Wednesday, July 31, 2013


There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.”
Gail Carson LevineWriting Magic: Creating Stories that Fly


Today is Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day. Have you ever heard of a wakrapuku, a Javanese bonang or a kaval? These are all types of musical instruments used around the world that, although rare here in America, are still widely used today. Many play an important role in the history and culture of their region. Spend a few minutes learing about an uncommon musical instrument today.

The History of Musical Instruments


In honor of Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day we are lowering the price of the paperback book by Curt Sachs called The History of Musical Instruments (Dover Books on Music). We have a couple of new copies of this 560 page book still in stock. Amazon gives the following description:


Written by one of the world’s most distinguished musicologists, this is the first comprehensive history of musical instruments. It traces their evolution from prehistoric to modern times, combining scholarship with insight in a remarkable fusion of music, anthropology, and the fine arts. Includes 24 plates and 167 illustrations.



Today is Harry Potter‘s birthday. It is also the birthday of his creator, J.K. Rowling. Enjoy some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans today and read (or re-read) some of the books. Or perhaps do a marathon watching of the films

thisiconiscurrentlyreading hp

July 31 is Mutts Day — a day when we can pull out all the canine stops and show our precious mixed breed pups that they are special, too. By definition a mutt, sometimes called a “Halfbreed”, is a dog that is of mixed breed. They come from two to several breeds. Purebred owners, and sometimes the public in general, view them as lesser in many ways. Mutt owners know better. They value the diversity and uniqueness of their mutts. Sure, a mutt doesn’t carry the expensive price tag that a purebred with papers has on its head. To the mutt owner, however, the mutt is invaluable. In addition, mutts don’t walk around needing to prove anything. You won’t see them strutting around any dog shows trying to prove they are the best.


On this day in 1964, Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon. The images were 1,000 times clearer than anything every seen from earth-bound telescopes.


Some of the writers born July 31st include:

Peter Rosegger (1843), Premchand (1880), Herbert W. Armstrong (1892), Brett Halliday (1904), Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909), Irv Kupcinet (1912), Primo Levi (1919), Gilles Carle (1929), Lynne Reid Banks (1929), Cees Nooteboom (1933), Yvon Deschamps (1935), Carol J. Clover (1940), Jonathan Dimbleby (1944), João Barreiros (1952), Andrew Marr (1959), J. K. Rowling (1965), Mark Cuban (1968), Ahmad Akbarpour (1970), Dave Wedge (1970), and Giorgos Kapoutzidis (1972).


Today we remember two authors on the anniversary of their passing.


Poul Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories.

He received numerous awards for his writing. He earned a B.A. in physics with honors but made no real attempt to work as a physicist.

Anderson married Karen Kruse in 1953. Their daughter Astrid is now married to science fiction author Greg Bear.

Poul Anderson died of cancer on July 31, 2001, after a month in the hospital. A few of his novels were first published posthumously.

Anderson was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America. Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls to Anderson and eight of the other members of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy.

Anderson is probably best known for adventure stories in which larger-than-life characters succeed gleefully or fail heroically. His characters were nonetheless thoughtful, often introspective, and well developed. His plot lines frequently involved the application of social and political issues in a speculative manner appropriate to the science fiction genre. Much of his science fiction is thoroughly grounded in science (with the addition of unscientific but standard speculations such as faster-than-light travel).

In his numerous books and stories depicting conflict in science-fictional or fantasy settings, Anderson takes trouble to make both sides’ points of view comprehensible. Even where there can be no doubt as to whose side the author is on, the antagonists are usually not depicted as villains but as honorable on their own terms.

Philip K. Dick’s story “Waterspider” features Poul Anderson as one of the main characters. In the opening of S.M. Stirling‘s novel In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, a group of science fiction authors, including Poul Anderson, watch first contact with the book’s Martians while attending an SF convention. Poul supplies the beer.


Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known, as Gore Vidal, for essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. As a well-known public intellectual, he was known for his patrician manner and witty aphorisms. As well known for his essays as his novels, Vidal wrote for The Nation, New Statesman, the New York Review of Books and Esquire.

Vidal always rejected the terms of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” as inherently false, claiming that the vast majority of individuals had the potential to be pansexual. His screenwriting credits included the epic historical drama Ben-Hur (1959), into which he claimed he had written a “gay subplot.” Ben-Hur won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Vidal wrote several mystery novels in the early 1950s under the pseudonym Edgar Box. He wrote plays, films, and television series. For six decades, Gore Vidal applied himself to a wide variety of sociopolitical, sexual, historical and literary themes.

Vidal had affairs with both men and women. The novelist Anaïs Nin claimed an involvement with Vidal in her memoir The Diary of Anaïs Nin but Vidal denied it in his memoir Palimpsest. Vidal also discussed having dalliances with people such as actress Diana Lynn, and alluded to the possibility that he may have a daughter. He was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward, before she married Paul Newman; after eloping, the couple shared a house with Vidal in Los Angeles for a short time. In 1950, he met his long-term partner Howard Austen.

Vidal was an atheist, and humanist, and in 2009 was named honorary president of the American Humanist Association. Vidal died at his home in Hollywood Hills, California, at about 6:45 p.m. July 31, 2012, of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

At the time of his death, he was the last of a generation of American writers who had served during World War II, including J. D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Joseph Heller. Perhaps best remembered for his caustic wit, he has been described as the 20th century’s answer to Oscar Wilde.

all the cool dogs readDisclaimer:
Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia, Amazon, and other sources such as, which are directly linked to within the text.  Images have been taken from various sources found via Facebook, and Google.
Village Book Shop and the blogger claim no credit for the information above.


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