Who’s Afraid of Lebanon’s ‘al-Sa`eh Library’?

A sad state of affairs in Tripoli…


On Friday night, a historic bookshop in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli was burned, destroying thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of books and manuscripts. Today, salvage efforts have begun:

IMG-20140103-WA0018_490781_largeAlthough several news outlets were quoting an AFP report that “a pamphlet was discovered inside one of the books at the library that was insulting to Islam and the prophet Mohammad,” there was no apparent claim of responsibility and numerous denunciations.

According to NaharNet, this wasn’t the first time the place was targeted. The day before, “Bashir Hazzouri, an employee at the library, was shot and wounded on Thursday in the old souks of Tripoli.”

The library is run by the Greek Orthodox priest Father Ibrahim Srouj, and is apparently the largest in Tripoli and second-largest in Lebanon. According to library supporter Natheer Halawani, “The library has over 80,000 titles, not copies. The total amount of books exceeds…

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Original ‘Yes, Virginia’ Santa Letter — 1897


Original newspaper clipping. Source: The Newseum. Reprinted here.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’

“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


The answer to this young girl’s innocent question was penned by former war correspondent, then newsman, Francis Pharcellus Church. What I love about his response is that he does not approach Santa as a bearded man in a red suit at the mall, nor as the Santa letters asking for the material. Church makes Santa “real” through the belief and faith of that which makes the world more beautiful. He was not widely revealed as the author until after his death in 1906.

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia O’Hanlon-Douglas
Source: Victoria Advocate.com

Find out more about this story at the Newseum here and here.

To Virginia’s Family, Yes, Santa Claus is Still Real.  NY Times reports on Virginia’s descendants.

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Do you know me?

My thoughts on Sandy Hook and kindness…

Slow Writer

Do you know me?

I feed the soul,

warm the heart,

shine the light in

corners dark.

Of me they doubt &

the world is blind, ‘less

you bring me out. I am

the act of kindness.


I’ve always considered myself a kind person. I know an act of kindness when I see it. I penned this poem with the thought of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT and the 26 Acts of Kindness movement it forged. The title, “Do you know me,” is asked of the meaning of kindness, but it can also be asked of the victims.  In writing this morning, I realized it had an even deeper connection.

Let me tell you about Glenn. For twenty years he lived across from me, in a two-street neighborhood of townhouses. The homes are connected, in sets of four to six, so we are physically close. It’s…

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Connect the Blogs: The Past from Over There

paralleluniTime for another Connect the Blogs. This one is extra special!

I’ve just recently watched the final episode of Fringe. Yes, I know, late to the party, blah blah blah. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I was able to watch all five seasons over this last year. God, I love that Walter. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll understand when I say that today’s blog connection is spawned from my alternate universe; my other blog, that is, where I have a completely different avatar and screen name. I’ll mention my alter cyber ego to my therapist, but for now, let me introduce you to A Small Press Life.

Originally, I was going to post about another gift idea for yourself 😉 or the vintage book lover in your life, inspired by this post from A Small Press Life. It is just one in a series of Holiday Shopping posts if you’re searching for fabulous book/literary related gifts. I intended to hone in on just one shop, Out of Print Clothing, but Mae has done such a great job, and with more to offer, that I realized I should introduce her entire blog to you over here!

Mae (maedez) is a writer devoted to the principles of great literature and publication, for all the right reasons. A Small Press Life is vintage—in part, but not entirely—because many of the posts introduce you to, or remind you of, great authors of the past in the form of short bio tidbits, quotes, and wonderful images and videos, like this little gem; an interview clip with Ian Fleming on how he came up with the name “James Bond.” Fascinating to me both as a writer and fan of the classics.

As an old-book lover, I always look forward to the time travel bursts from A Small Press Life. Don’t just be an Observer! Take the leap, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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Dangerous Vintage Ads


While I recover from my fantastic and busy holiday – I share with you this article on vintage ads that are truly unbelievable in the way we used to think about and trust in big business!

From “DDT is good for me” to the paint company, Dutch Boy, creating “The Lead Family” and having a Lead Party with their paint!! How about Lysol for your lady-parts, ladies!

What Were We Thinking? The Top 10 Most Dangerous Ads

By: Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector’s Weekly

Posted in Ephemera, Vintage Advertisement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gifts for the Book Lover: A Novel Aroma

booksmellpollDo you know a bibliophile? I do. Me! There are few things I enjoy more than discovering a used book store, or strolling the library stacks. Books, especially those with an aged aroma and fine patina, hold a special place in my heart, sending a sense of comfort through my olfactory nerves.

If you have a book lover on your gift list and are unsure of what he or she may like, try a bookish scent!

“There is nothing like the smell of books, both new and old. If someone ever bottled the smell, I would be all over it.”   ~ Tiffany King, Meant to Be


“A trip to your favorite library or used bookstore. Sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper, Demeter’s Paperback harnesses that scent with a sprinkling of violets and a dash of tasteful potpourri.”


“People who read poetry, for example, like the feel, the heft and the smell of a book”  ~ Simon Armitage

perfumeinthelibraryIn The Library

“To many of course, these various bookish odors mean nothing. But to an avid reader and collector like myself, these smells are as magical as the bouquet of a great wine is to a connoisseur – a sort of literary terroir. These scents mean Excitement, Adventure, Discovery, Enlightenment and Knowledge. Of course my deep love of reading is exactly what lead me in the first place to begin capturing the scent of books and of the libraries where they live. That’s what this perfume is all about.”


“The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future.” Stephen King

The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future.” – See more at: http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/04/16/the-smell-of-books/#sthash.qXToEzoL.dpuf
The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future.” – See more at: http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/04/16/the-smell-of-books/#sthash.qXToEzoL.dpuf


“Olivia Giacobetti is here at her imaginative, humorous best, and Dzing! is a masterpiece. Dzing! smells of paper, and you can spend a good while trying to figure out whether it is packing cardboard, kraft wrapping paper, envelopes while you lick the glue, old books, or something else. I have no idea whether this was the objective, but I have few clues as to why it happened. Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good-quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.”

There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great.  If a book is old, it smells even better.  It smells like ancient Egypt.  A book has got to smell.” ~ Ray Bradbury

candlepoeEdgar Allan Poe Library Fragrance Diffuser

“Cardamom, Absinthe & Sandalwood fragrance notes”

The Poe Library scent is also available as a candle. And, if Poe is not your scent, this company has also captured Twain, Dickens, Austin, Tolstoy and more.

A book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt.

Ray Bradbury

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/raybradbur447449.html#Jzc4lJkGe8ZVJfUw.99

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Shameful Vintage Books About Homosexuality

This came across my Google feed for vintage books. Not sure what appalls me more:

The “authors” of these books that obviously cared more about their wallets than their morals; or, the torn, confused young people that faced a hostile, sometimes violent, world.

A fascinating look at some of the historical and cultural aspects of homosexuality through these vintage books.

Autostraddle — Masters of Homosex: 9 Vintage Books That Lied About Lesbians.

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You Should Date a Girl Who Reads

Absolutely beautiful – I highly recommend 🙂

“Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn….”

Ash & Acorn

black and white, book, girl, old, photography

(Image source)

I found this purely by accident, and thought I would share.

“You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow…

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Old Book Covers and Googly Eyes. Say What?

googeye1Scary vintage book covers just got creepier! Googly Eye Books, via Tumbler, describes itself as…”A blog combining two of mankind’s greatest achievements: literature and googly eyes.” I may have to agree! They have created another form of book art. I’ve brought just a sample of the creepiest to share with you.  Have a spooktacular Halloween!

                                         Who says old books have to be stuffy?




googeye3googeye2googeye4                                                       I’d swear they’re watching me!

Posted in Book Art, Vintage Book Covers, Vintage Classics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

stick at desk (2)As if I don’t have enough to do, I went ahead and opened an additional blog. This one is more personal and I’m focused on practicing the craft of writing. I was not going to post about it here, but thought if you came across it you might wonder what I was hiding! So, check it out, or not, it’s all good. 🙂

Posted on by moore314 | 11 Comments