It's titled "Shiki no Kusabana," which means "Flowers of Seasons." It's 22 pages long, written in Japanese and Chinese scripts, and features 12 line drawings of flowers. Also, it measures less than a millimeter in height and width.
I never realized there were female counterparts to Waldo, nor that one could purchase Halloween costumes along those lines. But the disparity between Wenda and Wilma--or is that just two conflicting sides of the same woman?--is very confusing.
In my last book, Electrified Sheep, I devoted a few pages to telling the story of Topsy, the Coney Island elephant who in 1903 became the first of her species to be put to death by electricity. It's an odd story that tangentially involved two of the biggest names in the history of commercial electricity: Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.
There have been many elephants killed in all kinds of ways in captivity. But Topsy's death has been a particular source of fascination and horror to people over the years. Probably because the entire event was caught on film by Edison's film company (you can still see that film today on youtube). So Topsy's story has been told quite a few times over the course of the past century.
But now I see that the journalist Michael Daly has produced the first book-length treatment of Topsy's life and death. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but based on the reviews it sounds like Daly did an excellent job. So it should be a satisfying read for any lover of weird history.
And while I'm at it, let me put in a small plug for myself, since my publisher tells me that the US paperback version of Electrified Sheep has just been released. It's weird history, now cheaper than before. Plus, there's a kindle version!
Back in 1950, Columbia University Press polled hundreds of editors, writers, booksellers, librarians, literary critics, and general readers in order to produce a list of the 10 most boring books among the great classics. The winners were:
Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan
Don Quixote, Cervantes
Silas Marner, Eliot
Life of Samuel Johnson, Boswell
Faerie Queene, Spenser
Paradise Lost, Milton
Moby Dick, Melville
Such lists are always entirely subjective. For instance, I would question how anyone could produce such a list and not include anything from French literature. Take Remembrance of Things Past. That has to be up there among the great snoozers of all time.
Unfortunately, the mutability of the English language has not been kind to James W. English's stories of Scouting known as The Tailbone Patrol. In 2013, the title sounds like one of those how-to-pick-up-women books, or a "Girls Gone Wild" episode.