Week 8: 3 for 1 – TS Eliot, Georgia Webber & Gerda Vautier

5 comments

I finished three books over the last week, and all include lots of interesting illustrations. I read TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, illustrated by Edward Gorey, DUMB by Georgia Webber, and A Child’s Bouquet of Yesterday by Gerda Vautier.

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This book of poetry came to me when I was visiting my brother in Fredericksburg, Virginia a few weeks ago. I lived pretty close to the Edward Gorey house when I lived in Buzzard’s Bay, and even got to go visit it once — a very cool spot, and lots to learn about this interesting artist. The poems are fun (and all about cats!)– I especially enjoyed a few lines:

From “The Naming of Cats” where we learn that cats have to have 3 names, and of the third cat name:

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,

And that is the name that you never will guess;

The name that no human research can discover–

But the cat himself knows, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,

The reason, I tell you, is always the same:

His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation

Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:

His ineffable effable

Effanineffable

Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Here is the illustration for “The Naming of Cats” by Edward Gorey:

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This gives me a lot to think about when I admire cats now!

From “The Ad-Dressing of Cats”

How would you ad-dress a Cat?

So first, your memory I’ll jog,

And say: a cat is not a dog.

Here is the illustration from “The Ad-Dressing of Cats” by Edward Gorey:

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The second book I read, DUMB, by Georgia Webber was given to me as a book swap from Daniela. If anyone wants to have a read, please let me know and I’m happy to send around! This was an awesome beach book I read when I was hanging on Sullivan’s Island last week– it is a powerful story about the author who experiences loss of her voice. I know that many readers and bloggers here would identify with this story, and so I do not want to take away from this special book by saying too much. Webber does a fantastic job of really bringing you into her day-to-day, coping with the stupid things that people say (even when they mean well), as well as a defunct healthcare system (she is Canadian). Posting one photo from the book to give you a sense of what’s inside:

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The third book I read came also from Fredericksburg when I was visiting my brother– I love the illustrations in this one. The concept of the book is a bouquet of illustrations from different artists and are coupled with short stories, poems and other child-related quotes. A quote from the introduction that stuck with me, “My selection of pictures of children’s books and poetry of many lands and centuries was not prompted by scientific ambition; I picked them as one would pick beautiful flowers not knowing what the bouquet eventually would look like.” – Gerda Vautier

Here are two pages from the book:

I hope you enjoyed this wayward journey through some of my reading the last week!

5 comments on “Week 8: 3 for 1 – TS Eliot, Georgia Webber & Gerda Vautier”

  1. As a person with periodic voice issues, I am definitely interested in “Dumb.” I still find notes in jacket pockets upon which are written things like: “I cannot speak. Doctor’s orders.” and “A coffee with one cream.” I’ve found that when I stand at a counter, pull a note out and show it to a cashier a flash of “OMG, I’m being robbed” goes across the face of the order-taker/cashier. And, yes, some people do speak louder and louder, as though I cannot hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought of you continuously reading this — I have had a cough because of the smoke in California, and it pales in comparison to losing one’s voice, but even this slight change in my life has warranted lots of unwanted commentary– “if you’re coughing more than a week could be something real serious” and other such fear inspired things. I can only imagine how you cope with your voice loss.

      Like

  2. When I was at Woods Hole one summer, Edward Gorey put on a puppet show that he had created (I think it was an annual tradition). He was available to chat afterwards–it was a small audience. I’ve always been a great fan. I’m so glad I got to meet him. You reminded me of a sweet memory.

    Liked by 1 person

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