14 April 2011

greening libraries


"Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence.
If you gain fifteen minutes a day it will make itself felt at the end of the year." Horace Mann*

This might have sounded Ludicrous -let's say 100 years ago-1911.
150 years ago-  that would be 1861- Preposterous! 200 years ago-1811-Treason!

(reading 1 page a day will get you through 1- maybe 2- of these.)

Now it seems all we can do is get through a book full of pictures. 
What are  you reading now? Are you?

(striving for 2 or 3 pages more would get you at least 1 of these titles read)

I suggest you try  
the Canterville Ghost 

Never, in a brilliant and uninterrupted career of three hundred years, had he been so grossly insulted. He thought of the Dowager Duchess, whom he had frightened into a fit as she stood before the glass in her lace and diamonds; of the four housemaids, who had gone off into hysterics when he merely grinned at them through the curtains of one of the spare bedrooms; of the rector of the parish, whose candle he had blown out as he was coming late one night from the library, and who had been under the care of Sir William Gull ever since, a perfect martyr to nervous disorders; and of old Madame de Tremouillac, who, having wakened up one morning early and seen a skeleton seated in an armchair by the fire reading her diary, had been confined to her bed for six weeks with an attack of brain fever, and, on her recovery, had become reconciled to the Church, and broken off her connection with that notorious skeptic Monsieur de Voltaire. He remembered the terrible night when the wicked Lord Canterville was found choking in his dressing-room, with the knave of diamonds half-way down his throat, and confessed, just before he died, that he had cheated Charles James Fox out of £50,000 at Crockford's by means of that very card, and swore that the ghost had made him swallow. 

For a moment the Canterville ghost stood quite motionless in natural indignation... he fled down the corridor, uttering hollow groans,emitting a ghastly green light...

Sadly-  books are emanating that same green light-a ghostly luminescence-hardly making them visible anymore.

*in 1848 Mann was elected to Congress and in his first address to that body he spoke these words:
“I think the country is to experience serious times. Interference with slavery will excite civil commotion in the South. But it is best to interfere. Now is the time to see whether the Union is a rope of sand or a band of steel.”

*From age 10 to 20 years old, Horace Mann never had more than six weeks' schooling during any year-At the age of 20,  he enrolled at Brown and graduated in 3 years.

The Canterville Ghost at The Project Gutenberg here
better yet- buy the book at ABE BOOKS here

photographs my own.


  1. What a great post! I am an avid reader, at the moment I just finished "A week in December" by Sebastian Faulks, a great book that catches the moment of today.
    Never read Horace Mann and will have to check out the project Guttenberg, thanks!

  2. By the way love the Horace Mann Saying... and Oscar Wilde is in my heart!

  3. I am reading my brother's 2 new books.

    And "The Discoverers," Daniel Boorstin.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation. Your green images remind me of ... night vision photography. The more I look at the way you mix images and build image series, the more I think you'd really make a very good movie director. Mark

  5. What an elegant and artistic post this, I love the green photographs of books against the white background, great graphics and smart subject.

  6. I am reading 'The Tiger's Wife' by Tea Obrecht.
    Before that it was, 'Tuesday' by Lisa Moore.
    After that, it will 'In a Strange Room' by Damon Galgut.

    Oh, and 'Gut and Psychology Syndrome' by Natasha Campbell-McBride is hanging around by the side of the bed, but the narrative pace is a little sluggish.

    I can't be in the kitchen making soup, or at a cafe waiting for someone, or various other etceteras without a book. And sleep is completely out of the question without a few pages last thing. The thought of a world full of kindles and no books makes me glad I'll be dead by the time it happens.

  7. "so many books, so little time". I aim to read every night but fall asleep within minutes; reading while sitting in a chair/couch seems to be the answer. Howard's End on the Landing is currently on my bedside table. A small book that revisits many other books.



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