Tag Archives: books

EX LIBRIS

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 Books are valuable possessions. Books require thousands of hours, or even a lifetime to write, edit, and print.  Before the advent of the printing press in the 14th century books were written by hand — one at a time — and only aristocrats and priests could read them.  Historically, wealthy and educated persons collected books in private libraries.  Each book had a label, or “book plate”  placed on the inside front cover of the book to identify the owner.  A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs [Latin, “from the books of…”], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner. Simple typographical bookplates are termed “booklabels”.  Bookplates typically bear a name, motto, device, coat-of-arms, crest, badge, or any motif that relates to the owner of the book, or is requested by him from the artist or designer. The name of the owner usually follows an inscription such as “from the books of . . . ” or “from the library of . . . “, or in Latin, ex libris …. Bookplates are important evidence for the provenance of books.Here are a few examples of Book Plates for Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Sigmund Freud, and others:

SEE MORE FANTASITC EXLIBRIS PAGE PLATES HERE:    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ayu117/folder/1067532.html

HERE IS ANOTHER LINK:

http://cdm.lib.udel.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/wab&CISOSTART=1,21

I LISTEN TO WHAT I READ

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Johnathan RenshawSo far in my nearly 70 years I’ve written and published 8 books.  None of my books have enjoyed the global readership of a book I did NOT write, but edited.  I spend the vast majority of my time reading books written by literary adepts and master story-tellers.  Reading is not merely entertainment.  It is the mind and imagination of beings communicating their thoughts, memories and musings, through symbols, to others.  There are 450,000 NEW BOOKS published every year, in Kevin Hearneaddition to the millions that have accumulated since the printing press was “invented” in Europe in by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440.   Personally, I listen to audiobooks.  The combination of masterful writing combined with state of the art performance is nothing less than magic.  Since my personal interests tend to vary from esoteric to bizarre, it stick to science fiction, primarily.  However, I enjoy a good story, well told.

Benedict JackaIn modern publishing writers no longer write ONE book.  They write a SERIES of books.  This is based on the sales and marketing-driven capitalist culture that exploded in Europe a few hundred years ago.  So, lately,  I’m not reading “books”.  I’m reading a “series” 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 books!  However, when you find an author you really enjoy this is a good was to swim deeply into the ocean of a genre or universe, rather than surfing the shallow shores of television, film, or — gods forbid — social media.Jim Butcher

Here are a few of the “series” I’ve read or am reading.  Three of these books are my first voyage on the ocean of “Magic Mystery”, i.e. Druids, Mages and Wizards in the roles of  spell-casting superheros fighting an assortment of supernatural villains: to my delight and continuing enchantment! I recommend them to you.  Search the fantastic library available on Audible.com  and your favorite on-line bookstores to find your own.

HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU READ?

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In human experience, written symbols (letters, numbers, musical signs, etc. ) are physical representations of an idea or thought.  Symbols organized into sentences, songs, compositions, formula,  articles or books convey many complex ideas.  These symbols enable communication between people in the physical universe.  Although there a many forms of non-physical communication which we refer to as “emotion” or “telepathy” or “empathy” or “intuition” or “knowing”, the common denominators of human experience or culture is often expressed in books.  When these have been read, understood and compared to other thoughts, we can assume points of view of the various universes we inhabit. When we agree on a our perception of these universes, we call this “reality”.

Which books have helped to shape your reality?  How many books have your read in your life, so far?  How many more books are on your “must read” list?  According to Google, that is busily scanning every book they can get their digitizing hands on, there are about 130 million book titles in the world.  There are more than 2 million NEW book titles published every year (in all languages) . There are approximately 8 billion people in the world.  That is more than 65 book titles per every person in the world.  So, theoretically every person needs to read a minimum of 65 books to reach an “average” level of literacy.  Of course this does not include the avalanche of words available to read that have not been organized into an actual book title, like Twitter and Facebook posting, newspaper and magazine articles and other “non-literature” such as scientific papers, and school textbooks and other propaganda published by governments and corporations.

The largest bookseller on-line is Amazon.com, which has an inventory of only about 1,750,000 titles in English.  That’s only 13 percent of all the book titles  in the world!  This a critically small number of books available to read.  How can one possibly consider themselves to be a literate person?  This does not even include the fact that the majority of books written in the ancient world (prior to 400 AD) were burned by the Christian church!  If you read one book every week 50 for years you would have read only 2,600 books!  According to Google, the average book is 300 pages.  That’s about 75,000 words per book.

As a writer, I am also a reader.  I have often read several books each week during the 50+ years of my reading life, as well as a lot of  printed material, etc.. All together I estimate I’ve read about 4,000 books, so far.  That’s a lot of words — not including the millions of words on the internet — that are not in the form of a book.  Fortunately, there are more than 100,000 book titles available as spoken books — narrated for you by professional actors — on  Audible.com, Librivox.com and sites on the internet.  Now, I can “read” a book with my ears, instead of my  eyes, a fact that I appreciate more and more as I grow older.  I can “read” while I’m walking, driving, jogging, cooking, cleaning, waiting and doing a lot of things that would prevent me from reading with my eyes.  It’s a wonderful age we live in!

So, how do we select the most cherished, life-giving, knowledge-quenching word droplets from the ocean of words?  Having read more than my share of books I can say without any doubt that reading a lot of books does not  make a person “smart”, or “wise”, or “literate”.  However, for me, reading books is usually a more gratifying experience, mentally and spiritually, than watching television or movies or videos.  Books are usually more thoroughly researched, planned, crafted, edited and perfected than other forms of communication.

In this electronic age, when more books are available to us — thanks to digital technology —  than during all of the history of humankind combined, can we expect that humanity would be more well informed and intelligent that ever before?  Books themselves are not wisdom.  If books are not read by people, the knowledge contained in them remains hidden.  They might has well not have been written.

My personal recommendation for your reading or listening book list are the books I’ve written, of course. My view of “reality” is different than most.  My universe is unique, as is yours.  I invite you to share my universe, through my books.

— This blatant self-endorsement is brought to you by Lawrence R. Spencer —

A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity (574 pages)

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Excerpts from the book, “A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity” by Walter B. Pitkin (1932):

“Stupidity can easily be proved the supreme Social Evil. Three factors combine to establish it as such. First and foremost, the number of stupid people is legion. Secondly, most of the power in business, finance, diplomacy and politics is in the hands of more or less stupid individuals. Finally, high abilities are often linked with serious stupidity.

Since 1929 even some cloak and suit salesman have learned that stupid folk still rule the world. Stupid presidents write messages to stupid parliaments. Stupid bankers lend millions to stupid investors. Stupid newspaper editors hide painful facts. Stupid taxpayers shell out billions of dollars for battleships, fortresses, shells, and stupid second lieutenants. Stupid manufacturers build factories three times too big. Stupid retailers sell third-rate goods at first-rate prices.

Liberalism is the last refuge of the stupid. Thither rushes every fool in trouble. He leaves patriotism to the scoundrel seeking safety, for the fool knows — in spite of his folly — that liberalism is founded on the rock of truth and is almost impregnable. If ever a census enumerator penetrates this temple, I suspect that he will find dwelling there five sons of Cyclops for every intelligent inmate. Worse luck for the latter!

The young adventurers of Tomorrow will be rash enough to enter the dark homes of these humanesques and treat them as if they were full-statured men. And, as ever before, Cyclops will consume them to the last bone unless youth strikes the monster blind. For between the children of light and the humanesques there can never be peace. One or the other must survive. One or the other must perish.

Which shall it be?”