8672

Currently Reading

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee, Bob Reed
Collection: The Tailor of Panama / Our Game / The Night Manager
John le Carré
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee
Above Suspicion
Helen MacInnes
Progress: 48/343 pages
Detective Inspector Huss
Helene Tursten
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry
Merlin Trilogy
Mary Stewart
Progress: 340/928 pages
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle

Recently Added

In Defense of a Liberal Education - Fareed Zakaria
Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News - A. Brad Schwartz
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space - Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." ― Mae West


"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." ― Mark Twain


"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." ― Robert A. Heinlein


"Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else." ― Judy Garland
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My Leafmarks Profile
Project Hamlet

A summer Saturday afternoon in "Balconya" ...

 

I have a few busy days ahead of me, so I'm catching what laid back moments I can today -- and what better way than with the BookLikes crowd (and entertainment courtesy of my cell phone)?

So I’ve decided I’m going to spent this summer with my nose in a book and not in my phone. So now I need recommendations of good books to read. Send me the name of your favorite book and I’ll look it up!

Vee 

Reblogged from vee27.booklikes.com

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 343 pages.

Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Oh, wow.  I'm only a few chapters in, but this is feeling mighty topical already -- even more so given that it's not historical fiction but was actually published in 1941 (note: it's set in the summer of 1939):

 

"'It is really very sad for a German to find how misjudged and abused his country is.  Of course, our enemies control the Press in foreign countries, and they have been very busy.  They have clever tongues.'

'Have they?  It is strange, isn't it, how criticism of Germany has grown even in countries which were once really very close to her.  I wonder how it could have happened.'"

(P. 25)

 

"'You are a very prejudiced person, I can see.  I suppose you will now lecture me gravely on the wickedness of Germany's claims to natural Lebensraum.  It is easy to talk when you have a large Empire.'

'On the contrary, Herr von Aschenhausen, I like to think of all people having their Lebensraum, whether they are Germans or Jews or Czechs or Poles.'

His voice grated.  He was really angry.  'It is just such thoughts as these which have weakened Britain.  In the last twenty-five years she could have established herself as ruler of the world.  Instead, she makes a Commonwealth out of an Empire, and they won't even fight to help her when she has to fight.  She leaves the riches of India untapped; she urges a representative government on Indians who were about to refuse it.  She alienates Italy with sanctions.  She weakens herself all the time and she thinks it is an improvement.'"

(P. 27)

 

"'Well, I suppose if a nation allows concentration camps, it will find it hard to believe that other people don't use similar methods.  Cheeer up, old girl, who cares what a lot of uncivilised people think anyway?  It's only the opinion of the civilised that really matters.'

'Yes, but it looks as if a lot of the civilised will be killed because they ignored the thoughts of the uncivilised.  Ignoring doesn't expose them, you know, Richard.'"

(P. 32)

 

"[...] And then bastards like von Aschenhausen come along all smiles and bows.  And wonder why people are not enthusiastic about them.  They blackmailed us with bombers one year, and go back on the agreement they had extorted out of us, and then expect to be welcomed as friends.  All within nine months."

(P. 33)

 

"There's nothing like self-pity for thoroughly dissipating a man.  And when a nation indulges in that luxury it finds itself with a dictator.  Wrongs and injustices come in at the door and reason flies out of the window.  It's a solution which does not flatter the human race."

(P. 43)

Summer of Spies - Tracking Post

Smiley's People - John le Carré The Cutout - Francine Mathews Collection: The Tailor of Panama / Our Game / The Night Manager - John le Carré Black Roses - Jane Thynne, Julie Teal They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene, Jeremy Northam Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 - Stella Rimington Who is Vera Kelly? - Rosalie Knecht, Elisabeth Rodgers Berlin Game - Len Deighton, James Lailey Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Memorial Day Weekend -- Labor Day 2018

 

Finished, to Date:

Emmuska Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio, narrated by Stephen Crossly) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: N or M? (revisited on audio, narrated by Samantha Bond) ***

Ian Fleming: Quantum of Solace (short story only; new / audio, narrated by David Rintoul) *1/2

Kate Westbrook: Guardian Angel (new / audio, narrated by Eleanor Bron) ***1/2

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset (new / audio, narrated by Rosalyn Landor) ****

Stella Rimington: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (new / print edition) ****

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new / audio, narrated by Trini Alvarado) **1/2

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new / audio, narrated by Julie Teal) ****

John le Carré: The Tailor of Panama (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) ****1/2

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (audio, narrated by Jeremy Northam) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: They Came to Baghdad (new / audio, narrated by Emilia Fox) ***1/2

Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new / audio, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) ***1/2

Len Deighton: Berlin Game (new / audio, narrated by James Lailey) ****

 

John Le Carré: George Smiley Cycle

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) *****

The Looking Glass War (new / audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) ***1/2

Smiley's People (revisited on audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) *****


 

Currently Reading:

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion
 

 

 

Women Writers Bingo / Project: Tracking Post

 

Read:

A - Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke (all new); The Man With the Sack (revisited on audio);

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun (new);

Margaret Atwood: The Penelopiad (new) and The Blind Assassin (both audio)

B - Anne Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (revisited on audio)

C - Helen Czerski: Storm in a Teacup (new);

Agatha Christie: The Moving Finger, One, Two, Buckle my Shoe, Murder Is Easy, They Do It With Mirrors, N or M?, and Ordeal by Innocence (all revisited on audio), Crooked House (revisited on audio and DVD), Destination Unknown and They Came to Baghdad (both new)

D - Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen (new)

E -

F -

G - Elizabeth George: For the Sake of Elena, Playing for the Ashes, and Well-Schooled in Murder (all revisited on audio);

Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford (revisited on audio) and Cousin Phillis (new)

H - Radclyffe Hall: The Well of Loneliness (new);

Mavis Doriel Hay: Death on the Cherwell (new);

Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (revisited on audio);

Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic (new)

I -

J - P.D. James: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories (new), Original Sin, Death of an Expert Witness, Unnatural Causes, and The Skull Beneath the Skin (all revisited on audio)

K - Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new)

L -

M - Val McDermid: The Distant Echo and Trick of the Dark (both new);

Ngaio Marsh: Death in a White Tie, Off With His Head (aka Death of a Fool), Clutch of Constables, Death at the Dolphin (aka Killer Dolphin), Hand in Glove, and Death in a White Tie (all revisited on audio);

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new)

N -

O - Emmuska Orczy: The Old Man in the Corner (new) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio)

P - Anne Perry: A Dangerous Mourning and The Whitechapel Conspiracy (both new);

Ellis Peters: The Sanctuary Sparrow and Dead Man's Ransom (both revisited on audio)

Q -

R - J.K. Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith): The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil (all new);

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (all on audio);

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset and Open Secret (both new)

S - Dennis McCarthy & June Schlueter: "A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels" by George North -- A Newly Uncovered Manuscript Source for Shakespeare's Plays (new);

Dorothy L. Sayers: Unnatural Death (revisited on audio)

T - Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair (both new);

Amy Tan: The Chinese Siamese Cat (new);

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new)

U -

V -

W - Ethel Lina White: The Lady Vanishes (aka The Wheel Spins) and The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch) (both new);

Patricia Wentworth: Miss Silver Intervenes, Latter End, Poison in the Pen, and The Watersplash (all new);

Kate Westbrook: The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel (new)

X -

Y -

Z - Juli Zeh: Schilf (English title: Dark Matter) and Unterleuten (both new)

 

Free / center square: [???]

 

On the card, I am only tracking new reads, not rereads.

 

Read, to date in 2018:

Books by female authors: 77

- new: 49

- rereads: 28

 

Books by male authors: 38

- new: 34

- rereads: 4

 

Books by F & M mixed teams / anthologies: 1

- new: 1

- rereads:

Happy Independence Day -- and, my Freedom and Future Library

 

Could there possibly be a better day on which to finally follow up on my Freedom and Future Library post?

 

Truth be told, I'd been hoping to compile this much faster, but RL threw a major spanner in the works pretty much all of last week and both of the past weekends.  But, anyway, here we are at last.

 

Thank you once more to everybody who contributed ideas and suggestions!  A special thank you to Knight of Angels, whom some on BookLikes may remember as Troy, and who instantly took up the baton and came up with a magnificent Freedom and Equality Library in the space of a single day, which I'm shamelessly including in mine in its entirety (as I am also including everybody else's reading recommendations, of course). -- This list contains plenty of books that are new to me, as well as a number of books (and shorter texts) that I've already read but am planning to revisit, or have been revisiting every so often already anyway.

 

So, here is the complete list in alphabetical order -- in the coming days, I'm planning to also break it down into topical reading lists, to make it somewhat easier to parse.  English titles of the books included in my library in another language are given in parentheses.

 

 

Edward Abby

     - Desert Solitaire

 

John Adams

     - Revolutionary Writings, 1755-1783 (2 volumes)

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

     - We Should All Be Feminists

 

Maya Angelou

     - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

 

Madeleine Albright

     - Fascism: A Warning
     - Madam Secretary: A Memoir
     - The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on Faith, God and World Affairs

     - Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

     - Heretic
     - Infidel
     - Nomad

 

Isabel Allende

     - De amor y de sombra (Of Love and Shadow)

 

Akhil Reed Amar / Les Adams

     - The Bill of Rights Primer: A Citizen’s Guidebook to the American Bill of Rights

 

Amnesty Internationa, Neil Gaiman, Matt Haig, and Others

     - Here I Stand: Stories that Speak for Freedom

 

Kofi Annan

     - Interventions: A Life in War and Peace
     - We the Peoples: The 2001 Nobel Lecture

 

Jean Anouilh

     - Antigone

 

Louise Arbour

     - War Crimes and the Culture of Peace

 

Hannah Arendt

     - Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics / Civil Disobedience / On Violence / Thoughts on Politics and Revolution
     - Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

     - The Origins of Totalitarianism
     - The Portable Hannah Arendt

     - Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975


Anthony Arnove, Colin Firth, David Horspool

     - The People Speak: Voices That Changed Britain


Thomas Asbridge

     - The Greatest Knight


Ed Asner / Ed. Weinberger

     - The Grouchy Historian

 

Aristophanes

     - The Complete Plays, especially:

        - The Birds
        - Clouds

        - The Knights
        - Lysistrata

 

Aristotle

     - The Politics
     - The Nicomachean Ethics

 

Timothy Garton Ash

     Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World

 

Assemblée constituante (France)

     - Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen (1789) (Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen)


Assemblée nationale (France)

     - Articles constitutionnels (1789) / Constitution de France (1791) (Constitutional Articles of 1989 and Constitution of 1791)

 

Margaret Atwood

     - Freedom

     - Hag Seed

     - The Handmaid's Tale

 

James Baldwin

     - Collected Essays
     - Giovanni's Room

 

John Dudley Ball

     - In the Heat of the Night

 

Gary Jonathan Bass

     - Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals

 

Mary Beard

     - Women & Power: A Manifesto

 

Simone de Beauvoir

     - The Second Sex

 

Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat

     - Peace in the Making: The Menachem Begin-Anwar Sadat Personal Correspondence

 

Louis de Bernières

     - Birds Without Wings

 

Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward

     - All the President's Men

 

Kai Bird / Martin J. Sherwin

     - American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

Black Hawk

     - The Autobiography of Black Hawk

 

Ray Bradbury

     - Fahrenheit 451

 

Willy Brandt

     - Erinnerungen (My Life in Politics)

 

Bertolt Brecht

     - Antigone: In a Version by Bertolt Brecht

     - Der Aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui )

     - Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children)

 

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha

     - Four Noble Truths

 

Thi Bui

     - Best We Could Do

 

Rachel Carson

     - Silent Spring

 

William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, Paul Ortiz, Robert Parris

     - Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South

 

Marcus Tullius Cicero

     - An Attack on an Enemy of Freedom (Philippicae)
     - Selections from the Writings of Cicero

 

Clayborne Carson (ed.), Various Authors

     - Reporting Civil Rights

 

Christopher Clark

     - The Sleepwalkers
 

Andrew Cockburn

     - Kill Chain

 

James Comey

     - A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

 

Richard Condon

     - The Manchurian Candidate

 

Members of the Constitutional Congress

     - The Constitution of the United States (1787)

 

Gordon Corera

     - Intercept

 

Charlie Craggs

     - To My Trans Sisters


Juana Inés de la Cruz

     - La Respuesta (The Answer)

 

Dalai Lama XIV

     - Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

     - Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama
     - The Power of Compassion: A Collection of Lectures

 

Danny Danziger, John Gillingham

     - 1215: The Year of Magna Carta

 

Charles Darwin

     - The Origin of Species

     - The Voyage of the Beagle

 

Richard Dawkins

     - The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution

 

Michel Debré, Comité Consultatif Constitutionnel

     - Constitution de la 5e République française (1958) (Constitution of the Fifth French Republic)

 

Daniel C. Dennett

     - Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

 

René Descartes

     - Discours de la méthode

 

Jared Diamond

     - Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

 

Jared Diamond, James A. Robinson

     - Natural Experiments of History

 

Fyodor Dostoevsky

     - The Grand Inquisitor

 

Frederick Douglass

     - Autobiographies / Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

 

Frederick Douglass, James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Olaudah Equiano, Nat Turner, William W. Brown, Henry Bibb, Sojouner Truth, William Craft, Harriet Jacobs, and J.D.Green; William L. Andrews and Henry Louis Gates (eds.)

     - Slave Narratives

 

W.E.B. Du Bois

     - The Souls of Black Folk

 

Angela Eagle, Imran Ahmed

     - The New Serfdom

 

Wolfram Eilenberger

     - Zeit der Zauberer (The Time of the Magicians)

 

Albert Einstein

     - Essays in Humanism

 

T.S. Eliot

     - Murder in the Cathedral

 

Joseph J. Ellis

     - American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic
     - Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

 

Ralph Ellison

     - Invisible Man

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

     - Selected Essays

 

Ronan Farrow

     - War on Peace

 

Sebastian Faulks

     - Birdsong
     - War
     - A Week in December

 

Joachim Fest

     - Hitler

 

Lion Feuchtwanger

     - Die Geschwister Oppermann (The Oppermanns)

     - Die Jüdin von Toledo (Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo / A Spanish Ballad)
     - Jud Süß
     - Narrenweisheit oder Tod und Verklärung des Jean-Jacques Rousseau ('Tis folly to be wise, or, Death and transfiguration of Jean-Jaques Rousseau)

 

John E. Finn

     - Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights

 

Helen Fitzgerald

     - Viral

 

Patrick Flanery

     - I Am No One

 

Moderata Fonte

     - The Worth of Women

 

John Foxe

     - Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

 

Pope Francis, Dominique Wolton

     - A Future of Faith: The Path of Change in Politics and Society

 

Anne Frank

     - The Diary of Anne Frank

 

Viktor E. Frankl

     - Man’s Search for Meaning

 

Benjamin Franklin

     - Writings

 

Thomas L. Friedman

     - The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
     - The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

 

Max Frisch

     - Biedermann und die Brandstifter (The Firebugs)

 

Francis Fukuyama

     - The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

 

Joachim Gauck

     - Freiheit (Freedom)
     - Winter im Sommer -- Frühling im Herbst: Erinnerungen (Winter in Summer -- Spring in Fall: Memoirs)

 

Richard J. Goldstone

     - For Humanity: Reflections Of A War Crimes Investigator

 

Mikhail Gorbachev

     - Memoirs
     - Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World

 

Al Gore

     - The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision-making
     - An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

 

Philip Gourevitch

     - We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

 

David Graeber

     - Debt: The First 5,000 Years

 

George Grant

     - The American Patriot’s Handbook: The Writings, History, and Spirit of a Free Nation

 

Lewis Grassic Gibbon

     - Spartacus

 

Allen C. Guelzo

     - The American Mind

 

Sebastian Haffner (ed.), Various Authors

     - Versailles 1919: Aus der Sicht von Zeitzeugen (Versailles 1919: Seen Through the Eyes of Contemporary Witnesses)

 

Jonathan Haidt

     - The Righteous Mind

 

Matt Haig

     - Notes on a Nervous Planet

 

Alex Haley

     - Roots: The Saga of an American Family

 

Alexander Hamilton

     - Writings

 

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

     - The Federalist Papers

 

Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and others, Bernard Bailyn (ed.)

     - The Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification: September 1787-August 1788 (2 volumes)

 

Yuval Noah Harari

     - Money

 

Luke Harding

     - The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man

 

Stephen Hawking

     - A Brief History of Time

 

Michael V. Hayden

     - Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror

 

Seamus Heaney, Sophocles

     - The Burial at Thebes: Sophocles’ Antigone

 

Joseph Heller

     - Catch-22
     - Something Happened
     - Work

 

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

     - Das Leben der anderen (The Lives of Others)

 

Hermann Hesse

     - Narziß und Goldmund (Narcissus and Goldmund)
     - Siddhartha

 

Rolf Hochhuth

     - Juristen (Lawyers)
     - Der Stellvertreter (The Deputy)


David E. Hoffman

     - The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy

 

Tom Holland

     - Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

 

Wilhelm von Humboldt

     - Ideen zu einem Versuch, die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staats zu bestimmen (The Sphere and Duties of Government / The Limits of State Action)

 

David Hume

     - An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding
     - Essays: Moral, Political and Literary

 

John Hume

     - A New Ireland: Politics, Peace, and Reconciliation

 

Aldous Huxley

     - Brave New World

 

Samuel Hynes, Anne Matthews, Nancy Caldwell Sorel (eds.), Various Authors

     - Reporting World War II: American Journalism 1938-1946

 

International Committee of the Red Cross

     - Basic Rules of the Geneva Conventions and Their Additional Protocols

 

Peter H. Irons

     - Brennan Vs. Rehnquist: The Battle for the Constitution

 

Michael Isikoff, David Corn

     - Russian Roulette

 

Thomas Jefferson

     - Writings

 

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, Andrew Jackson, and others, John Grafton (ed.)

     - The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History 1775-1865

 

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Otis, John Dickinson, Samuel Adams, Joseph Galloway, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Samuel Seabury, Thomas Hutchinson, and others, Gordon Wood (ed.)

     - The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764-1776 (2 volumes)

 

Dan Jones

     - Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty

 

Reece Jones

     - Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move

 

Ernst Jünger

     - In Stahlgewittern (Storms of Steel)

 

Sarah Kendzior

     - The View from Flyover Country

 

John F. Kennedy

     - Let the Word Go Forth: Speeches, Statements, and Writings 1947 to 1963

     - A Nation of Immigrants
     - Profiles in Courage

 

Navid Kermani

     - Ausnahmezustand: Reisen in eine beunruhigte Welt (State of Emergency: Travels in a Troubled World)
     - Einbruch der Wirklichkeit: Auf dem Flüchtlingstreck durch Europa (Upheaval: The Refugee Trek through Europe)
    - Vergesst Deutschland!: Eine patriotische Rede (Forget Germany!: A Patriotic Speech)
     - Zwischen Koran und Kafka: West-östliche Erkundungen (Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities)

 

Ian Kershaw

     - Hitler: A Biography

 

John Maynard Keynes

     - The Economic Consequences of the Peace

     - The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
 

Martin Luther King Jr.

     - Letter from the Birmingham Jail
     - A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

 

Naomi Klein

     - No Is Not Enough

 

Helen J. Knowles

     - The Tie Goes to Freedom: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Liberty

 

Arthur Koestler

     - Darkness at Noon

 

Clea Koff

     - The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo

 

Eugen Kogon

     - Der SS-Staat (The Theory and Practice of Hell)

 

Aung San Suu Kyi

     - Freedom from Fear

 

John Le Carré

     - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

 

Denis Leary

     - Why We Don’t Suck and How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches

 

Harper Lee

     - To Kill a Mockingbird

 

Ursula K. Le Guin

     - No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

 

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

     - Nathan the Wise, Minna von Barnhelm, and Other Plays and Writings

 

C.S. Lewis

     - The Screwtape Letters

 

Sinclair Lewis

     - It Can't Happen Here

 

Savyon Liebrecht

     - Die Banalität der Liebe (The Banality of Love)

 

Michael Lienesch

     - In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement

 

Mark Lilla

     - The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

 

Abraham Lincoln

     - The Gettysburg Address
     - Selected Speeches and Writings

 

John Locke

     - Second Treatise of Government
     - Political Writings

 

Chris Lowney

     - A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain

 

Martin Luther

     - Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen (The Freedom of a Christian)
     - Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings

 

Margaret MacMillan

     - Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

 

William MacAskill

     - Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference

 

Niccolò Machiavelli

     - The Prince

 

James Madison

     - Writings

 

Mairead Corrigan Maguire

     - The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland

 

Malcolm X

     - The Autobiography of Malcolm X

 

David Mamet

     - Glengarry Glen Ross

 

Peter C. Mancall

     - Origins and Ideologies of the American Revolution

 

Nelson Mandela

     - Long Walk to Freedom

 

Abby Mann

     - Judgment at Nuremberg

 

Heinrich Mann

     - Der Untertan (Man of Straw)

 

Klaus Mann

     - Mephisto

 

Thomas Mann

     - Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (Reflections of an Unpolitical Man)
    - Deutsche Hörer! Radiosendungen nach Deutschland aus den Jahren 1940-1945 (Listen, Germany! -- Letters to German listeners broadcast on BBC in 1940-1945)

 

Marcus Aurelius

     - Meditations

 

Joyce Marlow (ed.), Various Authors

     - Votes for Women: The Virago Book of Suffragettes

 

Milton Sanford Mayer

     - They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45

 

Sarah McBride

     - Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

 

John McIlwain

     - Magna Carta In Salisbury

 

Francesca Melandri

     - Alle, außer mir (original title: Sangue giusto -- "The Right [or Just] Blood")

 

Maria Rosa Menocal

     - The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

 

Maria Rosa Menocal, Raymond P. Scheindlin, Michael Sells (eds.), Various Authors

     - The Literature of Al-Andalús

 

John Stuart Mill

     - On Liberty

     - The Subjection of Women

 

Frank Millar

     - David Trimble: The Prince of Peace

 

John Milton

     - Areopagitica and Other Writings

 

Michel de Montaigne

     - Essays

 

Montesquieu

     - De l'esprit des lois

 

Thomas More

     - Utopia

 

Toni Morrison

     - Beloved
     - The Song of Solomon
     - The Bluest Eye
     - Race
     - The Origin of Others

 

John Mortimer

     - The Anti-Social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole
     - The Fascist Beast

 

John Muir

     - Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays

 

Miyamoto Musashi

     - The Book of Five Rings

 

Muna Ndulo

     - Security, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation: When the Wars End

 

Viet Thanh Nguyen (ed./contrib.), Various Authors

     - The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

 

Bill Nye

     - Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World

 

Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans Montpensier

     - Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle

 

George Orwell

     - Animal Farm

     - 1984
     - The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage

 

Nicholas O'Shaughnessy

     - Marketing the Third Reich: Persuasion, Packaging and Propaganda

 

Carl von Ossietzky

     - Rechenschaft: Publizistik aus den Jahren 1913-1933 (roughly equivalent with the English language compilation The Stolen Republic: Selected Writings)

 

Ovid

     - Gedichte aus der Verbannung (Tristia, Epistulae ex Ponto)

 

Thomas Paine

     - Collected Writings: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets / Articles & Letters

 

Dexter Palmer

     - Version Control

 

Parlamentarischer Rat

     - Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1949) (German Constitution)

 

Blaise Pascal

     - Pensées

 

J.J. Patrick

     - Alternative War

 

Iain Pears

     - The Dream Of Scipio

 

Shimon Peres

     - Battling for Peace: A Memoir

 

Christine de Pizan

     - Le Débat Sur Le Roman De La Rose (The Debate on the Romance of the Rose)
     - La Cité des Dames (The City of the Ladies)
     - Ditié de Jehanne d'Arc (The Ballad of Joan of Arc)

 

Plato

     - The Republic

 

Helen Prejean

     - Dead Man Walking

 

Christoph Ransmayr

     - Die letzte Welt (The Last World)

 

Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner

     - What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

 

Christopher Reeve

     - Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life

 

Tom Reiss

     - The Black Count

 

Erich Maria Remarque

     - Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)

 

T.R. Richmond

     - What She Left

 

Jon Ronson

     - The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right”

 

Reginald Rose

     - Twelve Angry Men

 

Joseph Roth

     - Unter dem Bülowbogen: Prosa zur Zeit (roughly equivalent with the English language collection What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933)

 

Philip Roth

     - The Plot Against America

 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

     - Les Confessions
     - Du Contrat social

     - Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality)

     - Émile, ou, de l'éducation

     - Les Reveries Du Promeneur Solitaire (Reveries of the Solitary Walker)

 

Salman Rushdie

     - East, West

     - Home
     - Shame
     - Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991
     - Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
 

Joanna Russ

     - How to Suppress Women's Writing

 

Carl Sagan

     - Cosmos
     - Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

     - Le Petit Prince

 

Andrei Sakharov

     - Memoirs

 

Carl Sandburg

     - Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years

 

Dorothy L. Sayers

     - Are Women Human?

 

Barry Scheck, Jim Dwyer, Peter Neufeld

     - Actual Innocence

 

Friedrich von Schiller

     - Don Carlos

 

Bernhard Schlink

     - Der Vorleser (The Reader)

 

Helmut Schmidt

     - Sechs Reden (Six Speeches)

 

Inge Scholl

     - Die Weisse Rose (The White Rose)

 

Erwin Schrödinger

     - 'Nature and the Greeks' and 'Science and Humanism'

 

Tom Schulman

     - Dead Poets Society

 

A. Brad Schwartz

     - Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

 

Seneca

     - Letters from a Stoic

 

Julia Serano

     - Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

 

William Shakespeare

     - Uneasy Lies The Head: William Shakespeare on Power

     - The Merchant of Venice
     ... but really: The Complete Works

 

Kamila Shamsie

     - Home Fire

 

George Bernard Shaw

     - Saint Joan

 

William L. Shirer

     - The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

 

Peter Singer

     - Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter
     - The Life You Can Save: How to Play Your Part in Ending World Poverty

     - Practical Ethics

 

Adam Smith

     - An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations

 

Zadie Smith

     - Feel Free: Essays

 

Timothy Snyder

     - On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons form the Twentieth Century

 

Takuan Soho

     - The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman

 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

     - The Gulag Archipelago
     - The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005

 

Sophocles

     - Antigone

 

Norman Spinrad

     - Bug Jack Barron

 

John Steinbeck

     - The Grapes of Wrath
     - The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to The Grapes of Wrath

 

Gloria Steinem

     - Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender

 

Joseph E. Stiglitz

     - Globalization and Its Discontents

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe

     - Uncle Tom’s Cabin

 

Barry Strauss

     - The Spartacus War

 

Susan Stryker

     - Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution

 

Natasha Tarpley

     - I Love My Hair!

 

Janne Teller

     - Krieg: Stell dir vor, er wäre hier (War)

 

Sheri S. Tepper

     - Six Moon Dance

 

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

     - Petals of Blood

 

Angie Thomas

     - The Hate U Give

 

Henry David Thoreau

     - Civil Disobedience

     - Walden

 

Alexis de Tocqueville

     - Democracy in America

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

     - The Lord of the Rings

 

Robert Tressel

     - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

 

Chogyam Trungpa

     - Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery

 

Sojourner Truth

     - The Narrative of Sojourner Truth

 

Barbara W. Tuchman

     - The Guns of August

     - The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

 

Kurt Tucholsky

     - Das Tucholsky Lesebuch (The Tucholsky Reader)

     - Tucholsky in Berlin: Gesammelte Feuilletons 1912-1930 (Collected Feature Articles)

 

Desmond Tutu

     - No Future Without Forgiveness

 

Mark Twain

     - Mark Twain’s Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race

 

Lao Tzu

     - Tao Te Ching

 

Sun Tzu

     - The Art of War

 

Morihei Ueshiba

     - The Art of Peace

 

United Nations

     - Charter of the United Nations

     - Statute of the International Court of Justice
     - Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

Walter Van Tilburg Clark

     - The Ox-Bow Incident

 

Mario Vargas Llosa

     - Conversación en la Catedral

     - Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society

     - La fiesta del chivo

     - Making Waves

 

Vassillis Vassilikos

     - Z

 

Timur Vermes

     - Er ist wieder da (Look Who's Back)

 

Voltaire

     - Candide

 

Michael Walzer

     - Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations

 

George Washington

     - Farewell Address

     - Writings

 

George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, Benedict Arnold, and others, John H. Rhodehamel (ed.)

     - American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence

 

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglas, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gregory Suriano (ed.)

     - Great American Speeches

 

George Washington, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Lee, Daniel Webster, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Joseph, Grover Cleveland, Booker T. Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John F. and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Betty Friedan, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and others, Ted Widmer (ed.)

     - American Speeches: Political Oratory from Patrick Henry to Barack Obama (2 volumes)

 

George Washington, Queen Elizabeth I, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mahatma Gandhi, Clarence Darrow, Emmeline Pankhurst, Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, George S Patton, Stalin, Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, George W. Bush, and others, Simon Sebag Montefiore (ed.)

     - Speeches That Changed the World

 

Edward J. Watts

     - Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny

 

Richard von Weizsäcker

     - Vier Zeiten: Erinnerungen
     - Im Gespräch mit Ulrich Wickert: In der Freiheit bestehen

 

Theodore H. White

     - Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon

 

Oscar Wilde

     - The Decay of Lying: And other Essays

 

Paul R. Williams

     - Peace with Justice?: War Crimes and Accountability in the Former Yugoslavia

 

Michael Wolff

     - Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

 

Mary Wollstonecraft

     - A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

 

Virginia Woolf

     - Liberty

     - A Room of One's Own
     - Street Haunting and Other Essays
     - The Waves

 

Jonathan Wright

     - Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman

 

Richard Wright

     - Black Boy
     - Native Son
     - Injustice

 

Robert Wright

     - The Moral Animal

 

Muhammad Yunus

     - Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

 

Fareed Zakaria

     - In Defense of a Liberal Education

 

Yevgeny Zamyatin

     - We

 

Howard Zinn

     - Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology

     - A History of the American Empire

     - A People's History of the United States
     - A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
     - The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy

 

Émile Zola

     - J'accuse

Excuse me if I'm having a heart attack ...

Book Recs Solicited: Freedom and Future Library

On Liberty and The Subjection of Women (Penguin Classics) - John Stuart Mill All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 - Salman Rushdie The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives - Aleksandar Hemon, Marina Lewycka, Ariel Dorfman, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Fatima Bhutto, David Bezmozgis, Porochista Khakpour, Vu Tran, Joseph Kertes, Kao Kalia Yang, Dina  Nayeri, Maaza Mengiste, Reyna Grande, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Lev Golinkin, Joseph Azam, Thi Bui, Meron Hader Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States - Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Founding Fathers

You'd have to be living under a rock buried somewhere halfway down to the center of the earth in order not to be aware that in recent years our beautiful world has been shaken up by a number of crises the likes of which I, at least, have not experienced in my entire lifetime -- I can't remember any other time when I have so consistently felt the urge to put on blinders and wrap myself in a giant comfort blanket approximately 10 seconds after opening a newspaper (or its online edition), or 10 seconds into listening to the news.  Obviously playing ostrich has never done anybody any good, but God knows, it's getting hard not to succumb to the temptation. 

 

So what does a book lover do in order to keep her sanity, equip herself to separate fact from fiction (in news reporting, politics, and plenty of other places) and deal with rat catchers and fire mongers?  She turns to books, of course.

 

I've decided to build a "Freedom and Future" personal library, which will contain books which (1) have either deeply impacted my personal thinking or that I expect will come to do so in the future, or which (2) provide valuable food for thought in today's social and political debate, both nationally and internationally; be it based on a profound analysis of the issues at stake (as a matter of principle or long term), or because even though they may not be of lasting significance, they contain a thought-provoking contribution to the current debate (even if they were not written with that express purpose in mind -- e.g., books about historic persons or events or books by long-dead authors).  I'm not expecting to binge-read the books added to this library, but I'm looking to add them to the mix with a bit more focus than I've been doing of late.

 

In the past couple of days, I've trawled my own bookshelves for books to add to the library, but this is one area where, even more than anywhere else, I'm looking for suggestions -- I can already see that I'm at risk of falling back on my old standbys, and that's the last thing I want to do here.

 

So, tell me: What books have recently made you sit up -- or which are the books that you've come to turn to and trust for guidance and inspiration?

 

These can be fiction or nonfiction, and books from any or all types of genres (I only draw the line at splatter punk).  As the first part of my new library's title indicates, liberty and freedom rights are a focus, but I'm really looking for food for thought on all the issues that I think are going to determine the path human society will be taking (hence the "future" part); including, in no particular order:

 

* Liberty and freedom(s) (of opinion and press, movement, association, worship, the arts, etc.),

* Equal access to justice and judicial independence and impartiality,

* Equality and empowerment (gender / sexuality, race, etc.), and the plurality of society;

* Poverty / the increasing gap in the distribution of wealth,

* Education (general, political, etc.);

* Funding and freedom of research and science,

* Protection of the environment,

* Democratic institutions and processes and how to safeguard them,

* Xenophobia, war(mongering) and the preservation / restoration of peace,

* Persecution, migration, and internal displacement,

* Free trade and globalization,

* Technological advances,

* Ethics -- in all of the above areas.

 

I'm adding a few books to this post to give you a rough idea of what sort of things I've so far added to this library -- please take them as very approximate guidance only, though.  It can be something totally different ... really anything that's jogged your brain or made you reevaluate your perspective on any of the above issues.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

They're here and looking phantastic -- thank you so much, Tigus!!

Let the games begin ...

SPOILER ALERT!

Gaskell Does Austen -- With a Twist

Cousin Phillis - Elizabeth Gaskell, Joe Marsh

Facially, the story is your basic Austen setup with the sole difference apparent at first sight that the narrator is a male observer of the events (which incidentally is unusual for Gaskell, too) and

there is no HEA -- the ending is open.

(show spoiler)

 

However, this wouldn't be Gaskell if she were content with just copying another author's formula and giving it a little spin.  Here, that spin is women's education: Anybody who has read North and South and My Lady Ludlow knows that Gaskell was a proponent of general education, including and in particular the education of those left by the wayside; the urban and rural poor and women of all classes.  Compared to these two books, as well as other Gaskell stories addressing the social ills of her time (e.g. Ruth -- ostracization of single motherhood and Mary Barton -- social and judicial prejudice against the working poor), Cousin Phillis at first blush comes across as somewhat more of a cautionary tale, and might be taken to suggest that there can be too much of a good thing:

 

The heroine is exceptionally well-educated for her time, which, in 19th century rural England, was apt to work against her prospects in marriage: No matter how beautiful the young lady is (and Phillis is, plenty) and no matter how much her future husband would have prospered financially from the union (and he would), most men -- including educated men like the novella's narrator, who is an engineer -- would have expected their wives to look up to them, not be their superior.  Thus, Phillis is vulnerable to the attentions of a charming colleague of the narrator's, who easily matches her in education and knowledge and seems to thoroughly welcome their exchange ... until, that is, he accepts a new position in Canada

(ostensibly on a two-year contract, but notwithstanding his violent protestations of his love for Phillis upon his departure, he marries a French Canadian lady within months of his arrival there).

(show spoiler)

 

The novella reads very much like a straight, nonjudgmental rendition of a tale of first love disappointed and innocence lost; this

and the fact that it ends with Phillis's marital prospects unresolved and her by no means an old maid (the plot covers roughly the span of a year, and Phillis is barely out of adolescence when it begins)

(show spoiler)

might suggest that this was all that Gaskell wanted to say ("sad but true, well-educated women don't have an easy time finding a husband").  But there is no criticism of Phillis's father for "burdening" her with a "too much" of education; indeed, the young narrator is gently scolded by his own father for shying away from Phillis himself on those grounds, and throughout, her education is shown as a perhaps unusual but decidedly admirable thing.  So what remains is the impression of a delicately-woven tale ... which ultimately might perhaps have resolved a bit more than it actually does, but that, apparently, simply was not Elizabeth Gaskell's intention.

 

With this read, I finally get to check off the letter "G" in the Women Writers bingo.

 

The Guardian is one of my go-to sources for international news; refreshingly, they've so far refrained from putting up a paywall.  I'd like their content to be able to continue being freely available on the web, but more importantly, I think these days it's more important than ever to support journalists and media organizations that are committed to reliable, in-depth reporting and aren't afraid to call out abuse and corruption.

 

And in (sort of) the same spirit ...

 

This T-shirt is a treasured gift from a Canadian penfriend, on the occasion of my first visit to Canada 30+ years ago.  In light of recent events, I decided it was time to bring it out again ... (miraculously, I can even wear it still, which has a lot to do with my friend's wise decision to opt for "too large" rather than "too small").

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.

"The Books" should be featured larger of course, and personally I can do without video games -- but other than that, seeing as it's raining outside ...

Hmmm ...

 

Do-It-Yourself Crime Solving from the Golden Age of Mysteries

File on Fenton & Farr - Q. Patrick Murder Off Miami  - Dennis Wheatley Who Killed Robert Prentice? - Dennis Wheatley The Malinsay Massacre - Dennis Wheatley Herewith the Clues - Dennis Wheatley

You'd think that I get to read more than enough files (though not typically crime files) in my day job -- but gluttons for punishment that some of us mystery lovers are, there's nothing we like better than tracking down the murderer ourselves, instead of just reading about some super sleuth doing it for us ... or so the makers of the 1930s' Crime Dossiers / Crime Files series figured, and of course they were dead on target.

 

The idea was first conceived by English authors Dennis Wheatley and J.G. Links, whose Murder off Miami (aka File on Bolitho Blane) was such a raging success on both sides of the Atlantic that it inspired follow-ups in both the U.S. and in the UK: in the latter case, three more "Crime Dossiers" by Messrs. Wheatley and Links; in the U.S., Helen Reilly's File on Rufus Ray (Crime File No. 2), as well as File on Fenton and Far, and File on Claudia Cragge by Q. Patrick (aka Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Wheeler) (Crime Files Nos. 3 and 4).

 

While the American "Crime Files" Nos. 2 and 4 (Rufus Ray and Claudia Cragge) are true collectors' items that continue to elude me for the moment, I've now read all four "Crime Dossiers" created by Dennis Wheatley and J.G. Links, as well as Q. Patrick's File on Fenton and Farr, and I'm in awe at the amount of ingenuity that has gone into creating these books.  They really are extremely close to the real thing -- you get correspondence (including cablegrams) and file entries by the investigators as well as witness statements, handwritten documents, crime scene and witness photographs, entire newspapers containing reports on the crime (not merely individual reports but actually entire broadsheets!), and even honest-to-God tactile evidence such as blood-stained pieces of cloth, strands of hair, tubes of lipstick, and other items found at the crime scene or in a witness's possession.  One can only guess at the amount of time and effort that must have gone into the creation of each and everyone of these books -- and they must have been tremendously expensive to produce, too; so no wonder that many of them (and all the originals from the 1930s) are rare collectors' items these days.  Crimes scenes range from a yacht off the Florida coast to an English village not far from London, a castle on a remote Scottish island, small-town New Jersey, and a London night club; and the cast of characters -- in each book as well as in all of them taken together -- is as diverse as any that you might expect to find in the best of crime fiction.

 

This all being said, obviously you can't like all books equally well, however lovingly they are put together; and so far my favorites are Wheatley / J.G. Links's sophomore effort, Who Killed Robert Prentice? (which has downright fiendish elements; it is, however, solvable on the basis of the evidence provided) and Q. Patrick's File on Fenton and Farr ... the latter, if only for the fact that the authors even managed to work a funny-sweet romance between one of the detectives and the police chief's precocious secretary into the file.  (Obviously it also helped that I managed to solve both of these cases substantially (Robert Prentice) / partly (Fenton & Farr) correctly, even if I reserve the right to quibble with some of the evidence in Fenton & Farr.

 

The weakest of the lot is, IMHO, The Malinsay Massacre; not so much because it consists very largely of correspondence but because the solution just plain doesn't make sense to me and some of the conclusions allegedly "forcing" themselves on the reader from individual pieces of evidence are implausible beyond belief.  (OK, sour grapes, I admit.  Still ...) -- Herewith the Clues, the final Wheatley / Links outing, is generally decried as weak as well; however, I actually prefer it to Malinsay -- it does present a genuine puzzle, and even if some of the clues / proposed deductions are maybe a bit far-fetched, a fair amount of them actually do serve a logical purpose in eliminating innocent suspects on the one hand and nailing down the murderer on the other hand.  (Besides, the sheer number of fellow writers and society celebrities of their era that the authors managed to rope in for purposes of posing for "suspect" photos for Herewith the Clues is mind-boggling in and of itself -- in fact, this is the only volume where the true identities of the persons portrayed in the photographs are unveiled -- not least as this is a story dealing with IRA terrorism and some of the suspect biographies also point to Nazi Germany ... surely, in 1937, not exactly connections that many well-known Brits would have welcomed to see associated with their names; however much in a fictional context and with a disclaimer reading "the particulars regarding [name of fictional suspect] which are given in the script have, of course, no reference whatever to [real name of person portrayed], who very kindly posed for this photograph.")

 

Now, if only I could get my hands on at least halfway affordable copies of the File on Rufus Ray and the File on Claudia Cragge ...

 

In the interim, File on Fenton and Farr gets me another square in the Detection Club bingo -- "Across the Atlantic" (chapter 22), which at the same time completes bingo no. 4 ( all 4 corners + center square).

 

Individual ratings:

File on Fenton & Farr - 4 stars

Murder off Miami - 4 stars

Who Killed Robert Prentice? - 4.5 stars

The Malinsay Massacre - 3 stars

Herewith the Clues - 3,5 stars

 

 

Classics

     I recently was cleaning my library shelves and, of course, had to remove the books to do so. Afterwards, as I rearranged and returned the books to their shelves, I thought about the many International Collectors Library volumes and other classics that my late wife and I had purchased many years ago. I don’t recall that either of us ever read one. My minimalist daughter would tell me, “Dad, why do you have these? You never read them.” So, I made a pledge to work one in from time to time in my reading schedule. I invite all of you to do something similar.

    Let’s read classic books! Who’s with me? My first will be As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. My reviews of these works will include a little biography gleaned from Wikipedia. I’m sure most of you use Wikipedia to look things up. Donations to them are appreciated.

     I invite you to reblog this with your friends as I don’t have many.

Reblogged from MikeDI