Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Long?

"A novel must be exceptionally good to live as long as the average cat."
~ Hugh Maclennan

See the Cynsations blog for an interview with Leonard Marcus on what makes a book "stand the test of time." I don't think it has to do with cats, although Millions of Cats sure has. And Time Cat. And Catwings.  

Also, apparently, the ex libris art of bookplates often outlives the books in which they are pasted (in terms of collector value.)  Thanks to Gurney Journey for the link.

Finally, in addition to Jama's rich feast of a post about Charles Dickens last week, I was intrigued by this article in the Guardian: Why are we still reading Dickens? I like the answer given there---of course, it's about his characters---but I have to add it's also because of the freakin' great names he gave those characters: Smallweed, Jeremiah Flintwinch, Wackford Squeers, Pip, Uriah Heep . . . was there ever a writer so gifted at the insidious power of the aptly bestowed name? 

(By the way, the writer of the Guardian article calls these sort of names aptronyms. Although it may not give my book as many lives as a cat is entitled to, it was a technique I tried to use, but not overdo, in christening a few of the characters in the somewhat large-casted drama that is Operation Yes.)


  1. Great set of links! Also, can I just say how much I adore that photo? Gorgeous kitty!

    I agree about Dickens' character names being truly memorable--even if I'm not a huge Dickens fan. I always think about the Simpsons episode in which the recycling center is called "Uriah's Heap."...

  2. And there's the band, Uriah Heep, as well. Love that word, "aptronym."

  3. Are those your shelves? Can I geek out that we have the same pre-remake Star Wars trilogy on VHS? Also that same VHS of Princess Bride...

  4. Jennie, those are my daughter's shelves (doesn't she have excellent taste?)

    Also, that's her adorable cat, Astrid!

  5. Astrid is cute, and obviously has very good taste.

  6. KITTEH! Astrid is stunning. Please tell your daughter I said so!

    And Dickens's characters are so great that in many instances, their names have been co-opted by society at large - stingy people are called "Scrooges", there are lots of places named after the Artful Dodger, etc.

  7. I love aptronyms, so I'm really glad to know what they are called. And that is a wonderful cat photo--it should be made into a poster!


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