Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooktacular give away hop

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)
Halloween is my favorite time of year.  Mostly because it smells really cool. I look forward to meeting some strange and unusual creatures, turning my kids into monsters, and carving the 20 pumpkins from my garden.  I also look forward to giving away a freaky book to one of my (international) followers.  And that book is WITHER by Lauren DeStephano.  The first in the Chemical Garden series. This book was freaky disturbing, morbid and my favorite cover image for 2011. And just in case you've already read this, I will provide a second choice which is Spirited by Leap Books a ghost anthology of which I am one of 13 writers.  I can't go a Halloween without giving one of those away.  So, easy rules: one entry for any of these:  follow my blog, join my facebook page, add SHIFTERS to your goodreads tbr page. Leave your actions and email in the comments section.  Then check out the over 400 other giveaways at I am a Reader not a Writer. But most of all - have a happy Halloween, and have a nightmare because you've read something scary.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Personal Libraries

John Ruskin said, "I would urge upon every young [person] to obtain as soon as they can, by severest economy, a steadily increasing series of books, for use through life; making their little library, of all their furniture, the most studied and decorative piece."

"It is a [person's] duty to have books.  A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life." - Henery Ward Beecher

"No money should be wasted upon whims and experiments, but every dollar should be devoted to the acquisition of improving books." Ainsworth Rand Spofford

Monday, October 1, 2012

Memorizing Poetry

Beowulf fighting Grendel
From John Miller Dow Meiklejohn - "Poetry stands at the head of all the literature of the imagination.  Some people of highly utilitarian views decry poetry, and desire to feed all readers upon facts.This is a great mistake.  The highest expressions of moral and intellectual truth... are in poetic form.  Take out of the world's literature the works of its great poets and you would leave it poor indeed." 

Verse is the earliest form of literature because it was easiest to memorize.  It passed from father to son for generations.
The poems of Homer are another example of oral memorization that was passed down for hundreds of years before they were ever in writing.
The original author of many oral works is unknown.  Beowulf, the oldest head rhyme poem in the English language, wasn't written down until the 9th century, but surely it was sung by warriors and families at feasts for 400 years prior.

It researching his novel "Roots", Alex Haley returns to Africa to find the village of his great grand father who was taken into slavery.  This small village had a shaman, or story teller who was responsible for archiving the history of the village within his memory.  Sometimes these men can memorize the names, dates, deeds and disasters of a village for hundreds of years.  Indeed, when Haley questioned the shaman about his great grandfather, the shaman knew his name, and how old he was when he disappeared.

Memorization is a lost art.  We think we write things down to relieve our brains from the hardship and drudgery of memorization, but we do ourselves a disfavor. The more a work is written down, the more our minds and hearts are lost to it.  How many things do you have memorized? Can you recite something for me?