum say this section of the story is a clear precursor of a famous scene between Bertha and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, which Charlotte would publish 17 years later.Another is a fantasy about fine dining and aristocratic living, which Dinsdale says reads as “almost an antidote to domestic life at Haworth”.

“It’s hugely important in academic terms because it adds so much to our knowledge of Charlotte’s development as a writer,” Dinsdale said. She added: “The three pieces of prose make it absolutely clear that she had an incredible imagination.”

The booklet was one of a series of six, of which five are known to survive. The other four are already owned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

Kitty Wright, the executive director of the Brontë Society, said: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people from all over the world backing our campaign.”

Originally posted here >>