Friday Potluck

Let me begin with a confession: my mind is on vacation. It didn’t tell me before it left, and though I had my suspicions, I didn’t fully recognize its absence until yesterday when I showed up for a dentist’s appointment that is not – strictly speaking – until Saturday. I am loathe to break my habit of posting 2-3 times every week, however, and so I will work with the few neural stragglers that have been left behind to house-sit to present a collection of ideas and links that might not flesh out an entire post, but which may be interesting anyway.


Since I published Tuesday’s post, I found several other articles on the discussion of how different dialects of English are viewed:

I’m sure that there are others and that I will find them minutes after I post, but the points made in these articles are very interesting additions to an issue that has apparently become quite the kerfuffle.

Edited on Sat. 30 July to add: A kerfuffle indeed! Matthew Engel, the author of the original article on the BBC website, has written a response in which he defends his original argument and expresses surprise at the angry response from “American bloggers and blowhards – that’s an Americanism, but a useful one – .” Call me crazy, but exactly why is he surprised to get an angry reaction?

I knew I’d find something else! The new article is published in the Financial Times which will require a free registration to read the entire article. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth the 2 minutes.


Zelda needs to approve my choices.

It seems like a strange thing to mourn the loss of a big, overextended, impersonal corporation, but as I browsed the shelves of the local Borders that has just started its liquidation sale, that is just what I did: mourn. It never had the charm of a small used book store, and the selection was decent but fairly predictable. Yet, it was still a lively place and it brought book lovers together. It’s a shame to see any book store go out of business.


Mrs.Parker provides a second opinion.

While A. browsed the history shelves, I went to search for the linguistics section, which has dwindled from a full shelf to just half a shelf, sandwiched between philosophy and religious studies. I bought three books: The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally; Language, Consciousness, Culture: Essays on Mental Structure by Ray Jackendoff; The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English by Mark Abley. And so, in one fell swoop and $25, I completely wiped out their entire linguistics section. I also gave in to the urge to buy a hot stone massage kit for $8, a Euro-esque notebook for $6.39, and a hot pink pencil case for $4.49.

Hello, my name is Leonore and I’m a book-store-sale-aholic.


Speaking of books, here are some links:

  • Mark Kaplowitz wants to know if you remember when people read only physical books.
  • Miss Darcy probably would not be able to procure her desired titles at a Borders liquidation sale.
  • Wendy at Herding Cats in Hammond River shares her rules for getting the most out of book sales. She buys for one of those aforementioned charming used book stores that Borders is not. Or was not.
  • 3000 books reviews A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Here’s a teaser: “When an early description of a family’s bloodline contains the words ‘for centuries they had wed brother to sister’, you know you’re in for a hard-to-defend-to-your-friends kind of read. “
  • Whystudylit relates musings about history, knowledge, religion and literature at the site of one of the earliest repositories for books, the Library of Alexandria.


There was a minor debate over dinner about patron saints, specifically, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, and Christopher. We couldn’t remember what particular occupation or behavior these men protected. This led to an internet search, where we confirmed their patronage; in order, they are teachers, animals, and travelers. We couldn’t ignore some of the other patron saints and the – shall we say – odd assortment of things they protected against or aided.

I wonder if Saint Joseph is also the patron saint of exterior, not just interior, soul. (Image of Ray Charles courtesy of Wikipedia.)

There is Saint Joseph, who is invoked “against doubt, against hesitation, dying people, expectant mothers, happy death, holy death, interior souls, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, pregnant women, travellers, and fetuses”. And Saint Quentin protects against coughs, sneezes, and something called dropsy, which according to The Free Dictionary, is either another word for edema (swelling due to fluid build-up) or a slang word for a tip or a bribe. I’m not sure if one prays to be protected from bribes or to get a bigger one.

More interesting to me was the discovery of both Saint Francis de Sales – patron saint of writers – and Saint Gotteschalk – patron saint of linguists. I especially like the latter, since his name makes me think, “Got chalk?” and that pleases me because I’m quite fond of chalk, if you must know. This means that, if I consider my activities in writing, linguistics, teaching and traveling, I have four saints (de Sales, Gotteschalk, Aquinas, Christopher) that are currently looking after me. Let’s hope that’s enough.

14 thoughts on “Friday Potluck

    • Yeah, B&N was around the NY area for longer and I always felt more comfortable in them. Luckily, there’s still a decent one about 10 minutes from my house, so the situation could be worse for me. Because it’s all about me ;)

      They’re even selling furniture and fixtures from the store! That makes it even more sad.

    • You’re most welcome! It’s my way of supporting my ‘local’ small bookstore. If ‘local’ can be extended to mean ‘on the same continent’ :) Not to mention supporting good blogs!

  1. Borders going out of business makes me sad, too. It’s the closest book store to my house, and I played music there once; where am I supposed to go now? And I didn’t know there were patron saints of writing and linguistics! Thanks for sharing!

    • See, that’s a problem. Maybe people weren’t buying as many books, but especially the stores with cafes had become a gathering place for a lot of people and now they’re going away. One would hope something similar will come in and fill the void.

      I figured there was a patron saint of writing but I never knew who it was (I’m not a particularly good Catholic…), and I never would have thought there was one for linguists. Now we both know :)

  2. My mind has been on an extended vacation this summer, too! Our Borders went out of business this past Spring. The book selection was pretty lame by the time I made it to their sale, but my husband found a few books in the business section. I did stock up on planners and stationary products. I usually buy ebooks and feel terrible that my purchase of them is contributing to the demise of “real” bookstores. Our house is small and our bookshelves are filled to capacity. The Nook was my husband’s attempt to keep us from looking like book hoarders! We do still have a Books-a-Million a few miles away.

    My husband is an ex-Catholic turned Buddhist many years ago and I am sort of a nothing when it comes to religion. This leaves me wondering if there is a patron saint of apathy? :)

    • I like to get ‘non-book’ stuff at these kinds of sales, too. Since I cleaned out their linguistics ‘section’, I might check back to see what kind of cookbooks they might have left when the sales get better. And this sounds bad, but I would looove to buy two of the leather armchairs that they are going to sell from the cafe, but there’s no way I can afford it (even at liquidation prices) and even if I could, I tend to be late for these sorts of things, so my guess is that they’ll be snatched up before I can even say Boo.

      I’m really not much of a Catholic anymore, but I have a bit of a soft spot for mysticism and ritual. I don’t believe any of these saints are actually going to do anything for me, but they’re fun placebos :) No patron saint of apathy, but apparently there is a Church of Apathy: Who’d’a thunk?

  3. “Hello, my name is Leonore and I’m a book-store-sale-aholic.”

    That’s it. I’ve found my true doppelganger. I can stop looking now. Are you sure your name isn’t Rebecca? I get that a lot. And I’m usually in the library or a bookstore. I loved this fun piece of writing. I’m glad your brain is on vay-cay! ;-)

    • Thanks doppelganger Renee! I’m fairly sure my name isn’t Rebecca, though I have used to get confused for my sister Lydia all the time, and my parents almost named me Charlotte. Either way, bookstores and libraries are some of my favorite places in the world! :) Oh and we do both have curly hair, though mine is shorter.

      (All the info on the comment above is yours except the gravatar because the comment originally showed up on a completely different post, so I moved it over here. In my Manage Comments screen, your gravatar shows up, but not here. Not sure why – this is the first time I’ve done this so I may have messed something up.)

    • Oh, I didn’t notice him! I was distracted by the likes of St.Dismas (undertaker and thieves). I just went and checked, and according to Wikipedia, St.Jerome is also apparently the patron saint of librarians and spectacle makers. I don’t think I come under his auspices at all, but I did find St.Amand, who takes care of bartenders (I used to be one). Also listed under him are boy scouts, brewers, innkeepers, merchants, vine growers, and vintners. It’s a long list and I see the connection between them all except for the boy scouts. Not really sure where they came from. These saints must be busy! ;)

    • There’s something about August, no? It just slows us down. Unfortunately, I am going to have to pull my brain back from wherever it went so it can get to work planning my fall classes!

      Thanks for commenting while you’re ‘on vacation’ :)

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