LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Employee Tilly Shiner looks at a book in the aMAZEme labyrinth at The Southbank Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo used 250,000 books to create the maze which will be on display until August 25, 2012.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Friday Fun ~ Questions for Bibliophiles: Name the book that…

I found this list of questions at Captivated~by~Fantasy, and thought I would ask you to answer them!  It is the Harry Potter Book Tag, but don’t feel as  though you have to keep it to the Harry Potterverse to answer.



A book that you found interesting but would like to rewrite


The first book in a series that got you hooked


A book that you wish you could have right now

Avada Kedavra

A killer book


A book you find confusing

Expecto Patronum

Your spirit animal book


A dark, twisted book


A book that surprised you in a great way

Harry Potter Spells Image courtesy of Harry Potter Amino

‘How does it feel?’ Bob Dylan awarded Nobel Prize in Literature 2016


Congratulations to Bob Dylan for his 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded today, for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” according to the Swedish Academy.

Dylan is the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since Toni Morrison in 1993.

For Further Reading:

Facts on the Nobel Prize in Literature

“The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016”. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 13 Oct 2016. <;

Zalman, Jonathan. “Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature.”Tablet Magazine. Web. 13 Oct. 2016. <;

Bob Dylan Nobel Prize image courtesy of

Infographic: Science behind writing drunk and editing sober

Thanks to our editing friends in Australia, The Expert Editor, for this infographic. In this interesting article from The Guardian, “Why do writers drink?”  Kingsley Amis in, “– comparing writers to actors – suggests “displaced stage fright as a cause of literary alcoholism. A writer’s audience is and remains invisible to him, but if he is any […]

Umberto Eco and the Anti-library

Umberto Eco image courtesy of Brain Pickings 


“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore, professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others – a very small minority – who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an anti-library.”

― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility


My anti-library Kindle list

Taleb’s book is part of my anti-library, ironically enough.

Taleb’s quote above fascinated me, and I bought the book to read, but with the editing business going strong and the fact-checking side of the house prepping for the next issue of Genome Magazine, it’s on my TBR pile.  The good news is, now that school has resumed, perhaps the TBR pile can be dug into, perhaps at the beach?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s  The Theory of Colours


I have done some research on color theory and psychology, and my colors around the world blog post utilizing this as a reference. One of Goethe’s most radical points was a refutation of Newton’s ideas about the color spectrum, suggesting instead that darkness is an active ingredient rather than the mere passive absence of light.


Light and darkness, brightness and obscurity, or if a more general expression is preferred, light and its absence, are necessary to the production of color… Color itself is a degree of darkness. 


Leon Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box


The Boy on the Wooden Box is on my Kindle since my son Jason went to hear Leon Leyson’s widow, Lis, speak on Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Fullerton Public Library. Leon Leyson was the youngest person ever saved by Oskar Schindler.  He was #289 on Schindler’s List. Be sure to read Jason’s take on Lis Leyson’s speech.

As a history major in my undergrad days, this time period has always had a deep impact on me. I am sure it will be eye-opening and emotional.

I’m reminded of Marlon Brando’s famous Playboy interview with Lawrence Grobel, in which he says that he used to read all the time, but finally stopped because information was of no use to him. Grobel interviewed him on his island in Tahiti; Brando told him that he no longer read anything except Shakespeare. Everything that was worth knowing was contained in Shakespeare. Brando said:

070936-glossy-black-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close1I used to read an awful lot. Then I found that I had a lot of information and very little knowledge. I couldn’t learn from reading. I was doing something else by reading, just filling up this hopper full of information, but it was undigested information. I used to think the more intelligence you had, the more knowledge you had, but it’s not true. Look at Bill Buckley; he uses his intelligence to further his own prejudices. Why one reads is important. If it’s just for escape, that’s all right, it’s like taking junk, it’s meaningless. It’s kind of an insult to yourself. Like modern conversation–it’s used to keep people away from one another, because people don’t feel assaulted by conversation so much as silence. People have to make conversation in order to fill up this void. Void is terrifying to most people. We can’t have a direct confrontation with somebody in silence–because what you’re really having is a full and more meaningful confrontation.


Epictetus’ The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness 


Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:

070936-glossy-black-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close1Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

Epictetus‘ (c. AD 55 – 135) influential school of Stoic philosophy, stresses that human beings cannot control life, only their responses to it, keeping the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot.

What’s on your Anti-Library List? 

Let me know either by commenting here, or on twitter @bookdoctordara.


Word Wednesday: Finifugal



adjective | [fan’ee-fyoo-gal]


Hating endings; of someone who tries to avoid or prolong the final moment of a story, relationship, or some other journey  … Oh, Never Mind.


Your Latin Lesson:

fini-s:  end
+ fug-a:   flight
+ -al

Did You Know?

1883 A. Tollemache in Jrnl. Educ. 1 Sept. “In modern as well as in ancient times, the finifugal tendencyis apparent.”

For Further Reading

Mark Forsyth’s 11 Weird Words/Phrases You Should Be Using




Malatestiana Chained Library – Cesena, Italy

“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
― Mark Twain 

Malatestiana Library center aisle with rosette windows. Photo courtesy of  Ivano Giovannini 


The Malatestiana Library, known as the Biblioteca Malatestiana in Italian, was the first European civic library open to the public, and still open today.  This means it belonged to the Commune, and not the Church. Built in 1447, it is the oldest library in Europe.

Malatestiana Library is what is known as  a humanistic-conventual library.  This means that they have preserved its structure, furnishings, and codices (manuscripts of hand-written books) since its opening in the mid-15th century, all of this despite wars and natural disasters. This became a model and inspiration for monastic libraries.

The reading room itself, known as the Aula del Nuti, after its architect Matteo Nuti. He designed the rectangular plan with three naves surmounted by barrel and groin vaults is still accessed through the original wooden doors, which need two separate keys to open. Wandering Italy blog, explains, “Originally, one key belonged to the abbot, the other by a representative of the city; the sacred and the profane.”

Original wooden doors opening. Photo courtesy of Italian Ways

According to Italian Ways, “with its 17,000 autographs and letters, and 250,000 volumes – including 287 incunables, about 4,000 books from the 1500s (‘cinquecentine’), 1,753 manuscripts from the 16th and 19th century, and even the smallest book in the world that can be read without a magnifying glass: a letter by Galileo Galilei to Christina of Lorreine, printed in 1897 and bound in just 15 x 9 mm.”

In 2005, it was recognized as the first UNESCO Memory of the World site in Italy. It is a “rare example of a complete and wonderful collection from the 15th century, just before printing became popular in Europe.”

If you want to see what books and manuscripts are in the Biblioteca Malatestiana, and can’t travel to Italy (on my bucket list!) check out the Open Catalogue of the Malatestiana Project, which has lots of manuscript images under the “Collection” link.

Biblioteca Malatestiana Antica
Piazza Maurizio Bufalini, 1, 47521 Cesena FC, Italia
Info and Hours

Featured image courtesy of Jerome Levine for The Boston Globe.

For Further Reading:All the UNESCO registered Memory of the World sites

IMO… 12 Black Authors Everyone Should Read

A friend posted about a novel quiz he took and realized that he didn’t know any of the Black Authors. He asked for suggestions as to what he should read.  This got me thinking, and I thought I would share my reply. Bear in mind, this is MY OPINION. Let me know in the comments below of any that you recommend.

Richard Wright’s Black Boy and Native Son.

Frederick Douglass’ memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave


Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings


James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son (set during the civil rights movement)

Octavia Butler’s Kindred


W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folks


Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man


Alex Haley’s Roots, The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Langston Hughes’ Not without laughter


Did you know? The play A Raisin in the Sun by playwright Lorraine Hansberry was named for a line from a Langston Hughes poem.


      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God 


Toni Morrison’s Beloved


Ta-Nehisi Coates is an editor and writer for The Atlantic. I mentioned him in my Just the Facts… About Fact-Checking blog post.

Also … Both Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison are mentioned in my Literary Arts Postage Stamp series of posts on the blog. Feel free to go take a look at them.

For Further Reading:

10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read by This has little biographies and blurbs on most of the authors I listed above, and a few that I didn’t know about.

22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should be Reading by Isaac Fitzgerald

A Thyme and Place Cookbook by Tricia Cohen & Lisa Graves

A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table


Remember back in April when I went to the book launch for Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom?

Lisa Graves has now teamed up with her best friend Tricia Cohen for a wonderful cookbook, A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts for the Modern Table. Tricia did the recipes, and Lisa did the illustrations.

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting both Lisa and Tricia that day at the book launch. They are warm, funny, wicked smart, and talented.I would hang out with them anywhere, anytime. [They need to come West more often, however.]


Revive your inner period cook and master the art of gode cookery with thirty-five recipes celebrating festivals throughout the year!

Fancy a leap back in time to the kitchens in the Middle Ages? Return to when cauldrons bubbled over hearths, whole oxen were roasted over spits.  Common cooking ingredients included verjuice, barley, peafowl, frumenty, and elder flowers. You, too, can learn the art of gode cookery—or, at least, come close to it.

With gorgeous and whimsical hand-drawn illustrations from beginning to end,  A Thyme and Place is both a cookbook and a history for foodies and history buffs alike. Cohen and Graves revive old original medieval recipes and reimagine and modify them to suit modern palates and tastes. Each recipe is tied directly to a specific calendar holiday and feast so you can learn to cook:

• Summer harvest wine with elder flower, apples, and pears for St. John’s Day (June 21st)
• Right-as-rain apple cake for St. Swithin’s Day (July 15th)
• Wee Matilda’s big pig fried pork balls with sage for Pig Face Day (September 14th)
• Roasted goose with fig glaze and bannock stuffing for Michaelmas (September 29th)
• Peasant duck ravioli and last of the harvest chutney for Martinmas (November 11th)


This dish was adapted from an original, circa 1390, recipe:

Sawge yfarcet. Take pork and seeþ it wel, and grinde it smal, and medle it wiþ ayren & brede ygrated. Do þerto powdour fort and safroun wiþ pynes & salt. Take & close litull balles in foiles of sawge; wete it with a batour of ayren & fry it, & serue it forth.

– Recipes from “Forme of Cury”

For the meatballs:

2 cups uncooked ground pork

1 large egg, beaten

7 tablespoons panko

12 teaspoon allspice

14 teaspoon ginger

14 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground saffron

1 14 teaspoons salt

4 fresh sage leaves, finely cut; plus a dozen sage leaves, whole

For the tempura batter:

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

12 cup seltzer water

Salt, to taste

Lard (can substitute canola oil)

12 whole sage leaves

For the sage creme:

2 tablespoons butter

1 large shallot, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh sage

34 cup mead

34 cup heavy whipping cream

For the meatballs: Mix meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mold the mixture to form meatballs. Parboil meatballs for 10 minutes. Place meatballs on paper towel to cool.

For the tempura batter: While meatballs are boiling, create the tempura batter by mixing together the flour, cornstarch, seltzer and salt to taste. Mix until smooth. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Melt a hunk of lard in a heavy pan. After the lard has heated over medium to medium-high heat, take two forks and toss the cooled meatballs into the tempura batter.

Turn the meatballs gently in the lard until the tempura is golden. It does not have to look perfect … as long as it tastes good. When the meatballs are finished, toss the whole sage leaves in the tempura batter and give them a quick fry in the hot lard.

For the sage creme: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan. Toss in the minced shallots and minced sage. After the shallots are soft, pour in the mead and stir. Pour in the whipping cream and stir. Boil down by half until thick, on medium-high heat.

Garnish the meatballs with the creme and a piece of crispy sage.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Zest (1 tablespoon) and juice of one lemon ( 14 cup)

2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

12 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 cup shredded cheddar

14 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in saute pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary to hot pan, cook until fragrant, then add the lemon zest (it smells sooo good).

Stir and add the chickpeas to mixture. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice, spinach, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is gone.

Remove from heat, add to a serving plate and finish with the cheddar and parsley.


1 12 pounds thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large sweet onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 mission figs, chopped (optional)

12 cup dark-brown sugar, firmly packed

12 cup apple-cider vinegar

14 cup honey

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons Drambuie or bourbon

18 teaspoon salt

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cover and cook for approximately 25 minutes. Check on the bacon with some frequency, giving in a stir each time.

After the bacon begins to crisp, remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turn the heat off when the bacon is fully crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Let the fat in the Dutch oven cool for a few minutes and then — hear us — save the stuff in a container for future cooking.

Leave all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the Dutch oven. Turn the heat back to medium. Add onions and garlic, scrapping up any delicious bacon bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until soft. After they are soft, add the figs.

Drop the heat to medium low and add the brown sugar, cider vinegar, honey, ginger, pepper and Drambuie. Cook for 10 minutes, just enough time for the mixture to start to get jammy.

Adjust the heat to medium for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to medium low and add the bacon. Cook for 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally. Remove lid and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add mixture to food processor and chop to desired texture.

All recipes ©2016 Lisa Graves and Tricia Cohen

On June 7th, the cookbook was released in bookstores across the country.

Be sure to follow Lisa and Tricia on their Facebook page as they Deconstruct History: One Bite at a Time.

Tricia Cohen grew up in a house with two kitchens, surrounded by family, food, and love. In her adult life, she continues to share her love for food with the community as a hostess, gourmet home cook, and sous chef.

Lisa Graves is the author and illustrator of the series Women in History, as well as the illustrator of The Tudor Tutor She is the creator of, a site dedicated to illustrations of history’s most fascinating characters.

For Further Reading

Feehan grads’ ‘A Thyme and Place’ cookbook updates Middle Ages cuisine

Friendship helps ‘Thyme and Place’ cookbook authors get through family tragedies

Friday Funny Photo … Pokémon

Apparently, there was a Pokémon— Rattata — on my hand in Starbucks, and I had no idea. For those who are wondering what the heck is going on, Jason is playing Pokémon GO: An augmented reality-based game from Niantic Labs, who created the very popular mobile game Ingress, in which real world locations are used to find and […]