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The Literate Kitten

A splendiforous smorgasbordial smattering of ideas to promote literature, literacy and all things literary.

Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:13:49 +0000


We're on Wordpress

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 20:29:00 +0000

Been a long, long time...

But The Literate Kitten's getting her paws ready for business.

Follow us at:

Back in Business...again

Fri, 06 Jul 2012 22:44:00 +0000

Hello, I am so happy to be back in business after literally years of hacking my way through other less-than-literary jungles.


Wed, 14 Oct 2009 22:28:00 +0000

Be careful or you could be fined.

Friday 'Fess Up

Fri, 25 Sep 2009 20:58:00 +0000

Well, you are all more than kind to welcome me back. Thank you!

Today I fess up that I haven't started my RIP reading yet. I am waiting for the Wilkie Collins book to arrive. I want to be sure and finish that one, if nothing else, for the challenge.

And a recommendation for everyone: If you haven't read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, please be sure to add it to your list. Even if you hated Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. A definite will be on the edge of your seat.

She's baaaack!

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 21:47:00 +0000

Hello, friends and fellow bloggers!

I've been gone a long, long stretch - it has been a helluva year, I can tell you that much. Think: California budget cuts. Yeah, education plus recession equals no money for paper clips.

However, I am jumping in for Carl's RIP challenge!!!!

Two books (alas, quote the Raven, wish-it-was-more!):

1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith

Writers: get reviewed and distributed online

Wed, 04 Feb 2009 17:11:00 +0000 offers writers a free platform to get their work reviewed and distributed online.

And there's a contest for writers and readers...

A reading list for the ages!

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 23:53:00 +0000

Thanks to Sassymonkey for posting this list! It ought to keep many a serious reader busy for years!

John Updike RIP

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 18:34:00 +0000

John Updike is dead at 76.

Okay, he was never one of my favorites. I thought the Rabbit series were okay, but generally I didn't relate well to the whole older man focused on his sexuality themes that Updike tended to focus on.

Still, you can't get away from his influence on contemporary writing.

One of my very favorite short stories, however, was written by John Updike. It is called A&P. Enjoy.

Obama's Reading List

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 01:25:00 +0000

If you're not Obamafied yet, this is a great New York Times article on books that influenced Barack Obama. Some titles to check into here!

'Fess Up Friday

Sat, 24 Jan 2009 00:27:00 +0000

Surgery went okay. I learned I have a low-threshold tolerance for pain.

But I do have a nice pair of gallstone earrings now.

That's it for writing for this week! I'm thinking of taking on some freelance writing or editing assignments. Anybody out there have any ideas? Thanks!

TGIF to ya!

Einstein by Walter Isaacson

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 21:40:00 +0000

The first book I've completed in 2009! And it was a good one (and a library book, in keeping with my New Year's resolution to be a bit more frugal).

What distinguishes this book from other Einstein biographies is that the author relied on many of the newly released personal letters from Einstein's estate. Therefore, we get a better idea of what made Einstein tick and how he approached his work. Einstein saw it as part of his mission to extend the work of James Clerk Maxwell (who died the year Einstein was born), as a theorist who shed prevailing biases, leading him into the territory of field theories.

Now, I've read the book and still have very little idea of what a field theory is all about. Here's Einstein's take on it:

A new concept appeared in physics, the most important invention since Newton's time: the field. It needed great scientific imagination to realize that is not the charges nor the particles but the field in the space between the charges and particles that is essential for the description of physical phenomena.

This thinking led to the breakthroughs of his "miracle year" - 1905 - that saw the breaks from classical, Newtonian physics and into the revolutionary thinking of relativity - with its unsettling implications that perhaps randomness is at the heart of the behavior of the universe, and not order. What fascinated me was how Einstein basically spent the last years of his life trying to find a way around the theory that he postulated. And it was ironic that Einstein completed his famous paper that would revolutionize science but had not been able to earn a doctorate degree!

At the same time Einstein was deconstructing the universe, the same sort of breaking down of classical conventions was also happening in literature with Proust and art with the Impressionists. It is fascinating that the world as a whole seemed to be at the brink of a new era, in diverse areas, at the same time.

I enjoyed reading about Einstein the man, too, who seemed so humble, humorous, and kind (although not the best in relationships alas). "I regard class differences as a contrary to justice," he once wrote. "I also consider that plain living is good for everybody, physically and mentally."

It is so cliche, but the man was a genius, far ahead of his time. Liberty, he said, is the necessary foundation for the development of all true values.

We were lucky to have him then. I wish we had him now.

The book is dead, long live the book

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 23:32:00 +0000

This is a very interesting article (with some excellent book references).


Despite the attention once paid to the so-called digital divide, the real gap isn’t between households with computers and households without them; it is the one developing between, on the one hand, households where parents teach their children the old-fashioned skill of reading and instill in them a love of books, and, on the other hand, households where parents don’t. As Griswold and her colleagues suggested, it remains an open question whether the new “reading class” will “have both power and prestige associated with an increasingly rare form of cultural capital,” or whether the pursuit of reading will become merely “an increasingly arcane hobby.”

There is another aspect of reading not captured in these studies, but just as crucial to our long-term cultural health. For centuries, print literacy has been one of the building blocks in the formation of the modern sense of self. By contrast, screen reading, a historically recent arrival, encourages a different kind of self-conception, one based on interaction and dependent on the feedback of others. It rewards participation and performance, not contemplation. It is, to borrow a characterization from sociologist David Riesman, a kind of literacy more comfortable for the “outer-directed” personality who takes his cues from others and constantly reinvents himself than for the “inner-directed” personality whose values are less flexible but also less susceptible to outside pressures. How does a culture of digitally literate, outer-directed personalities “read”?

What do you think? Are we creating two classes of people, one for the Computer Screen and one for the Book? If so, what are the implications? Is deriding computer screen reading creating a sort of witch hunt mentality, to compensate for a fear of the loss of book reading? Does computer reading make it harder to switch back to the single-focus of reading a book? Or are we magnifying the possibilities of losing the "disciplined companionship" of book reading? Post your thoughts here.

'Fess Up Friday

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 18:52:00 +0000

Is it really Friday already? I didn't get much writing done beyond the blogs. Not to excuse myself, but I did get a gallbladder attack (now have to go under the knife), which has set me back at work (trickling over to other areas of my life).

I did submit a short story to an online 'zine, if that counts. And dammit, this week it counts.

The Chunkster Challenge

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 19:59:00 +0000

Now I'm getting back into the swing of things: My first challenge!

I'm going for the Chunkster Challenge 2009, specifically the Chubby Chunkster category.

2 books, 450 pages or longer

And I have all year to finish.

Which books to read, that is the question...for another post!

Finally, some good news

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 22:08:00 +0000

This is good news: In Apparent Reversal, Americans Are Reading More Literature, Report Says - I got this item from SFP at Pages Turned.

And check out Andrew's Book Club, which features a new book of short stories to read each month.

'Fess Up Fridays Returns!

Fri, 09 Jan 2009 16:43:00 +0000

Might as well get back on board with this idea.

This week, I actually have something to report, too: I revived this blog and started another: Recessionista, which will follow my travails as we all slog through the economic downturn. I don't want to be a naysayer but let's face it: All of the pundits and financial gurus are even sounding a death knell to the "old" economy (built on air, anyway). I am glad that debt and credit and overspending may be going away, but the little guy will pay for all of the big mistakes that were made by Alan Greenspan, GW, and company.

Okay, I'll save that soapbox for the Recessionista blog.

LK recommends

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 23:18:00 +0000

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Synopsis: A young man in India breaks out of his caste the hard way to become an "entrepreneur."

What Makes It: The voice is sharp and memorable. Think Holden Caulfield without the depression and a lot more huzpah. This debut novel won the Man Booker Prize, if that does anything for you. And the story is really find out more about what India is like, and also how the pitfalls of its democracy mirror our own in the States.

Happy 2009

Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:55:00 +0000

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays.

This is my first post for a while. I will try to start anew after a rather hellish 2008. My father was very sick all year. He died in October. Between that and a really busy job, well, the blog fell to the wayside.

I could barely read a cereal box, much less keep up any kind of literary book reading!

But, I'm back and hoping to pick it all up again.

Soon I hope to be following my fellow bloggers and being a culturalish kitten once again. This year, though, my library card will need to be put to good use! Got to tighten the belt, you know.

Best wishes to all for a peaceful, prosperous and healthy 2009!

RIP III: The List

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 00:25:00 +0000


Finally, the choices for RIP III reading are made! I debated this one many times over, and read some of the marvelous pools that other participants were posting over at Stainless Steel Droppings. Should I go modern or Victorian, mystery or horror, new author or familiar friend?

I've decided to stick with my leanings toward the Gothic genre and toward literary discoveries that span the centuries.

1. M.R. James, Casting the Runes and other Ghost Stories. This author is considered a master of the ghostly Gothic tale, and I've never read him. So cheers to things that traditionally go bump in the night!

2. Davis Grubb, The Night of the Hunter. First published in 1932, this novel is best-known for being adapted into a creepy Noir film starring Robert Mitchum. It's about a psychopath preacher who stalks two orphaned children. Quintessential American Gothic. Let's see if this thriller is worth reviving.

3. Kingsley Amis, The Green Man. The idea of this book intrigues me: an English country pub run by an alcoholic philanderer is haunted by a Faustian ghost. Plus, I've never read Kingsley Amis. Plus, this book is apparently out of print. This is still in the supernatural realm, a la the M.R. James, book, but I'm skating on the fact that this is a contemporary novel versus a Victorian selection of short stories to amend the categorization that Peril the II requires. I hope Carl V. approves.

Happy reading everyone.

RIP III...It's heeeerree!

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 16:01:00 +0000

Alright, just when I figured there was no gas left in this old bag, Carl V. announced the RIP III Challenge!

It starts Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 31. If you haven't ever participated, give it a shot -- you won't believe how much fun it is.

I am joining Peril the Second, aiming for 3 books.

Now comes the fun part: Deciding which books I'll read!!! What are you all reading?

Side note: Just wanted to record some of the books I've finished the past few months.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale
The Black Death: A Personal History, John Hatcher
Nixonland, Rick Perlstein
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo, Hayden Herrera
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, David M. Kennedy

Best Cougar Flicks

Fri, 15 Aug 2008 23:30:00 +0000

Okay, I'm tired and out of gas. So, it's time for a Netflix list of my favorite Cougar Flicks of all time (at least, of the ones I have seen). This is chick flicks for the ages, the middle ages that is. Maybe some other nominees will bring the list to 10...

6. Mamma Mia! Very dumb, but so much fun. I want to party with those girls and guys. In sequins and platform shoes, too. Is there nothing Meryl can't do? And more of Julie Walters and Colin Firth, pleeeeaaase.

5. Thelma & Louise. You never grow out of wanting to drive a great car and be an outlaw. Especially if Brad Pitt is hitchiking. What a great road trip! Except when they shot that guy. Oh, and when they drive off the edge of the Grand Canyon. But it is all quite possibly worth being able to blow up a lewd driver's truck in the desert.

4. Educating Rita. An English Housewife breaks the mold and tries to better herslef by going to school. Julie Walters will break your heart while you laugh. See this with Mamma Mia to see how this good Walters is.

3. Shirley Valentine. Greece must be getting lots of Cougar touristas what with this film and Mamma Mia. In a nutshell, stodgy English Housewife talks to Wall as her friend because Wall is much more companionable than her surly hubby, whom she serves egg and chips. This grim existence is suddenly drenched in sunshine when said Housewife gets a trip to Greece and finds plenty of adventure. Note to self: Find reliable Greece travel agent and book tour for 50th birthday.

2. Enchanted April. If Greece isn't your thing, why not rent an Italian villa? Let the Mediterranean sun go to your head. You'll emerged transformed with a whole new set of good buddies and possibly a new lease on your sex life.

1. Out of Africa. The original Cougar Flick, still ranks tops for love, loss, adventure, and Meryl Streep. And a warm climate and a woman with a gun. This time the love interest is Robert Redford, aged but mellow like a fine Porterhouse steak. A blond Porterhouse steak.

Thoughts to share

Thu, 07 Aug 2008 17:42:00 +0000

Communicating or expressing creativity requires an every-day-warriorship-courage. It is so vulnerable. It is bold to create despite the wave of critics and naysayers, the avalanche of "shoulds" and comparisons. The haters are always out there hatin' so loudly. To express anyway takes guts. Just to create, just to communicate is somehow so innocent and so bold. It requires a tolerance for allowing our art of Self to be seen in ways we may not like. But in our warrior-heart, we have room to do that. There we can find we are living for something more important than other people's approval or understanding. We are expressing things for goodness sake and that is enough. Our art can be set free into the world as it is. It (and we) can be like a mirror accommodating whatever projections are set upon it without losing anything, without falling into confusion. That is a heroism that is rarely noted, but makes the difference between a life of suffering and a life of satisfaction.

From Joy, Sorrow and Everyday Warriorship
By Tröma Rigtsal Rinpoche


Fri, 11 Jul 2008 22:01:00 +0000

Well, at the risk of losing readership and blog cred, I am withdrawing the kitten claws and forgoing the blog for a while.

My attention and energy need to be elsewhere for a while.

Hopefully, I'll be back, better than ever. Til then, happy blogging to you all!

Calling all writers

Wed, 25 Jun 2008 21:49:00 +0000


Calling all writers: would-be, wannabe, published, unpublished!

To help us all keep motivated, I hereby start the 'Fess Up Friday at The Literate Kitten. Here's how it will work:

Every Friday I will post my own 'Fess Up Friday, confessing what I did (or did not do) to achieve my writing goals for the week. You will see that, with me, reading, blogging, journaling -- just about anything counts. (Betcha I'll even find a way to make watching So You Think You Can Dance part of my writing goals.)

If you'd like to participate, just sign your link below. You can always comment on my blog or post a 'Fess Up Friday of your own.

'Fess Up Friday: Bombing Out and Confessing Ad Nauseum

Fri, 13 Jun 2008 22:41:00 +0000

Another week, another fizzle in the writing department.

I could produce a veritable tsunami wave of excuses, but the bottom line is: Didn't write. Thought of writing. Still didn't write. Read a little. Ran around a lot. In tight, little, nonconcentric circles.

I've got to face facts: My life is a bit of a runaway train right now. Not conducive to the meditative, introspective act of fiction writing.

It is humbling for me to see, plainly, how much more structure and organization my life requires, if I want to accomplish what I want to accomplish at work, at love, spiritually, creatively.

But, I vow to rise to the challenge! Hope all others are experiencing more satisfaction and success in their literary endeavors. I think at this point I will be quite happy if and when I can finish reading just one of my many bedside books!