Friday, March 03, 2006


One more find from last weekend

Here's the lone book I bought at Commonwealth Books, Monday last: The Booklover's Almanac, compiled and edited by Robert Brittain (Frederic Beil, 1986). $10. I have a softcover already, and have now upgraded to this fine hardcover in dust jacket. I'm particularly fond of literary daybooks and almanacs. This one offers snippets of history and literature from 1066 to the present day, and is a wonderful book for random browsing. Not so random: March 3 tells us that on this day in 1817 Poems by John Keats, his first book, was published. The entry includes a congratulatory sonnet from a friend, and Keats's epistolary reply.

I am assuming that the great jacket illustration is copyright-free, as there is no mention of the artist or source either on the jacket or in the book itself.

The author quotes John Bunyan on one of the preliminary pages:

"The Author's Apology for His Book"

"Art thou for something rare and profitable?

Wouldest Thou see a Truth within a Fable?

Art thou forgetful? Wouldest thou remember

From New-year's day to the last of December?

Then read my Fancies, they will stick like Burrs,

And may be to the Helpless, Comforters."

And speaking of things rare and profitable, I heard recently from Scott, the editor at Fine Books & Collections magazine, and he thought my readers (all three of you) would enjoy this. For me, after shopping for good books for under (often way under, being a thrifty Yankee indeed) twenty bucks each, it was fun to read about the other end of the spectrum. I myself would have liked item #68 (the Philobiblon, I have two 20th century reprints, but not a first edition, of course). And I'd love to sit and flip through the letters of item #81 (Winslow Homer is one of my favorite painters). Mmm. Thanks, Scott!

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