Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

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Gleanings from the Past #84

Legally Speaking Dear Ned, Soon after I received my Acme pencil (11 cents), it rolled off the desk and on to the floor. Upon retrieving it, I hit my head on the desk. Can I hold Acme responsible? Boiling Mad Dear Boiling, This is what’s known as an open-and-shut case. If you don’t sue them, […]

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Short-Term Memory

Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)  once boasted about his amazing memory prowess to his friend Bennet Langton (1736 – 1801). As a demonstration, he said that he can recite an entire chapter of The Natural History of Iceland, a 1758 translation of Niels Horrebow’s work. When asked to prove his claim, he said: Chap. LXXII. Concerning […]

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Peculiar Index Cross-References

The index section of William Hawkins’ Treatise of Pleas of the Crown, a treatise on England’s criminal law published in 1716, contains some quaint and amusing cross-references: Assault, see Son. Chastity, see Homicide. Convicts, see Clergy. Death, see Appeal. King, see Treason. Shop, see Burglary. Sickness, see Bail.  

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The Ironic Tale of Censoring a Book About Censorship (Fahrenheit 451)

Daniel Radosh, a senior writer of Daily Show, related on his Twitter account in 2016 that his son’s school required parents to sign a permission slip before their children could be allowed to read Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451: tfw your kid's school makes you sign a permission slip so he can read Fahrenheit 451 📚 […]

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Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph and Its Potential Inspiration

Benjamin Franklin The following is the epitaph of Benjamin Franklin. It was written by himself several years before his death on April 17, 1790: THE BODY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER, (LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK, ITS CONTENTS TORN OUT, AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING,) LIES HERE, FOOD FOR WORMS; YET THE […]

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Gleanings from the Past #74

A Broken Leg and Some Books (1874) H. G. Wells My leg was broken for me when I was between seven and eight. Probably I am alive to-day and writing this autobiography instead of being a worn-out, dismissed and already dead shop assistant, because my leg was broken. The agent of good fortune was “young […]

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Quotable #74: Collecting

“Is this not the collector’s exquisite pleasure, that his desire should know no bounds, should reach out into the infinite, should never know full possession which disappoints by its very completeness. O what joy to be able to postpone the fulfillment of desire to infinity!” — Georges Rodenbach, The Bells of Bruges, 1897 “Sometimes, looking […]

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Gleanings from the Past #71

Keynes on Newton I believe that the clue to his mind is to be found in his unusual powers of continuous concentrated introspection. A case can be made out, as it also can with Descartes, for regarding him as an accomplished experimentalist. Nothing can be more charming than the tales of his mechanical contrivances when […]

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The Book That Has It All

One Sunday morning, Mark Twain was listening to a preacher who was giving a dramatic and well thought out sermon. Twain recognized the skill of the preacher though he was bothered by the preacher’s supercilious attitude. So, he decided to take the preacher down a few pegs. As you may be aware, Twain was an […]

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