From Way, Way Back in Your Book Backlog

Extollager

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Ha! I thought I must have given away my copy of the Pelican paperback The Greeks by H. D. F. Kitto. Looked for it & didn't see it; then spotted it this afternoon on a shelf. I bought it 12 July 1979 at a used book store in Oregon, and it seems now, at last, its time may have come 'round!
 

Extollager

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I've just started H. Rider Haggard's Pearl-Maiden, a copy of which I bought on 3 Dec. 1977 at the now-vanished Bartlett Street Book Store in Medford, Oregon, and have never yet read.
 

Timewalker

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I've got books that have been languishing unread on my shelves since 1976. I can't believe that I once considered selling my Dune books because I'd had them for several years and hadn't read them; I finally did read them one week in the spring of 1984 when I had the flu and was trying to force myself to get better in a hurry so I wouldn't miss too much time of my job working backstage in the theatre. Reading about people being thirsty in a hot desert when I was thirsty and feverish in my bed made Dune seem much more authentic. :D
 

Extollager

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I bought a complete Shakespeare on 27 Sept. 1974, but have never yet read The Comedy of Errors. Thought I would do so now. Whether the title applies better to the politics of the year now ending, or anticipates that about to begin, I don't know.

I have about eight plays to go and I'll have read them all at least once, kind of a lifetime project.
 

Extollager

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It seems like time to read another of Anthony Trollope's novels. Ah, here's The Claverings, a tidy little blue-cloth World's Classics edition, bought at the Urbana, Illinois, public library book sale on 21 Sept. 1985.

My edition isn't illustrated, but that's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this picture from the first page.
 

Extollager

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I'm enjoying The Claverings and am about halfway through it. Yesterday I started reading an unabridged edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson that I bought in 15 Sept. 1984 at another Urbana library book sale. I had some mighty nice book hauls at those while we lived there.

Samuel Johnson Coffee House
 

Extollager

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It seems like time to read another of Anthony Trollope's novels. Ah, here's The Claverings
I enjoyed this novel of the 1860s. I wouldn't say it's the finest of his books that I've read, but it wouldn't be a disastrous choice of first novel to read by this author. It has the characteristic Trollopian combination of moral clarity combined with toleration of faults. The hero is a good-looking fellow whose problems arise from his weaknesses. There are several other characters with whom to sympathize. It's not quite Trollope at his best; you'll see a deus-ex-machina in plenty of time, and Trollope hardly intends that you shouldn't.

Now on to another book from the deep backlog: Graves's Claudius the God, bought new for $3.95 at Powell's in Portland on 21 June 1979.

How about you? Venturing into any books you've had for a long time? If you're 25, a book you acquired with you were in your late teens is something from way, way back in your book backlog.
 

Randy M.

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I forgot about this thread. Last year I read Curfew by Phil Rickman, which had been sitting on my shelves at least 12 years. Enjoyed it; fun read with a structure and attention to character that reminded me of Stephen King, but with a sense of humor that was distinct from King's, integral to the characterization, and raised the novel a notch or two above a SK-knock-off.

Finally finished Karl E. Wagner's In a Lonely Place. Excellent story collection and my first reading of "Beyond Any Measure," a really terrific novella. This has been on my shelf since first published in 1983.

Lastly, and maybe the most pleasant surprise, pulled The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes off the shelf, a pb from the early 1970s that I think I picked up in the early 1980s. Wonderful old thriller from just after the turn of the 20th century. Nicely handled domestic stuff concerning a former maid and her husband, a former butler, who had tried to leave service and establish themselves as landlords only to have one disaster after another land them on the brink of bankruptcy. Their new lodger saves the day, though. And then they start to learn the character of the new lodger.


Randy M.
 

Anne Spackman

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Caesar's Women and Antony and Cleopatra in The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. Also several books by Simon Scarrow. Hannibal: Enemy of Rome is another I have been meaning to read but have never read.
 

soulsinging

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Not as old as some here, but I have copies of The Stand and Shogun on my shelf. Both are used editions from the 70s. They're way, way back in my reading life because I'm pretty sure I've owned 2-3 copies of each in the past that I got rid of once I convinced myself I wasn't up to these 1000 page juggernauts anymore...
 

Extollager

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I got a copy of Robert Burton's THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY 11 July 2002... Now I've started a thread on it at the Literary Fiction sub forum. Drop by if you're interested....
 

Extollager

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I've just started H. Rider Haggard's Pearl-Maiden, a copy of which I bought on 3 Dec. 1977 at the now-vanished Bartlett Street Book Store in Medford, Oregon, and have never yet read.
Unfortunately, this just didn't hold my interest. I expect to reread some Haggard favorites, but I may have come close to the end of the line as far as reading ones that would be new to me. Of books on hand, this would include a couple of the Quatermains -- The Ancient Allan and Allan and the Ice Gods. I think I've read all of the other Quatermains, a couple of them more than once... And I've read She about half a dozen times.
 

Extollager

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I've begun to read, at last, the middle book of Patrick Leigh Fermor's long walk trilogy.

My copy of Between the Woods and the Water entered my life on 26 Feb. 1987!
This one took me a while to read, but I read the third and final one, The Broken Road, reasonably quickly. That's a great trilogy of books.
 

Extollager

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I bought the second Ace Books novelization of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner as a used book on 8 Jan. 1980 at a place called Trail's End Books in Seaside, Oregon. It's waited till now to get a reading. It's good, very much in the spirit of some of the episodes that emphasized No. 6's resourcefulness, rather than the more bizarre elements (human chess games and so on). I'm about halfway through and No. 6 has just been taken back to the Village after a creditable escape attempt. The novel is a sequel to the first Ace novel. McDaniel's is called, fittingly, Number Two.
 

Extollager

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McDaniel's novel is faithful to the style of the series. There's some lively dialogue. The atmosphere is more adventurous than brooding. No. 6's mechanical aptitude is presented with more detail than many authors would have commanded. An interesting new suggestion is provided (p. 124) for what No. 6's captors want from him -- not, now, it seems "information" (about why he resigned, etc.) but rather to test their systems; he's ingenious at finding weaknesses; they learn from his (temporary) successes how to make the Village ever more impossible to escape.

I'm struck by how No. 6 is a man of the Tao (cf. Lewis's The Abolition of Man), the Law of Nature, and, so, would demur from the common theory of social constructionism. He would not be at home in university departments of education....
 

Extollager

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Another television tie-in: James Blish's Spock Must Die! from 1970 (Wikipedia says February 1970), which I'd have read as soon as I could get my hands on it. It appeared in 1970, so I will assume I read it then, 45 years ago. I don't remember when or how I parted company with my copy. So far it seems faithful to Star Trek and to owe something to Algis Budrys's haunting Rogue Moon, one of the sf novels/novellas that has most impressed me.
 

Extollager

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#116 above should have been posted to the "From Way, Way Back in Your Book Backlog" thread, since it relates to a rereading, not to turning backlog into something read (for the first time). Oh well! My next comment on Blish's novel will appear there.
 

Extollager

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Having recently read Walden and liked it, on 18 Feb. 1976 I bought a copy of Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. At last I have begun to read it,* at bedtime. It's certainly off to a pleasing start. Thoreau's readiness to go ahead and get into that boat with his brother converges with the spaciousness of the region they're in. Whatever else the book will prove to be about, it evokes a sense of freedom.

[I wish others would post here their own adventures in whittling at books from deep, deep in their backlogs.]

*Since reading Walden, I've read The Maine Woods and Cape Cod, and some essays such as "Wild Apples." Somehow I'd not read the Week. Walden will be due for a rereading after I finish Week, I expect.
 

Randy M.

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Well, now you mention it, Extollager:

Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting

I picked up the Goss in 2007 and finally read it this year. Not all that long on the shelf, I suppose, but Thomas Tessier's The Nightwalker I believe I picked up when it first came out in paperback in 1980.

The Nightwalker follows Bobby Ives, veteran of Vietnam living in London on a military pension, as he goes insane. Maybe.

One morning another lodger in his apartment house almost sets fire to the building. Bobby catches the burning pot on the stove just in time and in a rage beats his neighbor. Ives barely keeps from killing him.

As the novel progresses, Ives acquires a territorial possessiveness for Hyde Park, comes to believe this is not the first life he's led or will lead, and begins to mentally deteriorate in a manner that appears to be lycanthropic. Tessier purposely follows the lead of Guy Endore's The Werewolf of Paris in exploring the psychological and not quite committing to the supernatural, though there are plenty of hints and suggestions that latter may be operative.

Not quite as compelling for me as the previous novel I read by Tessier (Finishing Touches) but still a strong short novel.


Randy M.
 

Extollager

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Randy M. suggested that one read Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan (stories and studies of strange things) from beginning to end, rather than as a book to dip into --

Lafcadio Hearn's KWAIDAN

-- so I think I will do just that. I bought my Dover edition on 8 Nov. 1975 and have never read all of it, so it seems like a candidate for this subforum.

Once again -- this subforum is a place for anyone to write about getting around to books that he or she's had on hand for a long time (relative to his or her total reading life) and has decided to tackle. How you define "way, way back" is up to you; if you ask me, I'd say that, if you're 20, reading at last a book you acquired when you were 16 or younger might be something from "way, way back"; if you're 30, a book you acquired when you were 22 or before; if you're 40, a book from when you were in your late twenties, etc. If you're 60, you might be talking about reading something you acquired before your 40th birthday, or well before then -- something like that. I suspect that many of us having books we do mean to read but that have sort of "faded into the wallpaper" and that yet might be worth reading.

If there's anything interesting about the circumstances in which we acquired such books, that could be mentioned. My copy of Kwaidan came from a small used-book store, Blue Goose, in Ashland, Oregon. ....I never asked the woman, Liz Jones, who ran the store -- but maybe I should have -- just how she went about stocking it, given how often she turned up interesting out-of-the-way things, such as the Mirage Press edition of Robert Foster's Guide to Middle-earth with a nice wraparound dustjacket by Tim Kirk (not fully pictured here):


I brought that one home 26 Feb. 1972. I'd probably had to give her a down payment on it to hold it, as it's not too likely I'd have had enough ready cash. ...This was three years before Ballantine issued the 1975 Tolkien calendar, the Tim Kirk special. Here's Farmer Maggot's farm from that calendar...
 
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