Posts Tagged ‘illustrations’


Sylvia: a publicity stunt

September 6, 2011

Back in 1901, Small, Maynard & Co. published a truly terrible novel called Sylvia: the story of an American countess. It was witten by Evalyn Emerson. As far as I can tell, she never wrote anything else, and for we should all be grateful.

Anyway, Small, Maynard & Co., came up with a clever way to market the novel. They got a dozen well-known artists to draw portraits of Sylvia (apparently the most beautiful woman in the world) and asked readers to rank the protraits in order of beauty. The person whose guess came closest to the average would win. I’ve been unable to discover the results of the contest, but what I have found (it wasn’t difficult; they put it right in the front of the book) is the method used to tally the answers, and that means that I can recreate the contest. It won’t work if only a few people respond, and there’s a good chance that that’s what’s going to happen, but if this works, it will be really cool. And the more people that participate, the cooler it will be.

So: Please participate! Send your friends to participate! Link here from your blog, tumblr, twitter, etc.! The person whose ranking comes closest to the average will win a review by me of the book of their choice* Contest entries should contain all twelve artist names, ranked by beauty, and should be sent to You don’t have to use the coupon below for your answers, but if you do, I will be super impressed. Contest ends…well, let’s say November 1st. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Tale of Triona

July 29, 2011

So, there’s this girl named Olivia Gale. Her mother married beneath her, her father and two older brothers died in World War I, and now her mother’s died too, so Olivia lets the house to Blaise Olifant, a scientist who lost an arm in the war and wants a quiet place to work, and moves to London. There she meets up with her old friend Lydia, who owns a fashionable millinery. Lydia introduces Olivia to her glamorous friends, and for a while Olivia has fun running around with them and dancing all night and doing whatever else idle young people with disposable incomes do in the aftermath of World War I. But Olivia is our heroine, so she eventually gets fed up with being shallow, and it’s around that time that Olifant comes to London for a visit and introduces her to his friend Alexis Triona. Read the rest of this entry ?


Top 10 Underappreciated Children’s Books 2/3

May 17, 2011

Here’s part two. You may notice that the formatting is unbelieveably horrible. I tried to fix it, but I’ve given up now.

Part 1/3

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Jimsy: the Christmas kid

December 14, 2010

For some reason, Project Gutenberg neglected to include the frontispiece in their etext.

I kind of loved Jimsy: the Christmas kid, mostly for the way Leona Dalrymple always manages to stop short of sentimentality. It’s classic Christmas story stuff — an elderly couple volunteers to house a poor boy from the city over Christmas, and he ends up changing their lives — but there’s no classic Christmas story wallowing, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Read the rest of this entry ?


Piranesi’s Carceri:Kindle screensavers

January 13, 2009

I’ve made myself a Kindle screensaver out of Piranesi’s Carceri d’Invenzione — etchings of imaginary prisons — and I thought I might as well share them. I think they’re pretty awesome, myself.

ETA: I am told these work equally well for the nook.


A Versailles Christmas-tide

December 11, 2008

A Versailles Christmas-tide

I meant to read and post about a whole lot of Christmas stories before I go on vacation, and I may yet, but schoolwork has got in the way, and so far the only one I’ve finished is A Versailles Christmas-tide, written by Mary Stuart Boyd and extensively illustrated by her husband, A.S. Boyd. Read the rest of this entry ?


Queen Hildegarde

October 14, 2008

There are a few kinds of children’s stories you see over and over. One that I happen to particularly like is the one where a kid from a city goes to live in the country, or in a small town, and communes with nature and gets their priorities straight. Queen Hildegarde is one of those.

Hildegarde Graham is the spoiled fifteen-year-old daughter of rich parents. She lives in New York City, is very pretty, has beautiful clothes, and is the envy of all her friends. Her parents, though, are sensible people, so they get worried about her, and when they have to go off to California for a few months, they send Hilda to stay with her mother’s old nurse.

Hildegarde is completely horrified by the prospect. She’s basically like, “farmers, ew!” and she uses the word “intolerable” a lot. Read the rest of this entry ?