Monday, February 20, 2012

Blogging Around: Bookish Things

The Psalms of David
Reviewed by Joseph at Zombie Parent's Guide.
This particular edition of the Psalms is the King James Version with illustrations by James Freemantle. Freemantle was a British soldier who traveled all over the Middle East. During his second marriage, he began to transcribe the Psalms and illustrate the book for his wife Clara. He included much of the flora and fauna of the Middle East, practically on every page of the book. It took over thirty years to complete and he died the year he finished it. His son decided many years later to publish his father's work in facsimile edition.
Joseph includes some scanned pages and I now am fascinated by this book. Must. find. copy.

The Spirit of Catholicism
Reviewed by Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester.
It was one of those books I was tempted to highlight every page. If I hadn’t read the ebook version I could have saved myself time by just dipping the book in highlighter yellow.
Been there. Wished I could have done that.

The January Dancer
Reviewed by Will Duquette at The View From The Foothills.
There are a number of authors best known for writing fiction whose non-fiction I generally prefer. Mark Twain is first among them; I’m afraid I’d much rather read Life on the Missippi than Huckleberry Finn. And as it happens, Mike Flynn is another. In the Country of the Blind left me cold; there’s much to like about Eifelheim, but I don’t love it the way many people seem to; but what I really enjoy are his blog posts, which are intelligent, witty, and informative. In fact, I enjoy his blog so much that I truly feel a little bad about not enjoying his books more. It’s like admiring Richard Feynman for his bongo playing.
Luckily, he does enjoy this book quite a lot.

The Kindle Meme
Memes used to be all the rage but now they are few and far between. So it was nice to see The Curt Jester had one posted and even nicer to be called a fellow book addict and tagged.
So, here are the rules. You post the rules and a link back to the person who tagged you. You also tell them that they’ve been tagged on their own blog, rather than just hoping they’ll discover it for themselves. Then you decide what three books are essential reading for anyone with a Kindle. Reasons would be good, but not essential. Then you tag five people.
My problem is that I am finding myself more and more using the Kindle for reading samples from Amazon to be sure I am interested in troubling the library staff to send it to my branch, or reading review books that publishers won't provide in physical form, new book giveaways, or very old books from Project Gutenberg that I can't get any other way although you can often find these books provided free via Amazon.

I find I really prefer actual books. However, I have discovered many old, forgotten books which I truly love but never would have found if not for browsing Amazon via my Kindle during lazy weekend afternoons. I do truly love the Kindle for that purpose.

Therefore, you can see that my "essential" books are going to be old but not necessarily thought of as classics, since that is what Gutenberg is populated with.

  1. Jack O' Judgment by Edgar Wallace: a rip-roaring thriller with masked vigilante Jack O' Judgment as the nemesis of the notorious Boundary Gang. I was kept guessing until the end as to Jack's identity by the simple means of misleading me very effectively so that I thought I knew who it was all along. Twists and turns and delightful over-the-top villains who one longs to see Jack bring down in sensational style.
  2. Through the Wall by Cleveland Moffett: A noted detective is getting ready to go to Brazil for an important job. He drops by Notre Dame where a young woman he never met says a few sentences to him that leave him pale and canceling his trip. A young woman, deeply in love, spurns her lover's marriage proposal because she loves him too much. A international celebrity is found mysteriously killed in a variation of the locked room mystery. All these events are connected and are set in 1909 Paris, where the atmosphere is romantic and mysterious and the art of detective investigation is very much to the fore in the story.  It is a locked room mystery, which I normally do not like, but the way the author slowly uncovers layers truth behind the mysterious situations is already very apparent. It has the effect of a book of one cliff-hanger after another and a splendid plot.
  3. The Essential Works of Norbert Davis which I actually spent .99 on in order to get all the Doan and Carstairs mysteries. These are a great combination of hard-boiled and humorous, which may be typified by the fact that Doan is the toughest private detective around but is short, round, and mild-looking while Carstairs is his Great Dane who is a character in his own right (but without talking or any other goofy attributes ... and he's hard-boiled in his own way).
Bonus books (which Hannah has found for free on her Kindle):
  • The Count's Millions by Emile Gaboriau
  • Baron Trigault's Vengeance (the second part of The Count's Millions)
I am not sure who else I know who has a Kindle, other than Scott Danielson who just informed me he is so into digital books that he's discarding his actual copies as fast as he can. So I'll tag Scott.

Anyone else? Just jump on this one.


  1. Hi-I have found several copies of Freemantle's Psalms of David on Amazon as used books. Very affordable and people I have given them to have loved them also. Regards-Bill

  2. I find I like real books too, but there's a place for the Kindle. Shorter books seem to work better than longer. Books that catalogue things seem to work well, such a book of Catholic prayers. It's nice having that handy, especially if it has a good table of contents for easy navigation. I also like having a library in my brief case where I can pull out any of a number of books to read on the fly.