Reading E. B. White

E. B. White has long been a favorite writer of mine, since reading things by him written for The New Yorker long ago. Reading Is Sex Necessary?, James Thurber’s humorous book co-written with White, led me to reading more of White, and it wasn’t long before I bought these hardcovers sometimes around 1976 or 1977.

They have been on the shelf since, and I’ve read each of them more than once.

Last Fall I picked up a copy of E. B. On Dogs, a trade paperback with letters and essays about his various dogs, mostly Dachshunds, for some light reading when the pandemic was really getting me down (it still is, by the way). Much of the material from the book I’d already read in one of the four hardcovers shown above. I never seem to tire of White’s humor, opinions and worldview.

Are you an E. B. reader?

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Short Stories | 12 Comments

Ice Storm Snarl

It snowed Thursday and freezing rain Friday and lost power about midnight. Power company says we should have power sometime Monday. Meanwhile, we have a gas fireplace for some heat and the stovetop to cook. We’re iced in so home we stay. ITS COLD

Posted in Books & Reading | 15 Comments

Bought a Few Things…

I read the Black Gate blog daily, and occasionally the chief editor, John O’Neill, posts about lots of science fiction and fantasy books he buys on eBay. Last time he did this I was inspired to try it, and this is what happened. Not great, a few authors I’m not fond of, but cheap and some things very readable. Did I mention cheap? Just a few bucks.

Posted in Books & Reading | 13 Comments

Short Story Wednesday

Ministry of Disturbance and Other Science Fiction by H. Beam Piper, Adventure Paperback – April 1, 2007

“Ministry of Disturbance” by H. Beam Piper, originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, December 1958, Aegypan 2007 trade paperback, 200 pages.

This is part of H. Beam Piper’s Future History series that he worked on throughout his SF writing years.

In this story, a Galactic Empire of thousands of planets has been at peace for hundreds of years. Production all across the Empire is regulated to keep markets and economies stable.

Yet now there is apparently a plot to overthrow the current hereditary Emperor. Though it seems there could be more than one person wanting the power and prestige of the Emperor, it’s unclear who would gain the most.

Though the story is, typically of Piper, more talk than action, I enjoyed it and am continuing to read this collection.


Posted in Books & Reading | 12 Comments

short story Wednesday – Thrilling Stories of the Railway by Victor L. Whitechurch

I read this in ebook form, a Kindle compilation of British Mysteries. Except for the review cited at the end of this post, the author is new to me.

Thrilling Stories of the Railway by Victor L. Whitechurch, 1912. 

“Peter Craine’s Cigars”
“The Tragedy On the London and Mid-Northern” 
“The Affair of the Corridor Express”
“Sir Gilbert Murrell’s Picture”
“How the Bank Was Saved”
“The Affair of the German Dispatch-Box”
“How the Bishop Kept His Appointment”
“The Adventure of the Pilot Engine”
“The Stolen Necklace”
“The Mystery of the Boat Express”
“How the Empress Was Saved”
“A Case of Signaling”
“Winning the Race”
“The Strikers”
“The Ruse That Succeeded”

Victor Lorenzo Whitechurch (1868 – 1933) was a Church of England clergyman and author. He wrote many novels on different themes. He is probably best known for his detective stories featuring Thorpe Hazell, which appeared in the Strand Magazine, Railway Magazine, Pearson’s and Harmsworth’s Magazines. Hazell was a vegetarian railway detective, whom the author intended to be as far from Sherlock Holmes as possible. He appears in about half of these stories.

The first of these stories is about a smuggler of cigars, the second is about a passenger killed mysteriously while in his locked compartment. The rest, well, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

For a nice review of the book, see Pretty Sinister Books hereIt’s where I got the cover image. Thanks, John!

Posted in Anthology, At Home in Portland, Books & Reading, Mystery | 11 Comments

Up Yours, WF!

When we bought this house, we did it long distance from southern California, through a realtor here and the financing and so forth handled through an agency here. When all was said and done, our mortgage was handed off (sold) to Well’s Fargo.

Now, at the time I had no grievance with WF, but over the years more and more upsetting reports of malfeasance, mistreatment of clients and accounts and so forth. Though we had no problems with them, so we finally got fed up.

So last Fall we refinanced. We had significant equity, and went with an institution with whom we also had savings, our credit reports look nice and it was a breeze, only requiring one in-person visit. Plus our payment went down because of better interest. A win for everyone (except the evil WF).

Posted in Books & Reading | 6 Comments

Shelf Shot 14

I love the artwork of Greg Manches, and was delighted when Above the Timberline came out. It’s both written and illustrated by him, and is a fun story.

Next, you can see the first five (thick, meaty) volumes of The Collected Hard-Boiled Stories of Race Williams by Carroll John Daly.

The Collected Hard-Boiled Stories of Race Williams, Altus Press/Steeger Books, volume 1 (c) 2015, subsequent volumes every year and a half or so. I have Volumes 1-5 and have Volume 6 on the way, it being the most recent. Volumes 1-2 seem to be OP. Each costs $29.95.

To give you an idea, Volume 1 runs 654 pages, with an Introduction by Brooks Hefner and twenty-one stories. Each of the other volumes is equally robust.

Daly is, reliably, I think, considered the creator of the hard-boiled detective story, though naturally there are plenty of people who would argue with that. I’m not one of them.

Originally appearing in the pages of Black Mask Magazine, author Carroll John Daly pioneered the hard-boiled P.I. story and perfected the genre with his classic character, Race Williams. Apart from the novel-length Race Williams stories, these classic hard-boiled thrillers have rarely been reprinted, if ever.

The only problem I have with these is that there is so much material it’s going to take me forever to read it all!

Posted in Books & Reading | 12 Comments

Various & Sundry – Jan. wk. 4

We got our first snow of the year yesterday, starting about 1:00 in the afternoon and continuing to 5:30 or so, about a quarter inch, which stuck but is mostly gone this morning.

Got in the car and went to the Clinic this morning for labs. Per the latest recommendation, I double masked, an N95 with my usual cloth mask over it. The N95, which I bought 20 years ago when doing brick work, is extremely tight, but very effective (as in hard to even breathe through). I’ll do the double mask if I’m out in public, but if just around one person who is masked, I’ll just wear the more comfortable one.

Library books are suddenly pouring in. I had many on hold when things shut downed now it’s all coming in. I had The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman here and had read about 65 pages, but it just didn’t grab me at all, so I took it back. I also had The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by C.W. Grafton, but decided to take it back unstarted, as I may buy it later. From the library today came To Sleep in A Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (875 pages), his first SF novel, A Promised Land by Barack Obama (701 pages), and Dead West by Matt Goldman (318 pages). That’s a ton of reading to do in three weeks, and there are many people in line waiting, so no renewals will be allowed. Sigh. What do you do in such a situation?

Fortunately, I have nothing to do the rest of this week but read, with an occasional meal now and then.

Why do I say it that way? Because I lost a little weight while in hospital (the food was AWFUL), and I lost my appetite. I’m trying not to let it return, so am eating minimal amounts of healthy stuff and have eliminated every snack thing in the house (Barbara has her own stash but I don’t touch it), and will be good at least until the Girl Scout Cookies arrive next month. Yay me.

I’ve had enough politics, the GOP is enraging me, some especially, so I’ve decided to cut out news for a few days. I’ll be the better for it.

Vaccines? Good luck here in Portland, OR. The Governor decided the order is going to be all health care workers, then all school teachers and employees, from Principals to janitors, then students, then “front line” workers, such as grocery clerks and anyone dealing with the public for work, THEN seniors aged 80 and above, then seniors aged 75 and above and so on. Thus seniors will be last, not first as the CDC recommends. BAH! I guess we oldsters are dispensable here. We are very scared, but nothing to do.

So, enough of that, I’m off to read. Stay as well and safe as possible, please, all of you!

Posted in Books & Reading | 23 Comments

Various & Sundry 01

It’s been a long time since I posted, and a lot has been happening, to me, to the country. First, Covid, over 400,000 dead so far and climbing. I’m staying in, isolated, home, masked when outside anywhere for anything. You’d think that would mean I’d be getting lots of reading done, but, no. A few short stories, a Batman graphic novel, since Christmas.

By January 1, I was feeling pretty low, no energy, poor balance and Barbara felt I should go to the hospital. Unhappy, I went, and it’s a good thing. Turns out a medication I’ve had prescribed for decades for my seizure disorder has been draining the salt from me to such an extent that I was very dangerously low, nearly to stroke level. Five days on my back in a damn hospital bed, blood pulls every 4 hours around the clock, new meds and salt tablets through the day and night, very little sleep. I didn’t watch any TV or read a word. I missed the insurrection at the Capitol and all other news, but that’s okay.

It was glorious to get home!

I’m getting stronger now that I’m home, able to walk about some, stay up all day, and I had a video Dr. Visit with one of my two new doctors this morning, which went well, she is pleased with my lab numbers and I may get off the salt pills in a day or two.

This morning we watched the Inaugural events.That was very happy for me as I really hated Trump and everything he stood for. Easily the worst President in U.S. history.

The likelihood of receiving the Coronavirus vaccine is faint here, I’m 75 but they keep pushing my group back. Maybe by March 1st, they now say. Okay, whatever. I’m glad and lucky I have a nice home to live in, a wonderful wife, and two cats to live with. Lots of books, which I’m just now starting to read again, and the weather has been beautiful, cold and clear. Perhaps some snow next week.

Reading: E. B. White on Dogs edited by Kathryn White, essays and humor pieces written by White both during his years at The New Yorker and afterward, light and entertaining. Easy to focus on and pick up for a few pages at a time.

Next: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman from the library.

Just arrived this morning: the final four volumes, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of The Complete Dr. Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman. I will now have them all on shelf, but have only read the first couple so far. I like them a lot.

Posted in Books & Reading | 21 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Hollidays to All!

It’s cold and rainy here in Portland, but a yummy breakfast is in the oven and gifts ready to unwrap await. We hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful day!

Posted in Books & Reading | 5 Comments