Archive for the ‘Audio Recordings’ Category

Henry David Thoreau was born on this date in 1817, so it seems worth mentioning you can read his truly wonderful book, Walden, beautifully formatted and annotated, for free. You can also download Walden as an audiobook for free here.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –from Walden

In a better world, we would all read Walden (and Civil Disobedience!) pretty damn often.


A painting of Virginia Woolf

Let a man get up and say, Behold, this is the truth, and instantly I perceive a sandy cat filching a piece of fish in the background. Look, you have forgotten the cat, I say.

Photo of the “writing lodge” where VW worked.

Clive Bell on Woolf’s suicide.

VW on the modern novel.

VW on keeping a journal.

Here’s a link to audio from an evening celebrating the legacy of Virginia Woolf, sponsored by the PEN American Center. Talks on VW by Michael Cunningham, Janet Malcolm, Elaine Showalter, James Wood, and others.

Links to other Virginia Woolf resources.

Virginia Woolf in 1902

“Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.” –VW

Virginia Woolf wrote game-changing fiction every bit as radiant and profound as Joyce‘s, Faulkner‘s and Proust‘s–and she wrote essays better than any of them did. She is, in Bat Terrier’s estimation, Serious Business.

You can read most of Woolf’s major works, and a lot of the major criticism of her, for free on the web. Books here , criticism here.

Want to hear her voice? Here’s the only surviving audio recording we have.

And here are photos of books that Woolf bound by hand.

Interesting post at The Nervous Breakdown about how the publishing industry really works these days. Takeaway for writers: “Becoming an author in order to get rich is like going to the desert in order to become wet.” (Sigh.) Recommended.

What is a book review? And why should we read them? Joseph Mackin at the New York Journal of Books has the scoop: “Reviews are essential tools for supplying the critical data that readers need to situate a book in the universal library.”

And new recordings of Scott Fitzgerald reading Keats and Shakespeare at PennSound.

Patti Smith

Last night, Patti Smith won the National Book Award, for her memoir of bohemian life in New York, Just Kids.


A long time ago, in another world, the 1970s, Bat Terrier heard Patti Smith sing Lou Reed‘s Pale Blue Eyes and decided she was a goddess. Then came Smith’s first record, Horses, and it was obvious she was a rocker and a poet, too. She said the most amazing things–“those who have suffered understand suffering and thereby extend their hands,” “Jesus died for some somebody’s sins, but not mine.” Bat Terrier has loved her ever since. Her voice is the sound of a heart breaking with compassion for the world. And she’s funny (and wise):

And a true rock goddess:

Congratulations, Patti!

Ty Cobb
“I see great things in baseball.” – Walt Whitman

William Carlos Williams’ The Crowd at the Ball Game
Donald Hall’s baseball poetry
Marianne Moore’s Baseball and Writing
Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Baseball Canto
Tom Clark’s The Great One
Gregory Corso’s Dream of a Baseball Star
John Updike’s Tao in the Yankee Stadium Bleachers
And of course Ernest Lawrence Thayer‘s Casey at the Bat
Late-breaking news:

Don’t forget Lisa Siedlarz’s I Dream My Brother Plays Baseball, a chapbook you can download for FREE.

And a lovely poem by Galway Kinnell with a funny reference to baseball players and kid’s pajamas.

Clay tablets with cuneiform

What is literature? Honestly, my dogs don’t care. Their view:  We’re too sleepy to give you a rigorous definition, but we know the good stuff when we hear it.

But we two-leggeds worry the topic. We like to think “literature” began with the Epic of Gilgamesh, written some 4000 years ago. And the dogs agree. Cuz when they hear that fine ancient Akkadian flow, they perk right up. Yep, you can now listen to Gilgamesh in the original Akkadian. Here.

And, if you like,  look  here for the original cuneiform or here for a free e-book of Gilgamesh in English.