An Anecdotal Index of Digital Reading Trends

The breadth of Peter Pauper Press's subject matter sometimes provides glimpses of unexpected reading patterns. Throughout our ebook catalog's expansion, we've noticed that particular titles thrive on certain ereading platforms. And although given the size of said platforms' overall consumer bases, I'm not sure you could really call Peter Pauper ebook customers a statistically significant sample, a few tendencies nonetheless bear out among our digital readership.

Without further ado, Peter Pauper Press's Highly Informal Index of eReading Trends:

P.S. If you've read our books digitally: Hi! We like you, and hope our forays into the digital age have brought you entertainment and edification. Say hello and let us know what you think of our ebooks in the comments!

Image credit: Shutterstock.com/ecco

Haiku Contest Winners!

Greetings, poets and admirers thereof! Two Tuesdays ago, I announced a small haiku contest; today, the winners are at last revealed. To everyone who entered, I extend my sincere thanks. I loved reading your verses and am truly grateful to you for sharing them. After long consideration of every entrant's eminently worthy words, I've chosen my two favorites:

a sudden downpour
all the abandoned cars are
showing true colors

–Raj K. Bose

old and used PC —
failed to climb Mount Everest
through the Google Earth

–Minh-Triết Phạm

Raj, I so admire your gift for conjuring vivid, complex, and inobvious imagery. Minh-Triết, your verse made me smile, both because I'm quite familiar with the conundrum you describe (trying to navigate Google Earth/Street View via an aged and cantankerous computer), and because of the way you neatly highlight the absurdity of the situation. Kindly e-mail me at tlevy@peterpauper.com with your choice of prize.

A few other favorites from the marvelous entry pool:

Ladybugs meant luck
Now thousands march on my house!
Pepper smell when smushed

–Suzanne Eytel

It was at that time
That I rescued my toothbrush
From her gaping maw

Mel

(It seems the ill-fated toothbrush is a rich haiku subject. I'm a little tempted to start an epic haiku cycle chronicling the near misses and tragic ends that befall dental care implements. –T)

summer holidays —
the world is being remade
around the campfire

–Minh-Triết Phạm

My words asleep
Tucked in aged pages
Cockle doodle doo

Darryl

on nicotine patch
spending the entire summer
watching brush fires

–Raj K. Bose

centenary is
the grandfather's pendulum —
a nightingale's song

–Minh-Triết Phạm

And finally, from Ruth Lutnick, my grandmother, who is busy as ever but spared a moment for her granddaughter's latest eccentric endeavor:

this is not for me
but I will do it for you
and now meditate

***

If you enjoyed the contest, perhaps take a gander at our renowned, newly re-released volumes of classic haiku in translation. Click on the covers to visit the Amazon page for each book.

        

Haiku contest!

Greetings, readers! It is with no meager quantity of excitement that I announce the re-release of our four beloved Haiku compilations, translated by our founder Peter Beilenson, for your e-reader of choice! Japanese Haiku, The Four Seasons, Cherry Blossoms, and Haiku Harvest collect the poems of Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, and a panoply of other luminaries. In honor of these volumes' glorious re-emergence, I thought I'd run a little HAIKU CONTEST. Details on both the books and the contest below!

        

If you're not familiar with the works of the old haiku masters (most particularly funny, bittersweet Issa, in my opinion), you're in for a treat. The best haiku–which these are–utterly capture the spirit of a compelling moment, so that in the instant you read them you're watching clover petals mingle with small gleaming seashells in the springtime ocean surf (Basho) or observing a swallow as it makes its nest in the nostril of a majestic statue of Buddha (Issa). Peter Beilenson's lyrical translations brim with verve and spirit. I really can't recommend his interpretations of these verses highly enough. (You may point out my bias in this matter, given my investment in their success. I can only say that if I didn't truly think them marvelous, I would describe them with artful vagueness instead of unstinting delight.)

UP FROM THE BOTTOM
OF AN OLD POND, THAT DUCKLING
HAS SEEN SOMETHING STRANGE

–Joso

And now we come to the HAIKU CONTEST! I know from your lovely comments on our holiday contest posts that you, dear readers, have interesting thoughts and great stories to tell. I'll send a Peter Pauper product of your choice (max value $20) to two people who leave a haiku in the comments here, on Twitter, or on Facebook recounting something funny or fascinating that you encountered recently. Anything goes! (A haiku, for those in need of a refresher, is a three-line poem in which the first line contains five syllables; the second line, seven syllables; and the third, five again.) Here are a few ridiculous ones of mine, to give you ideas:

Six in the morning
Is miserable enough
Sans toothbrush spider

Shoddy sci-fi film
Arms its invading cyborgs
With giant chainsaws?

Alas, there’s no lap
On earth that can hold you now
Newly-grown sheepdog

2AM, full tea mug
Forgotten, cooling, drowned in
A rush of ideas

Drat you, you smug cat
That boot is bigger than you
How did you steal it?

CERN found a new
Boson, splashed a drop from the
Dark river of space

These poems display
Decent wit, if not insight
Credit for panache?

***

You get the idea! Hop to it!

Haiku for the Completion of Our Planetary Revolution

The Peter Pauper office is cold and dark today, but many Paupers' homes are probably snug, bright, and glittering with remnants of New Year's Eve tinsel. We're closed in honor of our stalwart planet's successful completion of its orbit. Congratulations, Earth! No easy feat.

Of late I've been proofreading the soon-to-be-released digital editions of (drumroll, please) our famous Haiku collections first published in the 1950s-60s. The books are exquisite examples of letterpress printing, but equally arresting are Peter Beilenson's luminous translations of the original Japanese masterworks. They've honestly been such a treat to work on that I'm sad to have (mostly) finished them.

All four books include a few of the master poets' words on New Year's. Many of them made me laugh aloud when I first read them, imagining Basho or Issa grumbling bemusedly. Other verses sketch a familiar melancholy. All of them convey, whether directly or obliquely, the strange nameless feeling that comes of contemplating time's passage as the year turns.

I thought I'd take the occasion to share a few:

FULL-MOON AND FLOWERS
SOLACING MY FORTY-NINE
FOOLISH YEARS OF SONG

–ISSA

FIRST DREAM OF THE YEAR . . .
I KEPT IT A DARK SECRET . . .
SMILING TO MYSELF

–SHO-U

NEW YEAR’S EVE
I CAN SNORE IN PEACE . . .
THE NEW YEAR WON’T CONFRONT ME
TILL TOMORROW NOON

–BUSON

IN THE NEW YEAR DAWN
SOLEMN AND DELIBERATE
TALL CRANES GO MARCHING

–KIKAKU

NO YOU DON’T! GET OUT! . . .
THUS THEY WARMLY WELCOMED ME
TO THEIR NEW-YEAR FEAST

–ROTSU

YEAR-END REVELLING . . .
STILL IN PILGRIM’S CAPE MUST I
ROAM MY ENDLESS ROAD

–BASHO

NEW YEAR DAWNING CLEAR…
CHEERFUL SPARROWS CHATTER
ALL DAY LIKE PEOPLE

–RANSETSU

AH! I INTENDED
NEVER NEVER TO GROW OLD . . .
LISTEN: NEW YEAR'S BELL!
–JOKUN

I GAVE THE GREETINGS
OF THE BRIGHT NEW YEAR . . . AS THOUGH
I HELD A PLUM-BRANCH

–SHIM

ON JOLLY NEW YEAR'S DAY
MY LAST YEAR'S BILLS DROP IN
TO PAY THEIR COMPLIMENTS

–ANON

FIRST WIND OF THE YEAR . . .
THE OIL-LAMP IN THE WASHROOM
SHUDDERS AND IS STILL

–OEMARU

YEAR’S FIRST CART-LOAD . . .
CUT-OUT PAPER FLOWERS DECK
THE EMACIATED HORSE

–SHIKI

CONGRATULATIONS
ISSA! . . . YOU HAVE SURVIVED TO FEED
THIS YEAR’S MOSQUITOES

–ISSA

IN MY NEW-YEAR HEART
I FEEL NO FURY . . . EVEN AT
THESE TRAMPLERS OF SNOW

–YAYU

 

 

Be well, be happy, be brave and be kind. If you've been reading the blog this year, I deeply appreciate the time and attention you've devoted to our words. I wish you a magnificent year!

Image credits:

First image: solarseven / Shutterstock.com

Second image: Illustration from Japanese Haiku, first published by Peter Pauper Press in 1955.