Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Book Lust and Greed

Writers are really the easiest people to buy presents for.
Books or certificates for books.
Because they never, never, ever, in their lust, their greed, their lack of discrimination, their addiction, have enough books.
This Xmas produced the usual mixed bag for greed and guzzle..

On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt, an emeritus prof of philosophy at Princeton. Exquisitely titled.

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, by Kate Macdonald ( a granddaughter of Montgomery).
Usual format for such, illustrated by Barbara DiLella ( who has the unfortunate habit of illustrating the characters as chinless wonders with appalling over-bites) but somewhat enlivened by quotes. Above the recipe for "Caramel Pudding Sauce," one reads "Diana, fancy if you can my extreme horror at finding a mouse drowned in that pudding sauce."

Haunted Clwyd and Supernatural Clwyd: The Folk Tales of North-East Wales by Richard Holland.
Nice collections, occasionally spoiled by awkward editorialization.
To wit: a spectre wearing a hat reminiscent of a clergyman's appear on a path frequented by lovers. He looks neither right nor left but passes by. Yet he is defined as "prudish."
Bah. Humbug.
In Haunted Clwyd, one notes the presence of numerous White Ladies, Grey Ladies, Black Ladies and even, a little more unusual, a Red Lady. My own Green Lady fortunately does not appear.
I have often wondered why many writers struggle for names and characters when folk tales and legends provide much fodder for theft. The entry for Rhuddlan Castle notes the tale of the Princess Erilda and the demon-born Warrior Knight of the Blood Red Plume - available for amendation. One's imagination leaps like a runaway horse.
The word "Clwyd" given to a modern county amalgamation in north-eastern Wales means "gateway." Immediately suggests a portal, a postern to the past. I have no idea how to pronounce it.

Arthurian Poets: Matthew Arnold and William Morris. The introduction reminds us that until the 19th century which introduced a medieval revival,( the last edition of Malory's Morte D'Arthur having been published in 1634) much of the Arthurian cannon was in eclipse.
Nice introduction by James P. Carley. Very nice cover illustration ( Hugh Wallis) of Princess Iseult of Brittany.
Contains: Tristram and Iseult, The Defence of Guenevere, King Arthur's Tomb, Sir Galahad, A Christmas Mystery and The Chapel in Lyoness.
Ah, tragic Iseult of the white hands. This is High Romance.
Reminds us that writers and poets are the stone masons of myth and it pays to examine the foundations, if one is considering renting the property.

More reviews and gleeful hand rubbing tomorrow.

16 comments:

Dennie McDonald said...

Oh, hello!!! I have more books than I think I can ever read. I even put them on a spread sheet after I bought the same but twice - 4 times - shh don't tell though, it makes me sound weird =)

I decided to try my hand at regencies so earlier this year I acquired 20 or so books on England and the time period - I love research and reading of a period. (I want the Jane Austen cookbook - let me know how the Anne of Green Gables is!)

Books, books, and more books! woohoo!

Bernita said...

When I go into a book store or a library I am overcome by sheer greed.
Greedy guts, unite!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Bernita, you'll have to forgive my frien Dennie....she just colored her hair to AUBURN!!!

I love books too, but I'm not literary like you guys. I'm the action, adventure, thriller type!

Dennie McDonald said...

Literay me? I am a romance novel author and book hoarder - that's not to knock romance novels but bodice ripping scoundrels, vampire sucking counts, anonymous parenthood and accident prone bounty hunters a literary novel does not make!

A book store sends me into shock - And I mean that in all honesty. It is so tactile to me the smell the feel - it's better than ... stuff that it's better than!

What's wrong with Auburn - I just bought another box today {muah - muah) (sorry Bernita - didn't mean to make this so long!)

Bernita said...

Hey, hey!
I love auburn hair.Auburn hair is beautiful.I have a daughter with auburn hair who looks as if she's stepped out of a Renaissance painting.
Dennie, there is no bloody restrictions on the length of posts on my blog.The longer the better as far as I'm concerned.
Feel free.
I have two kinds of books. The source, research,philosophy, history, myth thingys. That does not make me "literary."
Ptooie, ptooie.
The ones I read for pleasure are the thriller,adventure, action, or fantasy types.

Savannah Jordan said...

Oo! The Arthurian Poets one sounds awesome. It was one of my favorite legends. I wallowed in Arthurian bliss for years.

Gabriele C. said...

There's a green lady in Cawdor Castle. :-)

Here's my 2005 Christmas book list:

Guy Gavriel Kay, A Song for Arbonne
G.G. Kay, Tigana
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
B. Cornwell, The Pale Horseman
Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter (finally my very own)
Rebecca Gablé, Die Hüter der Rose
Stephen Lawhead, Byzantium

Plus two opera CDs (Donizetti, Elvida and Alahor in Granata), the Cerrutti 1881 eau de toilette, and a nice handmade wooden bowl for cookies and such.

Robyn said...

Demon-born Warrior Knight of the Blood-red Plume?

My heart's all aflutter...I may swoon at the possibilities...

nessili said...

Hey! I dyed my hair auburn for years (until I got pregnant). Most people still think it's my natural color and wonder why I dyed it brown now.

Dennie--If you haven't gotten "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew," it's a great book for Regency info. As is "The Regency Companion" by Sharon Laudermilk? and Teresa Hamlin.

I think Clwyd is approximately pronounced "cloo-ud" or "cloo-id." the d is closer to a t, but not quite. Not being Welsh, I of course can not say it properly. (There's a hilarious Welsh lesson in The Grey King by Susan Cooper that I'm reminded of everytime I try to pronounce these names.)

Bernita said...

My Green Lady is not one of these hand-wringing ghostly apparitions.
Glad you have some of Kay, Gabriele, I have him all (I hope). The Song for Arbonne is one of my favourites.
There you go, Dennie, more fodder thanks to Nessili. And thank you, Nessili, for the tip on pronounciation.If one is reasonably close , one doesn't feel quite so dim.
Has SUCH possibilities, doesn't it, Robyn?
It is a nice collection, Savannah, entirely pre-Raphaelite, of course.

Gabriele C. said...

I already have some Kay books: Last Light of the Sun, Lions of Al-Rassan, and the Sarantium books. Hight time he's going to write another one. :-)

Rebecca Gablé, a German writer, specialises in English history from the Norman conquest to the 15th century. Too bad English-speaking publisher seldom translate genre fiction; I bet there would be a readership for these.

Bernita said...

The Finovar Tapestry trilogy is about all you are missing then.

Gabriele C. said...

That's lower on my To Buy list. I'm a bit tired of Fallen Into A Fantasy Land-plots.

Carla said...

At the risk of being excoriated by a native Welsh speaker, I shall stick my neck out and say that I think Clwyd is pronounced something like "Cloo-id".

Bernita said...

That's two.
Good enough for me.
Cloo-id it is.
Sounds good, feels right.
A relief, now I won't have to say "..er...that book about Wales."
Thank you Carla and Nessili.

Carla said...

I hadn't seen that Nessili had already answered your question. I thought you were all talking about hair colour and I missed it. So that's two independent opinions. We can't both be wrong :-)