Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10 Books A Day: #68

Surprised By Joy: The Shape Of My Early Life...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace

C. S. Lewis: A Biography...A. N. Wilson...Fawcett

The Narnian: The Life And Imagination Of C. S. Lewis...Alan Jacobs...Harper SanFrancicsco

Jack: C. S. Lewis And His Times...George Sayer...Harper & Row

C. S. Lewis: A Life...Michael White...Carroll & Graf

C. S. Lewis A Biography, Revised Edition...Roger Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper...Harcourt Brace And Company

Clives Staples Lewis: A Dramatic Life...William Griffin...Harper & Row

The Magic Never Ends: The Life And Work Of C. S. Lewis...John Ryan Duncan...W Publishing Group

C. S. Lewis: Images Of His World...Douglas Gilbert & Clyde S. Kilby...Eerdmans

C. S. Lewis: Through The Shadowlands...Brian Sibley...Ravell

C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer & Mentor...Lionel Adey...Eerdmans

A slew of biographical works on Lewis, beginning with his "spiritual memoir." The Green and Hooper book is the authorized biography; the Wilson book is the most readable but some of its facts have been questioned; the Alan Jacobs book is nicely balanced, as is the Michael White. Jacobs come from a more religious angle and White from a more worldly one. The Magic Never Ends and Images Of His World are chock full of pictures of the people, places and things he knew. It's odd, but when you read one biography of someone, you get the impression that you know them pretty well, but read several and the person described becomes more enigmatic as you try to figure out whose take is correct.

Book Count: 869.

Monday, June 29, 2009

10 Books A Day: #67

The Discarded Image: An Introduction To Medieval And Renaissance Literature...C. S. Lewis...Canto

Studies In Medieval And Renaissance Literature...C. S. Lewis...Canto

Studies In Words...C. S. Lewis...Canto

The Allegory Of Love...C. S. Lewis...A Galaxy Book/Oxford University Press

A Preface To Paradise Lost...C. S. Lewis...Oxford University Press

On Stories, And Other Essays On Literature...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace

An Experiment In Criticism...C. S. Lewis...Cambridge University Press

English Literature In The Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama...C. S. Lewis...Oxford At The Clarendon Press

C. S. Lewis: A Companion And Guide...Walter Hooper...HarperCollins

The Quotable Lewis...ed. Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root...Tyndale

The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia...Colin Duriez...Azure

The Joyful Christian: 127 Readings...C. S. Lewis, selected from his works...Collier

Around The Year With C. S. Lewis And His Friends...Compiled by Kathryn Lindskoog...C. R. Gibson

George MacDonald: 365 Readings...Edited With A Preface By C. S. Lewis...Collier

The first eight books are literary criticism by Lewis; the Hooper and Duriez books are encyclopedic guides to his life and work, the Hooper being more complete and in depth; the other four are compilations of quotes and "readings." The Lindskoog volume is a "book of days," basically a calendar with daily quotes and "happened this day" entries, with space for personal journal entries, bound in book form.

Although all the books are good, the gem in today's list is The Discarded Image. It has the honor to be the last work of C. S. Lewis that was prepared for publication by his own hand; it is the ordering and editing of a series of influential lectures he worked on during his entire career at Oxford and Cambridge. It is a straightforward and imaginative look at the Model of the Universe as constructed by the Medieval mind, and serves as a corrective to many modern misconceptions people have of the times. Perhaps the most stunning is the revelation that the idea of a geocentric universe, with the Earth at the center, did not argue for the Earth's importance, but for it's gross, lowly position, the furthest away from the perfections of the Empyrean.

Book Count: 858.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

10 Books A Day: #66

The Pilgrim's Regress...C. S. Lewis...Eerdmans

The Pilgrim's Regress...C. S. Lewis, ill. Michael Hague...Eerdmans

Spirits In Bondage...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt, Brace & Co.

Poems...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Narrative Poems...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace

Of Other Worlds: Essays And Stories...C. S. Lewis...A Harvest/HBJ Book

The Dark Tower And Other Stories...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Till We Have Faces...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Boxen: The Imaginary World Of The Young C. S. Lewis...ed. Walter Hooper...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Boxen: Childhood Chronicles Before Narnia...C. S. Lewis & W. H. Lewis...HarperCollins

The Screwtape Letters...C. S. Lewis...Macmillan Co.

God In The Dock: Essays On Theology And Ethics...C. S. Lewis...Eerdmans

The Four Loves...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace & Co.

Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Present Concerns...C. S. Lewis...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

The Inspirational Writings Of C. S. Lewis: Surprised By Joy/Reflections On The Psalms/The Four Loves/The Business Of Heaven...C. S. Lewis...Inspirational Press

The Pilgrim's Regress was the first book Lewis wrote after his reconversion. The paperback version has Lewis' own "mappa mundi" in it; the hardback features not only line illustrations and a cover painting by Michael Hague but a pictorial redrawing of the country through which the pilgrim John passes and then returns. Spirits In Bondage and Narrative Poems were produced before his reconversion, and Poems after; together these slim volumes comprise all of his published poetry. Between Of Other Worlds and The Dark Tower we have the meager collection of his short stories and some unpublished fragments, including his tale of the Trojan War and an adventure of his character Ransom between Out Of The Silent Planet and Perelandra.

The second edition of Boxen contains a few more stories and illustrations by Lewis and his brother; also credit is given to "Warnie" for his contributions to the childhood saga. The edition of The Screwtape Letters is an elderly one (1950, 18th Printing) and is the only place I've seen Lewis' own drawing of Screwtape reproduced. The omnibus volume is my only copy of Reflections on the Psalms.

Book Count: 844.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

10 Books A Day: #65

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

Prince Caspian...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

The Silver Chair...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

The Horse And His Boy...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

The Magician's Nephew...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

The Last Battle...C. S. Lewis...Collier Books

A Book Of Narnians...C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes...Harper Trophy

The Land Of Narnia...Brian Sibley...Harper & Row

Companion To Narnia...Paul F. Ford...Collier Books

Tales Before Narnia...ed. Douglas A. Anderson...Ballantine Books/Del Rey

The Secret Country Of C. S. Lewis...Anne Arnott...Eerdmans

The Magical Worlds Of Narnia...David Colbert...Berkley

Past Watchful Dragons...Walter Hooper...Wipf & Stock

The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures In Narnia...Laura Miller...Little, Brown

Now begins a healthy run of books by and about C. S. Lewis and his works. These are all related to the Narnia Chronicles. A Book of Narnians is made up of quotations from the books accompanied by new paintings by Pauline Baynes, fleshing out and adding to her original illustrations from the series. Companion to Narnia is a handy dandy little encyclopedia of all names and terms in and associated with the Chronicles. Tales Before Narnia is a collection of stories that influenced Lewis. The Magical Worlds Of Narnia is a rather slapdash "look behind" the Narnia stories; it's one of a series (along with ones about Harry Potter and Middle-Earth) that seem to have been produced to ride on the coat-tails of the movies' popularity. Walter Hooper's and Laura Miller's books seem to rather nicely balance each other out. What Hooper's reverence and theological insight might miss, Miller's literary and "skeptical" enthusiasm can supply. Laura Miller loves Narnia; what baffles her is how Narnia can have anything to do with a religion that she finds repugnant, how Lewis could sneak "past watchful dragons" in her own mind. She comes up with good arguments why anyone (not just Christians) can read and profitably enjoy the Chronicles, and it seems unlikely, once having taken this stance, that she will change it. But like Susan at the end of The Last Battle we can still hope for her future; after all, anyone who is a Friend of Narnia has something going for them.

Book Count: 828.

Friday, June 26, 2009

10 Books A Day: #64

The Inklings...Humphrey Carpenter...Houghton Mifflin Company

The Inklings Handbook...Colin Duriez and David Porter...Chalice Press

History In English Words...Owen Barfield...Lindisfarne Books

Saving The Appearances...Owen Barfield...Harcourt, Brace & World

A Barfield Reader...Owen Barfield...Wesleyan/New England

The Splendid Century...W. H. Lewis...Morrow Quill Paperbacks

A Severe Mercy...Sheldon Vanauken...Harper & Row

Under The Mercy...Sheldon Vanauken...Nelson

Christ The Lord: The Road To Cana...Anne Rice...Knopf

Called Out Of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession...Anne Rice...Knopf

Owen Barfield is one of the most obscure yet most important members of the Inklings. His theories of language had a deep influence on both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. The first Narnia book is dedicated to his step-daughter, Lucy. Barfield was one of the longest surviving members of the Inklings, passing away in 1997.

W. H. Lewis is of course CSL's brother Warnie, who published several informative and entertaining books on French history in his own right. Sheldon Vanauken was a student and correspondent of CSL, whose teachings and advice deeply affected his life. Anne Rice just kind of got sucked along in the wake of these books to make up ten.

Book Count: 813.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

10 Books A Day: #63

Lord Peter...Dorothy L. Sayers...Harper & Row

Lord Peter...Dorothy L. Sayers...Harper & Row

Three Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Novels: Whose Body?/Murder Must Advertise/Gaudy Night...Dorothy L. Sayers...Wings Books

Lord Peter Takes The Case: Clouds Of Witnesses/Unnatural Death/The Five Red Herrings/The Unpleasantness At The Bellons Club...Dorothy L. Sayers...Book Of The Month Club

The Man Born To Be King...Dorothy L. Sayers...Ignatius

The Mind Of The Maker...Dorothy L. Sayers...Harper & Row

The Days Of Christ's Coming...Dorothy L. Sayers...Harper & Brothers

The Whimsical Christian...Dorothy L. Sayers...Collier

The Letters Of Dorothy L. Sayers 1899 To 1936: The Making Of A Detective Novelist...ed. Barbara Reynolds...St. Martin's Press

The Letters Of Dorothy L. Sayers 1937 To 1943: From Novelist To Playwright...ed. Barbara Reynolds...St. Martin's Press

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life And Soul...Barbara Reynolds...St. Martin's Press

The Wimsey Family...C. W. Scott-Giles...Avon

I have two copies of Lord Peter, which is the collected short stories featuring Sayers' aristocratic sleuth, Lord Peter. One is in much better shape and was much cheaper. Barbara Reynolds was Sayers' good friend who completed her translation of The Divine Comedy.

Book Count: 803.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 Books A Day: #62

Shadows Of Ecstasy...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

Descent Into Hell...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

Many Dimensions...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

War In Heaven...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

The Greater Trumps...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

The Place Of The Lion...Charles Williams...Eerdman's

All Hallows Eve...Charles Williams...The Noonday Press

The Descent Of The Dove...Charles Williams...Regent College Publishing

He Came Down From Heaven...Charles Williams...Apocryphile Press

Witchcraft...Charles Williams...Apocryphile Press

Collected Plays...Charles Williams...Regent College Publishing

Taliessin Through Logres/The Region Of The Summer Stars/Arthurian Torso...Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis...Eerdman's

Book Count: 791.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

10 Books A Day: #61

The Ordering Of Love: The New And Collected Poems...Madeleine L'Engle...Shaw

Glimpses Of Grace: Daily Thoughts And Reflections...Madeleine L'Engle...HarperSanFrancisco

Trailing Clouds Of Glory: Spiritual Values In Children's Books...Madeleine L'Engle with Avery Brooke...Westminster Press

Walking On Water: Reflections On Faith And Art...Madeleine L'Engle...Shaw

Certain Women...Madeleine L'Engle...Harper Collins

A Circle Of Quiet: The Crosswicks Journal Book 1...Madeleine L'Engle...Harper & Row

The Summer Of The Great-Grandmother: The Crosswicks Journal Book 2...Madeleine L'Engle...Harper & Row

The Irrational Season: The Crosswicks Journal Book 3...Madeleine L'Engle...Harper & Row

Two-Part Invention: The Story Of A Marriage...Madeleine L'Engle...Farrar Straus Giroux

Diary Of An Old Soul...George MacDonald...Augsburg Publishing House

Belloc: A Biographical Anthology...Hilaire Belloc, ed. Herbert Van Thal...Knopf

Madeleine L'Engle was more than a writer of "juvenile fiction." She was a novelist, poet, author of spiritual biographies, and commentator on the relationship of faith with creativity. To read her books is to see the difference between a Christian who writes books and a Christian author; the one forces the religion down into the work, the other raises the craft up into the Christianity. In the works of a Christian author the religion ennobles and empowers the writing, and the writing mediates and illuminates the religion, to the glory of both, and Madeleine L'Engle was a true Christian author. I came to regard her as a sort of spiritual mother, a female voice in counterpoint and contrast to the dry, skeptical, technically enlightening Ursula K. LeGuin, and in her devotion to the craft of writing an inheritor of Dorothy L. Sayers.

One of my treasured possessions is now my copy of Glimpses of Grace. I bought it used, at Hastings, and was surprised when I got it home to find that it was inscribed "Much Grace. Madeleine L'Engle." Three days later, I found out she had passed away. It was one of those odd synchronous happenings, that some people call chance, and some little operations of God. A small wave good-bye, touching those words as close as ever I will ever come physically to one of my favorite writers.

Book Count: 779.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rankin/Bass Bilbo Design Inspiration

Arthur Rankin, Jr. always asserted that they looked to the work of Arthur Rackham for inspiration on the design of The Hobbit (1977), and here is the proof. Here in a detail from Rackham's early illustrations of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle we see the inspiration for their original design for Bilbo, with unmistakeable snub nose and buck teeth. The "little men" on either side of this proto-Baggins easily contain elements used in the Rankin/Bass conceptions of Thorin, Balin, and Gandalf as well. The design for Bilbo as actually animated was modified, making his features rounder and younger looking; this look for "THE" hobbit has descended on to Sierra Entertainment's The Hobbit video game, right down to his rusty red-brown hair.

10 Books A Day: #60

Boswell's Journal of A Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL. D....James Boswell...The Literary Guild, Inc.

Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763...James Boswell...McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc.

Boswell In Holland 1763-1764...James Boswell...William Heinemann Ltd.

The Journals of James Boswell 1762-1795...James Boswell, sel. John Wain...Yale University Press

The Life of Samuel Johnson...James Boswell...Wordsworth Editions

The Life of Samuel Johnson...James Boswell...Modern Library College Editions

Everybody's Boswell: Being the Life of Samuel Johnson abridged from James Boswell's complete text and from the "Tour of the Hebrides"...James Boswell, ill. Ernest H. Shepard...Wordsworth Editions

Samuel Johnson: A Journey To The Western Islands Of Scotland & James Boswell: The Journal Of A Tour To The Hebrides...Everyman's Library

Boswell's Presumptuous Task...Adam Sisman...Penguin

A Life Of James Boswell...Peter Martin...Phoenix Press

Book Count: 768.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

10 Books A Day: #59

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary: Selections From The 1755 Work That Defined The English Language...Samuel Johnson, ed. Jack Lynch...Levenger Press
Rasselas, Prince Of Abyssinia...Samuel Johnson...Oxford University Press
The Letters of Samuel Johnson Volume I: 1731-1772...Samuel Johnson, ed. Bruce Redford...Princeton University Press
The Letters of Samuel Johnson Volume II: 1773-1776...Samuel Johnson, ed. Bruce Redford...Princeton University Press
The Letters of Samuel Johnson Volume III: 1777-1781...Samuel Johnson, ed. Bruce Redford...Princeton University Press
Selected Prose and Poetry...Samuel Johnson, ed. Betrand H. Bronson...Rinehart & Co, Inc.
A Johnson Reader...Samuel Johnson, ed. E. L. McAdam, Jr. & George Milne...Pantheon Books
Anecdotes of Samuel Johnson...Hesther Lynch Piozzi...Pocket Classics
A Dr. Johnson Chronology...Norman Page...G. K. Hall & Co.
Dr. Johnson and Mr. Savage...Richard Holmes...Vintage International
Samuel Johnson...W. Jackson Bate...Harcourt Brace
Book Count: 758 .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

10 Books A Day: #58

The Portable Charles Lamb: Letters and Essays...Charles Lamb, ed. John Mason Brown...Viking Portable Library

Oliver Twist...Charles Dickens...Penguin

The Old Curiosity Shop...Charles Dickens...Penguin

The Pickwick Papers...Charles Dickens...Oxford World's Classics

A Collection of Essays...George Orwell...Doubleday Anchor Book

Rural Rides...William Cobbett...Penguin

I, Claudius...Robert Graves...Vintage

Claudius the God...Robert Graves...Vintage

Camelot and The Idylls of the King...Alan Jay Lerner, Alfred Lord Tennyson...Dell

The Basic Kafka...Franz Kafka...Pocket Books

The Waste Land and Other Poems...T. S. Eliot...Harvest Books

Four Quartets...T. S. Eliot...Harvest Books

Seven Pillars of Wisdom...T. E. Lawrence...Dell

"There was a time when reformers thought that if education were available to the masses, the masses would love it, and every humble cottage would be bursting at the seams with cheap reprints of the world's classics. In this supposition, as in many another, the reformers were somewhat optimistic. A real dictatorship of the proletariat--if such a thing existed--would quickly result in a bookless world." --Robertson Davies.

That is what these volumes--many dating from the '60's and '70's-- remind me of. A brief period when texts were escaping from hard-to-find and expensive editions and were more available in "cheap reprints," so that beatniks, poseur intelligentsia, and even humble seekers after wisdom could find them more readily at hand. Some of these editions are so sturdily made (particularly the Penguins) that they are still fine reading editions: I just whiled away time in my doctor's waiting room browsing through The Portable Charles Lamb (which is a Viking). I fear we are getting ever closer to Davies' "bookless world" and though I appreciate the availability of much on the internet, I don't particularly trust the slippery shiftiness of the media.

Book Count: 748.

Friday, June 19, 2009

10 Books A Day: #57

Peer Gynt...Henrik ibsen, tr. Michael Meyer...Doubleday Anchor

The Importance Of Being Earnest and Other Plays...Oscar Wilde...Signet Classic

De Profundis...Oscar Wilde...Avon

Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Other Writings...Thomas De Quincey...Signet Classic

Chaucer and His Contemporaries...ed. Helaine Newstead...Fawcett Premier

Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ...Friedrich Nietsche, tr. R. J. Hollingdale...Penguin

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire...Edward Gibbon, ed. Dero A. Saunders...Penguin

The Death of King Arthur...tr. James Cable...Penguin

Jonathan Wild...Henry Fielding...Signet Classic

Coleridge: Poems and Prose...Samuel Taylor Coleridge, sel. Kathleen Raine...Penguin Poetry Library

The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus...Christopher Marlowe...Pocket

Elizabethan Drama...ed. John Gassner...Bantam World Drama

I selected Peer Gynt to illustrate today's list because I couldn't resist the chance to show Leo McKern's beautiful mug, lit up by that delightfully impish mood. McKern was a great--I was about to say character actor, and while he was that, he was a great actor, period. I've never seen anything that he was in that he didn't elevate, and that includes Help! and The Omen. Demonic energy, wry humor, keen intelligence, rough tenderness...all these make him the perfect actor to interpret Peer among the trolls. This book was published in 1963, which makes it and me exact contemporaries.

Translated, edited, selected...many of these books had to be heavily vetted before being ready for common consumption. The Chaucer book is made up of scholarly literary essays; the Gibbon book is a distillation of the original many-volumed work; the Arthur book was in Latin, and it is not Malory's famous work; the Marlowe book is supplied with copious footnotes and contemporaneous illustrations; Elizabethan Drama is a great collection of non-Shakespearean plays, including The Spanish Tragedy and Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay.

Book Count: 735.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

10 Books A Day: #56

The Castle Of Otranto...Horace Walpole...Collier

Selected Poetry and Prose of Blake...William Blake, ed. Northrop Frye...Modern Library College Editions

The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings...Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...Signet Classic

The Pilgrim's Progress...John Bunyan...Spirit Books

The Hazlitt Sampler....William Hazlitt, ed. Herschel M. Sikes...Premier Sampler

The Portable Milton...John Milton, ed. Douglas Bush...Viking Portable Library

Cyrano de Bergerac...Edmond Rostand...Bantam Classics

Goethe's Faust...Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, tr. Walter Kaufman...Doubleday Anchor book

Utopia...Thomas More...Penguin Classics

Candid, Zadig, and selected stories...Voltaire, tr. Donald M. Frame...Signet Classic

The Hunchback of Notre Dame...Victor Hugo, tr. Walter J. Cobb...Signet Classic

The Adventures of a Simpleton...H. J. C. von Himmelshausen...Frederick Ungar Publishing Co.

Beginning a short run of paperback classics today; of this bunch I haven't read Otranto, Werther, or Simpleton yet. A lot of books (especially if they're cheap, or rare, or in my area of general interest, or all three) that I think I might want to read someday I buy and put away, like a man putting away a cellar of wine. One day when it or I am ready I may read it. Until then they are safely in reach.

Book Count: 723.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Books A Day: #55

The Enchanted World...Time Life Books


Giants And Ogres

Legends Of Valor

Fairies And Elves

Spells And Bindings

Magical Justice

The Book Of Christmas

Wizards And Witches

The Book Of Beginnings

Night Creatures

The Secret Arts

Water Spirits

Magical Beasts


Seekers And Saviors


Fabled Lands

The Fall Of Camelot

Tales Of Terror

Who else remembers Vincent Price flogging this series by Time Life Books back in the 80's? These are good books, full of classic and new art, but readers should be aware they are full of embellishment and sometimes modern "spin," and not to be taken as scholarly or encyclopedic, like the classic "Man, Myth, and Magic". Financial situations made me have to quit the series before I could get all the books; I'm not sure which are missing.

Book Count: 711.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Conan the Chestertonian?

I was flipping through The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard (partially in anticipation of the Solomon Kane movie due out in October) when I noticed something that had never caught my attention before. Heading some of the sections of the longish story Moon of Skulls were verses quoted from G. K. Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse. I was astounded. If there were any two authors I would never have linked together, it would be these
two; I mean, Chesterton would have probably enjoyed Howard's adventure tales, but that the two-fisted Texan should have appreciated the jolly journalist is rather unexpected. But when you compare the two's poetry, you can see how Howard and Chesterton both utilize strong rhythms, alliteration, and gorgeous imagery. The appendices of the book includes "A Short Biography of Robert E. Howard", by Rusty Burke, where I learned more on the connection.
After quoting a letter of REH's to H. P. Lovecraft where Howard includes GKC on the list of poets he reads, Burke goes on to say:
"The same weekend he met Harold Preece in Austin, Howard had bought a copy of G. K. Chesterton's book-length epic poem, The Ballad of the White Horse, which brings together Celts, Romanized Britons, and Anglo-Saxons under King Alfred in a battle of Christians against the heathen Danish and Norse invaders of the 9th century. Howard enthusiastically praised the poem in a letter to Clyde Smith, sharing lengthy passages. It apparently inspired him to begin work on 'The Ballad of King Geraint,' in which he brings together representatives of various Celtic peoples of early Britain in a valiant 'last stand' against the invading Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Chesterton's idea of 'telescoping history,' that 'it is the chief value of legend to mix up the centuries while preserving the sentiment.' must have appealed to Howard greatly, for this is precisely what he did in many of his fantasy adventures, particularly in the creation of Conan's Hyborian Age, in which we find many different historical eras and cultures, from medieval Europe (Aquilonia and Poitan) to the American frontier (the Pictish Wilderness and its borderlands), from Cossacks (the Kozaki) to Elizabethan pirates (the Free Brotherhood). Howard 'mix(ed) up the centuries while preserving the sentiment'; this 'telescoping' allowed him to portray what he saw as universal elements of human nature and historical patterns, as well as giving him virtually all of human history for a playground.'
To read the rest of Burke's entertaining and informative biography online, go to http://www.rehupa.com/short_bio.htm .

10 Books A Day: #54

Amphigorey...Edward Gorey...Paragon

Amphigorey Too...Edward Gorey...Paragon

Amphigorey Also...Edward Gorey...Harcourt Brace & Company

Amphigorey Again...Edward Gorey...Harcourt Books

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe The Official Illustrated Movie Companion...Perry Moore...HarperSanFrancisco

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian The Official Illustrated Movie Companion...Ernie Malik...Harper One

In The Suicide Mountains...John Gardner...Knopf

James And The Giant Peach...Roald Dahl...Knopf

The Runes Of Elfland...Brian Froud & Ari Berk...Abrams

Arthur Rackham's Book Of Pictures...Intro. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch...Avenel

Vidal In Venice...Gore Vidal...Summit Books

New Larousse Encyclopedia Of Mythology...Intro by Robert Graves...Hamlyn

Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction...ed. Robert Holdstock...Octopus

The Dictionary Of Imaginary Places, Expanded Edition...Alberto Manguel & Gianni Guadalupi...Harcourt Brace

The Analects Of Confucius...Tr. Lionel Giles...The Easton Press

The World's Great Religions, Vols. I, II, III...by the Editors of Life

The Reader's Digest Book Of Christmas...The Reader's Digest Association

Star Trek Chronology: The History Of The Future...Michael & Denise Okuda...Pocket Books

The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide To The Future, Updated And Expanded Edition...Michael & Denise Okuda...Pocket Books

Leonardo: The Masters Collection...Text by Elizabeth Elias Kaufman...Castle Books

The Wizard Of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History...John Fricke, Jay Scarfone, William Stillman...Warner Books

Not the book of The Wizard of Oz, but the movie this time.

Book Count: 692.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ducks Galore: Daily Book Supplement

Walt Disney Donald Duck And His Nephews...Foreword by Carl Barks...Abbeville Press
Walt Disney Uncle Scrooge...Foreword by Carl Barks...Abbeville Press
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life And Times...Written & Drawn by Carl Barks...Celestial Arts
These are hefty compilation volumes featuring the Disney Ducks. The first two are by many artists and writers through the decades; the third volume is exclusively by the great Carl Barks. I posted these pics to make a comparison. The first is from an old Gold Key Digest; you can see the subtle and delicate colors possible on newsprint, but there is a certain amount of color bleed and offset from the line. The second is from Donald Duck and His Nephews, which was recolored on a computer program; accurate, yes, but flat and much less subtle. Nice, but no wabi-sabi.
Book Count: 669.

10 Books A Day: #53

The Leprechaun's Kingdom...Peter Haining...Harmony Books

American Folklore And Legend...The Reader's Digest Association, Inc....Reader's Digest

Wizards: A Magical History Tour...Tim Dedopulos...Carlton Books

Wizardology: A Guide To Wizards Of The World...Douglas Steer & A. J. Wood...Candlewick Press

The Silver Trumpet...Owen Barfield...Bookmakers Guild, Inc.

Ghost Stories...ill. Walt Sturrock...Unicorn

Conan: The Ultimate Guide To The World's Most Savage Barbarian...Roy Thomas...DK Publishing

Tomart's Encyclopedia & Price Guide To Action Figure Collectibles Volumes I, II, & III...Bill Sikora & T. N. Tumbusch...Tomart Publications

The Peter Haining book is a great collection of line drawings and gray-tone pictures from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries...The line drawing artist for the Wizardology book (a tie-in to the popular game) does the best job I've ever seen of reproducing the style of the old Andrew Lang and Joseph Jacobs fairy tale collections illustrations by a modern artist...Owen Barfield was a friend of C. S. Lewis; I'm finding it hard to get into this book, though, because I hate the typeface, a sort of art nouveau that I associate with cheesy 1970's productions--shallow, I know...Ghost Stories is another Unicorn book, comprised of tales all in the public domain, but Sturrock is far from a Hildebrandt when it comes to an artist...The Tomart guides are great in that they include pictures of most of the action figures they list.

Book Count: 666.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

10 Books A Day: #52

The Secret Language Of Birthdays...Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers...Viking Studio Books

Fantasy Of The 20th Century: An Illustrated History...Randy Broeker...Collectors Press

The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Fantasy...ed. David Pringle...Overlook

The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction...ed. David Pringle...Overlook

The Faces Of Fantasy...Photographs by Patti Perret...Tor

Horror: A Connoisseur's Guide To Literature And Film...Leonard Wolf...Facts On File

Terror!: A History Of Horror Illustrations From The Pulp Magazines...Peter Haining...A&W Visual Library

Alice In Wonderland...Lewis Carroll, ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn

The Art Of The Brothers Hildebrandt...Ian Summers...Ballantine Books

The Making Of The Dark Crystal...Christopher Finch...An Owl Book

The World Of The Dark Crystal...Brian Froud...Alfred A. Knopf

Book Count: 656.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

10 Books A Day: #51

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes...Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ann. William S. Baring-Gould...Wings Books

The Annotated Christmas Carol...Charles Dickens, Ann. Michael Patrick Hearn...Avenel Books

The Annotated Dracula...Bram Stoker, Ann. Leonard wolf...Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.

The Annotated Frankenstein...Mary Shelley, Ann. Leonard Wolf...Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.

The Annotated Ancient Mariner...Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ann. Martin Gardner...Bramhall House

The Annotated Mother Goose...Ann. William S. Baring Gould & Cecil Baring-Gould...Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.

Lewis Carroll's The Hunting Of The Snark: A Centennial Edition...Ann. Martin Gardner...William Kaufman, Inc.

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition...Lewis Carroll, Ann. Martin Gardner...Norton

The Annotated Huckleberry Finn...Mark Twain, Ann. Michael Patrick Hearn...Norton

The Annotated Brothers Grimm...Ed. & Ann. Maria Tatar...Norton

The Annotated Wizard Of Oz, Centennial Edition...L. Frank Baum, Ann. Michael Patrick Hearn...Norton

I love a good annotated edition. I remember the first one I ever read, which was Dracula, in high school. I had always found the book somewhat impenetrable before, but Leonard Wolf's kindly guidance, insight, and illustrations for unfamiliar objects opened the door and made me an avid proponent for Stoker ever since.

This is the beauty and necessity of annotations. Many classic works, and certainly most listed here, are over a hundred years old, and phrases and objects that were everyday commonplaces at the time have become covered in puzzling obscurity. Annotations discreetly answer your questions right on the page where they arise, and allow you to follow the prose with as little difficulty as possible.

I wonder how many "up-to-date" modern novels will still be read a hundred years from now, and what will have to be explained to future readers.

The last four volumes listed are particularly beautiful books, with gilded covers and full reproductions of all original illustrations. The Brothers Grimm has picture from all the greatests illustrators who have tackled the tales, from Arthur Rackham to Walter Crane to George Cruikshank. And of course, another edition of The Wizard Of Oz.

Book Count: 645.

Friday, June 12, 2009

10 Books A Day: #50

Walt Disney's Story Land...The Walt Disney Studio...Golden Press

Walt Disney's Fantasyland...The Walt Disney Studio...Golden Press

Walt Disney's World's Of Nature...The Walt Disney Studio...Golden Press

Walt Disney's America...The Walt Disney Studio...Golden Press

Walt Disney's Stories From Other Lands...The Walt Disney Studio...Golden Press

The Wind In The Willows...Kenneth Grahame, ill. Michael Hague...Holt Rinehart Winston

The Wizard Of Oz...L. Frank Baum, ill. Michael Hague...Holt Rinehart Winston

The Reluctant Dragon...Kenneth Grahame, ill. Michael Hague...Henry Holt

Old Mother West Wind...Thornton Burgess, ill. Michael Hague...Henry Holt

The Goblins Of Labyrinth...Brian Froud & Terry Jones...Henry Holt

Faeries...Brian Froud & Alan Lee...Abrams

Faeries: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition...Brian Froud & Alan Lee...Abrams

This edition of Walt Disney's Story Land was one of the seminal books in our family when we were all a wee litter. An omnibus volume, culled from the next four volumes in this list, as they were compounded of Golden story books before them. This is a newish copy of the old edition: there are newer editions, post-Little Mermaid.

More fine illustrated editions of classic children's books, this time by Michael Hague. Yet another copy of The Wizard Of Oz, and not the last one. Faeries was in the first batch of books I ever got from Science Fiction Book Club; this was years before the spelling "faeries" was co-opted by fantasists trying to be slick and hip. Alan Lee went on to become one of the principle conceptual artists for The Lord Of The Rings movies.

Book Count: 634.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

10 Books A Day: #49

From Tolkien To Oz: The Art Of Greg Hildebrandt...William Maguire...Unicorn Publishing House

A Christmas Treasury...Ill. By Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

The Wizard Of Oz...L. Frank Baum, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Davy And The Goblin...Charles E. Carryl, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Pinocchio...Carlos Collodi, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Dracula...Bram Stoker, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Peter Pan...J. M. Barrie, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Poe...Edgar Allan Poe, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Robin Hood...J. Walker McSpadden, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

Phantom Of The Opera...Gaston Leroux, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Unicorn Publishing House

A Christmas Carol...Charles Dickens, Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Little, Brown

Greg Hildebrandt's Favorite Fairy Tales...Ed. & Ill. Greg Hildebrandt...Little, Brown

All gorgeous illustrated volumes, harking back to a classic time of children's books. Each has an "enamelled" inset painting and gold leaf lettering on the cover. The above picture is Greg's conception of the Wicked Witch of the West!

Book Count:622.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 Books A Day: #48

Good Omens...Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett...Berkley

The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy...Terry Pratchett...SFBC

The Bromeliad Trilogy...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

The Colour Of Magic...Terry Pratchett...St. Martin's Press

The Light Fantastic...Terry Pratchett...Colin Smythe Gerrards Cross

Hogfather...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

Thud!...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

Going Postal...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

Making Money...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

The Wee Free Men...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

A Hat Full Of Sky...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

Wintersmith...Terry Pratchett...Harper Tempest

Nation...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

Nanny Ogg's Cookbook...Terry Pratchett, et. al...Corgi Books

Where's My Cow?...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

The Wit And Wisdom Of Discworld...Terry Pratchett, Compiled by Stephen Briggs...Harper Collins

The Last Hero...Terry Pratchett...Harper Collins

The Art Of Discworld...Terry Pratchett & Paul Kidby

The Josh Kirby Discworld Portfolio...Josh Kirby...Paper Tiger

Secrets Of The Wee Free Men and Discworld...Carrie Pyykkonen & Linda Washington...St. Martin's Griffin

I first read Terry Pratchett completely by accident. It was the mid-80's, and I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club. The Club will send you the two featured selections each month, if you do not send them a form cancelling them. Often through scatter-brainedness, laziness, or just plain being unable to get hold of a stamp I would miss the deadline, and get a couple of unasked for volumes. Well, I would try them out, and if I liked them, okay, and if not, I would sell them or pass them on to people who did want them. Terry Pratchett was one of my fortuitous finds, and getting The Colour Of Magic was one of the few times my disorganization actually worked in my favor. I've got many more Pratchett books in paperback, but since the hardback editions have become more available I always get them now, because I know I'll want them in more durable form and because I can't wait to read them.

Good Omens also qualifies as the first Neil Gaiman work (or at least co-production) I ever read. He does play well with others; you can see in yesterday's list how often he collaborates with other creators, whether novelists, screenplay authors, or graphic artists, although I think as far as writing goes this has seldom been so successful as in this book.

Although I think Paul Kidby is the best illustrator of Discworld, Josh Kirby is a sort of sentimental favorite; his ornate book covers were the first illustrations I ever saw of Discworld before Darrell K. Sweet took over. The Bromeliad Trilogy, Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, and Nation are all non-Discworld books, and I think go to prove that Pratchett would be an author to seek out even if he had never created the flat world on a turtle's back.

As for Secrets of the Wee Free Men...it's a load of old rubbish designed to piggyback off the popularity of the books; it is neither accurate, nor pertinent, nor as funny as it seems to think it is. Avoid it if you can. The best I can say about it is it is the sort of fascinating train wreck I take perverse horror in perusing, squealing with outrage or groaning in distress, thinking with pity that some poor inexperienced enthusiast might get hold of this and take it as gospel.

Book Count: 610.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

10 Books A Day: #47

The Absolute Sandman Vol. I...Neil Gaiman...Vertigo

The Absolute Sandman Vol. II...Neil Gaiman...Vertigo

The Absolute Sandman Vol. III...Neil Gaiman...Vertigo

The Absolute Sandman Vol. IV...Neil Gaiman...Vertigo

The Sandman: Endless Nights...Neil Gaiman...Vertigo

American Gods...Neil Gaiman...Harper Perennial

Anansi Boys...Neil Gaiman...William Morow

Fragile Things...Neil Gaiman...William Morrow

Coraline...Neil Gaiman...Bloomsbury

The Graveyard Book...Neil Gaiman...Harper Collins

Interworld...Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves...Eos/Harper Collins

Mirrormask...Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean...Harper Collins

Beowulf: The Script Book...Neil Gaiman & Roger Avery...Harper

The Sandman: Book Of Dreams...Ed. Neil Gaiman & Ed Kramer...Harper Prism

The Sandman Companion...Hy Bender...Vetigo/ DC Comics

The Neil Gaiman Reader...ed. Darrell Schweitzer...Wildside Press

The Sandman: King Of Dreams...Alisa Kwitney...Chronicle Books

Book Count: 590.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

10 Books A Day: #46

By Walt Kelly, Edited by Mrs. Walt Kelly & Bill Crouch, Jr...Fireside Books:

The Best of Pogo
Pogo Even Better
Outrageously Pogo
Pluperfectly Pogo
Phi Beta Pogo
Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo

By Charles Schulz:

Peanuts Treasury...Holt Rhinehart Winston
Peanuts Classics...Holt Rhinehart Winston
The Snoopy Festival...Holt Rhinehart Winston
Peanuts: A Golden Celebration...Harper Collins

By Berke Breathed...Little, Brown

Bloom County "Loose Tails"
'Toons For Our Time
Penguin Dreams And Stranger Things
Billy And The Boingers Bootleg
Tales Too Ticklish To Tell
The Night Of The Mary Kay Commandos
Happy Trails
Bloom County Babylon
Politically, Fashionably, And Aerodynamically Incorrect
His Kisses Are Dreamy...But Those Hairballs Down My Cleavage...!
One Last Little Peek

By Bill Watterson...Andrews & McMeel

Calvin And Hobbes
Something Under The Bed Is Drooling
Yukon Ho!
Weirdos From Another Planet
The Revenge Of The Baby-Sat

Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
The Days Are Just Packed
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat
There's Treasure Everywhere
It's A Magical World

Book Count: 573.

I have enough titles here to cover three days, and I may just take a break to work on my essay post. There is so much great artwork, humor, and gentle wisdom packed in these books (as well as whimsy and weirdness) that there is no way I can say enough about them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

10 Books A Day: #45

Is Nothing Sacred?...Gahan Wilson...St. Martin's/Marek

"...and then we'll get him!"...Gahan Wilson...Marek

The Encyclopedia of Fictional People...Compiled by Seth Grodin...Boulevard Books

The Updated Official Encyclopedia Disney A-Z...Dave Smith...Hyperion

Draw Manga: Complete Techniques...Elvin and Felder...Kandour Ltd.

Where The Wild Things Are...Maurice Sendak...Harper Trophy

Saint George and the Dragon...Margaret Hodges...Little, Brown and Company

The Troll Book...Michael Berenstain...Random House

The Sorcerer's Scrapbook...Michael Berenstain...Random House

The Charles Addams Mother Goose...Charles Addams...Simon and Schuster

No real theme to today's group of books, most of them are on the same shelf because of their size. Carrying over from yesterday, we have more Gahan Wilson and pop culture encyclopedias, and then a batch of kid's books notable for their great artwork.

Book Count: 541.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

10 Books A Day: #44

Cereal Boxes And Prizes: 1960...Scott Bruce...Flake World Publishing

The Encyclopedia Of Animated Cartoons...Jeff Lenburg...Checkmark Books

The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present...Tim Brooks, Earl Marsh...Ballantine Books

RetroHell: Life in the 70's and 80's, from Afros to Zotz...The Editors of "Ben Is Dead"...BackBay Books

Videohound's Complete Guide to Cult Picks and Trash Flicks...Video Ink Press

An Irreverent and Thoroughly Incomplete Social History of Almost Everything...Frank Muir...A Scarborough Book

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide...by the MST3K Writers and Performers...Bantam

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making Of A Tradition...Lee Mendelson...Harper Collins

"It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown": The Making Of A Television Classic...Lee Mendelson...Harper

Gahan Wilson's Monster Collection...Gahan Wilson...Barnes and Noble Books

Many good and weighty reference books here, sources of information impervious to power outages, service blackouts, and computer crashes, and oh, so simple compared to all that mucking about on search engines. Of course, their main drawback is they don't get automatically updated; the MST3K book only goes up to Season Six, and the "present" in the TV directory was 1979 (although there have been at least eight updated editions since; I'm thinking about getting the latest one of these days from ERHamilton). But they are all great browsing books, and great contributors to my pretensions of "know-it-all-itude."

Take a look at that box of Quisp. Would any cereal today have the balls to have a character with a gun (albeit a ray gun) on it and the claim that it is "sugary" as well?

The Frank Muir "Social History" is a lovely, curmudgeonly look at history that has to be read to be believed. If you want to know anything bad that anyone famous in history had to say about anything, from music to actors to food, this is the place to find it.

Book Count: 531.

Monday, June 1, 2009

10 Books A Day: #43

The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus All The Words Vol. I...Monty Python...Pantheon Books

The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus All The Words Vol. II...Monty Python...Pantheon Books

The Complete Ripping Yarns...Michael Palin & Terry Jones...Mandarin

Fawlty Towers: Fully Booked...Morris Bright & Robert Ross...Bay Books

Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty 1485-1917...Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, John Lloyd...Penguin

Are You Being Served?: The Inside Story...Adrian Rigelsford, Anthony Brown, Geoff Tibballs...KQED Books

The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family...ed. Ray Richmond...Harper Perennial

The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family...Continued...ed. Scott M. Gimple...Harper Perennial

The Simpsons Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family...Still Continued...ed. Jesse L. McCann...Harper Perennial

The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family...Continued Yet Again...ed. Jesse L. McCann...Harper Perennial

The Simpsons Guide To Springfield...Bill, Morrison, Scott M. Gimple, et al...Harper Perennial

The Monty Python, Ripping Yarns, and Blackadder books are all scripts of the shows; the Are You Being Served? and Fawlty Towers books are guides, tributes, and looks at. It must be about time for a new Simpsons guide; I should beat the bushes and see if I've fallen behind.

Book Count: 521.