New Arrivals August 29 – September 4, 2011

Three-fifths of this is Bill Crider’s fault. He recently reread and reviewed Spoon River Anthology and that got me started thinking about, then looking for and finally buying the last three books here. I’ve had them all at one time or another, but they slipped away over the years so now I have new copies. The other two books speak for themselves.

The Duel of Shadows – The Extraordinary Cases of Barnabas Hildreth by Vincent Cornier – edited and with an introduction by Mike Ashley [Crippen & Landru, Lost Classics Series, 2011 hardcover, new] – mystery short story collection – usually I’m familiar with, if not well read of, the authors Crippen & Landru publishes in both their regular collections and their Lost Classics Series but this time I haven’t a clue. I’ve never even heard of Cornier, or if I have I’ve completely forgotten. So something new. I expect it to be good, as all C&L collections are.

Northwest Angle by William Kent Kruger [Atria 2011 hardcover, new] – mystery – this is the 12th in the Cork O’Connor series – By one of my favorite mystery authors, this is just out and on the top of my mystery TBR list.

Our Town by Thorton Wilder [Harper Collins 2003 hardcover, new] – play – originally published in 1938 this play has been produced countless times in countless venues, has been on Broadway, in film, on television, stages small and large, in high school and college productions of varying cost and quality, an enduring classic. I’ve seen the play several times – there was a stage version I saw that was especially excellent, perhaps featuring Hal Holbrook as the narrator – but I haven’t read it in 35 or more years. High time.

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters [New American Library, Signet Classics, 2007 paperback, new] – poetry – this set of short narrative poems, free form, combine to tell the story of a midwestern town. The voices are of those buried in the town’s cemetery, and present such a variety of viewpoints and opinions it takes reading the whole thing to get the picture of the town the author has contrived. These are glimpses; sad, intelligent, angry, wistful, telling bits of personal history. Wondrous and wonderful.

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson [New American Library, Signet Classics, 2005 paperback, new] – short story collection – I’m not sure why, but I associate this book with Our Town and Spoon River Anthology. So when I got one of them, I just had to get all three. What’s perhaps most odd about that is that this is a book I’ve not read, or if I have it was in the dim past of high school or early college days and long forgotten.  So I’m counting it as a new to me author, and new to me book. Seems like perfect Summer reading, if I hurry before Summer is gone.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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23 Responses to New Arrivals August 29 – September 4, 2011

  1. A nice haul of books! Thorton Wilder is a candidate for Forgotten Writers. At one time, his books were staples of High School reading programs. SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY is another classic you’ll seldom see in a contemporary classroom. WINESBURG, OHIO is my favorite of these three books. Sherwood Anderson was a gifted writer who’s not read much today. How can such great books have so few readers?

  2. I don’t have a lot from Crippen & Landru, but all are excellent.

  3. Richard says:

    George, it seems these days “old” tends to mean of little value, at least with fiction writers and literature. What worries me is that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal to make students really think about and analyze life, culture, society as it has been and how it developed. It seems to be “who cares, that’s old stuff”. I’ll never use it, need it, it doesn’t matter.” I don’t know what is being taught today that’s really insightful. But then, it shocks me that many students today can’t pass a reading test – by the time they are ready to graduate from HIGH SCHOOL! I wouldn’t have been allowed to pass 3rd grade without reading skills, nor should I.

  4. Richard says:

    Randy, I’m a subscriber, and get a copy of every book C&L publishes.

  5. Bill Crider says:

    Sure, sure, blame the Texan.

  6. Jerry House says:

    I remember reading a number of Cornier’s stories in EQMM many years ago.

  7. Richard says:

    Well Bill, aren’t you often telling us that Texas leads the way?

    Jerry, so, did you like them?

  8. Patti Abbott says:

    Oh, boy I love this group. Masters, Wilder and Anderson. Geniuses all. My daughter read the Anderson this year and said,.”Why didn’t we read this in grad school?” Precisely. I have mine up now.

  9. Carl V. says:

    The Spoon River anthology sounds great. I’ll be looking for that one.

  10. Richard says:

    Patti, I’m planning on reading the Anderson for my “read an author new to you this Summer” book, since if I ever read it, I have no recollection of it. As to reading it in grad school, why isn’t it read in high school or college??? If I ever did read it, I imagine it would have been senior year of high school or freshman year of college (I was, not surprisingly, an English major…).

    Carl, well worth your time!

  11. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I just had a long response totally wiped out by AOL – crap.

  12. Richard says:

    sorry to hear that, hopefully you can put it back together.

  13. I’ve long considered doing a collection of heroic fantasy stories based on the pattern of Winesburg, Ohio. A good book.

  14. Richard says:

    I’m looking forward to reading it, Charles. That’s a really interesting idea you have there! I say go for it.

  15. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Mostly, I was saying that I did not like the Cornier book (which I will finish today) as much as I do most of the Crippen & Landru books. The character of Brandreth is extremely cold and off-putting to me and the plot solutions are just not to be taken seriously on any level. The atmosphere may appeal to you – they were mostly written in the 1930’s.

    My biggest problem with the book, however, was form, not content. For some unknown reason they used very light and tiny print (Bernhard New) to fit the book into 162 pages, which is very hard on aging eyes. I wish they’d gone with a more readable type and another 20-40 pages.

  16. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read WINESBURG some fifteen years ago at the urging of a friend and I was glad I finally did. Maybe I’ll finally get to SPOON RIVER one of these days.

  17. Richard says:

    Jeff, I’m sorry to hear that about the C&L Cornier book, I hadn’t opened it yet. Small and/or light text is a problem for me too, these days it seems I have to read it in daylight. I think you should shoot an email to Doug Greene and let him know your thought on this one.

  18. Todd Mason says:

    With the best will in the world, the Masters annoyed me (beyond “The Village Atheist” which was a bit of an affront, down to his anonymity otherwise) in a way that the Anderson didn’t, when I read them as a kid. I like the Wilder the best of the three, but there are some telling bits to WINESBURG that probably couldn’t too safely be duplicated on stage at the time, and certainly seem to me to be beyond Masters’s savvy. Krueger is as new to me as Cornier (at first I thought I read Cormier, whose work I have read).

  19. Todd Mason says:

    My last foray into Borders so far was for an armload of video, ranging from a trio of Criterions to the second-season BEST OF SMO BRO set, and back to a PDQ Bach concert on through to the first film THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. One or two really bubblegummy items for less than $5 on Blu-Ray. Though the item that makes me happiest I’ve purchased is the complete recording of DIALOGUES FOR JAZZ COMBO AND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA among other good (and some less good) work on the Dave Brubeck Quartet repackage CREATING JAZZ. First time on cd, and well past high time. Also bought the MJQ’s EUROPEAN CONCERT on cd (Rhino’s reissue)…every copy of the Atlantic vinyl I picked up in the early ’80s, from sitting around the warehouse I suspect, had a major pop or two per side.

  20. Todd Mason says:

    Sorry, that Brubeck album is THE MUSIC OF AMERICA: INVENTING JAZZ (a series, I gather), the Dave Brubeck entry.

  21. Richard says:

    Ah. I hadn’t heard of the one you named, but then neither of this one, I don’t think. By the name, probably not something that would have tugged at my wallet.

  22. Todd Mason says:

    Just released at the end of last month…first attempt to gather up most of the CBS (and a few Sony) third stream recordings by Brubeck’s various units. Catnip to me. The second in the MOA: IJ series is devoted to Wynton Marsalis. I would’ve gone with Thelonious Monk if I were Sony, but perhaps they think they’re playing the angles.

    Sorry about the deck.

  23. Richard says:

    It will be fine to have a new deck, but today will be (another) noisy, dusty, dirty, loud day. There have been a lot of them lately, with the track-hoe placing and pounding large boulders into place for the retaining walls.

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