JACK AT THE LIBRARY
I have collected books for many years, some first editions, some relics. If I like a book enough to read it, I buy it, so my collection grows by the week. My partner and I haunt secondhand bookshops in Victoria and wherever else we travel, read reviews, and spend time trawling the ‘net for new releases. The problem I have is that I generally prefer non-fiction, but having said that I do enjoy reading good fiction, when I find it. Popular reading lists don’t appeal to us because as a general rule, they don’t include the kind of books we prefer. For instance, Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, are two of my favourite novels and at the other end of the scale, one of the funniest and most enjoyable reads is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Other fave reads are the late Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy and see Cloudstreet by Tim Winton.
I wonder if paper books will soon become rare once ebooks take over. It seems that young people prefer shorter reads via ipads and the internet. Perhaps it is time to treasure those books we already have.
I have a few treasures:
Excelsior Series of Familiar Quotations – 1852
A Village Commune by Ouida – 1881 (1st Edition)
A Smaller History of Rome by Dr William Smith – 1885
Syrian Stone-Lore by C R Conder – 1886 (1st Edition)
Dante and His-Italy by Lonsdale Ragg – 1902Egyptian Arabic Manual For Self-Study by E Antoon Elias, Cairo – 1907 (complete with an unknown man’s photo, I wonder who he is?) See Do You Know This Man?
Two Special Edition books:
Closer Photographs, by Elinor Carucci is a story of a young woman’s relationship with her family told in intimate photography. My daughter Gina’s inscription at the front of the book reads: “To my amazing mother who has taught me so much about identity and family with her passion and intimacy. This books reminds me of the gifts she has given me. I am so grateful for the legacy you have gifted me, all my love, Gina Marie xxx”
Years ago my daughter Gina gave me this second hand book which I have now read at least three times. The author Jean Rhys is acknowledged as a technically brilliant writer. As you read the book, which is set in the Caribbean, you can almost feel the muggy heat intertwined with the intensity of suspicion and mistrust between the “whites”, creoles and blacks. It tells the story of the early years of the heroine Antoinette Cosway’s tragic life before she marries Mr Rochester as depicted in Jane Eyre. The story, which exists in its own right, ends as she and her new husband set off for England where she becomes the mad woman in the attic. I recently read the history of the Caribbean which is fascinating and brutal at the same time, and it inspired me to re-read Wide Sargasso Sea, which added yet another dimension to the story. My present copy of Sargasso Sea is now falling to pieces with pages constantly falling out so I decided to buy a new copy through Amazon.com, as I could not find a copy in any of the second- hand book shops which Paul and I regularly haunt. Jean Rhys has written other books which I have also included in the purchase from Amazon. Can’t wait to read them. Taken from the forward in my book: “From [Jean Rhys's] personal knowledge of the West Indies, and her reading of their history, she knew about the mad creole heiresses in the early nineteenth century, whose dowries were only an additional burden to them; products of an inbred, decadent, expatriate society, resented by the recently freed slaves whose superstitions they shared”.
See More… Complete novels by Jean Rhys
Other books I have read recently and can recommend:
Ransom by David Malouf – a brief moment in time during the Battle of Troy. Beautifully written little book.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. This is partly biographic which is hilarious and will have you laughing out loud like I did while reading it on the train. But at the end you are not sure whether or not it was supposed to be so funny. Well written but Toole died soon after writing the book so there will be no more. A bit like Steig Larsson.
Middlemarch by George Eliot – The best of English literature encompassing romance, business and politics of the nineteenth century.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Always a good read.
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
The Sicilian by Ann Radcliffe
On Sunday night I went to my favourite art house Sun Theatre in Yarraville to see the Swedish film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Fantastic! Most of the family have read the Millenium Trilogy of which Tattoo is the first, followed by The Girl Who Played With Fire, and then The girl Who Kicked A Hornets Nest. I can’t wait to see the next two movies in the trilogy-apparently they have already been produced. As someone commented on Steig Larsson’s (the author) web site ‘Larsson makes Dan Brown look like an amateur’. None of us could put the books down once we began reading them. I thought the first book was fantastic but each of the next two was even better! Interestingly, the sub titles on the Swedish film were done by someone in New Zealand. They don’t detract from the movie at all, and the characters portrayed were exactly as I imagined while reading the books.