Of Cabbages and Kings
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Morthoron

The gem of my collection is a beautiful hardcover illustrated edition of The Hobbit. Even better, although the books aren't quite as pretty to look at, is my Gabrilowitsch edition of the complete works of Mark Twain -- almost 100 years old now. It's missing Letters From the Earth and a few others of Twain's racier works that weren't published until ong after his death, but still it's worth it. I read most of them as a young teen. To augment it, I also have the 1985 'Halley's Comet' edition of 1601 that my parents brought be back from Hannibal Missouri.

I have an excellent edition of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer with color plates by Norman Rockwell -- really wonderful! I am an avid collector of old books. Besides first edition copies of several Tolkien books (The Sil, The Anotated Hobbit, Children of Hurin, and the entire HoMe series), I have a Household Edition series of all Dickens work from 1878, a five volume centenary edition of the 'Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe' from 1903, a Literary Guild edition of the 'Essays of Michel de Montaigne' with color plates by Salvador Dali, and my prizes, 1st edition folio versions of the 'Tres Riches Heures' and 'Belles Heures' of the Duke of Berry (what can I say, I am a nut for the 14th century). My earliest books date to 1798 and 1803.

My most extensive series of books are the 'Historical Memoirs of John Heneage Jesse (30 volumes), and they look just like...ummm...this: http://library.uncg.edu/depts/ref/staff/mark/documents/JohnJesseCourtEnglandStuarts.htm (Very nice gilding, embossing and rag paper)

Virtuella, is your husband interested in Scot history? I have an 8 volume 'The History of Scotland -- Its Highlands, Regiments and Clans' from 1909. It looks like this: http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofscotlan01browiala#page/n9/mode/2up

I can talk rare books all day...even without coffee.

10/14/2009 . Edited 10/14/2009 #31
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I have an excellent edition of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer with color plates by Norman Rockwell -- really wonderful! I am an avid collector of old books. Besides first edition copies of several Tolkien books (The Sil, The Anotated Hobbit, Children of Hurin, and the entire HoMe series), I have a Household Edition series of all Dickens work from 1878, a five volume centenary edition of the 'Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe' from 1903, a Literary Guild edition of the 'Essays of Michel de Montaigne' with color plates by Salvador Dali, and my prizes, 1st edition folio versions of the 'Tres Riches Heures' and 'Belles Heures' of the Duke of Berry (what can I say, I am a nut for the 14th century). My earliest books date to 1798 and 1803

You are giving me a serious case of library envy, sir. LOL

10/14/2009 #32
Morthoron

You are giving me a serious case of library envy, sir. LOL

I've always been a walking, talking dichotomy. One the one side is a guitar rockin', Harley ridin', rude sonofabitch, and on the other, a reflective person who from a very early age (perhaps 6 or 7) wanted his own library. Not just a spare bedroom filled with books, mind you -- but a damn proper library with hundreds upon hundreds of books. Now all I need is a smoking jacket...and maybe a fez.

The only problem occurs on moving day. Have you ever moved several hundred books?

10/16/2009 #33
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Have you ever moved several hundred books?

As a matter of fact . . .

I recently had to find a home for all of my father's books, and I would estimate they ran into the thousands. I've got shelves stacked top to bottom two deep. And that's in addition to my own collection that covers about four walls worth.

We handle the problem by simply not moving. LOL

10/16/2009 . Edited 10/16/2009 #34
obi-glasses
*raises eyebrow* ever had a bookshelf dedicated to books from one fandom?
10/16/2009 #35
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

*raises eyebrow* ever had a bookshelf dedicated to books from one fandom?

*nods* The LOTR shelf is right at my left hand as a reference when I'm writing. They do have to share the shelf with books on writing, though.

The entire wall above my bed is devoted to the 'fiction' collection, although that's spilled over into another bookcase and into different rooms now. Each of the shelves is about ten feet long, and my Stephen King takes up about half of one of them, segueing into Anne Rice, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and then into another whole shelf of horror anthologies.

With my father's books entering into the household, I need to do a massive reorganization. My problem is that I'm running out of walls

10/17/2009 #36
Aislynn Crowdaughter

My problem is that I'm running out of walls.

Hm. Shelfs as room-parters? ^^

But seriously, the reason why I have mostly stopped buying new books is maiinly that I lack the place where to store them.

10/17/2009 #37
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Perhaps this is the wrong thread, but apropos of our discussion of Jane Austen, here is a wonderful cross between Austen and Mary Shelley, in which one of the younger Bennet daughters meets an enigmatic German medical student.

Pride and Prometheus, by John Kessel: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/documents/Kessel-PrideAndPrometheus.pdf

10/17/2009 #38
Reader's Corner

Have you ever moved several hundred books?

As a matter of fact . . .

We handle the problem by simply not moving. LOL

.. Yes we have- Movers were asking if we had packed bricks in the boxes or what. Mine are still mostly in the boxes and though I usually know where to look for a book , it's still a hassel to get them out. I wish one day I can afford to have a large room full of shelves to organize them properly.

10/18/2009 #39
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Movers were asking if we had packed bricks in the boxes or what.

Tell me about it! Because I just finished hauling however many back-breaking boxes of books it was in from my garage. I took a look at various shelving systems yesterday when we were at the building center. I'd really like to do it right with solid built-ins, but I just haven't the time or the money to do that.

10/19/2009 #40
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

As I mentioned in the Timeclock thread, I'm rereading Stephen King's Bag of Bones, which I'd read once from the library, it has to be about eight years ago. I think the thing I like best about King is his ability to make me laugh with an odd turn of phrase -- in this case it was the novelist protagonist (he's a writer of romance/thrillers involving plucky heroines)describing himself as 'V.C. Andrews with a prick'. LOL

10/22/2009 #41
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

As of this morning I'm about 2/3 of the way through Stephen King's Under the Dome. And that's within less than 48 hours. I seriously don't want to put it down, so there's your recommendation.

Two things (without giving spoilers):

It works as allegory for our own world. We have an isolated population (a force field has dropped over a small New England town keeping everything in and everything out, with the exception of air and a little water) choking in its own pollution and with limited resources, and human nature is showing its ugly face. Expand that to a planetary level, and there you have it.

As a poignant symbol of how time passes, one of the heroes is an Iraqi War vet, while the Vietnam era character is a geezer (a sixty year old professorial type who is having an affair with a twenty-three year old student).

Now, bear in mind that Stephen King is a very self-revelatory writer. For example, in The Shining, he describes hangovers with wicked accuracy, and a decade and a half later 'Friends of Bill' and all kinds of Twelve Step themes show up in his work. Based on Duma Key and The Gingerbread Girl I guessed correctly that he had begun to spend his winters on the Gulf of Mexico, and I would bet you anything he's taken up painting. Currently, he's missing no opportunity to show what a fool a man of sixty makes of himself when he romances a girl in her twenties, as every person in the town mistakes her for his daughter. I'm sure we could all stand to be reminded of that, but I'm both amused and wondering . . .

11/20/2009 . Edited 11/21/2009 #42
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Okay, finished it. It's still definitely a recommendation. It's definitely an allegory for our planet. Without giving spoilers, I can say that, as a result of greed, stupidity, and downright insanity, there comes a point where the air quality gets very bad. Do we want to end up like that? No, we don't, so . . .

As with any King book, you meet quite a few memorable characters and you make a game of predicting which of them is dead meat. Most didn't surprise me, but at least one did. And they were heartbreaking.

11/21/2009 #43
Morthoron

I am reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone for the first time with my nine year-old daughter. Is it just me or did the film actually capture some humorous elements of the story better than the book? I can reference the sequence where Harry is in Ollivander's Wand Shop. The dialogue is really wittier when rendered by John Hurt than it is in the book. I've never said that about any book-to-movie transmogrification. *shrugs*

As for the book itelf, it's a good read for a nine year-old, but I haven't missed much not having read it previously. I will say that it is not as much a disappointment as that other highly-touted book about magic Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. JS & MN was two to three-hundred pages too long, and infinitely tedious after the initial few chapters of excellent and suspenseful writing. The dreary reliance on pseudo-historical magical citations droned on and on, much the same way Herman Melville's tedious whaling asides made me want to wretch half-way through Moby Dick. The characters turned out to be nebulous and oblivious dolts, and the ending was completely unsatisfying. Bah!

11/22/2009 . Edited 11/22/2009 #44
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I'm one of the few people around here who haven't read Harry Potter. I'm probably going to have to break down and do it.

11/22/2009 #45
Reader's Corner

**

11/22/2009 . Edited 11/22/2009 #46
Morthoron

I'm one of the few people around here who haven't read Harry Potter. I'm probably going to have to break down and do it.

It's okay, but it seems the movies cover all the basic angles (if you don't wish to expend the time). No great piece of literature, but I suppose one should be grateful it got a lot of young folks to read. It's rather like the chewable children's vitamins of literature in that sense.

11/22/2009 #47
Virtuella

I read the first Harry Potter book and thought is was, well, quite nice for children. A bit like Mallory Towers with magic. Then I read the second one, which I thought was much the same as the first. I didn't bother with the rest. People keep telling me they're getting better further up the series, but its not my cup of tea. When one is used to Terry Pratchett's clever and subtle handling of magic, a world in which people just wave a wand and say a word seems a bit too simplistic...

11/22/2009 #48
Morthoron

Obviously, the question I have with the whole Harry Potter schtick is if there is such a numerous population of magic folk slumming unobtrusively with we muggles of the world, why hasn't an ultra-evil sort such as Voldemort not become god-emperor of earth? Why bother farting about with the other magic folk in a Dickensian alt-universe when one could virtually control the destiny of billions? It is rather unrealistic for a fantasy to be so...ummm...unrealistic.

11/24/2009 #49
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

You make a good point. For the best fantasy to work, it has to conform to its own internal logic and just plain make sense.

11/24/2009 #50
Morthoron

You make a good point. For the best fantasy to work, it has to conform to its own internal logic and just plain make sense.

And another thing, why keep sending Harry back to his Aunt and Uncle's house when they are obviously abusive in the extreme. People are arrested for less than what his aunt and uncle make Harry endure. And another, another thing, if muggles are not supposed to be aware of the existence of magic, how come so many muggles are aware of it? I know, I must keep telling myself it's a children's book that I am reading along with my daughter, but these things keep popping up.

11/24/2009 #51
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I know, I must keep telling myself it's a children's book that I am reading along with my daughter, but these things keep popping up.

This illustrates two things I've noticed:

1) Writers become editors. You can't help it. I was picking out continuity errors in Stephen King's latest.

2) People will tend to overlook implausibilities if the story is one that they like and want to see continue. I've gotten away with some incredible nonsense at times.

11/24/2009 #52
Virtuella

People will tend to overlook implausibilities if the story is one that they like and want to see continue.

That is true. There are inconsistencies in the work of Terry Pratchett, too. But one is willing to tolerate them, not the least because Pterry himself pokes fun at them.

One of the things that annoys me about Harry Potter is the house system and the sorting hat. A wonderful way to teach children that we all need to be labelled and neatly put into a drawer...

11/24/2009 #53
Nieriel Raina

I'm one of the few people around here who haven't read Harry Potter. I'm probably going to have to break down and do it.

O.o

I swore I'd never read them. I didn't even like the movies. But my daughter wanted to read them and our agreement is I have to read it first. Books 1-2 were a bit simplistic and very much children's books, but enjoyable, I thought. In book three things really started to get interesting. By Book Five I was completely hooked and I read book seven in two days. Not the greatest literature in the world, perhaps, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

11/25/2009 #54
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I swore I'd never read them. I didn't even like the movies.

I saw one of the movies, in part, at my son's house and found myself less than impressed with the SFX. The Quidditch match in particular looked like a cheesy video game. It didn't really inspire me to read the books.

Great literature depends on your tastes. Oddly enough, I'm not really that into fantasy stories. They have to be something really good, like Garcia Robertson's Markovy series to attract my interest.

11/25/2009 #55
Aislynn Crowdaughter

Obviously, the question I have with the whole Harry Potter schtick is if there is such a numerous population of magic folk slumming unobtrusively with we muggles of the world, why hasn't an ultra-evil sort such as Voldemort not become god-emperor of earth?

Because of the Aurors. They would not let him, short-sighted do-gooders they are.

And another thing, why keep sending Harry back to his Aunt and Uncle's house when they are obviously abusive in the extreme. People are arrested for less than what his aunt and uncle make Harry endure.

Because Petunia is his last blood-relative alive, and by that quality living with her provides a magc protection that Voldemort and his minions cannot break. That's canon, actually.

And another, another thing, if muggles are not supposed to be aware of the existence of magic, how come so many muggles are aware of it?

In Potter-Universe, Muggles are supposed to be aware of the possibility of the existence of Magic, but not of modern day-to-day use of it in the wizarding world. I have not read enough of background info provided by Rowling to know if she has given any kind of explanation, but if I had to guess, I would say that the Witch-hunts of the late Middle Ages made the wizards a tad careful about how much of their abilities they let the Muggles see. Of course, the whole HP universe is far from perfect in the suspense-of-disbelief area (story universes rarely are).

11/25/2009 #56
Morthoron

Besides reading Harry Potter with my daughter, I am also reading two books that are quite interesting and a bit more intellectually stimulating than learning about the consistency of troll boogers at Hogworts:

Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade by James Reston is a fascinating book about the two formidable leaders who squared off against each other with the Holy Land as their prize. For any of you 'Kingdom of Heaven' movie fans, you'll be happy to know that Guy de Lusignan and Reynald de Chatillon were as despicable (and inherently stupid) as the movie made them out to be. The book itself is very unbiased in its rendering of events, and I would suggest it for anyone who has an interest in the Crusades. The ramifications and implications for modern events are particularly intriguing. It is no wonder that Saladin's name is still spoken with reverence in the Middle-East.

The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher is what can best be described as an historical docudrama. Hatcher, a Cambridge Professor, gives a detailed account of what happened in a single English village during the years of the Great Plague in the 1340's in order to show the effects of the ravaging disease on everyday folk of the period. Although much of it is fictional as far as dialogue and personal interaction, Hatcher draws heavily on church and manorial records (which are surprisingly thorough for a 13th century English village). Thus, he delivers a compelling story driven by historical events and real personages, and offers us a glimpse of the superstitious medieval mind-set and the horror of facing a deadly disease without medicine, science, hope, or eventually, faith in God.

12/16/2009 . Edited 12/16/2009 #57
Aislynn Crowdaughter

I love history books; nevertheless, I am re-reading Mary Zimmer Bradleys darkover cycle at the moment. I finally broke down and bought Traitor's Sun, a book lined out by the dying MZB in her last year of life or so, but written by then-co-writer Adrienne Martine-Barnes. it tells the last stages of the conflict between terrans and Darkovans and the final departure of the Terrans of the planet; that MZB herself lined out the story before she died makes it the official voice.

However - and here is the reason why I hesitated so long to buy it - unlike MZB herself, this author, Adrienne Martine-Barnes, cannot write, and her editor apparently did not do his or her job properly in making this a book one is able to read. The writer makes nearly every fault in tzhe book with the exception of bad spelling: endless, meandering, boring and dragging chapters of exploitation, telling something that could be told much better in three pages in the course of ten; unnecessary repetitions like whoa (even in the same chapter); telling-not-showing, and so on. Not to mention her inaccuracies with established Darkover canon and some sue-ish tendencies of the power given to some of her main characters (they do not only have great Laran powers, but their powers are completely over-the-top, and they single-handedly destroy the Terran attackers at the end of the book despite being accompanied by many other laran gifted people, something MZB herself usually avoided, since she tended to write her Darkover stories based on power circles.)

I had read this authors two former books in the series, equaly lined out at MZB's death, and written by AMB instead; and those had been so very unsatisfying that I set them apart and did notv revisit them untiul now.

So, why did I now broke down and buy this book? Because it is part of the closure of the Darkover series, and it is a prequel to The Alton Gift, a book written by anoter author based on an outline of MZB's plan. But ublike AMB, Deborah Ross (who wrote the Alton Gift) is someone who can actually write.

So, to have the series completed, I bought Traitor's Sun and am currently struggling through it, in hopes I may then enjoy reading Ross's book even more. Can you spell "fan thing"? ;D

On another note: does anybody know where I could find a good Genealogy table of Darkover families? I had found one website back then, but it is no longer online... :(

12/19/2009 #58
Olorime

So, I am blowing the dust off this thread and I will ask if any of you have read any of Gregory Maguire's revisionist books?

Wicked, Son of a Witch, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. I devoured them all.

Milhist have you read The Revolution, a Manifesto by Ron Paul yet?

I am currently reading "The Power of Myth and next on the list will be The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, any thoughts on that.. anybody?

3/4/2010 #59
militaryhistory

Milhist have you read The Revolution, a Manifesto by Ron Paul yet?

I haven't, though it's on my list. The primary current political book I've read is Conscience of a Liberal, by Paul Krugman. Thinks so differently from me that I wonder if we're in the same country sometimes.

3/4/2010 #60
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