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Topic: On Time Spent in Second-hand Bookstores

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Subject: On Time Spent in Second-hand Bookstores
Date Posted: 8/24/2013 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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I spent some time recently browsing in the local second-hand bookshop, in its new location (downstairs from the tax preparers' office).  It's like visiting a smorgåsbord, or reading an enticing menu, isn't it?  But I had a stroke of luck, and found an HC copy of Novel Destinations, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, two booklovers who live on either side of "the Pond" (Atlantic Ocean).  Its sub-title is Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West.  After enjoying my taste of travel writing recently, I am going to savor this book, and the way it can be read a bit at a time, from time to time.  It's nice to have such a book on hand, for occasions when you don't want to dive back into your "EYP" title, or some other reading choice that necessitates remembering what happened in the part you already read, when you sit down to read some more of it.

EYP = an "Eat Your Peas" tome  - one of those acclaimed books that are frequently so darned tedious to get through



Last Edited on: 8/26/13 8:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/25/2013 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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thinking about 2nd hand bookstores. For a reader there are many pleasant experiences to recall. I have a nice leather bound Moby Dick I got in a store in London. I was in a small used store once and the entire store was paperback books. I was looking at a shelf and the whole shelf of books was mass market size except for one book that was trade size. The bigger book sort of stuck out. I picked that one out and it happened to be the first novel by Edgar Middleholzer. I had never heard of him but I read the book and became interested in him and looked for more about him. That one accidental find led me into about 2 years of research about Middleholzer. Enjoyed myself very much.

One thing about collections of stories or essays. They become dated and hardly anybody wants them because of the date. but actually the date doesn't lower the quality of the writing. I am about half way through a book titled The Best Sports Writing of 1992. Old stuff but very enjoyable. The same is true of literary survey books that are used in American or English Lit courses. Once they age a little bit they are often thought of as worthless. but really the contents are still great fun for a reader.

Date Posted: 9/18/2013 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
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I love second hand book stores and the journeys they send you on. I'll have to look into author/travel books like you mentioned above- I recently got into books about books and reading. That would be an interesting side route to explore.

I second the lit/essay books for schools. They can be great samplers. I have one 1942 text that my dad used in college. It covers about five hundred years of English lit, it always has some treasure in it for me to find on a rainy day. Old Norton Anthologies come to mind as well.

For kids, I discovered the Junior Great Books collections. This is fantastic stuff.

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Lora, when you spoke of a book that "has some treasure in it for me to find on a rainy day", it made me think of a book that is a fine piece of Canadiana.  It's entitled From Ink Lake, and it's a big collection of short stories, essays, journal entries, etc.  It represents most of the Canadian writers of the present and the recent past (and there is one non-fiction piece from 'way back when, about the extension of the border, that is, the 49th parallel, way on out west to the Pacific).



Last Edited on: 9/19/13 6:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/19/2013 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
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I've only recently been 'discovering' Canada, lol. I came across these books called Harrowsmith Readers that contain what apparently were magazine articles from Harrowsmith Magazine (?). It's getting-back-to-the-land kind of stuff, which I dream about. I get to live a bit of it, but not like some of these people do. And every one of them farmer types is a philosopher. Whodathunk? It's positively delicious.

I'm going to have to investigate that title, thanks.

Date Posted: 9/20/2013 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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While we're chatting about Canadian lit, let me mention to you a novel you might especially enjoy, because it's about a "sodbuster", in this casee, the first one to start up wheat farming out in Manitoba.  It's The Fruits of the Earth, by Frederick P. Grove.  I'll warn you right now, it's an essentially tragic tale of a man with a vision who is willing to work like a dog his whole life long, and to bend his wife and his sons to his will to "tame" the prairie.

Date Posted: 9/21/2013 4:15 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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the book by Grove sounds like Giants in the Earth by Rolvaag. That book has some heavy moments in it also.

There is a series by Vilhelm Moberg (Ithink it is 4 books) that tells of a large group that starts in Sweden and ends in the Dakota area. The first book is The Emigrants.

Date Posted: 9/22/2013 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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* Charles...I think the author you mentioned earlier is Edgar Mittelholzer (rather than Middleholzer). He is pretty hard to find.

*Bonnie...being of Swedish heritage, I've already read all of the Rolvaag and  Moberg I can find...so thanks for the tip about Frederick Grove. I think he is German. I'm 1/8th German, and I love prairie tales, so I'll give him a try. I just ordered a book of his off PBS since my libraries here don't have any of his works. I'm getting 'Settlers of the Marsh', which is supposed to be good. I noted that Project Gutenberg has one of his books. It is called, 'Over Prairie Trails'. I've been trying to read more Canadian authors, and stories set there since I've kind of neglected them. It seems like all my reading gravitates toward European authors and themes without any design on my part.

 



Last Edited on: 10/3/13 1:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/23/2013 4:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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Mittelholzer.

I just ordered a book by him that I found on amazon. Because his stuff is scarce it is usually expensive but The Life and Death of Sylvia finally came down to a manageable size for me. Some of his books also have alternate titles. American or British. That was really confusing when I first started investigating his books.

Date Posted: 9/23/2013 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Charles, and anyone else interested in an excellect series about Swedes and Swedish-Americans:  Moberg's "Settlers" series begins with The Emigrants, in which Karl Oskar and Christina decide to go to "Amerika", continues with Unto a Good Land, their voyage and travel to their new home on the prairie; The Settlers, how they worked the land and raised a famly in the New World: and concludes with Last Letter Home, their final missive back to to "hemma" in Sverige.  It's a great series, and there was a pretty good film made of their story, with a couple of Scandinavian actors in the principal roles, Liv Ullman as Kristina, and Max von Sydow as Karl Oskar.

There's a quite good series about Canadians, too, by Margaret Laurence.  It's her "Manawaka" series, and it includes:Bird in the House, The Fire Dwellers, A Jest of God, The Diviners, and The Stone Angel.  

There was a film made from A Jest of God, starring Joanne Woodward as the lonely schoolteacher out in the provinces who found herself still virginal at age 35, and was led to undertake an odd relationaship.  The movie was called "Rachel, Rachel".

If you don't care to undertake a series, I'd recommend reading just The Diviners, which deals with the "split personality" of Canada---half English, half French, with a dash of "Indian" (Canada had "native Canadians', you know).

Other Canadian writers I've read and found interesting are Robertson Davies, Rudy Wiebe, Jack Hodgins.  I guess I just assume that most of you are acquainted with Margaret Atwood, and  read Anne of Green Gables when you were younger?   and/or maybe Mordecai Richler and Stephen Leacock?

 

 



Last Edited on: 9/23/13 5:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 4