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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Catch Up Time

Reading is frankly more fun than blogging. Plus, like most folks these days, I live a busy, often more than full life. Consequently, I've gotten really behind in blogging titles I've finished reading. Here as a stop-gap measure, is a list of books I've read, but not yet blogged. Whether I get around to blogging them more thoroughly at some future date remains to be seen.

A View from the Inland Northwest: Everyday Life in America by Stephen J. Lyons. Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press, 2004. ISBN: 0-7627-3052-8

A collection of personal essays centered in Eastern Washington and Idaho. Definitely recommended.

Pacific in My Soul: Reflections of a Coastal Native by Anne Chadwick. Fort Bragg, California: Cypress House, 2005. ISBN: 1-879384-61-2

A beautfully photographed picture book accompanied by brief written vignettes. Each pair of pages is devoted to a topic such as pelicans, elephant seals, wild azaleas, deer, egrets, waves, solitude, etc. Recommended.

Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove. New York: Del Ray/Ballantine Books, 2004. ISBN: 0-345-45723-4

The first in a new trilogy of Turtledove's "what if the South had won the Civil War?" series. See my entry on the previous volume for a complete listing of titles. This volume sees the beginning of WWII tank battles fought out on North American soil.

The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter Ackroyd. New York: Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, 2004. ISBN: 0-385-51121-3

This is only the third of this fairly prolific author's works that I have read, and one of the others I have yet to finish. Even based on just this small sampling, I can definitely sense a trend. English Music, which I wrote about back in October 2004, romps through a potpourri of English literature, from Alice in Wonderland and The Pilgrim's Progress, through Dickens, Defoe, Conan Doyle and many more. Here, Ackroyd confines himself to a single work, Chaucer's Canturbury Tales. But once again, we find classic English literature furnishing the inspiration, or perhaps, the skeleton at least, for an evocative tour-de-force of historical fiction—or is it fantasy?

A Tiger in Red Weather by John Wylie. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1980. ISBN: 0-385-15954-4

Another discard from the Tillamook County Library, but one which I had not gotten around to reading until now, well over a year since I left Tillamook. A mystery featuring Dr. Quarshie, a black African, as the detective. Depending on which paragraph of the jacket flap you believe, there are either 6 or 7 previous mysteries featuring Quarshie and his wife, Prudence.

Grails: Quests of the Dawn edited by Richard Gilliam, Martin H. Greenberg and Edward E. Kramer. New York: Roc/Penguin Books, 1994. ISBN: 0-451-45303-4

A wonderful collection of grail stories, or grail inspired stories, although sometimes the connection seems tenuous at best. The grail, of course, is one of the offshoots of classic Arthurian myth. This book is worth having or reading for Orson Scott Card's tale titled "Atlantis" all by itself, even though this story is one of those with the least connection, being more about the original civilization/city (Atlantis?) and Noah and the flood than about any cup or chalice. Other authors whose names you may recognize include Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Alan Dean Foster and Neil Gaiman.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, translated from the Italian by William Weaver. New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, Publishers, 1983. ISBN: 0-15-144647-4

This is my second time to read The Name of the Rose. I've owned my Paperback Book Club copy since they first issued it. This is one of those books that everyone ought to read, but many never get around to. A wonderfully complex, erudite, at times almost impenetrable, but utimately fascinating tale of murder and mayhem in a medieval monastery. A true detective story, a mystery, if you will, but unlike any other you're ever likely to read.

Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies. New York: Penguin Books, 1992. ISBN: 0 14 01.6884 2

Robertson Davies, my favorite Canadian author by far, takes his title and his epigraph from a wonderful Samuel Butler quotation: "Printers finde by experience that one Murther is worth two Monsters, and at least three Walking Spirits. For the consequence of Murther is hanging, with which the Rabble is wonderfully delighted. But where Murthers and Walking Spirits meet, there is no other Narrative can come near it." And yes, this story begins with a murder, and the victim's spirit becomes our narrator, as Davies fictionally explores his genealogical roots. A wonderful book, as are all of this author's novels. This was my second time through this one, as well.

Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima, translated from the Japanese by Michael Gallagher. New York: Vintage Books, a division of Random House, 1990. Copyright 1973 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN: 0-679-72240-8

This is the second in Mishima's cycle of four novels titled The Sea of Fertility. In it, Mishima begins to develop his theme of reincarnation, as Shigekuni Honda, now a judge, best friend to Kiyoaki Matsugae, the hero/antihero whose suicide 18 years earlier ends the previous novel, Spring Snow, now thinks he recognizes Kiyaoki's reincarnation in the 18-year-old son of Matsugae's tutor, who he meets for the first time.

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