An A-Z of Literary Remedies

by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin

If you don't see your worth, you'll always cho...

If you don’t see your worth, you’ll always choose people who don’t see it either. When your self esteem rises, your life follows. -Mandy Hale (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

Remedies – click on any letter of the alphabet for a recommended book choice.

Are you weary in Brain and Body? Do you desire a Positive Cure for your Pessimism? Do you require Bronte to re-boot your Broken Heart? Do you despair of your Nose? Can Fielding open your Flood Gates? Or Pynchon purge your Paranoia? May we administer Austen to curb your Arrogance? Hemingway for your Headache? An injection of du Maurier for your low Self-Esteem? Are you Shy, Single, Stressed or Sixty? Are your Vital Statistics in need of some Spark? May we massage you with Murakami? Ease your pain with Woolf or Wodehouse? Do you require the Very Book to lessen your Loneliness?

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John's Images - 534060_541824789176671_1324810968_nAs a boy of age five I was jumping down into the shafts of active gold mines and being told stories by wise old miners and prospectors. Although I have sought out mineral wealth all of my life, I did not bother with a license until it was mandated by law. Here, in British Columbia, a prospector’s license is referred to as a Free Miner Certificate (FMC) and is required at the age 18).

My grandmother had been a school teacher and always encouraged me to read only the best that literature had to offer. In high school and evening study I had been encouraged to take some unusually courses that have stood me well most all of my adult life. Learning to ‘touch type‘ (now, keyboard skills) started in Grade 11, courses in public speaking and corporate and public finance a few years later helped set me apart from other graduates as most employers were always also looking for administrative and management skills.

When I was a young man living in a remote 200 man logging camp, I was fortunate to have a large number of older, wiser friends. There were no women allowed in the camp. It was a male culture; a society that is rare today. The women who influenced me the most were my grandmother, my friends Margaret and Shirley and their husbands and family, and my small aircraft flight instructor, Helen Harrison. All 200 loggers, each and every one, in my camp already knew that my grandmother had sent me cookies, even before I went to the commissary to pick them. Bob Scott, the commissary owner, seemed to have trouble with discretion. Meanwhile, I learned the value of using the grapevine, moccasin telegraph and rumours to quickly spread the news far and wide. Once loose, it travels as uncontrollable wildfire.

Do I have stories to tell? Yes. It is time to begin telling them.

First, I started off by searching for any of the best literature that I might have missed. Today I went to my library and checked Don Quixote with the intent of reading its entire 940 pages within the next three weeks; as I continually look for insight and inspiration for the writing job at hand:

Wordsmith– a fluent and prolific writer – a person skilled in using words: a person who works with words; especially: a skillful writer, a professional writer.


Noun 1. wordsmith – a fluent and prolific writer

author, writer – writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)

The 100 Best Books of All Time – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The World Library is a list of the 100 best books, as proposed by one hundred writers from fifty-four different countries, compiled and organized in 2002 by the Norwegian Book Club. This list endeavors to reflect world literature, with books from all countries, cultures, and time periods. Eleven of the books included on the list are written by women, eighty-five are written by men and four have unknown authors. Each writer had to select his or her own list of ten books.

The books selected by this process and listed here are not ranked or categorized in any way; the organizers have stated that “they are all on an equal footing,” with the exception of Don Quixote which was given the distinction “best literary work ever written.” The list organizes the works alphabetically by author.

I hope you are having a great life. I am always reminding myself to: Lean in, Lighten up & Let go.
Stan G. Webb

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A fish’s ability to climb a tree

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein

Then again,

Climbing Gouramies (or climbing perches) [Anabas testudineus)]


Uploaded on Feb 1, 2011

* Family: Anabantidae,
* Phylum: Chordata,
* Class: Actinopterygii,
* Order: Perciformes,
* Suborder: Anabantoidei,
* Type: Fish,
* Diet: Omnivore,
* Size: no data,
* Weight: 100-400g,
* Avarege lifespan in the wild: 1-8yeas,
** Climbing Gouramis are so named due to their ability to “climb”, Anabantidae are a family of perciform fish commonly called the climbing gouramies or climbing perches.
More info:…

Climbing fish – Just want to be free

Uploaded on Aug 10, 2010

Fish climbing ropes to pass man made obstacles.

by Waikato Regional Council, New Zealand – The Waikato Regional Council cares for the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the Waikato region‘s communities in New Zealand.

Category: Wordsmith Wednesday

Tags: climbing fish, climbing gouramies , climbing perches, anabas testudineus

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An Ode Of English Plural.

mini-Canon - July 2, 2008 187

Since I was a young child I have assiduously studied the Canadian English language. Much of my love for learning and study was inspired by my grandmother and mother. As a very young widow, following the death of my grandfather, my grandmother trained in Ontario to become an elementary teacher. Once she received her Teaching Certificate, around 1910, she taught on the Canadian Prairies – in small, often, one room school houses in and around Brandon, Manitoba and Estevan, Saskatchewan. She later retired to Vancouver, BC – British Columbia, Canada.

During the time she was teaching, my grandmother was raising her three small children, alone: a son who later, at age 12, fell on the ice while playing ice hockey – and, suffered permanent, irreversible brain damage and was sent back to Ontario to live out his life in a group home; a daughter who at age 12 contracted and died from rheumatic fever; and my own mother. So, my mother was also heavily educated and influenced from a very young age, and later had aspirations of being a teacher, herself.

When I was first born, I was my grandmother’s first grandchild and my mother’s first child; one that they raised themselves. These two ladies put a great deal of focus on me, and my education. At one time, when I was eight years old, they were talking with me and, observing that I had rather squarish hands, decided that I should be a surgeon. High, high expectations, indeed! Mother had already set aside $3,000 for me and my younger brothers and sister’s education (I was the eldest of four young children). What do I know. Nope, never happened, everything went wrong that year, in 1952, when mom died.

Yet, a philomath had been born, My love of learning and the English language never diminished. Albeit, it did diminish a bit, in my transformative teenage years.

Sixty years ago, in my far distant past I remember trying to figure out plurals; the rules don’t seem to make sense. Perhaps there are no rules. You’ll enjoy the following. It might help:

An Ode Of English Plural.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called  pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing,
grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?



Paraprosdakians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous. Winston Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) loved them. [Winston Churchill is also my personal 20th Century hero ~ Stan].

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, Notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR’.

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

13. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure..

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

With thanks to Adam via Biddy

Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his...

Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his famous ‘V’ sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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