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Dragons in Books

Is there a creature more fantastical than the dragon? From fierce, fire-breathing serpents to wise telepathic companions, literature has told tales of these mythical beasts for generations. Some of the best fantasy, science fiction and myth revolve around them. Fierce or friendly, wise or goofy, winged and scaly, literature is full of remarkable dragons to […]

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Ptarmigan Books – A Puzzle

While doing some research for a feature, I came across a Penguin imprint I hadn’t seen before – Ptarmigan Books. I knew it was Penguin immediately, not just from the name (though I suspected, because they do have a theme – Penguin, Pelican, Puffin… why not Ptarmigan?) but also because the cover art struck me. […]

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The Federal Case of Hemingway’s Key West Cats

In 2010, I was lucky enough to visit Key West, Florida. A wonderful escape from Canadian winter. While there, I spent an enjoyable couple of hours touring the grounds and house of Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Home, where Hemingway lived from 1931 until 1939 with his second wife (of four!), Pauline. We were certainly enchanted […]

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Why Paint Cats? …and Other Weird Books

When is the last time you stopped by the Weird Book Room for a fix of literary oddities? Here’s a little something for you: these images are just a drop in the bucket of the many strange and fanciful photographs found in the weird book Why Paint Cats by Burton Silver and Heather Busch. There […]

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Henry the Cat and His Bookshelf of Untold Riches

This lucky cat contemplating his next great read is Henry. Henry is one of two fur-acious readers from David Mason Books in Toronto, Ontario. David Mason Books has been in business for 40 years and is home to over 60,000 books, including 19th century British and American literature, modern first editions, Canadian literature, science, travel […]

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Mee-a-ow! Or, Good Advice to Cats and Kittens

The cover of this vintage children’s book caught my eye. You can see why: It’s an 1860 children’s book called Mee-a-ow! Or, Good Advice to Cats and Kittens by Robert Michael (R.M.) Ballantyne. Ballantyne was a 19th-century Scotsman who lived in Canada and worked for the early Hudson’s Bay Company. He was an incredibly prolific […]

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The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson, the marvelous British actress we all know and love (did you see her in the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing? Fabulous as Beatrice!) has written a book: The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit. I can think of fewer challenges more intimidating and daunting than writing a follow-up to anything by […]

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Fabre’s Book of Insects, 1935, Art by Edward Detmold

This is one of the color plates from my most recent gift to myself – a surprisingly affordable 1935 edition of Fabre’s Book of Insects. I bought it for the 12 color plates – I find bugs so interesting – but the writing is so engaging and passionate that I’m finding it’s a great read, […]

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Investigating Insects: Rare Entomology Books

The study of beetles, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies and all the other insects has accounted for a hefty slice of literature over the centuries. Scientists, naturalists, animal-lovers and others alike are fascinated by the insect world. This selection of rare entomology books covers anatomical research, beautiful illustrations, pestilence and guides to beekeeping. Investigate insects with these […]

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10 Beloved Dogs in Literature

Everyone loves a dog, right? Okay, most people. I suppose exceptions can be made for those with allergies or intense fears – though I was chomped in the face by a collie as a child, and I rallied to still love Lassie. Dogs are fun and loyal, and unconditional in their devotion to their human […]

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