Shelf Shot 12 – more poetry (part 1)

As you may know by now, I love poetry. There are three full shelves plus a few other books scattered about. Here’s another half shelf, the other half next week.

click to see bigger

left to right:

  • Anthology of American Poetry edited by George Gesner – more than 600 poems and songs from the 17th to 20th century. This is a particularly good anthology.
  • 101 Favorite Cat Poems compiled by Sara L Whittier
  • Many Voices An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Indian Poetry edited by David Day & Marilyn Bowering. I purchased while on a trip to Yellow Point on Vancouver Island in 1983.
  • The Gift of Tongues – 25 Years of Poetry of Copper Canyon Press edited by Sam Hamill. Copper Press has been publishing the poetry of native people worldwide for a long time.

I got these first three when I was in high school, the others in college:

  • The New Pocket Anthology of American Verse from Colonial Days to the Present edited by Oscar Williams (1966)
  • A Pocket Book of Modern Verse English and American poetry of the last 100 years edited by Oscar Williams (1957)
  • Immortal Poems of the English Language edited by Oscar Williams (1966)
  • 20th Century Chinese Poetry: an anthology translated and edited by Kai-Yu Hsu (1964). Fascinating comparing the spare Chinese style to the often flamboyant English-speaking works.
  • Poetry: a Critical and Historical Introduction by Scott Foresman (1962) Textbook.
  • The Harper Anthology of Poetry edited by John Frederick Nims. Another very good anthology.
  • When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed – A Celebration for Almost any Day of the year by Ray Bradbury (1977). Bradbury’s poems are fun.

Now for the Brautigan: I keep them together, though one of these is a novel.

  • Revenge of the Lawn Stories 1960 – 1970 by Richard Brautigan
  • A Confederate General from Bir Sur by Richard Brautigan
  • Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan
  • Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt by Richard Brautigan
  • The Pill versus the Spring Hill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan
  • In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

and the rest,

  • Major British Poets a anthology of two centuries of poetry by 23 great British poets edited by Oscar Williams
  • The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll, Modern Library edition. Includes all of his poetry and novels.


Posted in Books & Reading, Poetry, Shelf Shots | 20 Comments

FFB: First Step Outward

Old SF Anthologies

First Step Outward edited by Robert Hoskins, introduction by Poul Anderson, Dell 1969 mass market paperback, science fiction anthology.

The cover suggests we “Blast off into the unknown with the greatest SF writers of today”, “today” being 1969. The authors here are a who’s who in the field at the time.

Today, a Millenial or Gen Whatever science fiction reader would likely find these stories too old and creaky to be worth notice, especially since science has caught up to much of what’s here. But older readers, such as myself (born in 1945, I’m at the beginning of the Baby Boom age) find these fun and can appreciate both the stories and the viewpoints. I found my very nice copy on eBay. I’ve made a few notes on specific stories after the contents list, below.


Introduction (First Step Outward) • essay by Poul Anderson
Prologue (First Step Outward) • essay by Robert Hoskins
Cold War • (1949) • short story by Kris Neville
Third Stage • (1962) • short story by Poul Anderson
Gentlemen, Be Seated! • (1948) • short story by Robert A. Heinlein
Jaywalker • (1950) • short story by Ross Rocklynne
The Hated • (1958) • short story by Frederik Pohl
Sunrise on Mercury • (1957) • short story by Robert Silverberg
Hop-Friend • (1962) • short story by Terry Carr
The Man Who Lost the Sea • (1959) • short story by Theodore Sturgeon
First Contact • (1945) • novelette by Murray Leinster
Misbegotten Missionary (aka Green Patches) • (1950) • short story by Isaac Asimov
Market in Aliens • (1968) • short story by K.M. O’Donnell ]
The Rules of the Road • (1964) • short story by Norman Spinrad
Jetsam • (1953) • short story by A. Bertram Chandler

Two of the stories here were in one or the other of the old SF Anthologies I’ve posted recently, “Sunrise on Mercury” and “First Contact”. The latter was oft-anthologized, and for good reason, it is truly a classic, and a favorite of mine. “The Man Who Lost the Sea”, on the other hand, which I’d read before, not so much. Though I have read and was impressed by Sturgeon’s novel More Than Human it seems to me much of his writing, including this story, is just strange.

The Asimov story is one of his lesser efforts, and though I liked it, “Jetsam” shows it’s age. Overall, though an anthology of it’s time, which you might enjoy.

Posted in Anthology, Books & Reading, Science Fiction | 12 Comments

Shelf Shot 11

Here’s the rest of the shelf I showed last week. I repeat, I love these kind of books.


Starting on the left,

  • A Reader’s Guide to the Private Eye Novel by Gary Warren Niebuhr, G.K. Hall & Co., 1993 – for fans of the P.I. novel, this is a must.
  • By A Woman’s Hand, A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women by Jean Swanson and Dean James, Berkeley Books 1994. Who says women’s mystery fiction wasn’t recognized until recently?
  • A Reader’s Guide to the American Novel Novel of Detection by Marvin Lachman, G.K. Hall & Co. 1993

Now for some Raymond Chandler books:

  • Raymond Chandler Speaking by Raymond Chandler, edited by Dorothy Gardiner, Houghton Mifflin Co. (c) 1962, this edition 1977. If you  haven’t read this, drop everything and read it.
  • The World of Raymond Chandler edited by Miriam Gross, A&W Publishers, 1977
  • The Life of Raymond Chandler by Frank MacShane, Houghton Mifflin 1976 first edition, includes some material from Raymond Chandler Speaking 

and the rest:

  • “G” is for Grafton, the world of Kinsey Millhone by Natalie Kaufman and Carol McGuiness, H. Holt & Co. 1997
  • Murder for Pleasure, the life and times of the detective story by Howard Haycraft, (c) 1941, this edition Mercury Publications 1974. This includes the famous list.
  • Crimes of the Scene, A mystery novel guide for the international traveler. by Nina King & Robin Winks, St. Martins, 1997.
Posted in Books & Reading, Shelf Shots | 17 Comments

taking a break…

due to “device” problems: Tuesday: iMac on the blink – Wednesday: iPhone battery tanked – Thursday: MacBook power cord failed – Friday: search virus reoccured on laptop, and this time I can’t strip it out.

Got iPhone problem fixed ($$$). Ordered power cable. Laptop needs Apple Genius Bar and appointments over a week out, I’m stuck with phone and tiny buttons until I can get the laptop in. So I’ll read. Back when I can.

Posted in Books & Reading | 5 Comments

FFB: In At the Death by Francis Duncan

In At the Death by Francis Duncan, (c) 1952, Penguin Random House – 2016 Vintage trade paper, mystery, #6 in Mordecai Tremaine series

The Blurb: (from back cover)

“When murder is afoot, nothing is as it seems. Mordecai Tremaine and Chief Inspector Jonathan Boyce rarely allow a promising game of chess to be interrupted — though when murder is the disrupting force, they are persuaded to make an exception. After a quick stop at Scotland Yard, the pair are spirited away to Bridgton.

No sooner have they arrived than it becomes clear that the city harbors more than its fair share of passions and motives…and one question echoes loudly throughout the cobbled streets: why did Dr. Hardene, the local GP of impeccable reputation, bring a revolver with him on a routine visit to a patient?

Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham’s classic mysteries, Mordecai Tremaine’s latest excursion into crime detection convinces him that, when it comes to murder, nothing can be assumed…”

My Take:
While last year I read the fourth book in the series, Murder for Chirstmas, and enjoyed it enough to buy a second novel, this one. After reading this, I’ve ordered the other three Duncan novels in these five Vintage Crime editions, and look forward to reading them.

I like the somewhat unusual Tremaine character, Duncan does a nice job with setting, and the plot had enough elements to keep me guessing until near the end. These are easy going mysteries, no graphic violence, no thriller elements, just the thing to read while relaxing in a comfy chair on a Summer afternoon.

The Mordecai Tremaine novels by Francis Duncan, in order. Five are available in Vintage Crime editions.

1. They’ll Never Find Out (1944)
2. Murder Has a Motive (1947)
3. Murderer’s Bluff (1948)
4. Murder for Christmas (1949)
5. So Pretty a Problem (1950)
6. In at the Death (1952)
7. Behold a Fair Woman (1954)

Duncan also writes a series featuring Peter Justice, about which, sadly, I have no information.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Mystery | 7 Comments

Shelf Shot 10

Here’s another shelf of non-fiction / reference volumes which are related to mystery subjects. Actually, this is just half the shelf, I’ll have the other half next week. I love these kind of books.

Starting on the left:

  • The Fine Art of Murder subtitled “The Mystery Reader’s Indispensable Companion”, edited by Ed Gorman, Martin H. Greenberg, Larry Segriff with Jon L. Breen (Carroll & Graf, 1993). Chock full of articles and essays covering the entire American and British mystery field.
  • The American Traditional Mystery by Mark Lachman. Marvin is an enlightened expert on the subject. This reads like a textbook.
  • The Mystery Lover’s Companion by Art Bougeau, subtitled “Over 2,500 mysteries, detective Stories, and suspense thrillers described and rated for aficionados”. Arranged by author.
  • Encyclopedia Mysteriosa by William L. DeAndrea, (Prentice Hall, 1994), good one for browsing.
  • Mystery! “A Celebration” by Ron Miller, Karen Sharpe. 1996. Celebration of the television program shown on PBS.
  • Agatha Christie A to Z by Dawn B. Sova, PhD. You want facts about Christie and her books, this is a good source.
  • Detective Fiction, the Collector’s Guide 2nd Edition by John Cooper and B. A. Pike (Scolar Press, 1994).
  • A Reader’s Guide to the Classic British Mystery by Susan Oleksiw (G.K. Hall & Co, 1988) A guide to titles in the genre.
  • Putting Dell on the Map, A History of the Dell Paperbacks by William H. Lyles (Greenwood Press 1983). Fascinating, if you’re a fan.
  • The Cadfael Companion The World of Brother Cadfael by Robin Whiteman, Mysterious Press, 1991. (identified as the “fully revised and updated” edition). I’ve read all of the Cadfael novels, and love them. This book is more about the world he would be living in than the books themselves. Fascinating.
Posted in Books & Reading, Shelf Shots | 18 Comments

FFB: The Groote Park Murder by Freeman Wills Crofts

The Groote Park Murder by Freeman Wills Crofts, First published: UK, Collins, 1923, my edition 2018 trade paper.

The Blurb:
“From a murder in South Africa to the tracking down of a master criminal in northern Scotland, this is a true classic of Golden Age detective fiction by one of its most accomplished champions.

When a signalman discovers a mutilated body inside a railway tunnel near Groote Park, it seems to be a straightforward case of a man struck by a passing train. But Inspector Vandam of the Middeldorp police isn’t satisfied that Albert Smith’s death was accidental, and he sets out to prove foul play in a baffling mystery which crosses continents from deepest South Africa to the wilds of northern Scotland, where an almost identical crime appears to have been perpetrated.

The Groote Park Murder was the last of Freeman Wills Crofts’ standalone crime novels, foreshadowing his iconic Inspector French series and helping to cement his reputation (according to his publishers) as ‘the greatest and most popular detective writer in the world’. Like The Cask, The Ponson Case and The Pit-Prop Syndicate before it, here were a delightfully ingenious plot, impeccable handling of detail, and an overwhelming surprise ‘curtain’ from a masterful crime writer on the cusp of global success.”
– Harper/Collins website

My Take:
While I had read very little Crofts in the past, I was eager to try this one, which has been highly praised in review after review.

I’m glad I read it, and I enjoyed it, but at times it felt plodding and is very much a product of it’s time. The clever plot is split between the murder and discovery in South Africa and the investigation and final arrest in Scotland.

I enjoyed this split of locations, and though I’m not familiar with either, I just accept that when a character goes from point A to point B it makes sense and the reliance on railway schedules and driving times makes sense.

The top cover is the one I have, the bottom Crime Club one depicts the penultimate scene in the book.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Mystery | 9 Comments

Shelf Shot 9

Especially in these times, I enjoy poetry. I get enjoyment, inspiration and lots to think about, as well as the pleasure of rereading favorites. I have several shelves of poetry, here is one.

The Dylan has the lyrics to almost all of his songs, many of which I consider poetry. Doris Peel was a favorite poet of my mother’s and this slim volume has some nice things in it. Then we come to Poe. I’ve had this Modern Library edition since I was in high school, and it’s still the only one I have or need. I’ve read it more than once, but mostly I just dip in here and there.

I bought the Carl Sandberg collections when I was visiting his home in Flat Rock, North Carolina. I’ve enjoyed his poetry since I first read it in high school. Next is Robert Service. I bought it for the few poems I liked at the time, and have gone on to read a lot of others, but I am by no means near reading the entire collection.

William Edgar Stafford was an American poet and pacifist. He was the father of poet and essayist Kim Stafford. He was appointed the twentieth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1970. He lived his last years in Lake Oswego, OR.

Everyone is doubtless familiar with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the poems of Longfellow, the next two volumes. Perhaps less familiar is Frederick Louis MacNeice, an Irish poet and playwright from Northern Ireland, and a member of the Auden Group. I take this book in hand when I want something thought-provoking.

The rest, well, that’s what Google is for. Do you read poetry?

Posted in Books & Reading, Poetry, Shelf Shots | 25 Comments

Some Pongo

Until I get a book post together, here’s some more Pongo, in sleeping and drowsing mode. Click to scroll through.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 5 Comments

Glassless Week

Both I and Barbara recently had our annual eye exams, and we both need new lenses. The eye place just called that our lenses are ready, but we have to take our glasses to them so the lenses can be cut to fit. We dropped them off late Monday afternoon, but they won’t be ready until sometime Friday, so we have a week without glasses.

While my distance vision is very good and requires very little correction, I need my glasses to read. Even on the iPad reading an ebook, I have to make the print size very large and it’s uncomfortable for me. Barbara’s in the same boat.

So for the rest of the week, it’s look out the window, nap, watch TV. Joy.

Posted in Books & Reading | 11 Comments