Nine Quirky Facts (Nueve hechos raros)

Nine Quirky Facts I Read Last Year

Books are not merely a source of entertainment but also of knowledge… (today’s cliché). How many of the following nine facts do you know?

Nueve hechos raros que leí el año pasado

Los libros no son sencillamente una fuente de entretenimiento, pero también lo de conocimiento… (cliché de hoy). ¿Cuáles de los nueve hechos siguientes ya sabes?

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Sappho: Midnight Poem (Fragment 48)

The Temple of Poseidon at night. Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Temple of Poseidon at night. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Back in the winter of 570 BC or thereabouts, on the island of Lesbos, an elderly Greek woman wrote:

Δέδυκε μεν ἀ σελάννα
καὶ Πληΐαδες, μέσαι δὲ
νύκτες πάρα δ᾽ ἔρχετ᾽ ὤρα,
ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω.

Which has been translated as (one of the many translations):

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The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Philosophical Books (and the Death Sentence)

Okay, so there are books and there are philosophical books and when you hear the adjective philosophical in this context, you slam the book shut and run a mile or more, without so much as looking back – and by god, I don’t blame you. Twice I had to study philosophy at university and twice it bored me to tears.

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Pride & Prejudice in a Dozen Tweets

One of the bloggers I read writes a Twitter round-up for a proper website. I usually ignore it – I mean it’s a Twitter round-up, for god’s sake! – but the other day I decided to take a look. This had three immediate effects on me:

  1. I had a fit of hysterical laughter – are these tweets for real?!
  2. I congratulated myself for never having signed up for a Twitter account – I always knew no-one possibly can have anything worthwhile to say in 160 characters, especially on a daily basis.
  3. I got inspired.

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Why Did Mario Punch Gabriel?

My daughter came down to dinner the other day and by way of initiating conversation (it was the first time I saw her that day), asked me, “Did you know that Mario Vargas Llosa punched Gabriel García Márquez?” As this probably strikes you as an odd conversation starter on meeting up, I should explain that she does A-level Spanish and they are reading Crónica de una muerte anunciada – which she likes very much by the way. So did I when she passed it on.
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The Lonely Reader’s Lament

I started book blogging because a really important (well, to me) idea would hit me during Sunday dinner and I would try to share it with the family… only to get this look of: “you’re not telling us something about Sophocles again!… surely?” Yes, I’m afraid I am. My family doesn’t share my more obscure tastes, such as Herodotus or Spanish literature… or Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche… or poetry… or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry… or… all right, they just don’t generally share my taste in reading. Full stop.
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