02 July 2004

Well Past 50 Books

I have a strange assortment of books from the library right now. Then again, I own a strange assortment of books.

  1. Jester Leaps In by Alan Gordon. This is the sequel to Thirteenth Night, which I blogged earlier. Jester Leaps In is the one I was browsing while waiting for Sue, which got me hooked. There are at least two more in this very literate medieval mystery series. I will be reading them.
  2. Phantom Islands of the Atlantic by Donald S. Johnson. One of my favourite things to do at the library is to wander the stacks randomly, pulling interesting-looking books, or books with curious titles, off the shelf from time to time. This book is the result of one such ramble. It's part folklore, part history of exploration. And it has cool maps. (And it made me decide to change the title of Vinland Stories again, to Frisland Stories--but more on that in a future post.) Rowena would like this book, I think.
  3. A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins. This is the author who created Gideon Oliver, the physical anthropologist who kept getting mixed up in murder investigations. Those books were extremely addictive. From the way I devoured Glancing Light, it looks like the books about Chris Norgren, art historian and specialist on Renaissance and Baroque paintings, are also going to be addictive.

That's it for fiction. I'm plowing through two very dense but good fantasies right now (details on why two at once when I get to them in the list). Oh, and I also read an edition of In Fairyland--this is a children's book which originally had paintings by Richard "Dicky" Doyle (Sir Arthur Conan's uncle--I've blogged about him before) coupled with dubious poetry by William Allingham (and originally called In Fairy Land, possibly with a hyphen). Anyway, not too long after it was published, Andrew Land decided to write a children's story to go with the pictures (Allingham's poetry didn't; it was just fairy-related), and re-publish it. So he did. Like most Victorian children's literature the story, "Princess Nobody," is condecendingly written and far too precious. At heart, it's a nice literary fairy tale, but Lang felt it necessary to explain what was going on in the pictures (and sometimes the connection between text and art was pretty thin). Good picture books should have the words and pictures work together, both adding to the story without either having to directly reference the other. But I digress. The pictures were lovely, though very, very Victorian. The text was not up to Lang's capabilities.

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