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harrygbutler's Tomes and Trifles in 2017, Part 4

This is a continuation of the topic harrygbutler's Tomes and Trifles in 2017, Part 3.

This topic was continued by harrygbutler's Tomes and Trifles in 2017, Part 5.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Jun 25, 9:47am Top

Back endpapers of Wullie McWattie's Master, by J. J. Bell

Hello, I’m Harry, and this is my second year in the 75 Books Challenge. By training I'm a medievalist, by occupation an editor; my taste in reading runs to Golden Age and earlier mysteries, pulp detective and adventure fiction, Late Antique and medieval literature, and westerns, among others. I also have a fondness for collections of cartoons and comic strips. A fairly recent discovery for me is the appeal of late nineteenth and early twentieth century popular fiction. I usually have a few books going at once.

My wife Erika and I live in eastern Pennsylvania with three cats — Elli, Otto, and Pixie — and a dog, Hildy. Our pets occasionally make an appearance in my thread. My other interests include model railroading, gardening, and birding, so you'll sometimes see something related to them as well.

I try to provide some sort of comment on the books I read, but they aren't really reviews.

My 2017 gardening thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/249983. It is fairly quiet.

Jun 25, 9:14am Top

Books completed in the first quarter of 2017

1. Why Shoot a Butler?, by Georgette Heyer
2. The Exeter Book Riddles, trans. by Kevin Crossley-Holland
3. Bear Island, by Alistair MacLean
4. The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919-966, ed. and trans. by Bernard S. Bachrach and Steven Fanning
5. Murder in Maryland, by Leslie Ford
6. Kate Carnegie, by Ian Maclaren
7. Babylonian Literary Texts in the Schøyen Collection, by A. R. George
8. The Destroying Angel, by Norman Klein
9. Sweet Danger, by Margery Allingham
10. Rudder Grange, by Frank R. Stockton
11. Best Cartoons of the Year 1943, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
12. Norse Romance I: The Tristan Legend, ed. by Marianne E. Karlinke
13. The Footsteps at the Lock, by Ronald A. Knox
14. Proverbs of Ancient Sumer, by Bendt Alster
15. Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard
16. Hägar the Horrible: The Epic Chronicles: The Dailies 1983 to 1984, by Dik Browne
17. The Case Is Closed, by Patricia Wentworth
18. Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, ed. by Milton J. Davis and Charles R. Saunders
19. Ava's New Testament Narratives: "When the Old Law Passed Away", by Ava
20. The Blackout, by Constance and Gwenyth Little
21. Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West, ed. by Alan Thacker and Richard Sharpe
22. Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough, ed. by Julia M.H. Smith
23. Lonesome Road, by Patricia Wentworth
24. Gray Dusk, by Octavus Roy Cohen
25. East of Samarinda, by Carl Jacobi
26. Partners in Crime, by Agatha Christie
27. The Crock of Gold, by James Stephens
28. The Eye in the Museum, by J. J. Connington
29. The Life of Bishop Wilfrid, by Eddius Stephanus
30. League of the Grateful Dead and Other Stories, by Day Keene
31. The Black Stallion Returns, by Walter Farley
32. The History of Leo the Deacon: Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century, by Leo the Deacon
33. Galusha the Magnificent, by Joseph C. Lincoln
34. The Riddle of the Yellow Zuri, by Harry Stephen Keeler
35. The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
36. The Dain Curse, by Dashiell Hammett
37. The Sherlock of Sageland: The Complete Tales of Sheriff Henry, Volume 1, by W. C. Tuttle
38. The Mysterious Mr. Quin, by Agatha Christie

Edited: Jul 5, 7:11am Top

Books completed in the second quarter of 2017

39. Tam O' the Scoots, by Edgar Wallace
40. The Shepherd of Hermas (in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2) (anonymous)
41. Einstein Simplified: Cartoons on Science, by Sidney Harris
42. Santorini, by Alistair MacLean
43. Danger Point, by Patricia Wentworth
44. Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
45. Prince Valiant, Vol. 8: 1951-1952, by Hal Foster
46. The End of Time: A Meditation on the Philosophy of History, by Josef Pieper
47. The Land of Hana: Kings, Chronology, and Scribal Tradition, by Amanda H. Podany
48. The Ghosts’ High Noon, by Carolyn Wells
49. All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
50. Epics of Sumerian Kings: The Matter of Aratta, trans. by Herman Vanstiphout
51. The Mummy Moves, by Mary Gaunt
52. Son of the Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
53. Juliet Dies Twice, by Lange Lewis
54. The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie
55. Punch in the Air: A Cartoon History of Flying, ed. by David Langdon
56. The Chronicle of Ireland, trans. by T. M. Charles-Edwards
57. The Ahhiyawa Texts, by Gary Beckman, Trevor Bryce, and Eric Cline
58. Torchy, by Sewell Ford
59. The Chinese Shawl, by Patricia Wentworth
60. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, trans. by Mark S. Smith, Simon B. Parker, Edward L. Greenstein, Theodore J. Lewis, and David Marcus; ed. by Simon B. Parker
61. The House Opposite, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
62. Gone North, by Charles Alden Seltzer
63. Hittite Myths, by Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.
64. The Lacquer Screen, by Robert van Gulik
65. Epigrammes and The Forest, by Ben Jonson
66. The Island Stallion, by Walter Farley
67. Heart Throbs
68. A Bullet in the Ballet, by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon
69. Partisans, by Alistair MacLean
70. The Ruin of Britain and Other Works, by Gildas
71. Death in the Tunnel, by Miles Burton
72. Sources for the Study of Nisibis, trans. by Adam H. Becker
73. The Bellamy Case, by James Hay, Jr.
74. Joseph Redhorn, by J. J. Bell
75. Mesopotamian Chronicles, by Jean-Jacques Glassner
76. The Holy War Made by King Shaddai upon Diabolus, To Regain the Metropolis of the World, by John Bunyan
77. The Black Stallion and Satan, by Walter Farley
78. The Billiard Room Mystery, by Brian Flynn
79. A Tale of Two Saints: The Martyrdoms and Miracles of Saints Theodore "the Recruit" and "the General", trans. by John Haldon
80. Ted Key’s Phyllis, by Ted Key
81. The Fifth Latchkey, by Natalie Sumner Lincoln
82. The Loudwater Mystery, by Edgar Jepson
83. Blind Date with Death, by Cornell Woolrich
84. Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "The Ghost Sheriff of Last Gasp", by Carl Barks
85. Grubstake Gold, by James B. Hendryx
86. Murder in Room 700, by Mary Hastings Bradley
87. Seeds of Murder, by Van Wyck Mason
88. The Spy Paramount, by E. Phillips Oppenheim
89. Wigamur, ed. and trans. by Joseph M. Sullivan
90. The Good Humor Book, ed. by Robert Rango

Edited: Aug 9, 9:00am Top

Books completed in the third quarter of 2017

91. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer, ed. by Yoram Cohen, Amir Gilan, and Jared L. Miller
92. The Corpse on the Bridge, by Charles Barry
93. Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, by Annick Payne
94. Leave It to Psmith, by P. G. Wodehouse
95. Tumblin' Creek Tales, by Richard M. "Pek" Gunn
96. The Merrivale Mystery, by James Corbett
97. The Blood Bay Colt, by Walter Farley
98. Wolfville Folks, by Alfred Henry Lewis
99. The Black Cap, ed. by Cynthia Asquith
100. Deathblow Hill, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
101. Oh, Money! Money!, by Eleanor H. Porter
102. Nuzi Texts and Their Uses as Historical Evidence, by Maynard Paul Maidman
103. Legacy of Death, by R. A. J. Walling
104. The Satan Bug, by Alistair MacLean
105. No. 17, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
106. The Student Body: Great Cartoons from the Kappan, ed. by Carol Bucheri
107. The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period, by Robert K. Ritner
108. The Case of the Black Twenty-Two, by Brian Flynn
109. The Poems of Blathmac, Son of Cú Brettan, Together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a Poem on the Virgin Mary, ed. by James Carney
110. Finger-Prints Never Lie!, by John G. Brandon
111. Four Corners, Volume 1, by Theodore Roscoe

Jun 25, 9:20am Top

Next one's yours!

Jun 25, 9:38am Top

Happy new thread, Harry!

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Jun 25, 9:43am Top

Happy new thread, Harry!

Jun 25, 9:47am Top

>6 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I hope you have a great Sunday, too!

>7 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia! Thank you!

Jun 25, 11:51am Top

Halloo neighbor. (We're in the nw corner of Lehigh County.) Your reading spectrum is something to emulate, I think. Comics to vintage mysteries.

Jun 25, 12:13pm Top

Found and starred!

Jun 25, 2:18pm Top

>9 weird_O: Hi, Bill! Thanks for visiting! We get up to Allentown and environs from time to time (as well as Bethlehem and Easton) for book sales (such as that at the Bethlehem library), antiques shopping (at the Weil Antique Center on Lehigh Street, for example), model railroad events (chiefly the big ones at the fairground), plays (at the Penna. Shakespeare Festival especially, but we've been to one at Muhlenberg as well), and the like. Maybe we'll get a chance for a meet-up sometime.

Jun 25, 2:19pm Top

>10 fuzzi: Hey, thanks for stopping by! Have you gotten started on Gone North yet?

I'll not be getting to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm this month, but I'd be up for a shared in July or August, if you're interested.

Jun 25, 5:40pm Top

Happy new thread, Harry!

Jun 25, 8:05pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 25, 8:46pm Top

>13 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

>14 drneutron: Thank you, Jim!

Jun 26, 8:04am Top

An anecdote from a collection of humorous prose and cartoons I'm reading, The Good Humor Book:

A visitor to Mark Twain's home commented upon the abundance of books, and the rather limited accommodations for them.

"Yes," agreed Mark, a bit wistfully, "yes, but it's so difficult to get friends to loan you shelves."

Jun 26, 8:30am Top

Hi, Harry! I'm so far behind in reading threads, that I've only just now got caught up with your last one, and here you are with a brand new one! I enjoyed your thoughts on Heart Throbs, and it reminded me that I hadn't yet cataloged my copies, now duly corrected. Unlike you, I shan't trouble to read completely through them, but I've enjoyed dipping into them now and again over the years.

Edited: Jun 26, 8:50am Top

>17 countrylife: Hi, Cindy! Thanks for visiting! I was surprised by how quickly that last thread sped by.

I think your approach to Heart Throbs is wiser; it definitely benefits from being read in small chunks with time between them. I don't know when I'll give More Heart Throbs a try. When I do, I may spread the reading out even further, if I even attempt to read it cover to cover.

I still need to finish Lysbeth; I set it aside and just haven't gotten back to it yet.

Jun 26, 9:58am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Monday to you.

Jun 26, 10:40am Top

>19 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! Thanks for dropping by today.

Jun 27, 7:01am Top

88. The Spy Paramount, by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Martin Fawley, a former member of the American Secret Service, is hired by General Bersati, head of Italy’s espionage efforts. While accepting the position, Fawley thwarts an attempt to kill Bersati and meets the would-be assassin, Princess Elida di Rezco di Vasena. Over the course of the action these two will meet again and again, as Fawley travels first to Monte Carlo to spy out a new French military installation, then to Germany to learn about the groups contending for control of the German government. Then Fawley suddenly goes to England, which was not part of his mission. Why? What deeper purpose does he have?

This is a fast-paced tale of international intrigue, first published in 1934. The scene of action frequently jumps, and much happens between chapters. I often didn’t know just what was going on, and some stretches were implausible, but it was a fun enough ride. Mildly recommended.

First sentence: “Martin Fawley glanced irritably at the man stretched flat in the chair he coveted — the man whose cheeks were partly concealed by lather, and whose mass of dark hair was wildly disarranged.”

Jun 27, 7:03am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy New Thread! No bird reports but our weather has been gorgeous. Mild daytime temps and cool nights. Perfect.

I hope your week is off to a good start.

Jun 27, 7:07am Top

>22 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It has been quiet on the bird front here, too, with similar nice weather.

Jun 27, 7:31am Top

Hi Harry! All quiet on the eastern bird front here, too..... just the usual suspects (Titmice, Cardinals, and Cowbirds).

Happy Tuesday to you.

Jun 27, 8:35am Top

>24 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! On the plus side, we had rain overnight, so I suspect the garden will be happy. I wouldn't be surprised to find that some of the beans grew another couple inches.

Jun 27, 9:55am Top

89. Wigamur, ed. and trans. by Joseph M. Sullivan

Wigamur is a fairly obscure medieval German Arthurian romance of the “Fair Unknown” type. The title character, the son of King Paltriot, is abducted as a child by a mermaid who raises him with the intent of marrying him to one of her daughters. Another sea creature she captures, however, escapes, slaughters her daughters, and takes Wigamur with him to raise him further. Eventually, Wigamur leaves this guardian and goes out on his own, eventually learning the ways of knighthood and showing himself an able fighter. His concern for his ancestry, however, precludes him from accepting the kingdoms he wins by his prowess, but then Providence offers him an opportunity to intervene in a conflict where one party is his unknown father.

The translation is accurate but rather prosaic, but the late Middle High German (the most complete surviving manuscript of this thirteenth-century poem is from late in the fifteenth century) is fairly simple and often easy to sample using the translation as a crib. Mildly recommended.

First lines:
Wir lesen in den půchen,
der es kan dar in sůchen,
manig selczam mere
wie das ain künig wäre
der was Paltriot genantt.

We who are able to peruse within them
read in books
many remarkable stories
about how there was a king
who was named Paltriot.

Jun 27, 8:09pm Top

>12 harrygbutler: I used to own a copy of that. It was one of those with a nicely illustrated cover where the color went all around the book -- kind of a matte type of finish to it -- that was popular for a few years.

Jun 27, 8:17pm Top

>27 thornton37814: Hi, Lori! I've never read it, but I've liked the other books by Kate Douglas Wiggin that I have read.

Edited: Jun 27, 8:40pm Top

>12 harrygbutler: hey! No, I've not started Gone North yet. I came down with a virus that's making the rounds, and was too sick to even read this weekend. I don't think I'll get it started before July, but we'll see.

I'm always up for shared reads of Walter Farley and Alistair MacLean books!

Jun 28, 7:31am Top

>29 fuzzi: I hope you're feeling better now!

I'd be up for another MacLean in July — do you have one you'd particularly like to tackle next? And of course The Blood Bay Colt is on the schedule for next month sometime.

Jun 28, 9:03am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Wednesday to you. Are the lima beans taking over yet?

Jun 28, 5:25pm Top

>31 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! The beans are certainly growing, and getting rather tall at that. If we continue to alternate some rain with some sun, they should really flourish.

Edited: Jun 29, 9:47am Top

Hi, Harry! Late check in, but I made it. Hope you had a good one. We had rain off and on today, but the temps continue to be mild.

Jun 29, 5:59am Top

>33 msf59: Another fairly laggardly visitor Harry as I was on my post Ramadhan travels.

Happy new thread mate.

Jun 29, 8:19am Top

>33 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It was a good one. No rain here yesterday, but mild temperatures as well.

>34 PaulCranswick: Thanks for dropping in, Paul!

Jun 29, 8:30am Top

After learning last week, thanks to Yankee magazine, that there is a cake called tomato soup cake, yesterday I made it for the first time. It is a spice cake that incorporates a can of condensed tomato soup for moistness, though you do not taste the tomato in the final product. Both Erika and I liked it; I don't know that I'll make it very often, but it is good to add another dessert option.

The part that was most fun in the making was adding baking soda to the tomato soup and watching the chemical reaction between the soda and the acid.

The finished product, with a cream cheese frosting:

The recipe: https://newengland.com/today/food/desserts/cakes-frostings/homemade-tomato-soup-cake/

Jun 29, 9:47am Top

That looks yummy, Harry! Good for you.

Edited: Jun 29, 9:48am Top

Morning, Harry! Sweet Thursday. Cloudy today, with more rain in the forecast but since most of my day will be indoors, I am totally fine with that. Have a good one, yourself.

>36 harrygbutler: Ooh, the cake looks tasty!

Jun 30, 9:10am Top

>37 karenmarie: >38 msf59: It was quite tasty. I've filed the recipe for future use. Today I'll be picking raspberries at some point. If there are enough, maybe I'll make something with them, but most likely we'll just snack on them fresh.

Jul 1, 7:07am Top

Oh my. Fresh homegrown raspberries. You da man.

Happy Saturday to you, Harry!

Jul 1, 7:52am Top

>40 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! We have red raspberries, black raspberries (new this year, so a very tiny crop), blackberries, and boysenberries, as well as strawberries and a couple varieties of grapes, planted mostly around/near the edges of our yard. Our plan is to gradually expand the black raspberry area if they do well enough for us. It's great to be able to walk out into the yard and grab a handful of berries to eat.

Jul 1, 5:42pm Top

We spent the day visiting antique malls in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, about 90 minutes away. We didn't come back with too much, but I did find a few books:

The Furthest Fury, by Carolyn Wells (a Fleming Stone detective story from 1924)
Swords of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (#8 in the Barsoom series, which I'm aiming to reread)
The Monster Men, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (a stand-alone novel first published in 1913)
The Blood Bay Colt, by Walter Farley

I'm particularly happy to have found The Blood Bay Colt, as that is the Black Stallion series book for for a shared read this month.

Jul 1, 7:16pm Top

>41 harrygbutler: the raspberries won't need your help in expanding...

>42 harrygbutler: woo! You got a copy of The Blood Bay Colt. I think I might pick that up tonight.

What Alistair MacLean do you want to read this month? I'm trying to get my ROOT books read this year, so one of those would be best:

The Satan Bug

Oh, and my internet service is in and out, so if you don't see me, I'll post as soon as I can get enough signal to do so.

Edited: Jul 1, 7:24pm Top

>42 harrygbutler:

I've just read The Furthest Fury: I found it one of the stronger Wells books I've read for a while, after several very weak ones - for one thing Stone doesn't solve the mystery within about five minutes of appearing on the scene - although still with all her usual faults (and no Fibsy!).

Jul 1, 7:24pm Top

>43 fuzzi: The raspberries will need help expanding where we want them rather than where they might otherwise choose to grow. :-)

I just posted about MacLean over on your thread. How about The Satan Bug? I'm up for Floodgate if you'd prefer, but I'll have to look around the house a bit for that one.

Jul 1, 7:27pm Top

>44 lyzard: Thanks, Liz! That's good to know. I don't know how soon I'll get to it myself; there are plenty of other books clamoring for attention (including shared reads :-) ). I'll be getting Gil Blas off the shelf and ready to hand to tackle after The Merrivale Mystery.

Jul 1, 7:28pm Top

>45 harrygbutler: true, they'll need some persuasion to grow where YOU want them!

The Satan Bug will be fine, though I think I will read the Farley book first.

Jul 1, 7:30pm Top

>47 fuzzi: That works for me, too. I've got a passel of books going and just got a call today about another ILL book arriving, and those do tend to disrupt some of my reading plans.

Jul 1, 7:36pm Top

>46 harrygbutler:

Yup, that's the plan; although I think I may need to break up Gil Blas with some lighter reading. :)

Jul 2, 6:43am Top

Good morning, Harry! Happy Sunday to you.

>41 harrygbutler: All the lovely fruit. That's wonderful.

We used to visit my great-grandma Chadima when she moved to a small house in Swisher, Iowa after my great-grandfather died and her son took over the big house on the farm. She had blackberry bushes. It was a magical experience for her to give the three city kids a bowl, let us fill it with fresh, sun-warmed blackberries, then bring them in and have a bowl of berries with rich, thick cream.

Jul 2, 9:15am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy Sunday! Hope you are enjoying a fine holiday weekend.

Jul 2, 10:11am Top

>49 lyzard: Oh, I'll certain be reading some other books at the same time, Liz, but that's because I always have multiple books going at once.

Jul 2, 10:19am Top

>50 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! What a great memory!

When we lived where it was possible, we would go out picking blackberries when I was a kid. My mother had grown up doing it. She'd generally make cobbler with what we picked. (She may have made jelly or jam with the harvest once or twice, but I don't remember for sure.) We usually have a cobbler or two when our blackberries come in because we have so many at once. I sometimes make ice cream with one or another of the berries, if there are enough at one time, and I've made shrub as well.

Jul 2, 10:19am Top

>51 msf59: Hi, Mark! It has been a good time so far; I hope the same is true for you as well.

Jul 2, 10:21am Top

My plans for reading in July:

Under way, to be finished:
Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer, ed. by Yoram Cohen , Amir Gilan, and Jared L Miller
Leave It to Psmith, by P. G. Wodehouse
The Corpse on the Bridge, by Charles Barry
Tumblin' Creek Tales: Southern Folklore in Humorous Verse, by Richard M. “Pek” Gunn
Cirsova #4 / Winter 2016

Planned shared reads:
The Blood Bay Colt, by Walter Farley
The Satan Bug, by Alistair MacLean
The Merrivale Mystery, by James Corbett
Gil Blas, by Alain René Le Sage

Planned reads:
Mary-'Gusta, by by Joseph C. Lincoln
All Things Bright and Beautiful, by James Herriott
Legacy of Death, by R. A. J. Walling
Wolfville Folks, by Alfred Henry Lewis
The Black Cap: New Stories of Murder and Mystery, ed. by Cynthia Asquith
The G-String Murders, by Gypsy Rose Lee
Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, by Annick Payne

Tentative reads:
Oh, Money! Money!, by Eleanor H. Porter
German Romance, Volume I: Daniel von dem Blühenden Tal, by Der Stricker
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Deathblow Hill, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Nothing Can Rescue Me, by Elizabeth Daly
Penelope Passes, by Joan Coggin
Miss Silver Intervenes, by Patricia Wentworth (this would be a shared read, but I don’t know if it will happen this month)

Jul 3, 8:29am Top

Hi Harry and happy Monday to you!

Shrub. As in make. ?

You have ambitious reading plans for July, good luck!

Jul 3, 8:43am Top

>56 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I'm not sure I'll get to all the books, but I am anticipating a lull in work, and I usually get more read then, so we'll see.

I think shrub is a delightful summery beverage. It is basically fruit juice, vinegar, and sugar, which is mixed with seltzer or club soda (or something stronger) for serving. I tried it on a visit to Philadelphia's City Tavern restaurant (https://www.citytavern.com) a few years ago and really liked it. The vinegar adds a tang that makes the drink refreshing.

The usual process starting from fruit is to steep the berries, peach slices, or the like in apple cider vinegar for several days, and then strain out the solids, heat the remaining liquid with about the same amount of sugar (adjusted for taste), and bottle. I usually just put what I make into the fridge, where it will last for at least a few months. The shrub gets better as it ages. I add the club soda in the glass when I'm ready to drink some, at about a 1:6 proportion.

I've made it with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, and peaches. The last two weren't particularly successful; the blueberry shrub had no real flavor, and the peach shrub was a bit too cloying -- both worked fine as salad dressings, though.

(Most of the recipes I see online call for combining the sugar and the fruit in the refrigerator to make a syrup and then combining with the vinegar, but I liked the flavor better when I added the sugar after the fruit and vinegar had blended. I have also taken a shortcut and used fruit syrups from the local Polish deli and combined those with vinegar; it isn't quite as good, but it is easier.)

Jul 4, 7:15am Top

Hi Harry and Happy 4th of July to you!

Thanks for the explanation.

Jul 4, 7:53am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy 4th, my friend. I hope a special bird stops by your feeder.

Jul 4, 9:44am Top

Hey Harry! I just finished The Blood Bay Colt, and it's a good one.

Have a great, safe day.

Jul 4, 11:59am Top

>36 harrygbutler: : I've never made the cake, but I keep cans of tomato soup on hand for tomato soup bars. Nice to have a go-to that's quick and easy for unexpected company.

Jul 4, 12:00pm Top

>58 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I hope you have a good holiday!

>59 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I've not seen anything unusual, but I'll be watching.

>60 fuzzi: I guess I better get started, then! :-) Have a great holiday, too!

Jul 4, 12:03pm Top

>61 countrylife: Hi, Cindy! It is handy to have a quick treat available. Have a great Fourth!

Jul 4, 10:16pm Top

Hi, Harry. Here's some virtual banging and booming, hooting and hollering from high atop the Schochary Ridge.

Jul 5, 7:33am Top

>64 weird_O: Thanks, Bill! I hope you had a good Fourth.

Jul 5, 7:33am Top

90. The Good Humor Book, ed. by Robert Rango

Robert Rango, the editor, stakes out a middle ground for The Good Humor Book, published during World War 2: It is neither simply a collection of cartoons, as is, for example, The Best Cartoons of the Year 1943 and its successors, nor is it merely a collection of jokes and humorous text, as, for example, some of the books edited by Bennett Cerf. Instead, this volume offers more than 300 pages filled with both. The prose and verse (frequently limericks) get better treatment, as the small size of many of the cartoon reproductions does them a disservice. It was also striking how few of the cartoons seemed contemporaneous — there are scarcely any that reflect the world at war, in service or on the home front — and how many gave evidence of being a decade or so old when the book was published. Recommended.

Jul 5, 7:42am Top

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Jul 5, 7:42am Top

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Jul 5, 9:01am Top

91. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer, ed. by Yoram Cohen, Amir Gilan, and Jared L. Miller

Pax Hethitica is a good collection of scholarly essays, some quite short, some rather long, on various topics having to do with the Hittites or ancient Anatolia and the Near East. Most of the articles were reasonably engaging, and for me especially those that focused on historical matters. I skipped or skimmed a few not in English. Recommended for those interested in the subject matter.

Jul 6, 6:12am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Thursday to you!

I have a book about the Hittites - The Kingdom of the Hittites by Trevor Bryce - on my shelves. Now that you've reminded me of it via >69 harrygbutler: and with my enduring interest in that region of the world, I may slate it for fall reading.

Jul 6, 10:55am Top

>70 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Trevor Bryce was one of the contributors to this volume. I find the rise of writing and the early civilizations in the Near East fascinating.

Jul 6, 6:00pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Harry! Hope your work week is going well. I am looking forward to some time off. I am meeting up with a fellow LTer, Nancy, on Saturday. She is also a birder and is going to take us on a tour/hike of the Nature Center where she works. This is just north of Milwaukee. Should be a nice time.

Jul 7, 7:51am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Friday to you!

A friend gave me a (late) birthday gift card to Wild Birds Unlimited. There's one about 30 miles from my house (everything's about 30 miles from my house!) so perhaps next week or the week after I'll go on over and have fun.

The House Finches have started eating me out of house and home!

Edited: Jul 7, 8:04am Top

>72 msf59: Hi, Mark! Your Saturday outing sounds like fun. I hope the weather is cooperative. We haven't really attempted any bird walks since the heat moved in, although if the purple gallinule reported from down near Cape May sticks around, we may brave the horrible shore traffic to try to get a sight. We're especially motivated because we missed the one that was hanging around another shore town several years ago.

By Wing-Chi Poon CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Jul 7, 8:10am Top

>73 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! That's about how far it is to the closest Wild Birds Unlimited for us, too. Our best tube feeder came from Wild Birds Unlimited — it is sturdy, and the bottom opens easily to clean out whatever is left in the tube.

The two tube feeders are emptied just about every day right now. I thought the same was going to happen to the suet I put out, because so many starlings targeted it (the cage part intended to keep out large birds and squirrels isn't far enough from the suet cakes, and they can still stick their beaks in and get some). On the plus side, I've started seeing catbirds (maybe just one) visiting the yard and the suet. They're among my favorite birds, so it is nice to have them around.

Jul 7, 8:32am Top

>73 karenmarie: I love WBU, good store. If you plan to shop much there, join the Daily Savers club (I think that's what it's called). I save money on regular and sale items, and get money back from time to time.

>74 harrygbutler: wow, nice shot. I'd love to see one of those in person.

>75 harrygbutler: I, too, love catbirds. The cage will help keep the big birds from demolishing the suet, even if they can get little bits of it in their beaks. Also, I saw a video this morning saying that using plain suet, without peanuts or fruit or seed, will attract woodpeckers and discourage the blackbird types, which do NOT like plain suet. Hmm. Guess I'll be looking for the plain suet when I go to WBU tomorrow (they're having a seed sale!).

Jul 7, 8:50am Top

>76 fuzzi: Good morning! Catbirds are so friendly and chatty that they are cheery visitors.

Thanks for the tip on plain suet; I may give that a try next time. Did the video mention anything about, say, nuthatches?

I wish I could take credit, but I found that photo on Wikipedia. I've not seen a purple gallinule in person yet.

Jul 7, 9:05am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy Friday. Thanks for the bird report and the purple gallinule is beautiful.

The sparrows are really pounding away at my main feeder too. More than the winter months. Strange...

Jul 7, 9:09am Top

>78 msf59: Hi, Mark! I think it is all the children from the nests that have augmented the sparrow populations and beset the feeders. It certainly seems true of the starlings as well.

Edited: Jul 7, 11:02am Top

>77 harrygbutler: I think nuthatches would love it, they're big suet eaters.

Chickadees and titmice love it, too, and I have Carolina wrens who also eat the suet cakes.

Jul 7, 11:47am Top

>80 fuzzi: I don't think we've ever tried plain suet. We used to use only a hot pepper suet to keep the squirrels from eating it, but that hasn't been an issue with our newest suet feeders.

Jul 7, 6:26pm Top

>36 harrygbutler: - Oh, yummy cake and a fun chemical reaction to witness.... sounds like a fun cake to make!

>57 harrygbutler: - I did not know what shrub was before visiting your thread. Very interesting! I have developed a taste this summer for fruit sour beers. One of the local craft breweries has a lovely raspberry and lemon sour beer. Based on your explanation of shrub, I think I would like it.

Jul 7, 7:08pm Top

>82 lkernagh: Hi, Lori! Thanks for stopping by!

Shrub does have a tartness — and you can vary the amount of sugar to suit your personal taste when making it. I find it a great drink after outdoor chores such as weeding or mowing the lawn.

I've also occasionally just made myself a glass of vinegar punch — vinegar, sugar to taste, water, and a bit of baking soda for effervescence. The recipe I use (at a single-glass level) is quite similar to this one (which omits the baking soda): https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/drink/punch/vinegar-punch.html

The raspberry and lemon beer sounds worth a try!

Jul 10, 8:31am Top

Morning, Harry! Did you mention that you were going on a bird outing this past weekend? If so, how did it go?

I hope your work week is off to a good start.

Jul 10, 8:57am Top

>84 msf59: Thanks, Mark! No birding this past weekend; we were tempted by reports of a purple gallinule down at the Jersey Shore, but ended up doing other things (gardening, a book sale) instead.

Edited: Jul 10, 11:03am Top

92. The Corpse on the Bridge, by Charles Barry

When a body is found on a bridge in London clad only in strange undergarments, Scotland Yard is faced with at least two questions: who was the man, and how did his body get to the spot on the bridge without being seen by the constable on patrol there?* Separately, Chief Detective Inspector Laurence Gilmartin is asked by his superior to visit a Benedictine monastery whose abbot is concerned by the disappearance of two lay brothers. The two investigations soon intertwine, and it becomes clear that the monastery and particularly visiting monk Father Baumgartner, a noted inventor, are the targets of a criminal gang intent on securing plans for a radio improvement. Further disappearances and attacks complicate matters even more as Gilmartin endeavors to untangle the plot and lay hands upon the culprits — without drawing down undesirable notoriety for the monastery.

The Corpse on the Bridge is a modest mystery with an unusual setting and a sympathetic portrayal of the monks at the center of the story. Some parts of the writing are dated, but I found it enjoyable overall. Recommended.

First sentence: “As the District Railway train entered Westminster Station Chief Detective Inspector Laurence Gilmartin got up and handed the penny morning paper he had been reading to his neighbor, a costermonger whom he had noticed making efforts to read it over his shoulder.”

*The author credits “a boy member of The Old Northeyites’ Club” for the solution to placing the body without discovery.

Jul 10, 6:02pm Top

>86 harrygbutler:

Another series On The List but not yet started. The books are tricky to find - where did you score that one?

Jul 10, 7:37pm Top

>87 lyzard: Hi, Liz! I picked it up at a now-defunct (well, online-only) local bookstore about 4 years ago. My copy is part of the Scotland Yard Mystery Library. It's the only one of the series that I have, but I'd certainly be willing to read more.

Jul 11, 8:47am Top

93. Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, by Annick Payne

In the polyglot environment of the Bronze Age Hittite Empire and its Iron Age Neo-Hittite successor states, most writing, whether in Akkadian, Hittite, Hurrian, or Ugaritic, used the cuneiform that had originated in Sumer, though an alphabetic script began to emerge late in the second millennium B.C. Somewhat earlier, inscriptions began to appear in a hieroglyphic script, perhaps inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphs, in the Luwian language, an Indo-European tongue closely related to Hittite.

This volume contains translations of some of the Iron Age inscriptions, chiefly from monuments set up by kings and other rulers of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms such as Carchemish and Hama, though there are a few surviving business letters that were written on lead strips using hieroglyphs. Many of the inscriptions are difficult to fit into a connected history of the region, but they do shed light on developments after the fall of the Hittite Empire. Mildly recommended.

First sentence of introduction: “In 1812 the first hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions came to the notice of a modern-day traveler and orientalist, the Swiss Johann Ludwig Burckhardt — more than two and a half thousand years after they were executed.”

Jul 11, 7:21pm Top

Hi Harry! I was so busy getting ready for book club at my house, hosting book club, then recovering from book club that I've been remiss in visiting threads.

I had to buy another 50 pounds of sunflower seed today. I filled up my new front porch feeder again and there are a male and female house finch having dinner.

>76 fuzzi: Good to know, fuzzi.

Jul 12, 9:17am Top

>93 Looks interesting. I had read, in the past, a little about the deciphering of Hittite and the insights this gave us into Indo-European languages. I think Guy Deutsche mentions it in The Unfolding of Language, but I was not particularly aware of Luwian, even though it does seem to have supplanted Hittite.

Jul 12, 1:19pm Top

>90 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Yes, there's a good deal of eating going on at our feeders, too. I'm glad the next-door neighbors also have feeders up, as then I don't feel quite so guilty if I don't get ours refilled immediately.

Jul 12, 1:19pm Top

>91 sirfurboy: Thanks for stopping by! I'm not sure just how much survives, but I gather that the total corpus of Luwian, including Luwian in cuneiform, is fairly small. I gather it was a regional language that existed side-by-side with Hittite for at least part of the imperial period, and maybe later — my knowledge of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms is definitely scanter.

Edited: Jul 21, 9:28am Top

95. Tumblin' Creek Tales, by Pek Gunn

Tumblin’ Creek Tales is a pleasant little collection of poems and hymns written by a one-time poet laureate of Tennessee. Highlights were the humorous bits of nostalgia. Mildly recommended, and likely to be of greater interest to Tennesseeans.

Jul 13, 6:01am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Thursday to you.

Jul 13, 6:52am Top

>95 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Thanks for dropping in! It's going to be another hot one, but rain is due late in the day to bring some needed water. I saw a downy woodpecker at one of the suet feeders yesterday for the first time in ages.

Jul 13, 7:03am Top

>96 harrygbutler: how exciting! Boy or girl?

I'm reading a book that I think you would enjoy: Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language. It's not a religious book, but a study of how certain expressions we use can be directly traced back to the KJB. I like how the author points out when what expressions we think might have come from the Bible actually did not. I'm not finished reading it, but it's a keeper for me. I love books about our language, like The Story of English.

Edited: Jul 13, 7:08am Top

>97 fuzzi: Good morning! I'm pretty sure it was the female I've seen visiting before. I didn't get a great view before it flew off, but I didn't see a flash of red around the head.

Thanks for the book recommendation, too! I went through a phase where I read a lot of that sort of thing, and we have some of those sorts of books around, but I hadn't heard of this one.

By the way, I've finished The Blood Bay Colt. Very good! I'll get my little mini-review up soon — maybe this weekend.

Edited: Jul 13, 7:54am Top

Morning, Harry! Sweet Thursday. I am not getting outdoors as much as I would have liked, this vacation, but I hope to do some hiking in WI this weekend. I am wrapping up The Warbler Road. You might enjoy this one. All about the birds and beautifully written too. You should see if you can find a copy.

Jul 13, 8:06am Top

>99 msf59: Good morning, Mark! Thanks for the recommendation; it does seem worth a look.

Jul 13, 6:56pm Top

>94 harrygbutler: I can't believe neither the university library in which I work in Tennessee nor my public library (nor the one in the town in which I work) owns a copy. However, I do have a Knox County library card, and they have a copy. I'll add it to my Knox County list.

Jul 13, 7:08pm Top

>101 thornton37814: Hi, Lori! He wrote at least one more book (I know, because I got that one at the same time: Keep on Laughing). I hope you like it when you get to it.

Edited: Jul 21, 9:29am Top

96. The Merrivale Mystery, by James Corbett

When Sir Philip Merrivale is found murdered in the library of Merrivale Hall, Scotland Yard swiftly calls in Serge, the famous detective, whose “super-intelligence” they rely upon to solve the mystery. Serge heads for the house, accompanied by young novelist Ralph Moreton, who eagerly agrees to serve as Serge’s secretary so that he can get firsthand experience of a murder investigation. The denizens of Merrivale Hall, members of the family, are an unpleasant bunch, who all hate each other. Lady Merrivale even hated her husband, and, as she was the first on the scene after the murder, she is viewed with deep suspicion by Scotland Yard’s Inspector Bancroft — though his perspicacity can be evaluated from the chapter titles “Bancroft Blunders!” and “What Bancroft Forgot!” Serge, who is immediately drawn to Lady Merrivale, willy-nilly, gradually evolves a theory of the crime and its successors (for a doom seems to hang over the inhabitants of the hall), while keeping both Bancroft and Moreton largely in the dark.

The Merrivale Mystery is author James Corbett’s first novel, and in keeping with the general tenor of Mystery League publications, it really is pretty awful — but fortunately so oddly written that it has a certain “so bad it’s good” charm. The author struck me as earnest but incompetent, piling infelicitous description upon infelicitous description, offering one jarring and ill-explained plot development after another. Corbett apparently wrote many other mysteries; I certainly hope he improved. I can’t really recommend this, but its goofiness might have some appeal.

First sentence: “‘Sir Philip Merrivale was murdered last night, and the tragedy took place at Merrivale Hall, Dunseaton, a town five miles outside Reading!’ Those were the words that came over the telephone.”

Jul 14, 8:26am Top

Finally a hummingbird sighting at our feeder. Just one, yesterday morning, and the lighting made it impossible for me to tell whether it was a male or female, but now I can be sure that the feeder isn't just feeding wasps!

Jul 14, 8:32am Top

^Hooray for the first hummingbird sighting, Harry. May this just be the beginning.

Happy Friday, my friend.

Jul 14, 8:48am Top

>105 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Have a good Friday, too!

Jul 14, 5:10pm Top

>103 harrygbutler:


My impression is that he was picking words out of the thesaurus without understanding their shades of meaning. He's just slightly "off" all the way through.

And that's just his writing; as for his plotting...

Astonishing to think he published another forty novels, isn't it?? I hope I don't need to ask you to keep an eye open when you're book-browsing! About half a dozen more of his books are available here through the library system, but that's it, alas; his second, The Winterton Hotel Mystery, seems to have pretty much vanished.

Edited: Jul 15, 12:09pm Top

>107 lyzard: I kept thinking "This was written by a twelve-year-old" — it just all seemed so callow.

I'm actually curious whether he improved, so if I stumble across any I'll likely get them. :-)


I think "without understanding their shades of meaning" doesn't quite capture it, though the error in this passage accidentally renders it rather accurate:

"The men saluted in the darkness and stole away with furtive tread. They knew the anticlimax [sic!] was at hand, and their satisfaction was unbounded."

Jul 14, 6:32pm Top

Yes, that's a beauty, isn't it??

I'm thinking of the way, for example, he uses "cranium" to mean "brain", not seeming to realise it means "skull".

You have to wonder where Corbett's editor was, or if The Mystery League even bothered to employ one. Or maybe they employed a brilliant one who realised that, stripped of its linguistic idiosyncrasies, The Merrivale Mystery would simply be The Worst Novel Of All Time. :D

Jul 14, 7:01pm Top

>104 harrygbutler: woo! Happiness is a hummingbird at the feeder!

Jul 14, 7:38pm Top

>103 harrygbutler: I've lived in or very close by Reading all my life, and I can assure you there is NOT a town called Dunseaton anywhere in the Reading area!

Jul 14, 8:28pm Top

>110 fuzzi: Indeed!

>111 weird_O: Well, this was set near Reading, England, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dunseaton were fictitious even so. Stick around, though, Bill — my next read had important scenes at the Reading Fair. :-)

Jul 15, 7:59am Top

Hi Harry and happy Saturday to you.

Congrats on the hummingbird sighting. They're wondrous little creatures.

The Merrivale Mystery sounds ghastly. I'm happy to not consider it a book bullet.

Jul 15, 12:12pm Top

>113 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! The Merrivale Mystery is not at all good, but it was a book I could finish by approaching it in the right frame of mind. I can't imagine that I'll ever reread it, though.

Jul 17, 3:16am Top

Hi Harry! Early, insomnia-induced wishes for a great Monday.

Jul 17, 8:27am Top

>115 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Sorry to hear about the insomnia; I hope you were able to get in some good reading if you weren't able to sleep.

Jul 17, 8:30am Top

Much good reading got done, for sure! I'm in a frivolous book reading phase right now. It is a lot of fun.

Jul 17, 9:04am Top

>117 karenmarie: I can understand that. I find that I usually have both lighthearted and serious books going at the same time, but the focus certainly can vary from day to day. Yesterday I zipped right through one of the entertaining Asey Mayo Cape Cod mysteries, Deathblow Hill, and got about a third of the way through Oh, Money! Money!, about a millionaire who gives each of three cousins some money and watches incognito to see how they handle it, to determine who should inherit his fortune, though I believe lessons will be learned by all and sundry. That one is by Eleanor H. Porter, author of Pollyanna.

Jul 18, 6:59am Top

Morning, Harry! Back to the grind for me but I did have a great vacation. I hope your week is off to a good start.

I did see several eastern bluebirds on my walk yesterday.

Jul 18, 7:23am Top

>119 msf59: Hi, Mark! I'm glad you enjoyed your time off, and congrats on the bluebirds!

Edited: Jul 21, 9:29am Top

97. The Blood Bay Colt, by Walter Farley

Young Tom Messenger is fascinated by harness racing. He has been helping veteran Jimmy Creech and his assistant George Snedecker, in limited ways as they get ready for the county fair racing season. He is thrilled, but also a little scared, when Jimmy lets him take care of the mare, Queen, who is soon to foal, and of her offspring, sired by the Black Stallion. The novel follows the development and training of the colt, Bonfire, against a backdrop of change in the sport, as it moves from its traditional home at county fairs into tracks offering night racing nearer to cities.

The Blood Bay Colt is probably the best of the Black Stallion series so far, with compelling and sympathetic characters facing difficult choices and overcoming real hardships while endeavoring to act as they should and learning from their mistakes. An added bonus for me was that much of the action took place at rural fairs in Pennsylvania, including at Reading, not too far from where I live. Perhaps a sign of the effectiveness of the book is that it made me want to go to see harness racing, particularly in a fair setting ( (though harness racing is no longer a feature of the Reading Fair, it does still feature at some fairs in western Pa., and in Ohio); the earlier books had not inspired a similar desire to go see thoroughbred racing. Recommended!

First sentence: "Although the early June morning was unusually cool and the sky overcast, the boy's body perspired freely beneath his thin sweater."

Jul 18, 10:15am Top

>121 harrygbutler: I liked The blood bay colt better than some other books in the series, Harry, my favourite remains the first book :-)

Jul 18, 10:27am Top

Not surprising that Walter Farley set a story in Pennsylvania. He lived in Earlville, Berks County, just outside of Boyertown.

Jul 18, 10:42am Top

>122 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! I don't know that The Blood Bay Colt would be my favorite (that might be the first or second book), but I thought it was a very strong entry in the series.

>123 weird_O: Hi, Bill! I knew he had lived in Pennsylvania, but I didn't know where.

Jul 18, 12:51pm Top

>121 harrygbutler: nice review. I also liked this entry in the series, very much.

Jul 19, 8:05am Top

Good morning, Harry, and wishing you a fine Wednesday!

Jul 19, 8:53am Top

>125 fuzzi: Thank you! Will you be up for The Island Stallion's Fury next month? I glanced at my copy and found the map I remembered was there, and not in The Island Stallion — but with less detail than I had remembered.

>126 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! It will be a scorcher, so I doubt I'll do much outside. Our blackberries are starting to ripen, so I may do a little harvesting.

Edited: Jul 21, 9:29am Top

98. Wolfville Folks, by Alfred Henry Lewis

A few years ago I stumbled across Alfred Henry Lewis’s humorous stories about the denizens of Wolfville, Arizona. Most of them were pretty funny, with some of the humor in the antics of the locals — Enright, Doc Peets, Cherokee Hall, Faro Nell, and more — and the visitors to the rough-and-tumble town and some in the narration by the Old Cattleman. I quickly snapped up the first three collections of the stories, Wolfville, Wolfville Days, and Wolfville Nights. Further stories had eluded me, however, until recently, when I got Wolfville Folks. It was a pleasure to revisit the town and its characters, in stories about romance, the reuniting of husband and wife, Faro Nell’s foiling of a con man, how the Off-Wheeler got religion and held a revival in Wolfville, Doc Peets’ inheritance, a haunting, the humbling of a practical joker, the clever salting of a mine, the befuddling of a phrenologist, and the thwarting of an embezzler. Recommended.

First sentence: “‘Which I’ve told you,’ observed the Old Cattleman, puffing at his briar pipe—‘which I’ve already told you Missis Rucker goes on surroundin’ old Rucker with connoobial joy to sech a degree that, one mornin’ when her wifely back is turned, he ups an’ stampedes off into the hills, an’ takes refutch with the Apaches. But I never relates how he gets aroused to his dooty as a husband, an’ returns. That mir’cle comes to pass in this wise.’”

Edited: Jul 21, 9:29am Top

99. The Black Cap, ed. by Cynthia Asquith

What a disappointment! Mystery didn’t have much place in this anthology published in the late 1920s. And though several of the stories were well written (for example, Somerset Maugham’s contribution), they tended to be rather bleak, and most lacked charm. For example, Oliver Onions’ “The Smile of Karen” was unpleasant, as was D. H. Lawrence’s “The Lovely Lady.” My favorite of the bunch was Edgar Wallace’s “Circumstantial Evidence,” a cautionary tale that was told with his usual vigor, but it wasn’t enough to salvage the book as a whole. I think I'll be looking to get rid of my copy, and I'm inclined to avoid the other anthologies edited by Lady Asquith in the future. Not recommended.

Jul 19, 12:45pm Top

>127 harrygbutler: I'll have to get it from the public library, that's one I don't own, but yes, August is fine.

I've got about 100 pages left in The Angry Tide, so I'll be ready for The Satan Bug either tomorrow or Friday, how will that work for you?

It's hot here, too. The heat index was about 120F over the weekend, and is probably going to return to that setting for this weekend. No yard work planned due to the heat, just minimal stuff early in the morning (5:30am-ish).

Jul 19, 1:01pm Top

>130 fuzzi: Sure, either day is fine. Friday is probably a bit better.

I did do some weeding between the strawberries and the lima beans for a few minutes. I don't mind the heat too much, but I only work out in it in short spurts these days. I was able to snag a couple strawberries as a reward. I'm very glad many (all?) of our strawberries are ever-bearing, as I get some all summer long, though at the moment not enough to do anything other than snack. I'll be filling the area where the beans are now wth more strawberries this fall, so next year I may be able to have big harvests from time to time.

Edited: Jul 19, 8:09pm Top

So anyway---

Assuming I haven't strangled your interest in this project at the outset, and I'm pretty sure I have with Julia, where do you stand with regard to a copy of The House Of Terror?

Jul 19, 8:57pm Top

>132 lyzard: Oh, I'm still up for the rest! However, I read The House of Terror last May, and though I didn't hate it — I rated it "readable" in my review :-) — I didn't love it so much I need to read it again so soon. So I think I'll skip that one and pick up when we get to one I haven't read.

Jul 19, 9:17pm Top

Brave man! :)

Okay, that's understandable. I need to get my copy via ILL so I just wanted to check any timing issues.

Jul 19, 9:21pm Top

>131 harrygbutler: Friday it is!

Please, DON'T overdo in this heat. I've had heat exhaustion several times, and it's bad enough.

Jul 19, 10:47pm Top

>134 lyzard: Well, I've got most of them, and I'll read those I haven't read yet sooner or later, so it might as well be part of a reading project instead of haphazard. :-)

Jul 19, 10:49pm Top

>135 fuzzi: OK, set for Friday!

No worries on that score. I've had heat exhaustion once and have had to be more careful with the heat since.

Edited: Jul 21, 9:29am Top

100. Deathblow Hill, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

After the disappointment of The Black Cap, I turned to Phoebe Atwood Taylor’s Asey Mayo series for relief on the mystery front. Deathblow Hill proved fairly entertaining, but not one of the stronger entries in the series, even though I didn’t guess the culprit until the identity was revealed.

Two branches of the Howes family occupy a divided hill, with the missing wealth of old Bellamy Howes at the root of the trouble. Suzanne Howes, widow of Bellamy’s adopted son, and her rather lackadaisical son live on one side of the chain-link fence, while Bellamy’s daughter Abby and her husband Simon live on the other, constantly peering at the doings at Suzanne’s place. Suzanne takes in summer boarders, and it is in the wake of the arrival of her first two that murder happens. A somewhat shady tycoon is found strangled in the kitchen. Why was he there in the middle of the night? Who let him in? And who killed him? Clues point in many directions, and Asey threads his way through the tangle with skill. Recommended.

First sentence: “It was the hour when Suzanne Howes most enjoyed the hill and the surrounding Cape scenery, the hour when the sun began to dip beyond Weesit Harbor and the blue rim of Cape Cod Bay, when salt marshes took on a golden haze, and the sea gulls swooped in ever widening circles toward the ocean side and the crashing Atlantic breakers.”

Jul 20, 6:56am Top

Morning Harry! Sweet Thursday! Nothing to report on the bird front. With our current heat & humidity, the birds must be roosting in a cool place.

I hope your week is going well.

Jul 20, 7:20am Top

>139 msf59: Hi, Mark! Nothing too exciting here, either, but I am getting to watch the catbird feeding on our blackberries.

Jul 20, 7:24am Top

Hi Harry!

>129 harrygbutler: I'm sorry that it was such a disappointment. I have The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories in 10 volumes published in 1929 that I keep meaning to open up and actually read, but so far haven't. I just pulled the first volume and haven't heard of a single author (Rohlfs, Fletcher, Kummer, Rees, Barton).

Nice reward, a few strawberries for weeding, and perhaps a blackberry harvest.

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday.

Jul 20, 7:36am Top

>141 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! It's another hot one here, so I probably won't do much outdoors, but I got a notice from the library that another ILL request is in, so I'll be heading over there. I need to write up my mini-review of the ILL book I have in hand, so that I can return it on the same trip.

Jul 23, 10:36am Top

Happy Sunday, Harry. It is nice not to have to stroll around in the heat & humidity today, although I really should cut the grass. Sighs...

I hope you are having a nice and relaxing weekend.

Jul 23, 10:50am Top

>143 msf59: Hi, Mark! I can understand that. I'm finally tackling mowing our back yard, as I had skipped it in the heat. The heat has moderated a bit, though it is still humid, and heavy rain yesterday means the grass is fairly waterlogged, but I didn't want to defer it any longer.

Yesterday was pretty relaxed — a little work (I have more today) and then mostly devoted to reading.

Jul 23, 11:29am Top

I inadvertently skipped one of the books I read recently. Here 'tis.

94. Leave It to Psmith, by P. G. Wodehouse

P. G. Wodehouse’s unflappable character Psmith, a fixture of the early Mike stories and star of a couple of his own, heads to Blandings Castle in the guise of Canadian poet Ralston McTodd, who was due to visit but had stormed off after losing patience with Lord Emsworth. Psmith assumes the guise chiefly to get better acquainted with Eve Halliday, to whom he had leant someone else’s umbrella, and who has just taken the job of cataloging the Blandings library. Fortuitously it also puts him in the way of doing a job on Freddie Threepwood’s behalf, staging a fake jewel robbery to enable Freddie’s uncle, Joe Keeble, to secure some funds to help out his stepdaughter Phyllis and her husband Mike (Psmith’s old friend), despite his wife Constance’s objections to aiding the young couple. Complications ensue, as Eve finds herself drawn to the fake McTodd, despite believing him married to an old school friend, and others have their eyes on the jewelry as well. A delightful romp. Recommended.

First sentence: “At the open window of the great library of Blandings Castle, drooping like a wet sock, as was his habit when he had nothing to prop his spine against, the Earl of Emsworth, that amiable and boneheaded peer, stood gazing out over his domain.”

Jul 24, 8:59am Top

Last week, for my birthday, inter alia I received a few books:

No. 17, by J. Jefferson Farjeon (the first Ben the tramp mystery, the novelization of the play; I've already started this one)

Finger-Prints Never Lie!, by John G. Brandon (one of the Detective-Inspector McCarthy series; I've read two others, which I enjoyed)

Four Corners, Volume 1, by Theodore Roscoe (mystery stories set in a small town in New York, by an author whose work I like, especially his Foreign Legion tales)

The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, or al-Nawādir al-Sulṭāniyya wa’l-Maḥāsin al-Yūsufiyya, by Bahā’ al-Dīn Ibn Shaddād (part of the Ashgate Crusade Texts in Translation series)

Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, by Michael Dietsch (recipes for many different shrubs; I'm looking forward to giving some of them a try)

Jul 24, 9:14am Top

Hi Harry!

Happy Monday to you, and Happy Belated Birthday!

I'm being eaten out of house and home by House Finches. In 2 days they've gobbled up almost 3 1/2 quarts of in-the-shell sunflower seeds.

Jul 24, 9:21am Top

>147 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I know what you mean. I fill two tube feeders and partially fill the gazebo feeder, and they are all emptied within a day.

Jul 24, 5:04pm Top

Belated happy birthday, Harry, nice books you got!

Jul 24, 11:46pm Top

Happy birthday, Harry! Nice haul. :)

I rather enjoyed No. 17, though you can certainly tell it's a novelised play, and I keep meaning to get back to Ben; I also enjoyed Red Altars (aka The Secret Brotherhood), which is the novel that introduced Inspector McCarthy, although he's only a supporting character in that one.

Jul 25, 6:02am Top

>149 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! It's always good to get more to read.

Jul 25, 6:11am Top

>150 lyzard: Thanks, Liz!

I am enjoying No. 17 and will finish it sometime in the next few days. Then maybe I'll seek out the Hitchcock film, as I don't recall ever watching that one.

I'm still making my way through Gil Blas. I see that you've just finished it and will skipping over quite a few. What's next?

Jul 25, 6:38am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Tuesday to you.

Jul 25, 7:02am Top

Good morning, Karen! It has been a bit of an early day for me, as I had to start working at 6 because of an imminent deadline. (I'm taking a breather while waiting on a file.) I see that the feeders are empty again, so I'll be heading out when I can take a longer break to give the birds some food.

Jul 25, 7:31am Top

Morning, Harry. I have only read one Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters, but I really want to read more of his work. I have a couple more saved on audio.

Do you do any bird photography? I am thinking of investing in a good, (but not really, really good) camera and start taking my birding another step.

Jul 25, 7:52am Top

>155 msf59: Hi, Mark! We both like Wodehouse, and I think we now have all (or nearly all) of his books — Overlook Press issued affordable, well-made reprints over several years, and we gradually gathered them all (save for a few we already had in hardcover editions). I've gotten most of the way through reading all the Jeeves & Wooster books in order but still have a couple to go. I think I like others, such as the Blandings Castle series, somewhat better. As a fan of short fiction, you might want to look for some of his short stories; the Mulliner tales might be a good place to start with them.

I don't do bird photography, though I've considered it. We've gotten as far as scouting out the decent Canon offerings but haven't made the investment yet.

Jul 25, 8:15am Top

101. Oh, Money! Money!, by Eleanor H. Porter

Wealthy Stanley G. Fulton is facing his mortality and wondering what to do with his money. He has been dissatisfied with the many alternatives he has tried, including both formal and informal charitable giving, and thus is contemplating leaving the money to his closest relatives — second cousins whom he has never met. However, before settling his estate on one or all of them, he resolves to see how they would handle the money, by giving them a portion ($100,000) and observing them while disguised as a genealogist, John Smith, tracing the history of the Blaisdell family. His plan comes to pass, and both relatives and millionaire get a new sense of what money can and cannot accomplish — with a dollop of romance for good measure.

Oh, Money! Money! is a pleasant comedy that recognizes human flaws and foibles, and their potential consequences, while leading up to a satisfying resolution. Recommended.

First sentence: “There was a thoughtful frown on the face of the man who was the possessor of twenty million dollars.”

Jul 25, 8:16am Top

102. Nuzi Texts and Their Uses as Historical Evidence, by Maynard Paul Maidman

The ancient Near Eastern city of Nuzi flourished in the Late Bronze Age as part of the small kingdom of Arrapḫa, a client kingdom of the empire of Mitanni (Ḫabilgalbat). Excavations at the site in northern Iraq have yielded thousands of documents darint to the last century or so of the city’s existence (between 1475 and 1350 B.C.). This volume brings together several sets of texts to illuminate the history of the city: documents that reveal worsening relations with Assyria, which ended with the destruction of Nuzi during Assyria’s conquest of Arrapḫa; documents related to a corrupt mayor and his henchmen; documents related to a land dispute; documents revealing how one family’s fortunes rose as another declined; documents; and documents giving insight into a particular tax based on property. Though not all documents were equally of interest to me, this seemed a good contribution to SBL’s Writings from the Ancient World series. Recommended.

First sentence of introduction: “Nuzi Texts and Their Uses as Historical Evidence is both the title of this volume and its program.”

Jul 25, 11:55am Top

103. Legacy of Death, by R. A. J. Walling

Attorney Richard Spink is murdered shortly after an argument with young Herrington, whose proposed marriage to stepdaughter Joan Linfield Spink bitterly opposes, without being willing to vouchsafe his reasons. In the short interval between Herrington’s storming out the door and the arrival of Joan with investigator Mr. Tolefree at Spink’s office, the attorney disappears, only to be found murdered in the neglected canal that runs behind his office. Who, other than Herrington, could have a motive to kill the old man? Could it have something to do with an estate he was handling, and which had prompted him to make an appointment with others for a time shortly after his meeting with Herrington? The official investigation is in the hands of obnoxious Detective-Inspector Garroway, but Tolefree undertakes to uncover the real circumstances — and incidentally unravels other secrets on the way to a solution.

Walling’s style took me a little while to warm up to, but I do think it worked. Tolefree was an enjoyable character, peevish and willing to thwart Garroway in order to achieve the ends of justice. I’ll be looking for others in the series. Recommended.

First sentence: “Spink’s office in Broad Street, Farchester—a room at the end of a long passage behind a green baize door studded with brass nails.”

Jul 25, 2:05pm Top

104. The Satan Bug, by Alistair MacLean

Murder and a break-in at a top-secret government laboratory cause the police to turn to private detective Pierre Cavell, who had previously been head of security at the lab. Entering the possibly compromised lab, Cavell discovers the theft of eight vials containing deadly germ warfare materials, including three of the dread Satan Bug, a strain so virulent that it could kill all life on earth in a matter of months. The circumstances suggest an insider must have been involved, so the other scientists connected with the lab, as well as those in charge of the lab, are suspects, and the police and Cavell quickly begin running down leads. They don’t work quite hand-in-glove, however, as it is clear Cavell is holding something back and pursuing his own ends.

The Satan Bug is a fast-paced, if rather implausible, adventure by Alistair MacLean, first published under the pseudonym Ian Stuart. Cavell is an able but flawed protagonist, whose mistakes play an important part in the unfolding action. Recommended.

First sentence: “There was no mail for me that morning, but that was no surprise.”

Edited: Jul 25, 2:14pm Top

>155 msf59: I have a Sony a58, and it's lightning fast for catching birds in flight. And the price isn't bad.

You'll need a 300x lens for good quality pictures. Something bigger is too heavy for me, and probably would require a tripod. I got my 300x lens used from a camera store, and it's been great.

Note: the Sonys can have issues, so get the extended warranty. Mine's been good for about three years so far:


Oh, and since I don't think Harry will mind it, I'll post a picture I took with my Sony, through the window, and about 15' away:

Jul 25, 6:31pm Top

>161 fuzzi: I hoped you would chime in, as I knew you take very good photos of birds. Thanks for sharing the information, and the photo!

>162 fuzzi: Thank you!

Jul 25, 7:44pm Top

>152 harrygbutler:

Next up for me is Corinne by Madame de Staël, but I will be listing the intervening works at my thread---let me know if something along the way grabs you!

Jul 26, 9:57am Top

>164 lyzard: Thanks. I'll likely skip that one. I may read or reread one of the intervening works instead, but I'll have to see what comes up. Will you be reading Scottish Chiefs after that?

Jul 26, 10:00am Top

A lot of time spent waiting around yesterday meant I was able to finish one of my new books, No. 17. A fun read; I'll post a bit more later. I've got plenty on my plate today, so I'll likely focus on making progress with Gil Blas and with The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period.

Jul 26, 11:12am Top

>161 fuzzi: Thanks for the useful info, Judy. Much appreciated. I love the chickadee photo too.

Morning, Harry. A warm one here today but it supposed to be more comfortable tomorrow.

Hope the work day goes smoothly for you?

Jul 26, 11:59am Top

Oh, I appear to have missed your birthday, Harry! Well, I hope you managed to have a great one even without me chiming in. :-)

I've posted my shame in my own thread and Liz's, so I may as well lay it out here, too: I've given up on The Merrivale Mystery and sent it winging back to its home library system. Ol' Serge got the best of me, I'm afraid, and now I'll never know which of the 999 suspects actually dunnit. Sigh.

Jul 26, 12:15pm Top

>168 rosalita: Thanks, Julia!

I can certainly understand bailing on The Merrivale Mystery — after all, it is pretty awful, and I can see how the amusement to be derived from its flaws might not outweigh the annoyance caused by those same flaws. :-)

Edited: Jul 26, 3:55pm Top

The back cover of the dust jacket for The Case of the Black Twenty-Two, a book I just got via interlibrary loan, has a pitch for another book from the publisher, the Macrae Smith Co. of Philadelphia: Anthony Armstrong's The Secret Trail.

Jul 26, 6:19pm Top

>166 harrygbutler:

Yes, if that's the next up (in these 'list' challenges, I tend not to look ahead but take it one by one, so I get a mini-surprise each time). I actually scored an old copy of The Scottish Chiefs at a book sale a while back, but haven't read it yet.

>169 harrygbutler:

Yes, perfectly understandable that Julia came down on the other side of the fence!

Should we tell her that it was the 1000th suspect?? :D

>170 harrygbutler:

That's cool! Have you read any of the Jimmie Rezaire books? I've read the first one, The Trail Of Fear: it's a really good pursuit thriller, if you can deal with the "hero" being a drug-pusher! Very weird.

Jul 26, 6:56pm Top

>171 lyzard: Ah, I looked that far ahead once I decided to skip Corinne. :-) I started The Scottish Chiefs some time ago but got distracted and set it aside.

Should we tell her that it was the 1000th suspect??

And it was all a dream... :-)

Have you read any of the Jimmie Rezaire books?

I haven't, but I'll likely try them if I ever encounter them.

the "hero" being a drug-pusher

That sounds very modern! :-)

Jul 26, 7:33pm Top

>171 lyzard: >172 harrygbutler: I knew it! It certainly seemed like a bad dream while I was reading it. :-)

Jul 27, 8:05am Top

>170 harrygbutler: >171 lyzard:

The back flap on the dust jacket for The Case of the Black Twenty-Two has this to offer — 22 "high spots" of the mystery:

I'll be interested to see whether I agree.

Jul 27, 8:31am Top

Good morning, Harry!

I've been thinking of asking daughter if I can borrow the gorgeous digital Canon 35mm camera we bought her a while back. I had and still have the Canon 35mm film camera husband got for me in 1994 but gave daughter the case, lenses, filters, and etc for her digital. I don't think she's using it, hasn't mentioned it in a while.

>175 harrygbutler: Amusing. I like the adjectives.

Jul 27, 11:03am Top

>176 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I've never been more than a casual photographer, so Instamatics (I still have my first Kodak) and point-and-shoot digital cameras have been fine for my purposes, but they won't really do for grabbing photos of birds. I just don't know whether I am keen enough on bird photography to cart a camera around along with the binoculars. I have the same issue with a scope: there's no denying its value in some circumstances, but that value hasn't — yet — outweighed the inconvenience of the added burden.

Sadly, the book has 25 chapters, not 22.

Jul 27, 7:52pm Top

>157 harrygbutler: Oh, Money! Money! looks so good! I had to hunt a little to find it at a library, but did find it.
Thanks for the "heads up"!

Karen O.

Jul 27, 8:45pm Top

>177 harrygbutler: I leave the binoculars at home, since my camera doubles in that capacity. I see a bird, focus the camera, take a picture. After the bird flies away I review the picture, zooming in on the camera's display if needed, and identify the bird. And then I have a permanent record of what I saw!

A camera never should be a burden. Many of the new digitals are not expensive, and not bulky/heavy. I found a bunch of Sony a58s for sale on Amazon for $300-$400, which is not a bad price.

When I was a young teen, I wrote to Roger Tory Peterson to ask him about what camera I needed to take bird pictures (I had a 126 Instamatic). He passed my letter on to a photographer he worked with, who wrote back and told me about getting a 35mm SLR. I eventually got one, about 20 years later, and still have it.

My digital camera can't beat the photo quality of a good film camera, but the digital is great for taking a lot of sharp action shots without going through rolls of film.

Jul 28, 7:46am Top

>178 klobrien2: Hi, Karen! I hope you enjoy it!

Jul 28, 7:50am Top

>179 fuzzi: I don't think leaving the binoculars at home would work for me, so I'd have to manage both. It's good to know that bulk and weight aren't likely to be significant issues.

Nice of Peterson and his friend to help you out!

Jul 28, 7:57am Top

Good morning, Harry!

I am not a serious enough birder for a scope yet, and I don't want to spend money buying a camera, so figure borrowing daughter's for a while might not be a bad idea. I had an Instamatic when I was young. It had a flashcube, so you had to be careful about snapping photos because those flashcubes were so expensive! (they still are - on Amazon you get 3 cubes, 12 flashes, for $13.95. yeesh)

Jul 28, 10:06am Top

>182 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Wow, that is pricey for those flashcubes. I suppose now they are costly because there's relatively little demand. I recall film and film developing could be expensive, too, which put a limit on just how many photos one could take of a single event.

If we got a scope, it would primarily be for shorebirds, and we don't really do so much birding as to warrant getting one. Scopes can come in handy — we really benefited from someone bringing one along when trying to spot a grasshopper sparrow on a walk this spring.

Jul 29, 10:30am Top

Hi Harry and happy Saturday to you!

Taking photos used to be so expensive because of film and developing. Now getting prints is just a trip to Walmart with a flash drive.

I just looked at scopes on Amazon and discovered that there are many that have cell phone adapters - you can put your cell phone right on them to either just look or actually take photos! The one I looked at was about $63. Probably quite good enough for a baby birder like myself.

Jul 30, 9:05am Top

>184 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Thanks for stopping by! I've had to work this weekend, both yesterday and today, but I was still able to finish a book during breaks.

It has been some time since we looked at scopes. A better camera is still more likely to come first, as more flexible, but the notion of a scope that can be attached to a cell phone certainly has some appeal. Thanks for sharing! I'll mention it to Erika and see what she thinks.

Jul 30, 9:35am Top

Morning, Harry. Happy Sunday! I hope you wrap up any work you have to do, early on ,so you can get to those books.

Jul 30, 9:39am Top

Hey harrygbutler, have you made any progress with The Satan Bug? If not, don't fret, neither have I. Real Life has been taking me from my reading, and at night I'm so tired I just fall asleep. I'm hoping to finish Begat by Monday, and also read the third in the Aaron Becker series, Return.

Edited: Jul 30, 10:07am Top

>186 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It will be an all-day exercise, and into the evening, to finish up the first round of a project. But after that it should be off my back for a while.

>187 fuzzi: Actually, I read it already. See >160 harrygbutler:. I was lucky to get it done when I did, as work and a long ILL book would probably have halted progress (as they did with another book I've got underway). I hope things ease up a bit for you and allow some reading time.

Jul 30, 10:12am Top

>188 harrygbutler: glad I missed it, I hate reading reviews before I finish a book. I'll read that post after I get to The Satan Bug. Sorry I've been "slack"!

None of the local libraries have The Island Stallion's Fury, so I've got an ILL submitted, and hopefully they can find a copy soon.

Jul 30, 10:23am Top

>189 fuzzi: I know you skip reviews of unread books, so I wasn't surprised you hadn't commented on it. :-) No pressure from me; I'm meandering my way through a different shared read and will likely be done weeks late.

It should be fairly easy for them to get The Island Stallion's Fury, but it's really sad that it isn't held locally.

Jul 30, 10:54am Top

Harry, wishing you a more than slightly belated birthday but on point congratulations on this post being the 1,000th on your threads this year. Way to go mate and great to see that your reading is emulating your posting in its propensity.

Have a great Sunday.

Jul 30, 11:32am Top

>190 harrygbutler: The Satan Bug will probably be my next read (first of August?).

Agreed about the Farley book. So many good childhood reads are no longer available, and most of what I've thumbed through that is currently read by youth is such pablum, sorry to say.

I am glad that the Anne books are still popular, but I'll give some credit to good television adaptations for that.

Jul 31, 7:17am Top

Hi Harry and best wishes for a great Monday!

Jul 31, 9:29am Top

>191 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Wow, 1,000 posts on my threads — that's more than I expected. I'm glad people are finding reasons to stop by.

Jul 31, 9:31am Top

>192 fuzzi: I was pleased to find The Black Stallion on 4th & 5th grade reading lists that I was proofreading, but none of the others in the series were there. Of course, the expectation may have been that once the young readers knew of the first, they might go on to the others on their own.

Jul 31, 9:32am Top

>193 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! It will be a busy one, I think.

Jul 31, 9:13pm Top

>195 harrygbutler: if they can find them?

Aug 1, 7:05am Top

>197 fuzzi: Luckily, most, if not all, seem to be readily available in inexpensive paperback reprints (with really ugly covers).

Aug 1, 8:50am Top

105. No. 17, by J. Jefferson Farjeon

J. Jefferson Farjeon’s Ben the tramp got his start in a play, No. 17 (later filmed by Hitchcock). Farjeon later wrote a novel based on the play, and then several more featuring the character over a span of years. I’d already read the first of those original novels, The House Opposite, and was glad to go back to this first one after Erika got it for me for my birthday. No. 17 does reveal its stage origins to some extent, in the setting of the scenes and in the entrances and exits of characters — although those same characteristics are found in The House Opposite as well. Nevertheless, it is a fast-paced, entertaining thriller involving Ben, who takes shelter in the seemingly abandoned house; crooks of various sorts; and assorted folks who may not be what they seem. Ben is an appealing figure, weak but nonetheless capable of surprising (even to himself) strength of purpose, generally cowardly but able to rise to the occasion. Recommended!

First sentence: “Fog had London by the throat.”

Aug 1, 10:57am Top

In July, I read 14 of the 23 books that I had planned or tentatively planned to read or finish reading, so not quite two-thirds. I read or finished 20 books total. As has been common this year, unexpected ILL books displaced some of the planned reads. However, I think I'll continue with another planning post, for August. Fewer books this time, though, to allow for other ILL arrivals and possible new purchases clamoring to be read first.

Under way, to be finished:
Gil Blas, by Alain René Le Sage (a shared read, but I'm rather behind)

Planned shared reads:
The Island Stallion's Fury, by Walter Farley

Planned reads:
The Poems of Blathmac, Son of Cú Brettan, Together with The Irish Gospel of Thomas and a Poem on the Virgin Mary, ed. by James Carney
Mary-'Gusta, by by Joseph C. Lincoln
All Things Bright and Beautiful, by James Herriott
German Romance, Volume I: Daniel von dem Blühenden Tal, by Der Stricker
Finger-Prints Never Lie!, by John G. Brandon
Four Corners, Volume 1, by Theodore Roscoe
Step-Sons of France, by P. C. Wren

Tentative reads:
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Nothing Can Rescue Me, by Elizabeth Daly
Penelope Passes, by Joan Coggin

Aug 1, 11:07am Top

106. The Student Body: Great Cartoons from the Kappan, ed. by Carol Bucheri, Terri Hampton, and Victoria Voelker

The Student Body is a collection of cartoons related to education from the pages of the Kappan, the journal of Phi Delta Kappa International devoted to K-12 education. It was a mixed bag, as such collections often are. Some of the cartoons were quite funny, but others fell flat, perhaps because they were too topical and thus now a bit dated (the book was published in 1991). In addition, I didn’t really care for the style of some of the most prominent of the cartoonists included. Mildly recommended, with perhaps greater appeal to a teacher.

Aug 1, 11:00pm Top

>198 harrygbutler: I know what you mean about ugly covers, ew. What brainiac chose such icky illustrations for books about beautiful animals?

>200 harrygbutler: I see Rebecca keeps getting pushed down the list... ;)

Aug 2, 6:13am Top

>202 fuzzi: I shudder to think about the interior illustrations, if there are any. But I've noticed the same issue with some of the Breyer sculpts in the last couple decades — downright ugly.

You had mentioned possibly being interested in a shared read of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. If you're up for one, just let me know.

Aug 2, 7:16am Top

Morning, Harry. Happy Wednesday! I have the day off, so there should be plenty of book time.

Hope your week is going well.

Aug 2, 8:39am Top

Hi Harry and happy Wednesday!

I'm in awe of people who plan their entire month's reading out - whether realized or not! I'm much more haphazard than that. Good luck!

Aug 2, 8:52pm Top

>202 fuzzi: I think The Black Stallion and Flame had some of the ugliest depictions of horses I've ever seen, they looked like monsters. Guernica looked better.

I am not sure I'll get to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm this month, so many books stacked and waiting, including The Satan Bug.

The Island Stallion's Fury arrived through ILL today, and I'll pick it up tomorrow. That will probably be my weekend read.

Aug 3, 3:07am Top

>204 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I hope you enjoyed your day off.

Aug 3, 3:11am Top

>205 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Planning my reading on a monthly basis is something new for me, but I'm glad I'm giving it a try. So far it seems to be helping me keep going with various long-term projects (reading all our P. G. Wodehouse, for example) while not neglecting other parts of our library. I do tend to get tired of reading projects. These monthly plans don't keep me from taking breaks, but they do help me think about whether I'm ready to resume after such a break.

Aug 3, 3:19am Top

>206 fuzzi: Is that the cover of your copy? (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/P/0679820205.01._SX450_SY635_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg) It is pretty awful.

I'm not in any particular rush to read Rebecca, so if you'd like to do it as a shared read, I can hold it. I'll aim to fit in reading The Island Stallion's Fury this weekend, too, if I can.

Aug 3, 5:00pm Top

107. The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period, by Robert K. Ritner

This volume in the Society of Biblical Literature’s series Writings from the Ancient World brings together representative inscriptions from the several dynasties that ruled in Egypt during its Third Intermediate Period, lasting from circa 1100 B.C. to about 650 B.C. A notable feature of many of these dynasties is evidence of Libyan ethnicity, not only in the names of the rulers, but in titles as well. One dynasty, however, Dynasty XXV, is of Nubian origin; its ouster by the Egyptianized Dynasty XXVI ushered in a period of reunification and revival.

The inscriptions are varied, including priestly records of Nile flood levels, funerary monuments, records of sales and donations of property, accounts of royal achievements, and more. They are important sources for our knowledge of the history of Egypt during this period, however scanty the survivals may be for even some of the longer-ruling pharaohs and kings. It does get a mite repetitive over its 600 pages, but I’d still recommend it for anyone interested in a history of Egypt during that period of fragmentation.

First sentence of the introduction: “Contemporary with the Israelite kingdom of Solomon and David, the Nubian conqueror Piye (Piyankhy), and the Assyrian Assurbanipal, Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period is of critical interest not only to Egyptologists but also to biblical historians.”

Aug 3, 7:46pm Top

I found out yesterday that one of my favorite local bookstore, the Book Garden in Cream Ridge, N.J., will be having an anniversary sale next week — 20% off everything. I always find at least a book or two when I visit. For the sale, I'm prepared to come out staggering under an armful, probably chiefly from the wall of old popular fiction:

Aug 3, 8:01pm Top

>211 harrygbutler: Wow! That's an impressive wall of books

Aug 3, 8:35pm Top

>212 weird_O: Yep! And though I buy from that wall (and I assume others do, too), every time I visit, it's as full as you see it in this picture. And the whole shop is pretty large -- probably close to a square in terms of area, with aisles and aisles as well (though there's some space carved out for a florist shop).

Aug 3, 9:11pm Top

>209 harrygbutler: nope, this is the one I recall ::gag::

Illustrator is Harold Eldridge. His horses look like they should be in a Steven King book...

I'm going to try to finish Begat: the King James Bible and the English Language tonight and tomorrow, and start on The Island Stallion's Fury on Saturday. Sound good?

Aug 3, 9:12pm Top

>211 harrygbutler: wow, I wanna go!

Aug 3, 9:24pm Top

>214 fuzzi: That is one terrible dust jacket! Eldridge illustrated my edition of The Island Stallion's Fury. I don't have a dust jacket, and there wasn't anything quite that awful in the interior, but they certainly aren't very good illustrations.

Saturday should work!

>215 fuzzi: I haven't really checked there for MacLeans, so I'll have a look when I go.

Aug 3, 9:45pm Top

>216 harrygbutler: I wasn't even thinking of MacLeans, but since you are going... ;)

Aug 4, 7:08am Top

Morning, Harry. Happy Friday. Much cooler here in the Midwest today. Only in the high 60s. It should feel refreshing.

Hope your work day goes smoothly.

Aug 4, 7:11am Top

Hi Harry and happy Friday to you!

>211 harrygbutler: Drool. I hope you find many wonderful books.

Aug 4, 7:59am Top

>218 msf59: Hi, Mark! We've still got one more day in the mid- to high 80s before a brief dip in temperatures, but it should make for a good weekend. It would be great if we get another cooling trend in two weeks, for the local fair.

>219 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! Thanks! I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Aug 4, 8:42am Top

108. The Case of the Black Twenty-Two, by Brian Flynn

A break-in at an auction house results in the murder of a night watchman and the theft of three items reputedly once belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots. That same night, many miles away, wealthy collector Laurence Stewart, who was planning to purchase the items, is also murdered, his body being found the next day in a locked room. Are the two crimes related? Stewart’s son, who is doubtful the police will be successful in solving the crime, asks the firm of Merryweather, Linnell and Daventry—Solicitors to recommend an investigator, and a chance connection brings Anthony Bathurst into the case.

This second Anthony Bathurst mystery lacks the gimmick of the first and is otherwise unremarkable. The locked room effectively narrows the field of suspects for Stewart’s murder, and the investigation into the crime at the auction house, where the principal suspects are known, at least by description, isn’t all that compelling. Mildly recommended.

First sentence: “The fact that it was an unusually sunny morning for an English summer day had not put Peter Daventry in the mood that it undoubtedly should have done.”

Edited: Aug 4, 5:01pm Top

I hope to get to The Island Stallion's Fury too this weekend, or else early next week.

>214 fuzzi: That is not a cover of The Island Stallion's Fury but The Black Stallion and Flame

Aug 4, 6:47pm Top

Great to see you still going such great guns, Harry.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Aug 4, 10:03pm Top

>222 FAMeulstee: Glad to hear you may be reading The Island Stallion's Fury this weekend, too, Anita! It may take me until early next week to finish, depending on what we end up doing over the next couple days.

>223 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Wishing you the same!

Aug 5, 6:27am Top

>222 FAMeulstee: yep. I mentioned that upcoming Farley book in a previous post, 206, in response to Harry's comments about ugly illustrations.

I prefer to post pretty pictures.

Aug 5, 10:47am Top

Good morning, Harry, and happy Saturday to you!

Aug 5, 11:17am Top

>225 fuzzi: You post some great photos of birds and bugs.

>226 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! After an early shopping run for ingredients for refrigerator pickles — our first cucumbers are ready — I'm back home, but we'll soon be heading out, probably for a pleasant drive north along the Delaware River, capped by some antiquing.

Aug 5, 4:07pm Top

>227 harrygbutler: thank you, harrygbutler!

I saw my first Monarch butterfly today...

Aug 5, 9:22pm Top

>228 fuzzi: Cool. I think I've seen some around, but not here in our yard — plenty of other butterflies, though.

Aug 5, 9:31pm Top

We had a pleasant drive up the Delaware River today, ending up at a multi-dealer antique store in a mall in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The store had previously been in Allentown, Penna., and it took ages for it to reopen across the river We first visited the new location a few months ago, and this return visit found little changed; it still has lots of empty booths, and neither Erika nor I found anything to buy. I doubt we'll go back anytime soon, and I won't be surprised if they don't survive.

Afterward, a stop at Delaware River Books in Easton, Penna., netted me four (touchstones don't seem to be working):

Cy Whittaker's Place, by Joseph C. Lincoln (I'm slowly getting all of Lincoln's enjoyable works)
Daughter of the Sun, by Jackson Gregory (an adventure apparently first published in a Street & Smith pulp)
The Catspaw, by William Hamilton Osborne (a mystery romance, I think, published in 1911)
The Island Stallion Races, by Walter Farley (the third of the books starring Flame)

Aug 6, 9:55am Top

Hi Harry! Sorry the antiquing was a bust, but congrats on your new books!

Aug 6, 1:56pm Top

>230 harrygbutler: aha! A future read for the Black Stallion challenge.

Aug 6, 7:16pm Top

>231 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I was glad the bookstore stop balanced things out.

>232 fuzzi: Yep! I'm gradually filling in the series. I don't think there'll be any to get at the Book Garden sale this week, but I could be surprised.

Aug 7, 7:15am Top

Next month there's a library sale...

Aug 8, 10:21am Top

Aug 8, 10:52am Top

109. The Poems of Blathmac, Son of Cú Brettan, Together with The Irish Gospel of Thomas and a Poem on the Virgin Mary, ed. by James Carney

This volume from the Irish Texts Society provides editions and translations of poetry attributed to the eighth-century Irish monk and martyr, Blathmac, as well as a poetic version of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and a poem on the Virgin Mary, all dated by the editor to approximately the same period, and all found together solely in a late manuscript (seventeenth-century). Blathmac’s verse, apparently one and a fragment of a second related poem, possibly originally part of a group of three, is presumably more powerful in the original Old Irish; the translation is rather pedestrian. The so-called Gospel of Thomas comprises stories of Jesus as a child, reflecting a thirst for information about a period of his life the canonical gospels pass over quickly; these are tall tales and miracle stories with much in common with popular hagiography. The final poem in the volume was OK, but again my unfamiliarity with Old Irish and reliance on a fairly pedestrian translation worked against enjoyment of the piece. Mildly recommended.

First lines of the first of Blathmac’s poems:
Tair cucum, a Maire boíd,
do choíniuth frit do rochoím;
dirsan dul fri croich dot mac
ba mind már, ba masgérat.

Come to me, loving Mary, that I may keen with you your very dear one. Alas that your son should go to the cross, he who was a great diadem, a beautiful hero.

First lines of the second of Blathmac’s poems:
A Maire, a grian ar clainde,
a mba moí mo chélmainde
do mac coínsimmar — scél maith! —
sech is bithbéo, is bithflaith.

Mary, sun of our race, when mine was mystic utterance we keened your sun — well and good; he lives eternally, is eternal prince.

First lines of the Irish Gospel of Thomas:
Imbu macán cóic bliadnae
  Ísu mac Dé bí
sénais da huíscen deäc,
  arros-fí de chri.

When Jesus, son of the living God, was a small boy, five years of age, he blessed twelve small pools; he had fenced them in with clay.

First lines of a poem on the Virgin Mary:
Maire máthair in maic bic
génair i n-aidchi Notlaic;
légais fáthai ocus recht
combu éola oc timthirecht.

Mary is the mother of the little boy who was born on Christmas night: she read the Prophets and the Law until she was experienced in service.

Aug 8, 12:48pm Top

Our hibiscus has been tenacious. It suffered a couple setbacks but has bounced back and for the last couple weeks has delivered some impressive flowers.

Aug 8, 1:29pm Top

Beautiful flowers!

Aug 8, 1:56pm Top

Absolutely gorgeous, Harry! Thank you for sharing and happy Tuesday to you.

Aug 8, 9:44pm Top

>237 harrygbutler: looks like one of my Rose of Sharon bushes. Perhaps the two are related? :)

Aug 8, 10:06pm Top

>240 fuzzi: Could be! :-)

Aug 9, 6:24am Top

>238 rosalita: Thanks, Julia!

>239 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I did have a good Tuesday.

Aug 9, 6:32am Top

Morning, Harry! Happy Wednesday. Hope the work week is going well.

Nothing much to report on the bird front. Just the usual suspects at the feeder, when I see them.

And hooray for the hibiscus!

Aug 9, 7:11am Top

>237 harrygbutler: Beautiful flowers, Harry, I hope no more set backs for it.

>240 fuzzi: According to Wikipedia "Rose of Sharon" is used for a Hibiscus at some places.

Aug 9, 8:29am Top

>244 FAMeulstee: thanks for looking that up. I have a couple that have grown rooftop high in the eleven years since I transplanted them, back when they were less than three feet tall!

Aug 9, 11:08am Top

Good morning, Harry! I hope you're having a good Wednesday.

Aug 10, 7:22am Top

>243 msf59: Hi, Mark! Nothing unusual on the bird front here, either, save that we're seeing the one hummingbird more often now.

>244 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! It should flourish, if we don't mistake it for a weed again. :-)

>245 fuzzi: I don't know whether ours will get that high; if so, it will make a good companion to the climbing rose that is nearby.

>246 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! My Wednesday was pretty good. We switched Internet service providers, and that filled much of the morning, but in the afternoon I was able to manage our first sizeable harvest of tomatoes — Early Girl, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Sunsugar (a cherry tomato variety).

Aug 10, 8:17am Top

Congratulations on your tomato harvest! Yum.

Aug 10, 8:44am Top

>248 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I'm especially happy that they are coming on in sufficient quantity this year that we'll be able to share quite a few with our next-door neighbors, who weren't able to put in a garden this year.

Our cucumbers have also started off well, so we have a batch of refrigerator pickles aging and some cucumber salad that should be ready today.

Aug 10, 9:15am Top

We did a little reshuffling in the living room, and Otto seems quite happy with the new location of the kitty couch, which all the cats had neglected for a while.

Aug 10, 9:39am Top

>250 harrygbutler: the perspective of that photo makes it look as if you have a lion on that couch!

Aug 10, 10:44am Top

>251 fuzzi: He's a big cat, but not quite that big! :-)

Aug 11, 8:35am Top

Hi Harry and happy Friday to you!

Otto on the kitty couch is adorable.

Aug 11, 10:09am Top

Thanks, Karen!

Aug 11, 10:36pm Top

>160 harrygbutler: nice review for The Satan Bug. I finally finished reading it for myself, not my favorite, not my least favorite book by the author.

Aug 12, 7:59am Top

>256 fuzzi: Thanks. I thought it was worth reading but I'm not likely to reread it.

Aug 13, 12:15pm Top

>257 harrygbutler: I saw that there was a movie made of The Satan Bug, in 1965, but the characters don't match the ones in the book, figures: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059678/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_109

Edited: Aug 13, 12:19pm Top

>258 fuzzi: I had heard of the movie, now that you mention it, but I don't think I have ever seen it. All I knew of the movie really was that it starred George Maharis.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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