The Influence of Mothers

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsThere is a wonderful line in the play, Double Falsehood (published by Lewis Theobald in 1727 who edited a an unnamed play by William Shakespeare; however scholars believe it was an adaptation of The History of Cardenio, first performed in 1613, a collaboration between John Fletcher and Williams Shakespeare): “The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heavens lieutenants.” The metaphor speaks to the enormous influence that parents have on their children — not only by what they say (as the quotation suggests), but what they doBookshelf honors mothers throughout the world, who truly have the toughest job in the world, with the best quotations about the influence of mothers.

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”
Elaine Heffner

“Children have never been very good at listening to adults but they have never failed to imitate them.”
James Baldwin

“I believe that what a woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposelessly.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
Jim Henson

“Live your life the way you want your kids to live theirs.”
Michael First

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

“A mother’s children are self-portraits of herself.”
Anonymous

“If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in.”
Louise Hart

“Children should be taught not the little virtues but the great ones. Not thrift but generosity and an indifference to money; not caution but courage and a contempt for danger; not a desire for success but a desire to be and to know.
Natalia Ginzburg

Read related posts: What is the Toughest Job in the World?
The Legacy of Mothers
Best Quotes About Mothers
Favorite TV Moms of All Time
The Wisdom of a Grandmother

For further reading: Mom Candy: 1,000 Quotes of Inspiration for Mothers by Jena Pincott

THE BOOK MAKES A WONDERFUL MOTHER’S DAY GIFT


There’s a Word for That: Saudade

atkins-bookshelf-wordsEver miss someone so deeply that it leaves you profoundly sad and nostalgic? The Portuguese have a word for that: saudade (pronounced sou DAH duh). Saudade is defined as a deep emotional state of a pensive, sad longing for a loved person or something that is absent (think of a childhood pet); or a profound longing for something that is unattainable (think of Gatsby and his beloved Daisy); or an acute sense of a moment slipping away (think of a special occasion, like graduation or a wedding). It is not the same feeling as melancholy, which has no obvious or specific cause.

The Portuguese word is derived from two similar sounding words: the Latin word solitat-, the stem of solitas meaning “solitude or loneliness” and the Portuguese word saudar, meaning “to salute or greet.” Leave it to Brazilians to capture the emotion in a song from the early 1960s — “Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl From Ipanema,” music by Antonio Carlos Jonim, lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes translated into English by Norman Gimbel). In an essay for The New York Times titled “Brazilian Yearning and Imminent Loss” film and music critic Stephen Holden observes that the famous Brazilian song is “a potent distillation of the concept of saudade, a feeling of melancholic nostalgia that characterizes so much Brazilian music. ‘And when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn’t see,’ goes the wistful punch line. Longing for the unattainable, and an acute sense of the moment’s slipping away: That’s saudade.”

Read related posts: There’s a Word for That: Esprit de l’escalier
There’s a Word for That: Jouissance
There’s a Word for That: Abibliophobia
There’s a Word for That: Petrichor
There’s a Word for That: Deipnosophist
There’s a Word for That: Pareidolia
There’s a Word for That: Macroverbumsciolist
There’s a Word for That: Ultracrepidarian
There’s a Word for That: Cacology

For further reading: nytimes.com/2014/03/22/arts/music/strictly-bossa-nova-goes-to-ipanema-and-beyond.html?_r=0


What is the Pinocchio Effect?

alex atkins bookshelf phrasesThere are so many lies coming out of Washington D.C. — each day alternative facts, fake news, misrepresentations, and misstatements are colliding with one another at such a dizzying pace, like atoms colliding, resulting in a spectacular explosion of bullshit that blocks out even the tiniest glimpse of reality. Even seasoned White House correspondents are scrambling for different ways of referring to all this bullshit by using different euphemisms like balderdash, baloney, booty chatter, bull honky, bunk, canard, cock and bull story, codswallop, concoction, crock, falsehood, fib, fiction, fish story, flapdoodle, hogwash, hokum, hooey, horse manure, inveracity, jiggery-pokery, malarkey, misrepresentation, misstatement, moonshine, piffle, pish posh, poppycock, prevarication, prevarication, rubbish, stretcher, tall tale, twaddle, untruth, whopper. Whew! All of this lying would even make Pinocchio’s little wooden head spin.

Speaking of Pinocchio — when discussing lies and lying, psychologists refer to the Pinocchio effect. No, the Pinocchio effect does not refer to the lengthening of the nose described in the famous children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1881) by Carlo Collodi (otherwise most politicians could not fit through standard doorways without turning sideways). In science, the Pinocchio effect describes the increase in temperature around the nose and in the orbital muscle in the corner of the eye when a person lies. In a pioneering study conducted in 2012, researchers at the University of Granada, Emilio Gómez Milán and Elvira Salazar López, used thermographic cameras to measure temperature on the face of human subjects. When a person performs considerable mental effort (eg., being interrogated or lying), the overall temperature of his or her face drops (except around the nose and corner of the eyes); however, when a person experiences anxiety, overall face temperature rises. The researchers elaborate: “When we lie about our feelings, the temperature around our nose raises and a brain element called insula is activated. The insula is a component of the brain reward system, and it only activates when we experience real feelings (called qualias). The insula is involved in the detection and regulation of body temperature. Therefore, there is a strong negative correlation between insula activity and temperature increase: the more active the insule (the greater the feeling) the lower the temperature change, and vice versa.”

Read related posts: What is the Barnum Effect?
There’s A Word for That: Trumpery
Words Related to Trump
What are the Most Common Lies on Social Media?
What is the Big Lie?

For further reading: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203081834.htm
https://forsythstories.com/2017/01/28/36-euphemisms-for-lie-white-house-correspondents-can-use/


Utterly Unique Words

alex atkins bookshelf wordsThe editors of Dictionary.com are fond of diving into the depths of the sea of words, looking for truly dazzling and unique treasures to haul up to the surface. Here are some recent discoveries that they titled “utterly unique”:

dreamt: this past tense of dream is the only verb in English to end with “mt”

hydroxyzine: one of only two words in the English language that has an X, Y, and Z in alphabetical order; refers to a versatile medication that reduces activity in the central nervous system; specifically, it acts as an antihistamine and sedative. (Incidentally, the other word is xyzzor, a nematode worm. Gross!)

queue: a line; it is the only word in English that is pronounced the same if you remove the last four letters.

syzygy: The alignment of three celestial bodies in a straight line; most commonly the Earth, Sun, and Moon; the only word in the English language that contains three “y”s.

tmesis: the insertion of one or more words between a word, compound word, or a phrase (eg, abso-freaking-lutely, fan-bloody-tastic, legend-wait for it-dary); the only English word that begins with “tm.”

Read related posts: Words Invented by Book Lovers
How Many Words in the English Language?
Words with Letters in Alphabetical Order
What is the Longest Word in English?
There’s a Word for That: Epeolatry

For further reading: A Curious Dictionary of Language Oddities by Chris Cole
A Word A Day by Anu Garg
gusbert.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/word_oddities/words06.htm
rinkworks.com/words/oddities.shtmlhttp://www.dictionary.com/slideshows/unique_words#syzygy
http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/wordtriv.htm
http://jeff560.tripod.com/words1.html


Books Are the Windows Through Which the Soul Looks Out

alex atkins bookshelf quotations“Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house. The plainest row of books that cloth or paper ever covered is more significant of refinement than the most elaborately carved étagére or sideboard.

Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows.

No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. He cheats them! Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. And the love of knowledge, in a young mind, is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices.

Let us pity these poor rich men who live barrenly in great bookless houses! Let us congratulate the poor that, in our day, books are so cheap that a man may every year add a hundred volumes to his library for the price of what his tobacco and beer would cost him. Among the earliest ambitions to be excited in clerks, workmen, journeymen, and, indeed, among all that are struggling up from nothing to something, is that of owning, and constantly adding to a library of good books. A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a young man’s history. It is a man’s duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.” [Emphasis added]

From Sermons by Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), American clergyman, journalist, and social reformer who passionately advocated for the abolition of slavery, supported the theory of evolution, and supported Chinese immigration in the U.S. Beecher was so eloquent that President Abraham Lincoln sent him to Europe on a speaking tour to build a compelling case for the abolition of slavery. He lectured widely and was a prolific writer for several journals; his only novel was Norwood published in 1868.


Phrases That Cannot Be Translated Literally

alex atkins bookshelf phrases“Most of the world’s languages have phrases or sentences that cannot be understood literally,” writes lexicographer Richard Spears. “Even if you know all the words in a phrase and understand all the grammar… the meaning may still be elusive. A phrase or sentence of this type is said to be idiomatic.” American English, being so idiomatic, causes a lot of confusion for second language learners. Imagine their horror when they hear that someone is “trying to bury the hatchet” with another person; or a person states “I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.” The actual meaning of those phrases is lost in translation; of course, English speakers know they have nothing to do with hatchets or horses. But how is an English language learner supposed to know that?

The English language, however, does not have a monopoly on phrases that when translated literally seem, well idiotic. Just ask the translators involved with the Open Translation Project, who translate TED Talks into over 100 languages. They were asked to share their favorite idiomatic phrases, or phrases that cannot be translated literally. Use at your own peril (idiom followed by literal translation, followed by actual meaning):

German Idioms
Idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
Translated literally: “You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
Actual Meaning: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings.”

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.
“I only understand the train station.”
“I don’t understand a thing about what that person is saying.’”

Die Katze im Sack kaufen.
“To buy a cat in a sack.”
That a buyer purchased something without inspecting it first.

French Idioms 
Avaler des couleuvres.
“To swallow grass snakes.”
“It means being so insulted that you’re not able to reply.” 

Sauter du coq à l’âne.
“To jump from the cock to the donkey.”
“It means to keep changing topics without logic in a conversation.” 

Se regarder en chiens de faïence.
“To look at each other like earthenware dogs.”
“Basically, to look at each other coldly, with distrust.” 

Les carottes sont cuites!
“The carrots are cooked!”
“The situation can’t be changed.”

Swedish Idioms
Det är ingen ko på isen
“There’s no cow on the ice.”
“There’s no need to worry. 

Att glida in på en räkmacka
“To slide in on a shrimp sandwich.”
“somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are.”

Det föll mellan stolarna
“It fell between chairs.”
“It’s an excuse you use when a person was supposed to do something, and forgot to do it.”

Russian Idioms
Галопом по Европам
“Galloping across Europe.”
“To do something hastily, haphazardly.”

На воре и шапка горит
“The thief has a burning hat.”
“He has an uneasy conscience that betrays itself.”

Хоть кол на голове теши
“You can sharpen with an ax on top of this head.”
“He’s a very stubborn person.”

The idiom: брать/взять себя в руки
“To take oneself in one’s hands.”
“to pull yourself together.”

Portuguese Idioms
Quem não se comunica se trumbica
“He who doesn’t communicate, gets his fingers burnt.”
“He who doesn’t communicate gets into trouble.”’

Quem não tem cão caça com gato
“He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.”
“You make the most of what you’ve got.” Basically, you do what you need to do, with what the resources you have. 

Empurrar com a barriga
“To push something with your belly.”
“To keep postponing an important chore.”

Pagar o pato
“Pay the duck.”
“To take the blame for something you did not do.”

Polish Idioms
Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho?
“Did an elephant stomp on your ear?”
 “You have no ear for music.”

Bułka z masłem.
“It’s a roll with butter.”
“It’s really easy.”

Z choinki się urwałaś?
“Did you fall from a Christmas tree?”
“You are not well informed, and it shows.”

Read related posts: Words Related to Trump
Resume Euphemisms
What Rhymes with Orange?
The Most Mispronounced Words
Words with Letters in Alphabetical Order
Difficult Tongue Twisters
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations

For further reading: http://blog.ted.com/40-idioms-that-cant-be-translated-literally/


What is the Length of the Average Novel?

alex atkins bookshelf booksIn general, book publishers don’t like publishing really long books — the higher the word count, the more pages that have to be printed, increasing the cost of producing and shipping each book. So what is the ideal word count for the average novel? According to Colleen Lindsay, a former literary agent and associate director of marketing at the NAL/Berkeley Publishing Groups, the average novel length is between 80,000 and 100,000 words. For example, novels with about 80,000 words include Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (80,398 words) and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (82,370 words). Novels with about 100,000 words include Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird (100,388 words) and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (107,349 words).

However, word counts differ dramatically depending on the genre. Lindsay elaborates: “Word counts for different kinds of novels vary, but there is are general rules of thumb for fiction that a writer can use when trying to figure out just how long is too long… And bear in mind that there are always exceptions.” Those exceptions include successful authors who have been with a publishing house for a long time and have a solid track record with previously published shorter novels. Lindsay adds, “And, yes, once in a great while you will see an incredibly long debut novel. But the writing has to be absolutely stellar; knock-down, drag-out, kick-you-in-the-teeth amazing.” Think of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (960 pages, about 418,000 words); Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire that ignited a bidding war and eventually netted a $2 million advance (944 pages, about 411,000 words), or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (1,024 pages, about 446,000 words). Lindsay offers these general word counts for novels:

Middle grade fiction: 25,000 – 40,000 words

Young adult fiction: 45,000 – 80,000 words

Romance: 85,000 – 100,000 words

Horror: 80,000 – 100,000 words

Crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers: 75,000 – 90,000 words

Literary fiction: 65,000 – 120,000

Science fiction, fantasy: 100,000 – 120,000

What is the Longest Novel Ever Written?
Famous Epic Novels by the Numbers
What is the Longest Book Title in the World?

What is the Longest One Syllable Word in English?
What is the Longest Song Title?

For further reading: http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/off-the-shelf-/11-big-fat-debut-novels-t_b_7984420.html
http://commonplacebook.com/art/books/word-count-for-famous-novels/
nytimes.com/2013/11/11/business/media/city-on-fire-a-debut-novel-fetches-nearly-2-million.html


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