Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My recent haul o' books

July has been a very good month for book finds and acquisitions. Between a July 4 fairground and some leftover Barnes and Noble and Borders gift cards, I managed to score the following for probaby $10 in out of pocket expenses:

On Stories and Other Essays On Literature, C.S. Lewis. Man, am I looking forward to this one. With chapter titles like "A tribute to E.R. Eddison," "The Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard," and "Sometimes Fairy Stories may say best what's to be said," I've found a kindred spirit in Lewis.

Roots and Branches, Tom Shippey. Twenty-three essays by the preminent Tolkien scholar on the planet, including an analysis of the Jackson films and a scholarly review of Tolkien's source material. Can't wait.

Defending Middle-earth, Tolkien: Myth and Modernity, Patrick Curry. I've heard mixed reviews on this, but analysis from a pagan/environmental perspective is a welcome change.

Tarzan and the Lost Empire, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Back cover blurb: "It is the story of an ancient Roman city, long forgotten by civilization and buried amid the deepest jungles of the Dark Continent. It is the story of Tarzan's discovery of this last surviving pocket of lost warriors and the fate that awaited him at the hands of an empire dead for fifteen hundred years." 'Nuff said.

The Sword of Rhiannon, Leigh Brackett. Cosmic peril in a lost world! Yes! Sign me up!

A Fish Dinner in Memison, E.R. Eddison. Many of you may be thinking, WTF? But this is the final volume in a loosely linked trilogy of romances that starts with the incomparable The Worm Ouroboros, so despite its bizarre title and trippy 1968 Ballantine Books cover this has serious potential for awesome. Or it may suck.

Paingod, Harlan Ellison. A collection of seven short stories/novellas by the incomparable Ellison, including his classic, "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman."

Legend, David Gemmell. This is a portentous, make-or-break book for me. After hearing praise for Gemmell from some trusted quarters over the years I gave him an honest effort, but was sorely disappointed with White Wolf and Hero in the Shadows. I've heard Legend is his best book, so I'm giving the chap one last chance.

The Rebel, Albert Camus. Camus is, quite simply, a hardcore thinker who is not afraid to stare long and hard into the chaos and seeming meaninglessness of human existence, searching for answers. From the foreward, "Camus believes that revolt is one of the "essential dimensions" of mankind. It is useless to deny its historical reality--rather we must seek in it a principle of existence. But the nature of revolt has changed radically in our times. It is no longer the revolt of the poor against the rich; it is a metaphysical revolt, the revolt of man against the conditions of life, against creation itself. At the same time, it is an aspiration toward clarity and unity of thought--even, paradoxically, toward order."

The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. It's about time I owned a comprehensive, authoritative edition of his works.

Alas, life is short and full of obligations and there are only so many hours in the day for reading.


Lagomorph Rex said...

Memmison is more like.. the 3rd of 4 books in a loosely linked quadrilogy..

Should be

The Worm Ouroborus
Mezentian Gate
A Fish Dinner at Memmison
Mistress of Mistresses

I've actually managed to put together two complete sets of the "Zimiamvia" books.. I'm still looking for the Del Rey "Fantasy Classics" reprint of Worm to have the complete set of those though..

Sounds like an Excellent Haul though.. Especially the Tom Shippy and CS lewis volumes..

David J. West said...

I want to track down those other Eddison books. I wish I could get them all in one big hardback for reading beside the firelight.

I liked LEGEND and Lion of Macedon, those are the only 2 Gemmell books I have read yet-but they were pretty darn good. I am sure I will reread them someday-thats my standard of good.

Lagomorph Rex said...

You can get the three of them in a single Trade Paperback that was printed in Canada in the 90's.. its OOP but it's pretty easy to get a hold of..

David J. West said...

Thanks-is there a particular title for it I should look for?

Trey said...

Sword of Rhiannon is great, though I like Brackett's Stark stories better.

I don't know that I'd agreed Legend is the best of Gemmel's books (though I'm not preapre to dismiss the notion either), but I do think his first three (legend, Waylander, King Beyond the Gate) are superior to those that follow.

Lagomorph Rex said...


There ya go, can pick one up for about 14$ including shipping.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I've heard a lot of praise for Gemmel, too. I have most of the Drenai saga via used book stores. I've only read three. Legend, First Chronicles of Druss, and Waylander.

Legend is good, but I like Waylander the most (so far.)

Brian Murphy said...

Lagomorph: Looks like I failed Eddison 101--you're right, there are four books. Thanks for the heads-up on the trade paperback collection!

When I get around to reading Legend I'll post a review here. It seems like I just may have just started with the wrong Gemmell. I sure hope so.

Eric D. Lehman said...

I'm also excited to read Roots and Branches. I'm also going to go back to the Burroughs books soon. Good list!

Love Robert Frost's poetry...I used to read one of his poems before drifting off to sleep at night. Although now that I write that, it almost doesn't seem to recommend it!