Saturday, November 11, 2006


Veterans Day... also Armistice Day. To commemorate the end of World War I the poet and memoirist Siegfried Sassoon wrote a gem of a poem entitled Everyone Sang, a prayer about the feeling of the hard-won peace that follows a long ugly war. Written after the Armistice and published in an early book of his, Picture Show (1919). Worth reading today. I thought about him as I stood outside in the sun a block up the street from my shop this morning and watched the Veteran's Day parade go by. Bangor had it all, high school bands, Shriners on little mini-vehicles doing figure-eights down Main Street, a flyover by a huge military refueling jet, and rows and rows and rows of men and women who served or who were about to serve. Those high school ROTC kids break my heart. The veterans I think of most are those I know best: a few friends who served, some classmates from high school, many relatives. But the ones I realize I know best are those long gone, like Sassoon, whose heart was in his poetry, and everything else was in his diaries and memoirs, all which I've read and re-read. Sassoon died a few months before I was born but his writings go on speaking to me about all the same old important human themes (those don't change much, do they): peace, war, love, death, living a good life in spite of everything.

After the parade ended I came back in and wanted to put my head down on the desk and cry. Anyone who reads books knows that we humans will never stop going to war against other humans. It just goes on and on, century after century. This from a person whose birth parents were pacifists... On that happy note, this is becoming dangerously lachrymose, so onward. I spent a day hiking by the ocean yesterday, and that always makes me particularly sensitive to Life's (Largely Unanswerable) Big Questions.

Back to the small stuff. Unrelated business of the day: I've switched over to the new blogger, which looks just the same as the old blogger, happy to say. And I finally figured out how to update my links in the sidebar; I've added a few folks there whose blogs/sites I visit regularly. The list is short because other fine folks (Bibliophile Bullpen for example) already have huge blogrolls worth diving into. I've spent the rest of the day doing computer clean-up stuff and even selling a few books here and there. Business as usual.

p.s. The Misplaced Apostrophe Nut (me), cannot decide if Veteran's Day or Veterans Day is correct. Or Veterans' Day. I just checked my Concise Oxford, which says Veterans' Day. Google is all over the place about it.

Hello Sarah,
Knowing your interest for the subject, I'm surprised you didn't include Greg Kindall's "Gallery of Book Trade Labels" in your list of links. This has truly become a mojor resource on the subject, most likely to stimulate a new generation of book label collectors.
Hi Pierre, I remember the first time I looked at Greg's site, I thought "Now, this, THIS! is what the internet is good for!" And I still think that today - a lovely virtual collection, to be sure. I have his site bookmarked, and now will add it to the blogroll. I will also add someone else I forgot - The Bookplate Junkie. Someone similarly obsessed.
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