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Stories to Remember [Volume 1] by Thomas B.…
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Stories to Remember [Volume 1]

by Thomas B. Costain, John Beecroft, John Beecroft

Other authors: Honoré de Balzac (Contributor), G. K. Chesterton (Contributor), Daphne du Maurier (Contributor), Friedrich Gerstacker (Contributor), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Contributor)9 more, O. Henry (Contributor), Washington Irving (Contributor), MacKinlay Kantor (Contributor), W. Somerset Maugham (Contributor), Robert Nathan (Contributor), Edgar Allan Poe (Contributor), William Reusswig (Illustrator), Martha Sawyers (Illustrator), H. G. Wells (Contributor)

Series: Stories to Remember (1a)

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Showing 3 of 3
Excellent anthologies; something for everyone.

I have read the companion Stories to Remember volumes many times over the years. This anthology was purchased new by my mother in 1956, likely through her long-time Doubleday Book Club involvement, and was some of the first “adult” material I dipped into as I expanded my childhood reading horizons. I still have the original books, and now my own family, adults & teens, re-read and enjoy them. And yes, I remember most, if not all, of the selections with deep fondness!

Looking at this collection with a critical eye 56 years after its publication, I fully suspect that some of the selections might no longer appeal to the average modern audience – would a typical 2012 teenager even “get”, or more to the point, even want to “get” many of the societal and historical references in Alexandre Dumas’ Man Who Lived Four Thousand Years, or Maugham’s Lord Mountdrago? - but there is enough good stuff in here to keep any reader engaged for quite some time, even if one cherry-picks their way through the collection. Overall, an interesting vintage read containing a number of familiar authors & stories, as well as an introduction (or a remembrance?) of several writers now fallen out of public notice.

I have seen these volumes numerous times in 2nd hand bookshops, generally priced very reasonably. Worth picking up for dipping into, and for leaving on the guest room nightstand, if your guests are the type to appreciate a non-electronic reading experience.

The double-column format and smallish print takes a bit of adjustment on the part of the reader; it appears that the publisher tried to squeeze as much text as possible onto each page to limit the ultimate length of the book while still providing generous content. Occasional nicely rendered realistic line drawings throughout are an attractive feature.

A nice balance of dramatic, humorous and “darker” stories; not at all a depressing collection, which cannot be said for many other short story anthologies of more recent vintage!

Volume I
The General’s Ring (complete novel) – Selma Lagerlöf, 1925. Written by the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1909. This is the first installment in a trilogy concerning a ring given to General Bengt Löwensköld by King Karl VIII of Sweden. After requesting that the very valuable ring be buried with him, it is soon discovered that the ring has been stolen from the General’s grave, with tragic consequences to everyone who subsequently comes in contact with it. A morality tale, a ghost story, and at least one love story make up this intriguing and well-paced novella, set in eighteenth century Sweden.
Mowgli’s Brothers - Rudyard Kipling, 1894. From The Jungle Book. A lost woodcutter’s child is adopted by a wolf family in the Indian jungle.
The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry, 1906. Most of us will remember this one, stock story of countless anthologies! Della and Jim both sell the thing they love best to buy the perfect Christmas present for each other.
Lord Mountdrago - W. Somerset Maugham, 1939. Lord Mountdrago consults a psychiatrist to help him deal with disturbing dreams. But are they really just dreams, or is something much more sinister going on?
Music on the Muscatatuck and The Pacing Goose (excerpts from The Friendly Persuasion) – Jessamyn West, 1945. Quietly humorous stories concerning Quaker fruit tree nurseryman Jess Birdwell and his Quaker minister wife Eliza.
The Birds – Daphne du Maurier, 1952. What if all the birds in the world banded together to revenge themselves on humans for the harm done to their kind throughout their shared history? Chilling.
The Man Who Lived Four Thousand Years (excerpt from The Queen’s Necklace) – Alexandre Dumas, 1850. Count Cagliostro, who claims to have lived four thousand years, predicts the “unbelievable” futures of a group of royals and nobles gathered to dine with Maréchal de Richelieu in 1784.
The Pope’s Mule - Alphonse Daudet, c. 1894. The humorous fable of a good Pope’s pampered mule, who gets her revenge on a tormentor after seven years’ patient waiting.
The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham – H.G. Wells, c. 1911. The sinister Mr. Elvesham seeks immortality by continually switching bodies.
The Blue Cross – G.K. Chesterton, 1938. Clever but often underestimated Father Brown brings a jewel thief to justice.
Portrait of Jennie (complete novel) – Robert Nathan, 1940. A struggling young artist encounters and adopts as a muse a mysterious girl who apparently has been travelling through time. A ghostly love story.
La Grande Bretêche - Honoré de Balzac, c. 1831. A convoluted telling of the tragedy of a grand old ruined house and its history regarding a Spanish nobleman, a jealous husband and a betraying wife.
Love’s Conundrum – Anthony Hope, 1899. An ironically humorous, very short story concerning a self-absorbed scholar who completely misunderstands a confession of love and proposal of marriage.
The Great Stone Face – Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1889. A young boy, inspired by a legend concerning a cliff resembling a strong human profile, waits his entire life for the human embodiment of the noble edifice to appear. It does, but in a way he has not suspected. (The Great Stone Face was an actual New Hampshire rock formation, known widely as “The Old Man of the Mountain” until its collapse in 2003. This story is one of the more dated tales in this anthology, though it is classic Hawthorne and enjoyable as such.)
Germelshausen – Friedrich Gerstäcker, c. 1850. A wandering artist stumbles into a remote German village, the cursed Germelshausen; doomed to sink beneath the earth for eternity, only to arise for one day in each century. (This is one of my personal favourites in this anthology.) This story has been credited as the inspiration for the musical Brigadoon, though the setting in that case was changed to Scotland.
I am Born (excerpt from David Copperfield) – Charles Dickens, 1850. The title character describes his coming into the world. Irresistable – your next step will be to read the whole novel.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving, 1820. Itinerant schoolmaster Ichabod Crane sets his romantic sights on the lovely Katrina and meets a harsh fate for his folly in aiming too high.
The Age of Miracles – Melville Davisson Post, 1918. Injustice and retribution. A wronged heiress, a sudden death, and a clever onlooker who sorts it all out.
The Long Rifle (excerpt from The Long Rifle, a novel) – Stewart Edward White, 1932. Fictionalized account of the life of the legendary Daniel Boone.
The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe, 1939. A gothic horror tale. Roderick Usher and his sister Madeleine are the last of their family; they fulfill a prophecy which predicts their dramatic demise.
The Voice of Bugle Ann (complete novel) – MacKinlay Kantor, 1935. A very short novella set in contemporary Missouri about an unjust conviction for murder and its surprising resolution. Fox hounds feature strongly. ( )
  leavesandpages | Feb 27, 2013 |
Great collection of stories!! Loved this book! ( )
  hredwards | Jun 1, 2010 |
Costain's historical fiction is one of George R.R. Maritn's inspirations.
  wfzimmerman | May 27, 2009 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Costain, Thomas B.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beecroft, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Beecroft, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Balzac, Honoré deContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chesterton, G. K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
du Maurier, DaphneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gerstacker, FriedrichContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henry, O.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Irving, WashingtonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kantor, MacKinlayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nathan, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poe, Edgar AllanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reusswig, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sawyers, MarthaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wells, H. G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Stories to Remember was published as a two-volume set. Please distinguish between this Volume 1, the separate Volume 2, and the complete set. Thank you.
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