Mistaken Identity

If any person ever informs you that editors never commit really spectacular lexical blunders, know that said person is a rotten liar. (If they're speaking of editors broadly, that is. If they're speaking only from personal experience, I suppose they might be telling the truth, and shake my fist in resentful admiration at them and everyone they know if so.*)

The editorial team at Peter Pauper writes a lot of online descriptive copy, in order to communicate the loveliness of our journals, etc., to website customers who can't actually hold them and flip through them before buying. We like to make these descriptions fun to read as well as informative, which typically involves a bit of wordplay, and linguistic tricks such as alliteration and assonance.

I recently wrote an expanded description for our Cat's Meow Journal. When describing our journals, we often like to reference the experience of writing and thinking, in addition to discussing the journal's aesthetics. I believed I'd come up with an alliterative and moderately charming (key word, in retrospect, being "moderately") way to do both at once. It required a fairly exact synonym for "thinking" beginning with the letter "f." I was convinced that one existed. (There may well be one—I just can’t find it.) Moreover, I thought I knew precisely what this word was; my guess is that I confused it with “ruminating.”

I’m very glad I looked it up before I submitted copy that praised the “feline flair for fulminating."

*A note on this sentence and the one preceding it: I think "they" is an excellent ungendered third person singular pronoun, and fulfills a vital role not at all adequately performed by the clunky, distracting "he or she." People have used "they" in that capacity for centuries. Shakespeare used it thus. Modern writers are bringing it back. Even the Chicago Manual of Style came around a while ago. I capitulate to the current strictures of formal writing when necessary, but as sovereign of the Tuesday blog column, I hereby restore third person singular "they" to its rightful glory within my teensy realm.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Dmitrijs Mihejevs

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!

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.)



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!

Paupers – Black Friday Edition

Hello, everyone!

Many of you probably have already hit the streets to catch all the amazing deals that are happening today. Or you are just getting in from a late night after taking advantage of the even better Thanksgiving evening discounts. (If the second, hopefully shopping on a full stomach mellowed the bargain-hungry crowds!) Or you couldn't care less about shopping and are looking in the refrigerator for tasty leftovers.

Whatever you decided to do, we thought we would just spread a little humor about this crazy day that we call BLACK FRIDAY. Enjoy!

"Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall.  We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space."

-Dave Barry

"Buying something on sale is a very special feeling.  In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me.  I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it.  I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money?"

-Rita Rudner







"Why do people go shopping on Black Friday? They are thankful that they survived their Thanksgiving feast."

-The Daily Dose






HAPPY SHOPPING! We hope you make good headway on your Christmas list, find everything you're looking for, and avoid any mall-stampedes.