Tag Archives: libraries

A Very, Very, – Bloodbath

I managed to irritate the librarian the other day (she’d have been infuriated if she wasn’t such a nice lady) by sending back an inter-library loaner.  She was quite right, too— I’d requested Titus Andronicus, taken it out, and brought it back, unwatched, within twenty-four hours.

I had but looked at the listing of scenes within the case to realize that a lady oughtn’t to watch it.  Murder, cannibalism, improper advances— why watch it?

They do say (scholars say, and we all know what they’re like) that Titus is one of Shakespeare’s earlier works.  I looked up a copy of it, to read, and they seem to have pegged it right for a change.  Shakespeare’s diction has not the scintillating brilliance that his later works are wonted to have; not even worthy of Henry VI (which I believe he stole), with its “Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky, And with them scourge the bad revolting stars”.

Therefore, until I get to the Histories, I simply respectfully ask you to try Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the best example of the Bard’s work.




Filed under Shakespeare

Historical Histrionics

Throughout history are scattered many tales which prove the old saw (yes, saw), Truth is stranger than fiction. So I think I may prove this by listing some history books which are not dry and dull in their subject matter, which shall prove the saying indeed.

The Birth of Britain, by Sir Winston Churchill.  An abridged version is probably easier to find, and ought to be quite good.  Churchill was a good writer, surprisingly, and his book was fascinating to me, as I love British history. All in all, not a bad book.

Anything by Theodore Roosevelt.  His subject matter is good, he had first-hand knowledge of some of it, and his writing style is smooth.  He did not use superfluous words, and so for these among other reasons I point him out as a decent raconteur.

And then, if your tastes run in the direction of dusty, dry tomes of history, the Cambridge Histories are pretty good.  They are in multiple volumes, and multiple sets; one for the middle ages, one for the Renaissance, so on and so forth.  The library is your best bet to find these; I don’t believe they are in the reference section, though other libraries may put them there (I don’t know).

Well, I hope this is enough to help you out to start with.  Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews of old and new books

Books on a Shoestring

I prefer not to spend money when I feel that I can get exactly the same thing for a great deal less or even nothing at all.  And then, as a desperate bookworm I feel that I have a little knowledge about finding books cheaply; and I flatter myself that I could recommend to you where to find some books as well.

Libraries of course come first.  It is not so very hard to find what you want in libraries, if you know what to look for- and perhaps even easier if you don’t know what to look for.  I just wander backwards, and browse for the battered covers, or the Great Illustrated Classics series, or architectural pictures.

Another thing to keep in mind in libraries is a list of the titles you want.  If they don’t have them you can request them; and pray the library at the other end doesn’t lose your book (it happens).

The best resource for cheap books to own is to frequent your local used bookstore.  I love used books, as they have so much charm and character- I once found a book in one store, a book meant for the kind of reader that smells their books (the fly-leaf said it, not me).  But I have turned aside from my point.  If it’s a series you are looking for, say, Agatha Christie, that isn’t in chronological order, I recommend that you look at all the books and find the very cheapest ones.  And look at the different editions of the book in question, for one may be a dollar or two less then another.

Surprisingly, e-reading is the cheapest way to go.  There is no physical volume, of course, which disappoints me, and the books have no character. But the content is the same, and that is what counts, after all.

On e-readers out-of-print books are the way to go.  There are dozens- hundreds- thousands-, and there are enough and plenty to satisfy most tastes.  History books, for instance, and a few novels, and old things such as Plato’s work, etc., are all free.  Plenty of good poetry, too.

Well, I hope this is enough to inspire you to read some books either very cheaply or for free.  Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recommendations

Mushrooms of the Aesthetic Movement

I saw these at the Euless Library whilst on vacation. They called them Blooms of Enlightenment, by David Keens.

Sorry about the numbers at the bottom of the pictures.  I have trouble with gadgetry. (The one on the left I took in x-ray mode to improve the lighting.)

I privately call these Mushrooms of the Aesthetic Movement.

Leave a comment

October 8, 2012 · 4:12 pm