Sponataneous Edinburgh Art

Edinburgh Expeditions

Whilst walking to the Central Library today, I spotted this mural…who is it of? Where did it come from?


Who is this kid?

I’ve also spotted a number of quotes around the city, all from the Scottish Play…

Double Double Toil and Trouble

In front of St Giles Cathedral

When shall we three meet again?

In St Andrew Square

The quotes are for an exhibit called “Beyond Macbeth” that’s at the National Library. I guess I know where I’m headed to this week!

T. E. Lawrence (a. k. a. more books I want to read)

What's On the Bookshelf?

Last night, I finished watching Lawrence of Arabia. Long movie, even for one who has been known to marathon the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice, and Lord of the Rings extended editions. I still liked it a whole lot.

I want to read more about T. E. Lawrence, remembering a biography I saw at my library a few months ago, and having desired to read Seven Pillars of Wisdom for well over a year, since coming across this quote during thesis research:

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.

It just struck me. I find myself trying to dream with my eyes open, reaching my goals and working towards them.

So, amongst the piles of books I want to read, I’m hoping to tackle the biography I saw, and Seven Pillars of Wisdom. I have an insatiable curiosity. I need to know everything I can about people and things that interest me. Mr Lawrence definitely falls into the category of “people who interest me.”

I also think that my library may be sick of me, as I keep intra-library-loaning books, movies and CDs. And they continue to question if the books and movies I’m enjoying are for me…cannot wait to see their faces when I pick up Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Abridgment: A Sign of the Apocalypse or Just Annoying?

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Rather than include my usual post about Books that Matter, I thought I’d post my thoughts on abridging books. Please enjoy the rant. Next week, pending the apocalypse, will be back to our regular scheduled program.

This week, I ventured to my local library in hopes of making good on a deal/agreement/suggestion put forth by Holmes: Put aside Hugo and read Dumas. Now, I’m all willing to read Dumas (and have been anxiously looking forward to it), but my library seems to be spiting me.
Abridged books.
Holmes specifically requested that I read The Count of Monte Cristo (so we can go all former English major on it and DISCUSS). I picked up a copy at my school’s library. Nice, unabridged translation. Had to put it aside as I realized I had a hell of a lot more work to do on the thesis. So, now that I am finished with undergrad, I mosey-ed on down to my local library to get The Count.
Two copies. Both abridged.
Why? I don’t see the point in abridging works, mostly because I feel that if I’m going to put in the effort to read a book, I want to read the whole damn thing. I felt that way about Les Miserables. I feel that way about all books that I read.

Reading abridged books feels like being cheated. I remember my dismay when I realized that those “Great Illustrated Classic” books were abridged (I was a bit slow, despite my reading comprehension, when I was in elementary school). I read their version of Little Women in a day. Imagine my shock when I went to read Little Men (one of the sequels by Louisa May Alcott) a couple of weeks later. It took me nearly a month to read it (bear in mind I was in the third or fourth grade), and I was shocked. Why did this book take me so much longer? Well, it was Alcott’s actual words.


Now, I would like to know who decides what to abridge. Do you take out the “boring parts?” What, exactly, are the boring parts? I wouldn’t consider Hugo’s many many many digressions to be boring–quite the opposite. I find them utterly fascinating (and I paid more attention to the Waterloo stuff the second time through). So what if we have to read 50 pages of stuff to get to a chapter that ultimately dictates how the last, um, 4/5s of the book play out? Considering the Brick is over 1,200 pages, I think that’s perfectly fair.

Of course, abridging can work to one’s favor. For example: The Complete Works of Wm. Shakespeare, Abridged is one of the funniest plays I have ever seen.

And I can’t think of any more good examples of abridgment.

Excuse me while I bury myself in my unabridged copy of Les Miserables. Now if I read French, it would be even better…

Sunshine and Happiness

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

A snippet of a conversation between Holmes and I:

Me (holding a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo): “I can’t wait to finish my paper so I can move on to sunshine and happiness!”


Me: “Sunshine and happiness there being epic, depressing French novels.”

Whenever I finish reading one of Victor Hugo’s books, I feel a big gaping hole in my chest. Since I don’t think my school’s library has anything more of his, I’ve moved onto Dumas. I have yet to start, but I am so looking forward to reading The Count of Monte Cristo.  And get through reading it without slipping up and saying “Monte Crisco.”

30 Days of Writing: Day Four

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

Where to begin? With my epic stories I’d tell myself when I was a little kid, acting them out with my Barbies and action figures? The plethora of stories I wrote in the first grade (including my simplistic history of the American Revolution)?


My fourth grade class started publishing work. My teacher would select the works she liked best and we would edit, rewrite, and illustrate the books to be bound and put in the school library, where they would be available to check out.

I wrote a story called Hike, Champion, Hike! It was about a lovable Siberian husky named Champion who’s owner Catherine enters a sled race. Champion was the lead dog.

I don’t remember much of the story. I was big into the Iditarod at the time, and set the story in Alaska (despite having never been there. Which is still true). It was cute.

One of these days I’ll see if the book is still at the library.