Isaac Watts


IX. When a person feels any thing of this invidious humour working in him, he may by the following con sideration attempt the correction of it. Let him think with himself how many are the beauties of such an author whom he censures, in comparison of his blem ishes, and remember that it is a much more honourable and good-natured thing to find out peculiar beauties than faults; true and undisguised candour is a much more amiable and divine talent than accusation. Let of sovereignty and dictatorship, to exalt and almost deify all the pagan ancients, and cast his scorn upon all the moderns, especially if they do but savour of miracles and the gospel; it is fit the admirers of this author should know, that nature and these ancients are not the same, though some writers always unite them. Reason and nature never made these ancient heathens their standard, either of art or genius, of writing or heroism. Sir Richard Steele, in his little essay, called the Christian Hero, has shown our Saviour and St. Paul in a more glorious and transcendent light than a Virgil or Homer could do for their Achilles, Ulysses, or jEneas: and I am persuaded, if Moses and David had not been inspired writers, these very men would have ranked them at least with Herodotus and Horace, if not given them the superior place. But where an author has many beauties consistent with virtue, piety, and truth, let not little critics exalt themselves, and shower down their ill nature upon him without bounds or measure; but rather stretch their own powers of soul till they write a treatise superior to that which they condemn. This is the noblest and surest manner of suppressing what they censure. A little wit, or a little learning, with a good degree of vanity and ill nature, will teach a man to pour out whole pages of remark and reproach upon one real or fancied mistake of a great and good author: and this may be dressed up by the same talents, and made enter taining enough to the world, which loves reproach and scandal: but if the remarker would but once make this attempt, and try to outshine the author by writing a better book on the same subject, he would soon be convinced of his own insufficiency, and perhaps might learn to judge more justly and favourably of the performance of other men. A cobbler or a shoemaker may find some little fault with the latchet of a shoe that an Apelles had painted, and perhaps with justice too, when the whole figure and portraiture is such as none but Apelles could paint. Every poor low genius may cavil at what the richest and the noblest hath performed; but it is a sign of envy and malice, added to the littleness and poverty of genius, when such a cavil becomes a sufficient reason to pronounce at once against a bright author, and a whole valuable treatise.

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Fruit of the Gods

I do not wish to be irreverent, and I mean this with the utmost gratitude and respect to the Divine Creator who made this so: The pineapple here is so delicious that eating it is a sacred religious experience.

Also: Mango. To add a word to this would be to gild a lily in Heaven.

Did I mention that candy on a tree known as Jackfruit? You have no idea, unless you have eaten fresh candy from a tree in the Philippines.

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Davao Diary: The Sea Star

But lets go back to before supper. The menfolk went snorkeling for the day- Will’s first time ever. They brought back pictures, which reminded me much of taking my oldest two snorkeling in the East China Sea when they were preschoolers nearly 30 years ago- including the lovely blue starfish pictured… .somewhere. Probably FB.

Starfish are in the echinoderm family, which includes sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and sand dollars. They are echinoderms because they generally have spiny, or at least pointy, skins. The points maybe quite blunted, they don’t have to be needle sharp. Human beings have bilateral symmetry- two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc, and arranged in such a way that if you drew a line down our center, from top to bottom, we’d roughly match up on each side. Echinoderms are radially symmetrical, rather than two sides, what I remember from marine zoology course is that they can be divided into five symmetrical parts-( the word for that is pentamerous, and in case you are thinking I am really smart, I had to go look it up because I didn’t remember).
If you can ever go to a beach or aquarium and observe them, you should. What we call the arms of a star fish are really both arms and their legs. They have thousands of tiny little tube feet inside those legs. But they also use those ‘legs’, the rays of the star, to grab onto things like shellfish and pull them apart so they can eat the insides. However, they can only pull the oyster apart a small bit, so the starfish pushes its stomach out of its mouth and into the barely opened shell, envelops the oyster meat, and then goes back inside the starfish! A starfish’s mouth is underneath, in the very center the star. They can grow new arms when they lose the old one (some of them can grow a new starfish from the leg!).

If you want to know more, you should read here:, where you can learn more about: “The sea star’s water vascular system is one of the more amazing arrangements in the animal world. Each of the five arms has a radial canal in a groove running down its length. In each of these canals are found hundreds of muscular, hollow, fluid-filled tube feet. The Creator designed these tiny tube feet with a foot (podium) and bulb (ampulla) attached to it. Adhesive chemicals secreted at the ends of the foot allow the animal to pull itself over the ocean floor or firmly attach to its favorite food, the clam. To disengage the foot, a specially designed organic solvent is secreted and the podium is hydraulically shortened. What is left behind is an adhesive signature “smudge.” ”

“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” Hebrews 3:4.

I’ll upload a couple pics on FB. More the next time the blog allows me to post.

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Free4Kindle: Read (it’s subversive)

colorful book border

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post.  And yet, still some duds slip through.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

FREE!! Dandelion Cottage– I’ve recommended it before. I wish it were better known. It’s hard to describe and do it justice. Essentially, it’s children playing house with a real tiny house which has been left empty for years. They get to know other people in their neighborhood and town better, help each other and some grown people and are helped, and it’s simply utterly charming. You want to read this. You want your little girls to read it. Little boys may be lulled by a read aloud, but I cannot see many of them sitting down to read it themselves. If you like this, and you will, you will also like:

Betsy Tacy Treasury, the first four book for 7.49- I love this set. My girls loved it. Your girls will likely love it as well. If you like All of a Kind Family, Five Little Peppers, the Moffats, the Borrowers, Baby Island, the Melendy series, those sorts of books, you will like Betsy Tacy.

Oh, golly! There’s a sequel to Dandelion Cottage for .99!

The Primrose Ring by Ruth Sawyer for free!!
Seven Miles to Arden, also by Sawyer, also FREE!
vintage BOOK with owls lettering

FREE!!! The Mystery of Smuggler’s Cove, recommended for 8-12 year olds, has lots of highly favorable reviews.

Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans, by Edward Eggleston— FREE!!!!

FREE: The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

FREE! Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Mabie Wright. I really like his anthologies.

The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla is available on Kindle for 2.99. I had no idea!

A Lion to Guard Us, also by Bulla, 4.99

Wow- some of the Three Investigator’s Books are also out for Kindle, for just 2.85. Back when you were reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, I hope you were reading The Three Investigators series, too. They are the best of the bunch, the least formulaic of them all. Like the Scoobie Doo series, they often center around a mystery that is allegedly supernatural in nature, but then they find out the real story. Here are a couple titles:

The SEcret of the Haunted Mirror.

Mystery of the Flaming Footprints

The Mystery of the Invisible Dog

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Sacrifice by Carolyn Arnold
Reader Review: I hadn’t read a Madison Knight novel, so I wasn’t sure if I would miss anything, but my concerns were unfounded. “Sacrifice” read as a standalone with enough information that I felt as though I knew Madison Knight personally, without all the unnecessary “information dump” that some authors feel they need to share.

The mystery was well written and kept me on the edge of my seat. Every time I thought I knew “whodunit”, a new clue would arise which would make me doubt my investigative abilities. Though I love an unpredictable story, I hate when writers resort to trickery to conceal the suspect. Arnold’s style of writing was spot-on, revealing clues as her protagonist discovered them, making me feel as if I were part of the story in search of the murderer.

One of my favorite things about Carolyn’s writing was that she described the details of the homicide and gave me a behind-the-scenes look at a detective’s life without resorting to graphic or vulgar writing. Kudos, Carolyn Arnold, I look forward to reading your next novel.

Another reader says she quit reading when she saw the f word used so be aware.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Asgard Stories, Tales from Norse Mythology FREE!!!


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing.  If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something.  Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.  Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal.  And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books.  Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already.   If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.   Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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1920 Call to Stop Dumbing Down Classics for the Nursery

Classics in the Nursery

Rebecca West (1920) (probably this Rebecca West)

No parent whose memory goes back to the pinafore age will buy this new edition of “Tanglewood Tales” that Messrs. Blackie have issued, for it has been edited most grown-uppishly. (this is the edition I recommend~DHM)

W. K. L., who was surely born in a state of middle age, announces in a prefatory note that he has compressed “some of the exuberantly full diction of the original text,” forgetting that in those days we might be bored by piousness, but never by prolixity.

So long as it was the right kind of story, with courage flashing bright weapons under dark towers and villainy working a twenty-four-hour day, we did not mind how long it took in the way. In those days we would read the worst and dullest Dumas as nowadays we could hardly read the best, and Eugene Sue’s “The Wandering Jew,” which it is inconceivable that any adult could now get through except in prison, seemed the most fluent and colored of stories.

Most modern children’s books are actively hostile to this tendency of the child mind and give these sharp little mental teeth the softest of predigested pap. And the mischief done leaves its mark on literature, for the child brought up on the standard British “juvenile gift-book” about a little girl who goes into a wood and falls asleep and dreams of insipid fairies, certainly grows up into the Tired Business Man. It is therefore a shame, a serious shame, that Hawthorne, who had the ideal manner of story-telling, who was long-winded and yet always carried the undimmed lamp of fancy so that the child knew thai it must keep on listening or lose something fine, should be forcibly brought into line with the modern superstition of infant fatuity.

But that is not the only blemish on this edition, for “The American setting of the tales has been omitted as needlessly local in color for other readers,” and that is a great pity. Not only were the spectacled student who told the tales, and Periwinkle and her playfellows (each with an entrancing name) who listen to them, the very pleasantest of company, and the woodland rambles so prettily described that they overcame the infant aversion for descriptions, but they were also of historical and literary value because they were introductions to a continent which has passed away, and now exists only in literature.

From the setting of “Tanglewood Tales” and from “Little Women,” and to a certain extent from ” Melbourne House” and “The Wide Wide World” and “The Lamplighter” (although the infant mind could see that the authors of these latter works were pious humbugs and given to the disingenuous moral babble that one accepted as the grown ups’ harmless favorite sin), one became acquainted with Lincoln’s America. It enlarged the view from the nursery window by presenting a world of children who spoke English and who yet lived in a place entirely different from England, with a difference that did not consist, as one understood that foreigners usually did, of palms and a climate salubrious for pirates. This world had a tart and pleasant flavor like the cranberries that its inhabitants were so constantly gathering. It was a world less easeful than the one we knew, and lacking in its sentimental furniture. Here there was no “big house,” no vast sleek parks, no young heirs riding about on ponies, no heiresses with golden curls and mobs of nurses and governesses, no saintly children doubly gilded with piety and the inheritance of great possessions. Here children were brought up in a uniform atmosphere of comfortable thrift by grown-ups who seemed to have a prejudice against expenditure on moral grounds.

It is a pity to have robbed ” Tanglewood Tales ” of its New England setting. But how good the stories are even without it!

The classical legends must be introduced somehow into the infant mind if it is not to spend the rest of its life tripping up over literary allusions. And Hawthorne was the very man to do it. He was a great artist, although he was sodden with the didacticism which made him sketch the plot of a fantasy in his notebook and add to it ” the whole to be made symbolical of something”; and that failing does not matter here, for children love an honest prig. There could not be invented a prettier story nor a more persuasive lesson in manners than his “Philemon and Baucis.” And “the Gothic or romantic guise” which he admits having given to the legends, and which turns Proserpina’s playmates into sea-nymphs plainly out of Hans Andersen, is the very thing for children, who still love color more than form, and fancy more than imagina tion. He was on the right lines, too, in refusing to mitigate altogether the horrors of his originals, and giving children, who always love the terror that has to be braved and the monster that has to be slain, the shuddering joy of the Gorgon’s head and the Minotaur. In every way he is a lesson to the modern writer of “juvenile fiction” who works under the delusion that his business is to peptonize the world for the child mind. —

Rebecca West in The Athenium

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