The Bibliophilia Thread

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
29,429
Reaction score
34,671
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
Austin 1100, Ford Cortina and a Hillman Minx methinks (I couldn't tell one modern car from another) and I think two cranes made by Stothert and Pitt in Bath. I know little about cranes but my dad worked for Stothert and Pitt for most of his working life as a steel buyer.
Impressive.
Most impressive.
 

cycleboy2

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
1,419
Reaction score
3,108
Points
169
Impressive.
Most impressive.
It just occurred to me that my dad actually owned two of those models, a Minx that he crashed (injuring his chest quite badly and breaking his nose on the stiff ol' steering wheel and then a white Cortina; his later red Cortina burned to a cinder in a Bath supermarket carpark due to a fuel leak in the engine). All our family cars were ten years old or more - he crashed the 1963 Hillman Minx in 1977 - until he won a brand new Mini Metro (!) on Name that Tune in 1987. Happy days!

(On a totally unrelated note I saw a new counsellor this morning so family things are very much on mind – and even she was surprised at how tangled my family background is!

I met neither of my grandfathers, discovered I had a half-sister and half-brother at the age of seven, when half-sis was dumped on our doorstep; my mother's father left her husband for the lodger... and the lodger's son married my grandmother's daughter! My father's father was a bully and an alcoholic who stole my dad's savings; my father's mother had a breakdown after her brother died in the Normandy landings and was in and out of institutions for the rest of her life and would probably now be diagnosed as bipolar. And that's just for starters. Life, eh?! Hard to work out why I find some things quite tricky to deal with now that both my parents are elderly, my mum has dementia and my dad's struggling to cope...)
 

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
29,429
Reaction score
34,671
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
I’ve always thought that our more recent past – even the one we’ve been through ourselves – is somehow more mythical and ungraspable than a historical past we were never part of.

Available here.
I completely understand what you mean. It's there--inside me--and the people who lived it with me are (mostly) still here, perhaps a bit grey, but still here in numbers; yet the world that they live in has been transformed, and no matter what they might carry around inside their heads nowadays, that transformation has in turn changed them, the way they live, work and think.

Stepping back after thirty minutes of browsing this Isle of Dogs book made me seriously question how I can experience such aching nostalgia for an environment that I'd be hard pressed to describe better than 'a bit crap'.

Both my mother's and father's families grew up in London and moved out to start their own families, but what I saw of Essex and the estuary overspill as a child was largely shaped in the image of the capital, though more spacious. Looking at these black and white photographs takes me back to my earliest memories (of the early 80s), when things were still rather crumbly, smoke-scarred and winter of discontentish, but, for all the imminence of destruction on display, the place depicted here is alive: for every oddly beautiful industrio-cyclopian ruin, there are a dozens shots that teem with life in spite of the omnipresent decay. There are a few posed pictures, but even when figures are absent, the signage, commerce and general detritus points to a community, albeit a poor one, getting on with life and eking out a good amount of enjoyment in the process. Although I haven't featured any in the preview beneath, there are also a lot of construction shots and new developments included ('from when the big money moved in'), but they are hellishly sterile by comparison. More 'modern', better amenities, and better laid out, no doubt, yet utterly without merit as homes and the building blocks of neighbourhoods.

Recommended:

SmartSelect_20191217-230910_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231001_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231102_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231140_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231217_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231315_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231350_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20191217-231734_Gallery.jpg
 

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
50,382
Reaction score
23,966
Points
284
Location
Eblana
I completely understand what you mean. It's there--inside me--and the people who lived it with me are (mostly) still here with me, perhaps a bit grey, but still here in numbers; yet the world that they live in has been transformed, and no matter what they might carry around inside their heads nowadays, that transformation has in turn changed them, the way they live, work and think.

Stepping back after thirty minutes of browsing this Isle of Dogs book made me seriously question how I can experience such aching nostalgia for an environment that I'd be hard pressed to describe better than 'a bit crap'.

Both my mother's and father's families grew up in London and moved out to start their own families, but what I saw of Essex and the estuary overspill as a child was largely shaped in the image of the capital, though more spacious. Looking at these black and white photographs takes me back to my earliest memories (of the early 80s), when things were still rather crumbly, smoke-scarred and winter of discontentish, but, for all the imminence of destruction on display, the place depicted here is alive: for every oddly beautiful industrio-cyclopian ruin, there are a dozens shots that teem with life in spite of the omnipresent decay. There are a few posed pictures, but even when figures are absent, the signage, commerce and general detritus points to a community, albeit a poor one, getting on with life and eking out a good amount of enjoyment in the process. Although I haven't featured any in the preview beneath, there are also a lot of construction shots and new developments included ('from when the big money moved in'), but they are hellishly sterile by comparison. More 'modern', better amenities, and better laid out, no doubt, yet utterly without merit as homes and the building blocks of neighbourhoods.

Recommended:

View attachment 21907View attachment 21908View attachment 21909View attachment 21910View attachment 21911View attachment 21912View attachment 21913View attachment 21914
Some of those pics look like the still undeveloped areas of Dublin's Docklands. They're rapidly disappearing under office and apartment blocks though.
 

cycleboy2

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
1,419
Reaction score
3,108
Points
169
I've just started re-reading Joseph Heller's Something Happened. While squillions of people have read Catch-22 (don't forget the hyphen!), this is every bit as good, and arguably his best novel – Kurt Vonnegut was a big fan, resulting in the following quote from Heller: "I used to think Catch-22 was my best novel until I read Kurt Vonnegut's review of Something Happened. Now I think Something Happened is". It's not necessarily a barrel of laughs, it's dark, it's bitter, it's scathing about late 20th century capitalist life. But it's fantastic, it's a work of genius.
 

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
29,429
Reaction score
34,671
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
I posted some scans from a book, but actually the book will enter in public domain in 2025.

It can be borrowed here: https://archive.org/details/fairytraditionin0000spen
I read several titles by Lewis Spence in my early 20s, having been inspired by Robert Plant citing The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain as an influence for his writing of the lyrics for Led Zeppelin IV. They're hardly the kind of things to consume cover-to-cover, but as collections of anecdotes they're fantastic.
 
Last edited:

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
29,429
Reaction score
34,671
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
A booksellers just sent out his new year's mailing list:

A fine/fine signed first edition (1987) of Mort by Terry Pratchett (one of only 3950 printed): £600

The jacket looks bright and beautiful and it's (probably) my favourite of his novels...

Anybody want to buy a moderator a gift?
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
6,333
Reaction score
6,342
Points
294
Location
Midwich
I got involved in a conversation in Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street yesterday morning, which started with me overhearing one of the people who worked there saying exactly what had crossed my mind about a certain novel. That is, that if you have to go into quarantine with a pile of books then you could do worse than be locked up with the following, which will probably eat up a fair bit of the time.

1000 pages and 1.5 kilos of Russian breezeblock, if you please:

20200318_081224.jpg


I read Life and Fate some time back, and have been looking forward to this ever since I read that it was in the process of a revised and expanded translation. I'd also recommend a collection of his journalism A Writer at War, edited by Antony Beevor - although that won't last you anywhere near as long.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
6,333
Reaction score
6,342
Points
294
Location
Midwich
While I was visiting Daunt Books - a strictly upheld pilgrimage of mine, undergone at least once every time I visit London for any reason - I bought this:

20200318_081532.jpg


Gentleman's art will probably be familiar to many who have never actually heard his name - having appeared on stamps and posters and as graphics in newspapers etc

This is a really beautiful collection of his London centred artwork, from the 1950's right up to the present - in different styles and formats, and with reflections on London as it has been over the years, and the process of recording it through art.

20200318_081634.jpg
20200318_081851.jpg


20200318_081942.jpg
 

ralfy

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
50
Reaction score
39
Points
24
The Everyman's Library. It's not sold as a set because new volumes are added yearly.

http://www.everymanslibrary.co.uk/

I managed to buy a lot of title at a fraction of the SRP (something like US$1 or 2 for brand new copies) because no one wanted to buy them. Because of that, local stores stopped stocking new titles.

These were the mainstays for any classes I taught because they are very durable.

Here's one video presentation, again from Pontus Presents:

 

ralfy

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
50
Reaction score
39
Points
24
Library of America has very good editions, and usually of collections of works, which makes them very practical. I've been able to collect all of their publications featuring Faulkner and others, but I had to purchase most at retail price, as it's rare to see them sold second-hand in contrast to the Everyman's or even Modern Library:

https://www.loa.org/

They still have a subscription option, but I never managed to sign up. I think I did in the past, with BOMC and others, and managed to get some well-made art books.

In this video, the same channel from Pontus Presents features a collection of Lovecraft's works:


I didn't get that because I had the older four-volume collection from Arkham House:

http://www.arkhamhouse.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=001
 

ralfy

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
50
Reaction score
39
Points
24
This is easy to obtain both in new and used editions because it's used in universities, but I feel it's the best edition of Shakespeare's works:

https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393934991

Some say the Riverside edition is better, but I thought it was not as durable. I saw the Penguin edition, and it's much lighter than both and handy, but it lacks annotations and other scholarly apparatus. Not that the one in Norton is highly technical, but it's readable and informative for non-literature majors. I don't know about latter editions, but earlier ones had a slipcase. The catch is that it's heavy.
 

ralfy

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
50
Reaction score
39
Points
24
This is a great find, but I had to wait for Clarice Lispector's Complete Stories and buy at regular price because for decades I've been reading her works only through collections:

https://www.ndbooks.com/book/the-complete-stories/#/

The cover looks fine, and the book sturdy. I managed to read her works and others in the Borzoi Anthology of Latin American Literature (2 vols.):

http://archive.wilsonquarterly.com/...re-2-vols-1-time-columbus-twentieth-century-2

It's softbound and out of print, but there are almost new copies still available, and the binding and paper quality are fine, not to mention the selection of works and commentaries. I decided to have them hardbound by a local shop.

In light of that, I also purchased the three-volume set of Borges' works from Random House:

https://www.bookhampton.com/book/9780670849703

I think the other two volumes consist of selected non-fiction and poems.
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
6,333
Reaction score
6,342
Points
294
Location
Midwich
Happy Sant Jordi to bibliophiles everywhere!

...I kind of knew it was a big thing - but not as big as it turned out to be.

Man...it's HUGE!! Plaça de Catalunya and all the major thoroughfares leading onto it were lined with bookstalls and the entire area was absolutely rammed with crowds of people all day long. Many of the stalls have long queues for the author signings, which go on into the evening. The bookshops have queues reaching from one end to the other. Everyone in the mass of people milling about seems to be carrying a bag with books in it.

I'm not one of those travellers who instantly falls in love with and lionises the place they are currently living, and uses it to downgrade the place they come from; neither Spanish nor Catalan culture is perfect. But what a fantastic thing to have in your diary.
I doubt very much that under the current unpleasantness anything is going on outside today - but to anyone who thought I was exaggerating, and as a reminder to myself of a great day:

SJ1.jpg
SJ2.jpg


LLARGA VIDA ALS LLIBRES!!
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
6,333
Reaction score
6,342
Points
294
Location
Midwich
20200409_173324.jpg


Not valuable or particularly rare, but I was over the moon to rediscover this last week – slipped behind some old bookshelves at my mum’s.

I was maybe around thirteen when I bought it, and going through a pretty rough patch - a kind of premature and quite severe teenage angst combined with problems at home. Getting lost in the hills was one of my major therapies, and I thought this might turn me into a great outdoorsman. It didn’t, but it was great company and I was amazed on finding it again at how relatively undamaged it is, given the hard usage it got back then.

It still has a very particular smell – something to do with the weather resistant cover, maybe – which like many scents induces a kind of olfactory time travel which took me back four decades in an instant.

20200409_173800.jpg


20200409_173341.jpg


So pleased to have rediscovered it. (I never did manage to find any elk – but I can still spot badger shit from 15 feet away, tell a fox track from a dog, and tell you what’s been nibbling your nuts.)

And, on the subject of badger shit – who’d have thought scat could look so pretty?:


20200409_173434.jpg
 

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Joined
Aug 9, 2001
Messages
6,438
Reaction score
12,796
Points
309
If I didn't have the complete series in paperback I would be boarding these in their own smoke in no time.
A glass of wine with you, sir! Bumpers all round, and no heel taps!

maximus otter
 
Top