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Member: devenish

CollectionsYour library (12,027), DVD (470), CD (335), All collections (12,027)

Reviews943 reviews

TagsCrime & Mystery Fiction (3,383), British Crime Fiction (1,729), Heffers (984), Review (927), American Crime Fiction (766), Biography (571), Short Stories (545), Ghosts & Horror (437), Historical Fiction (406), Conan Doyle Collection (396) — see all tags

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Recommendations106 recommendations

About meMy wife and I have been putting together our book collection for many years now and you will find the details below.We live in the beautiful county of Northamptonshire in the English Midlands.We are lucky enough to be near to many ideal places for obtaining the type of books that we collect.Heffers bookshop in Cambridge is the best source for the type of books we like as is G.David.We also do quite well in the bookish towns of Bedford and in Market Harborough.
In the last couple of years I have been buying an increasing number of books on the Web,from Amazon,Abe and from eBay. With some of the more difficult out-of-print items it is a near impossibility to find anything in the shops nowadays.

"There is no furniture as charming as books."
Sydney Smith

"The Bookman appraises towns by the number of their bookshops:if they be few,the towns are dull,monotonous,ugly;to be shunned,disliked,or,at best endured.He that should be admitted on a sudden to the sight of such places as Charing Cross Road or Farringdon Road in London wherin all manner of books are displayed for sale in numerous shops and on many stalls,could not choose,though he were never so poor of purse,but be much recreated by the sight--"
From 'The Anatomy of Bibliomania' by Holbrook Jackson

"Isn't it strange what happens with old books? They choose you.They reach out to their buyer - Hello,here I am,take me with you.It's as if they were alive."
From 'The Nautical Chart' by Arture Perez-Reverte

"I often stand in the centre of the Library here and think despairingly how impossible it is ever to become possessed of all the wealth of facts and ideas contained in the books surrounding me on every hand. I pull out one volume from it's place and feel as if I were no more than giving one dig with a pick in an enormous quarry. The Porter spends his days in the Library keeping strict vigil over this catacomb of books,passing along between the shelves and yet never paying heed to the almost audible susurrus of desire- the desire every book has to be taken down and read,to live,to come into being in somebody's mind. He even hands the volumes over the counter,seeks them out in their proper places or returns them there without once realising that a Book is a Person and not a Thing."
From 'The Journal of a Disappointed Man' by W.N.P.Barbellion

"Thus gentle Reader my selfe am the ground-worke of my booke:It is then no reason thou shouldest employ thy time about so frivolous and vaine a subject.Therefore farewell.
From 'Essais,-The author to the reader' by Michel de Montaigne.

About my libraryOur Library now numbers 12000 items. The books are fairly evenly divided into Fiction and Non-Fiction.The CD's are mostly of Classical Music and the Spoken Word. The ever-growing DVD collection is varied,but consists mostly of crime,war and thrillers. Bookwise our main interests are Crime Fiction,with particular emphasis on the life and works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Also Classic Ghost Stories.On the non-fiction side,books about Northamptonshire, Diaries ,Travel Writing,The French Resistance and SOE in WW2.I have also a great interest in John Aubrey the antiquary.
All of the books, in addition to being entered here on Librarything,have two card index files under Title and Author.These tie in through a number,with an Acquisition book,which gives full (very full) details of each item.Publisher,Shop bought from,Place bought from,Price paid ect.
The ever present problem is storage! A few years ago we had an extension to our house built,and the idea was to move all our books into it,and clear the rest of the house.This has not worked I'm afraid.They have again spread to all rooms except the kitchen and bathroom! Just how long it will be before they get in there too is anybody's guess.As well as this I have had to resort to a certain amount of double-shelving and stacking.Oh well if you are a true book-lover you just accept it and go with the flow. I was reading recently about a compulsive book-collector from many years ago whose house was so full of books that he had to edge around stacks of them on his way round the house,and he finally accumulated so many volumes that the house collapsed! Oh help!!!

On the thorny question of whether to use LT to catalogue only owned items or otherwise.In my particular case I firmly belong in the former camp.. All the items to be seen here are physically part of my collection. Everything listed here is actually owned by me.
What I want here is a record of our Library in terms of what we actually own. Now that 'Collections' has finally arrived and I have had a chance to see the features I must admit to being rather disappointed with it.I had hoped that it would only count owned items,and thus put the library size lists right. This has clearly not happened and we are still left with vastly inflated library sizes.
When I looked recently at the top 50 Libraries and delved into some of them I was shocked,but not surprised to see that most of them comprised 'fantasy' lists. Several were 'private' (see below).I do not dispute members putting in whatever they like ,that is their own choice What I do disagree with is that everything they do enter,then goes directly on the Library Totals.

I am usually delighted to receive these,and since I joined in 2006 have agreed to all requests but a few. The handful that I have turned down have been for a variety of reasons, but they were mainly from members who were asking for 'Friends' status from me but have at the same time made their own Libraries 'Private'. Their collections are thus not available for me to view. I do feel strongly that if I cannot see and gain interest and information from the collections of those members, then why should I,in turn agree to their requests to be 'Friends' with me !. This just seems a little one sided.
I have also received requests from a couple of 'dodgy' or dubious characters who I have also turned down.

I have pondered long and hard wondering if I should use this for books only,or if I should use it for cataloguing other things too,such as CD's,Tapes and DVD's. I have finally decided to follow The British Library who have holdings of sound recordings as well as books in their collections,and what's good enough for them is certainly good enough for me. Also as lots of members seem to be going down the road of entering all sorts of things besides purely books, and as I need somewhere to enter my sound recordings (both on CD and on Tape) and keep a record of them,it seems a sensible idea to go ahead. I have also decided to enter my DVD collection as of July 2009.

REVIEWS. These are now standing at 820+ and mainly consist of reviews for books which have not been dealt with by anyone else at this point. They thus try to give anyone interested some idea of what the book is about and an opinion of how good or bad it is.
In a few cases I have written a review for a book that has received other write-ups and here my feelings for or against have been so strong that I have found myself unable to resist giving my own opinion.

WEEDING-OUT TIME. The time is long overdue for a cull of the collection as it is now growing at a quite alarming pace.If we go on like this,we shall have to move out to the garden shed and let the books inhabit the house.So,today (Sunday June 27th 2010) we have made a start and cleared about 50 volumes,partly from the paperback collection but also from various non-fiction sections. More will go (mostly to Charity Shops) in due course. It really is surprising just how much dross one gathers together over the years.
PHASE TWO 2012. It has now become necessary to take more serious steps to reduce the numbers of Books and DVD's. Still a long way to go,but progressing quite well. Cleared out another 30 this week.

NUMBER OF ITEMS IN THE COLLECTION. Finally at 2nd September 2013,I have achieved 12000 Books,DVD's and CD's. I hereby promise (with little hope of keeping it) that I will keep the number to around this.

GroupsBaker Street and Beyond, British & Irish Crime Fiction, Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Old Mystery & Detective Club, Thing(amabrarian)s That Go Bump in the Night

Favorite authorsPeter Ackroyd, John Aubrey, John Banville, H. E. Bates, George Bellairs, E. F. Benson, Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, Leo Bruce, John Buchan, J. L. Carr, John Dickson Carr, Raymond Chandler, Bruce Chatwin, Peter Cheyney, V.C. Clinton-Baddeley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wilkie Collins, John Connolly, Bernard Cornwell, William Cowper, Edmund Crispin, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Forester, R. Austin Freeman, H. Rider Haggard, Cyril Hare, Fergus Hume, Michael Innes, M. R. James, James Lees-Milne, William Le Queux, R.H. Malden, Mervyn Peake, Anthony Powell, Byron Rogers, Sax Rohmer, Sapper, Nancy Spain, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. Taprell Dorling, Anthony Trollope, Edgar Wallace, Colin Watson, Evelyn Waugh, H. G. Wells, P. G. Wodehouse (Shared favorites)

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Favorite bookstoresG. David, Heffers Bookshop

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Member sinceMar 26, 2006

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I'm not in the least bit interested in the number of books in a library but for some reason it's faintly disappointing to look at a member's collection only to find that it's a fantasy one. (Although I can think of one exception, a terribly eccentric wish list that's put me on to some very appealing books.) There's at least one reason though to included unowned books: I've just discovered that when a book is got rid of, one's review of it disappears as well. On the one hand I'm not going to keep a dreadful book but on the other I think/hope it's helpful to have a dissenting review offered when most others are full of praise for a work. The only way 'round this is I suppose to put appropriate books in a separate collection, but I'm not at all keen on that. . .
Brill, I have the same storage problem on a smaller scale. I refuse to double stack Books are friends , more loyal than human ones and deserve to be seen.. Thinking about the extension as I risk being avalanched upon..... Could not agree more re totals. I physically have every book on my list and have not even catalogued any Biggles or CS Foresters which are in the loft. Cannot bring myself to part with any and don't think I have any dross, then again ...... You are so lucky to live in JL Carr country. Have you tried the book Guide TBG on line for second hand shops

jm (Firedrake1942)
Hello Peter,

Thanks for becoming a friend of mine.
Indeed I have a Wodehouse collection, though it is getting more and more difficult to add more items. Last Spring I bought a few books from the estate of an honorary member of the Dutch P. G. Wodehouse Society.
I will not reach the high number of entries you have on LT. I own probably just above 2,000 books (and book-like items). I stil have to start with my comics, some common, some rather rare. Right now I werk on entering my shelves of religious works and my collection of maps. I find maps rather difficult to identify (no author, often no year, the same place exists on various scales etc.). And I want to have the covers of all my books and other entries in LT. Somewhere in the next year it could be finished.
I don' t plan to add CDs or DVDs unless they are directly connected to my library of books, such as this one: (Does this link work?)

Greetings from Amsterdam,


Greetings! I hope this message finds you well. Congratulations on achieving a round figure of 12,000 books in your library; don't you wish you could continue to accumulate books, yet somehow keep the library at such a neat and tidy figure? I know I do.

Speaking of accumulating books, I became aware of a sad/not-so-sad thing today, namely the retirement of the gentleman running the firsts-in-print online bookstore, here: This is a site that I used to order from but weirdly had forgotten about for the last few years (very strange oversight on my part). It is sad that another book-related site is going to close down (presumably), but it is a happy event in that he's selling many things for 60% off, so you may want to take a look at his selections (I really had to rein myself in a bit, sadly, but still bought 10 books or so). I hope there are some books you want without breaking the bank, so to speak.

Other than that, life in the Los Angeles suburbs continues in the usual hot and hectic way. Our esteemed California governor has decided to allow illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses, a move that boggles my mind, since they're supposed to be deported, not allowed to drive around legally. I really wish our state and federal governments would actually do something about the employers of illegal immigrants, but they rarely do.

On a book-related note, I have just started reading an ebook of The Police by Jo Nesbo (sent to my by a friend) while I await the delivery of a signed UK edition, and it seems pretty good, so far. Also read the third Jussi Adler-Olsen book a couple of weeks ago and thought it better than the second, but still not as good as the first.

Well, that's all for now as I'm getting the bedtime signal from my wife (work in 7.5 hours, sadly).

Take care,
I could separate it out and recombine but I can't tell which of the 'play' copies is yours. I'll think on it, but have to go to work right now.
Hi -- Enjoyed your new review of the Hobson's Choice novel. However I note that your copy of the novel is combined with the numerous listings of the play, although there is a separate listing for the novel under Brighouse. Your review is also attached the the play. Cheers!
I noted your comments about the misleading nature of the top 50/5000 list a while back (what with wishlists etc). I don't really hold strong views about any rights or wrongs in the matter, but it would be interesting to see all the very badly afflicted (sorry... bibliophiles) in their proper order. I've just trawled the 'real' top 100, which took me to 124 on the LT list (KirstyHaining). Effectively 20% of the top 100 in LT's list were either bookshops, libraries, or 'enlarged' listings (wishlists, CD's, DVD's). I didn't exclude private libraries because there was no real basis to do so. After adjusting for the cd's and dvd's in your collection you move from 99th to 93rd place. Just thought you might be interested, and yes it's been a slow day where I'm at. Best regards, Nandadevi.
I hear you about the collapsing house (the 6000 books I have catalogued on LibraryThing are less than half of what is in the house). Also about the clearing out. I am doggedly adding books to my catalogue entitled GONE, but it certainly is a slog. Happy new year!
Hey, Devenish,

Thanks for the note. Here's hoping Christmas has been a good day for you and your family (since the day's half over for you by now), and that the new year will be a good one for you and everyone.

My wife is of Chinese descent and, according to her, as next year is the year of the snake in the Chinese calendar, and I was born in that year, I have to be extra careful for some unknown, superstitious, mumbo-jumbo reason; so, I guess I'll just have to hunker down and stay home with my books, heh.

Take care and be well,
Hello, Devenish,

Thank you for taking the time to drop me a note; it was a pleasant surprise.

I'm glad my occasional book reviews bring you some enjoyment, as I do try to throw in a bit of humor when the mood strikes me; whether it actually rates as humorous, I leave for others to judge :)

I'm sorry you ran into the "Wishlist Miss-list" in your quest to communicate with a hoped for fellow aficionado of William Le Queux; that's always disappointing and frustrating. Thank you, though, for mentioning Mr. Le Queux, as I was unfamiliar with him and his works, and they look interesting. It never ceases to amaze me how an author's works can sell more than a million copies, and yet that author is basically forgotten 100 years later, but for collectors such as yourself (at least, I'm assuming he's forgotten, though perhaps his German invasion of Great Britain stories are not forgotten in your neck of the woods). I just bought a bunch of paperback mysteries written in the 20's and 30's by S.S. Van Dine, which made him wealthy according to Wikipedia, and yet he's pretty much forgotten today. I only know of him because William Powell starred in the film version of one of his books (The Canary Murder Case, I think).

I've spent the last week on vacation, traveling to many beaches and beach communities here in southern California that either I'd never been to, or hadn't visited in many years, which was refreshing, as the weather was in the 70's, and other people were mostly at work :). Throw in a couple of days of food and window shopping in Las Vegas (my wife wanted to see the new shops as we hadn't been there in almost 10 years), and you've got one more vacation over and done, stick a fork in it.

Not much else happening over here, other than election "fever." I'm reading a book called Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith, and if it is to be believed, then I am even more disillusioned than I was before by many of the elected officials and business leaders that have been around during my lifetime. I truly do not understand why politicians are allowed to accept campaign donations at all. Perhaps I'm naive, but I would outlaw all lobbying and donation, and simply have the government pay certain set amounts toward campaign expenses for congressional and presidential positions, and that would be all the money allowed; perhaps then lawmakers could vote the way their constituents desire them to vote, rather than along party or lobbyist lines (yeah, right). Well, we'll see what happens next month, come election time.

Keep fighting the good fight,
"we shall have to move out to the garden shed and let the books inhabit the house." And that is how is should be! :) Except in our case it would be the cat and the books in the condo, and us in the station wagon out front. You have to have your priorities! Seriously though, we also have a "sell box" we take to a resale chain called Half Price Books.
Hi! Sorry - missed your message! Alas, no - the works by William le Queux you see in my overall collection are only in my wishlist at present; I put things there before I track them down (for reading only, rather than owning) and then move them to other collections as I find them. Good luck with your hunting down of his works, though!

I got a copy of Bruce's Photographs and Notebooks in the mailbox today! I look forward to reading it and it seems, from your review, that I will enjoy it. Shame he wrote so little before his early (self-inflicted) death eh?

Peter--- Alasdair MacIntyre also is getting more regular attention, as, of course, are Orwell, Auden, Maugham, A. Huxley, and a few other Olde Reliables, such as Homer! All The Best! ---Steve
Hello Peter,

Thank you for your message and a very Happy Cristmas to you too. I would very much enjoy continuing our book talk.

I have recently bought all books written by Alys Clare as well the books you recommended by Adrian Magson. Another new favourite is Sophie Hannah. Any comment of these authors?

I wish you a Happy New Year!

Hello, devenish,

Here's hoping you have a happy christmas. I didn't discuss books with you this year as much as I'd hoped I would, but a new year is upon us, so I'll look forward to hopefully communicating a bit more.

Be well,
Peter a very happy christmas to you and your loved one as well as a prosperous, peaceful and book filled new year. Hoping the pun does not go astray - cobblers! I haven't heard of Northampton!
Peter, read your profile page and must say I largely agree with your comments regarding the recording of collections. It is simply ridiculous that one can create a wishlist of books and make themselves the biggest library on the site. To be fair however and to use the site as a list of books read (if from libraries say is also valid IMO). My own catalogue is not so pure although I do limit somewhat wishlist items (I currently do have 456 in there but am buying them up quickly!)
Yours is an impressive collection I must say. In my own more humble way I am a completist colllector also. I have homes in Kuala Lumpur and Yorkshire and my collection is dissipated somewhat between the two. I have lived in Kuala Lumpur for nearly 20 years and have a family here now so I guess I would call it home. I have spent a very large proportion of time in my 45 years in the pursuit of books and music (I have some 3000 original mucis cds too) as well as reading and listening.
We seem to share a number of interests in terms of writers Ackroyd, Bates, Benson, Buchan, Collins, Dickens, Doyle, Scott, Stevenson, Trollope, Waugh and Wodehouse are amongst those I note in your favourites whom I have fairly extensive collections of myself. It has become increasingly difficult to add to the less readily available authors in recent times due to my location but on my regular trips home I always try to fill my boots!
Devenish, where did you purchase your Series 5 of the Lewis Mysteries? If in the UK, was it for just region 2. I haven't seen the series 5 for region 1 in the US yet.

where can i find short storys from Norbert Davis.
Thank you for your kind comment - I will get a more in-depth look in your library too, as I am sure to find good suggestions in terms of books!


Thanks for the update on Gerald Bullett's book on Sydney Smith; I look forward to your assessment of that work.

I notice that you list William Cowper as one of your favorite writers; he certainly has a distinctive voice, which I enjoy from time to time, both the letters & the poetry.

A question for you, Peter: Is A.N.L. Munby related to the subject of Derek Hudson's "Munby, Man Of Two Worlds"? I have that book, but have yet to read it: so many books, so little time, as you know!

Also, it's been some years, but I also have a two-volume hardback edition of the letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, whose writings I find charming. I recall C.S. Lewis writing (I think in "Experiment In Criticism") that in some households filled with unread classics " . . . the only real literary experience is taking place in a back bedroom, where a ten-year-old boy is reading a copy of 'Treasure Island' under the covers by torchlight . . . "

Of course, I'm paraphrasing from memory, but that line sticks with me, because, at age ten, I had read "Treasure Island" by flashlight, under the bedcovers, so I know exactly what Lewis meant!

I'm nearly finished with Cecelia Holland's "Until The Sun Falls", about the descendents of Genghis Khan, and am learning a great deal about Mongol culture, as it was during the 13th century---and I'm glad I don't have to trade places with those folk!

I must away. All The Best, to you & "Mrs. Devenish", Peter!

Peter--- Thanks for bringing back to mind (via your review) the wonderful Smith Of Smiths! I had just finished pruning my library to an even 2,500 volumes, and my "Favorites" (which is my "Semi-Portable Retirement Library") to an even 400 volumes, when I dropped by your site, and discovered again The Remarkable Smith. I have Hesketh Pearson's book, and now am aware of Alan Bell's biography (for which knowledge, I thank you!) . . . but, most of all, you remided me that I also have (somewhere in storage---soon to be liberated!) "The Selected Writings Of Sydney Smith", edited about fifty years ago by W.H. Auden . . . so I had to add that to my listings. What fun! I must away.
All The Best, ---Steve

Peter--- Hello, again!

Thank you for the further information about H.E. Bates, and about J.L. Carr; I've not yet sought out the other Uncle Silas tales, nor anything by Carr, but here, locally we do have a brilliant, indefatigable 80+-year-old retired Medical Examiner/Medical School Professor, Harry Chinchinian, who writes Medical Mysteries, books of Memoirs, children's books, and whatnot, who publishes them under his own imprint, "The Plum Tree Press".

Harry is a bit like your Mr. Carr, I surmise: he is multifaceted, thoroughly engaged in the business of living, and is an exemplar of creative, independent mind & spirit. We're lucky to have him in our locale.

Recently, I was reading a review of Dorothy Sayers' "Are Women Human?" which was written by LT member CatyM,(who lives in Devon, I believe) and in her review she included a quote from Sayers which I though might amuse you:

"I am occasionally desired by . . . the editors of magazines to say something about the writing of detective fiction 'from the Woman's Point Of View'. To such demands one can only say, 'Go away and don't be silly. You might as well ask what is the Female Angle of an Equilateral Triangle.'"

"Mrs. Devenish" will no doubt be delighted to learn that Lord Peter Wimsey's creator answers a rousing, witty "Yes!" to the "Are Women Human?" Question!

Happy reading, gardening, photographing, & whatnot . . . as you continue on with your Life's Adventures, Peter!

All The Best,


Peter--- Hello again! I finished "My Uncle Silas" about a week ago, & yesterday finished watching a DVD of Albert Finney & Sue Johnston,in part two of a BBC production adapted from the stories. I enjoyed the stories, and the adaptation; what a rascal Silas is, and Finney & Co. did a fine job of bringing out the opportunistic nature of "Silas The Village Roue!" Thanks for suggesting Bates' village tales---"mouthful o' wine", Peter?! All The Best, ---Steve
Greetings! I just added your library to my "Interesting Libraries" having been told about you by baswood with whom I share common reading interests. The idea of having 11,000+ books seems daunting to me. I have a mere 2,000 or so and am hard pressed to find room for that paltry number. At any rate, I shall give your library more attention as time permits.

Best wishes,
Suzanne (Poquette)
Hi Peter, nice to talk to you. I have been peeking in your library, what a collection you have!

I have been posting with dmsteyn who is writing a mini-dissertation on John Clare. He is of the opinion that Clare has been neglected and unrecognised. I am not sure this is the case. I believe that he had a certain celebrity status within Northamptonshire during his lifetime and today it would seem that he has settled into his rightful place in the canon of English poetry. Have you any recommendations for a good biography of John Clare?

I am not familiar with the Northamptonshire countryside although I have friends in Melton Mowbray (Leics) and have been walking with them locally on occasions I suppose you will tell me that Leicestershire is nothing like Northamptonshire. I envy you your access to so many bookshops. I live in France now and the only thing I miss is not being able to stroll into an English bookshop. I have recently bought a Kindle as some sort of compensation.
Thank you for the comment on my cat & book corner... he is my "baby"... my daughters are jealous of him and always complain that when I head off to work - he walks around the house yowling "mermmmmm" and looking for me... he loves when I am sitting my my chair reading, and generally tries to crowd out the book in my lap for some space for his furry little body... cats & books, perfect!... I was thinking of having my daughter help me pose him in other places with my books, excessive aren't I, Ha!
Hi Devenish,

Thanks for your message. I am especially impressed with your collection of biographies - unfortunately looking through it now means that my Amazon wish list is growing exponentially!

I'm looking forward to finding a lot more inspiration and temptation from your catalogue

Best wishes
Oh, but it wouldn’t be a Victorian novel without melodrama! That’s part of the fun of reading Anna Katharine Green!
Thanks for your comments. I will be reading some of your reviews. I have general thoughts, and wonder how many other mystery fans share them, or have their own. Part of the class will be discussion.
Thanks for your remarks on my review of Blanche Cleans Up. I will try to read Mrs Craggs: Crimes Cleaned Up and compare.
Your library is fantastic. I notice we seem to like the same crime fiction writers -- Kate Atkinson, my new favorite; Robert B. Parker, whose books were always good for a fun, fast read; The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, which I've just finished and loved; Alexander McCall Smith, the C.J.Sansom series, set in the Reformation period in England. This summer I am slated to lead a class on Faith and Mystery, on why crime fiction is ever popular; why much of it is an excellent choice for church and synagogue libraries; on what it tells us about life. Do you have any thoughts you'd be willing to share with me on this subject; I'd love to pick your brains!

Peter--- Your new pictures deserve comment:

I find it delightful to take a quick virtual tour to England (Northamptonshire, & Environs, or wherever) by viewing the pictures you post.

The gibbet might well prove useful, could one catch miscreeants who disrupt the tranquility summoned by an introspection-inducing book.

The disapproving Cambridge lion might have developed dyspepsia after ingesting an unusually dogmatic soul, either Christian or not; what recipes make palatable the poor taste of zealotry, after all?

Let's have a huzzah, for The Via Media!

Thanks again for the photographs.

All The Best, ---Steve

I did indeed get the Jo Nesbo book, about 32 days after ordering it. I also got a book from Canada about 7 weeks after ordering it (and it turned out they sent me the wrong book after all that), so I'm somewhat of the opinion that the terrorists have won, at least in so far as they've succeeded in getting people to allow their respective governments to infringe upon normal business activities and various civil rights. If someone really wants to blow up a plane, given all the airports and people working there (subject to blackmail) and trusting passengers that will still fall for the "please take this package to my friend in Smalltown, USA/World for me" trick (as documented by numerous investigative film crews), it wouldn't be hard.

Anyway, I hope to enjoy the book soon, but I'm busy trying to get through a bunch of pdf ARC's that I've managed to get sent to me (SF, Fantasy and Thriller/Mysteries). I greedily signed up for too many books and now feel pressured to follow through with reading them despite wanting to read things like the Nesbo book (speaking of Nesbo, a friend of mine recorded a BBC show [possibly called Time Shift?] that recently had specials on Nordic crime fiction and Italian crime fiction. I've only watched the Nordic episode, but it was interesting; perhaps you can find it on the internet somewhere?), or the second Aaronovitch novel, Moon over Soho. Ah, well, better to have too many books to read than too few.

Thanks for the book recommendations. I believe I own the books by both of those authors though I'll have to double-check here on LT and put a "recommended by devenish" tag on them for future reminder.

That's all for now. I'm off in a couple of hours to go to a book signing for Patrick Rothfuss's long-awaited second fantasy novel, The Wise Man's Fear, which should be fun as he's a unique sort of character. Rothfuss is one of those people I feel possessive about as I was lucky enough to get an ARC of his first book and now everyone (in the Fantasy novel world, anyway) knows about him; but I saw him first (in my best 5-year old voice, heh).

By the way, I enjoyed your Flickr photos (very cool feline statues, amongst other things).

Be well,

Spoke with jackanaples last night and, as I suspected, he does own most of the stories in his various other Howard books (and he's even read them, which is a bit of a rarity sometimes as both he and I buy way more than we get around to reading). Anyway, Jack agrees with the reviewers that the stories are all good, but said his favorite--and the one he believes is best--is the Bran Mak Morn story "Worms of the Earth." So, I guess the only thing left to do is read the stories and, hopefully, enjoy.

I'm currently awaiting the arrival of Jo Nesbo's The Leopard, which has now been in transit from the UK for one month, exactly. Thanks to our ever-vigilant Homeland Security department and their new restrictions about what packages can be shipped on commercial airline flights, what used to take about 6 business days to get to me from the UK now takes 20-25; very annoying, I have to say.

That's all for now. Be well,
Well, after perusing jackanaples' library, I note that he does not own Conan's Brethren, though I have no doubt he has most--if not all--of the stories in various and sundry tomes strewn about his home. Thus, I decided to look up the book on and here are the quite positive results I found:

If the first reviewer is to be believed, there's "not a dog in the bunch," so it looks like you can pretty much pick and choose your subject/stories without fear of wasting your time.

I hope that helped.

Talk with you later,

Well, you've come to the right person for Robert E. Howard information...almost :) While my fantasy knowledge is truly awesome in it's grandeur (kidding), Mr. Howard is actually someone I haven't read too much. However, do not despair, because my good friend here on LT (and in real life), the one, the only (which is more than enough, I say) jackanaples is a huge fan of Howard, so I'll pick his brain and get back to you in a few days with some useful information, hopefully.

In the meantime, I've been meaning to recommend to you a fantasy/police procedural that's quite entertaining (written by London's own Ben Aaronovitch) called Rivers of London in your parts and Midnight Riot over here in the US of A. You should be able to find it readily in your local chain bookstores as it just came out a few weeks ago.

I hope all is well and I'll get back to you shortly,
Hello Peter,

You are most welcome.

Best wishes,

I think this book might interest you:
Hello Peter,

I have just put pen to paper and my note and the leaflet about the York bookshops will be in the post tomorrow (Monday).

Glad to be able to help.

Best wishes,


Sorry to hear that you missed the wonderful 'Ken Spelman' bookshop, which is one of my favourites. I have just been checking my bookshelves and I have found a leaflet that lists the Bookshops of York and has a simple street map. It is dated 2007-8 so it is a little out of date but not much. One of the booksellers has moved further down the road from where his original shop was but I can easily draw that onto the map! I would be more than happy to post you this leaflet and next time you and your wife visit this lovely city let me know and I shall be more than happy to show you my favourite bookshops.

Best wishes,

Hello Devenish,

Just wanted to say that York is also a wonderful city for bookshops. Have you tried them at all?

Best wishes,

Ruth (Bigpinkchimp)

Good to hear from you. My apologies for the delay in getting back to you (down with a nasty cold that went quickly into a chest cough, so I've had to kick that and wasn't much interested in the computer during that time). It was especially irritating as we got some snow that actually stuck for a day (haven't had that happen in about 20 years) and I was far too sick to go out and play around in it; very depressing, I have to say, though I did get some reading done, at least.

I have been reading that Peter Robinson book on and off, and I plan to finish it as I got it as part of the LT Early Reviewers program, but I have to say I'm not really enjoying it. I'm about 100 pages in and I just find the dialogue to be unrealistic, and the same can be said for the actions of many of the characters. I have only ever read one other Inspector Banks novel (the first in the series, I believe) something like 7-8 years ago and I liked it enough to go and buy whatever else of his I could find at a used bookstore but I never got around to reading any more of the books. This book has taught me a lesson i.e., do not request Early Reviewer books that are part of a series, unless one is current in that series.

The author I am currently reading and really enjoying is Peter Temple. His books are primarily set in Australia and are filled with Aussie slang, which I enjoy reading and attempting to decipher via context. Temple is the only Australian crime writer to have won the country's top crime award (the Ned Kelly) 5 times and considering he has fewer than 10 books, that's a nice percentage. His books have been published in the UK by Quercus over the last few years (Quercus are the "lucky" people putting out the Stieg Larsson books in the UK and I really like the quality and selection of their books). Anyway, I recommend Mr. Temple to you if you get a chance (I don't see him listed in your library), possibly starting with The Broken Shore, kind of a break-out book for him. He has several stand-alone novels and 4 novels with a character named Jack Irish. The Broken Shore has a sequel of sorts called Truth that came out last year in your part of the world but I'm only now reading it.

Speaking of Stieg Larsson, have you seen what first/first copies of his UK books are selling for? Look him up on if you get a moment, it's rather insane. I've read the print run for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was only 15,000 in the UK and I just read a stat that as of a month ago, 46 million copies of all three books had been sold worldwide. Take into account the "small royalty" the translator Reg Keeland speaks of here and he's no doubt made his fortune from those books.

A while back when you noted I was approaching 7,000 books and I have now surpassed that mark (for all the good it does me on the Zeitgeist list given the usual assortment of inflated and mis-categorized libraries), but I note that you are in mild danger of getting knocked off the top 50 list, which is ridiculous and discouraging. I'm curious, have you noticed a drop-off in visits to your library as you've fallen further down the list? By the way, I like your stance on private libraries and "friendship." Personally, I think private libraries should be taken off the Zeitgeist list as who can vouch for the legitimacy of what's contained in them (not that that seems to matter, eh?).

Well, enough of that rant. I've also been getting back to reading historical nautical novels, such as Seth Hunter's Time of Terror and Adam Hardy's (Ken Bulmer and Terry Harknett) Fox series from the 1970's. I found Time of Terror to be quite good and interesting as much of it dealt with the French Revolution and happenings in Paris thereafter, so I got a bit of a history lesson, too, which I enjoy.

Well, that's all for now.

Be well,
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