Quoted :: The 13 Clocks by James Thurber


I know it's no shock that we are constantly on the hunt for new-to-us authors and books to try out for our read-aloud time. I would be remiss if I didn't make sure that the twelve people that read my blog didn't know about The Read-Aloud Revival Podcast put together by Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things. She has had a wonderful crew of writers and educators come through - Andrew Pudewa, Melissa Wiley, Heidi from Mt. Hope Academy - and my wish list on Amazon as well as my library hold list has grown considerably due to the book recommendations dished out on each episodes.

The book above, The 13 Clocks, was one recommended by Heidi and we recently picked it up at the library. We're about half-way through the book - the jury is still out on what I think of it. It's definitely odd. However, there have been some quotable gems from the book that I have flagged as we've read. One such in the first chapter describing the problem the Duke had with his clocks not working goes something like:
The clocks were dead, and in the end, brooding on it, the Duke decided he had murdered time, slain it with his sword, and wiped his bloody blade upon its beard and left it lying there, bleeding hours and minutes, its springs uncoiled and sprawling, its pendulum disintegrating.
And the alliteration in this sentence - something that came up just this week in N1's essentials class at Classical Conversations:
At the sign of the Silver Swan, in the town below the castle, where taverners, travelers, taletellers, tosspots, troublemakers, and other townspeople were gathered, he heard of Saralinda, loveliest princess on all the thousand islands of the ocean seas.
More word play and alliteration that I just loved:
The brambles and the thorns grew thick and thicker in a ticking thicket of bickering crickets. Farther along and stronger, bonged the gongs of a throng of frogs, green and vivid on their lily pads. From the sky came the crying of flies, and the pilgrims leaped over a bleating sheep creeping knee-deep in a sleepy stream, in which swift and slippery snakes slid and slithered silkily, whispering sinful secrets.
And a simile that just made me laugh:
The traveler vanished, like a fly in the mouth of a frog...
: )

Hopefully I remember to report back on whether this book was a winner or not, but some of these quotes were too good not to write down to remember.

And as a bonus, a photo of a studious girl working on her math test. We do do other things besides just read aloud here. : )



  1. Cute pictures! :-)

    The only thing I ever remember reading by Thurber is a short story--"The Catbird Seat." I've seen this book around. Your quotes intrigue me!

    1. We finished it on Friday - I’m not going to lie. It was WEIRD. I’m not sure I’d recommend it as a story, but the literary devices he used throughout were fabulous - especially his alliteration. That maybe made it worth the time spend. It was a super quick read. When we got to the end I also learned that James Thurber also wrote “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” which is one of Travis’ favorite films and also quite quirky. I may have to hunt that book down as well and see how it compares to the movie. : )

  2. A Read-Aloud Revival? Yah! More books!! All 12 of us are glad you still post here. :-)

    1. Ha! Thank you Tami - you made me laugh. : )


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