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Just a short walk to The Poetry Bookshop @ No 35 Devonshire Street..

.....and there you might have found Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen and other eclectic brilliant young men( some in khaki)with Harold Munro holding sway over the proceedings, reading poetry, looking for new poets, some on leave from the front, others recuperating from battle fatigue and wounds. Aside from all this, three new books to add to my growing collection of rare volumes of First World War poetry/poets/literature/ criticism... " Harold Monro and the Poetry Bookshop" by Joy Grant( 1st edition 1967), a clean tight unblemished copy; " Wilfred Owen: Anthem for a Doomed Youth" by Kenneth Simcox(1st edition 1987) also unblemished, and finally, "Journey to The Trenches: The Life of Isaac Rosenberg 1890-1918" by Joseph Cohen (1st edition  1975). All good, tight ,clean hardcovers. No foxing, no marks. Nice dustjackets, too. Not very expensive fo these gems either! Am I impressed by my purchases!! It is a joy when one opens a parcel from overseas(mainly) and the sweet musty old-book smell wafts out  from the bubblewrap...when it hits fresh air it is an indescribable thing(if you have been around books for a few decades you'll know what I mean), it is like walking into a hole-in-the -wall secondhand bookshop just when it is open on a Monday morning and the mustiness mingles with  the air from a door just swung open after being locked up for a few hours... These volumes are what books are all about. Treasures.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

These books sounds very interesting. Thanks for the tips.

“In this life, when you deny someone an apology,
you will Remember it at time you beg forgiveness.”

Best Regards Holger

Letters of a Super F(r)iend...

Yes, this small volume by Joseph Torchia, "The Kryptonite Kid"(1979) is a real gem of a book. In 180 pages of gruelling, agonising, sometimes misspelt and missed the mark, Jerry Chariot, catholic schoolboy from Pulpburg writes to his superpal, Superman,  all revealing and being a telltale like all kids, Superman's real identity, to the world, trying to save him from the likes of Sister Mary Justin(schoolteacher at Holy Redeemer School), in his own kid's way sorting out Lois Lane, and M. Mxyzptlk! and assorted ne'r do wells. With his best earth friend , Robert Sipanno, in tow to share these childhood super-adventures, Jerry hurtles head-long in the crack of Sister Mary's angry hand, his father's punishment of early beds without comics, his mother's enduring and somewhat tried patience( at times) and...his First Communion. Jerry is full of life, optimism and cheer as he fantasies about helping his Super Pal protect his identity and keeping all the krytponite in the world away to save Superman( and the Day). The novel is dotted with believable characters like Mrs Bacchico and the terse Sister Mary. Nothing can tear Jerry and Robert away from their daily consumption of comics and the belief that Superman lives in  Metropolis, Illionois. With child-like enthusiasm Jerry races to his awful and inevitable fate, believing that Superman is real and will be there for him. This book is a beautiful chronicle of an era that doesn't exist anymore and I am glad that I was part of those days, when we had imagination, playfulness and a belief that right will conquer evil. Every few years I pick up this book from my personal library and read it because in spite of its awful conclusion, it is a positive novel about positive values and ideals which are non-existent today. It is well worth the read and have a good laugh as well. Go, Superman!

RE:Anna and the Swallow Man

Stuart wrote: A beautifully written book, the language is superb. The imagery is so strong that I felt cold when reading the scenes in the snow. As a story of a 7 year old girl escaping and avoiding the opposing forces in Eastern Europe during WWII, it offers a different perspective but adds nothing to what most already know of the conflict. There are mysterious characters, particularly the Swallow Man, but little resolution. The ending is sudden, somewhat implausible and unsatisfying. Need help finding no deposit bonus slots? The author stops short of ending with 'and they all lived happily ever after', but only just.

Anna and the Swallow Man is not in the same league as The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but it does try so hard to be.



Great story :)

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Was stoked to score an ARC of this new Aussie crime novel due to hit shelves next month! Here's my review. :)

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway.

This is an Australian crime novel set in a small town in New South Wales during a particularly trying summer. As with any small town, everyone knows everyone, though there are plenty of secrets. The murder of a local girl forces everyone's business under the microscope, and this novel is as much about those secrets as it is about solving the mystery of who killed Rosalind Ryan.

I have to be completely honest, I disliked the protagonist, Gemma, from the very start. The reality was addressed before her emotions were revealed and the cold facts of her situation had me instantly appalled. It was unclear what her relationship with the victim was, and this aspect created a darkness around the mystery that admittedly made it quite fascinating. However it also made it hard to get into the story, as I couldn't relate to Gemma in the slightest. I had no sympathy for her or her struggles so all that held my attention was the mystery itself.

Rosalind (Rose) Ryan is an enigma, with many characters professing to have known her but only superficially. As a teacher at the local high school she was loved by many, but it becomes increasingly clear that no one had any clue who she really was. There are subtle references to the past she and Gemma shared, but never enough for us to really sink our teeth into. Beyond being beautiful, we never really get a clear picture of the victim, which again creates a sense of detachment that makes the mystery a simple curiosity rather than something we can be invested in.

It's obvious the crime has something to do with the past, but we're given very little information in that regard. There are never really any clues for us to play with, and the detective work feels messy and unsatisfying. We discover a lot of the town's secrets but none seem relevant to the mystery at hand. We meet a lot of characters but get to know very few of them. There's nothing to create attachment to any of the main players, really, which is a shame because with an invested element this could have been a ripper of a read. Instead the reader is left impartial, and there's little to propel the narrative. Even the mystery of the past seems patchy and the slowly revealed glimpses of it are unsatisfying and anti-climatic. 

The relationship between Gemma and Felix seems more of a focus than the mystery which was a little disappointing to me, particularly as I didn't approve of it. It made the story drag and detracted from the suspense. It made a rather long, tedious novel of what could have been an intriguing, fast read. This novel is all about Gemma and her tumultuous life, but there's little for the reader to relate to on an emotional level, making it a redundant angle. Even with her as a mother, we're given little to work with. Her relationships are ill-defined and we're given very little reasoning for the way she thinks and acts.

I was quite interested in the crime and its relation to the past, with lots of loose strings revealed throughout the novel. Unfortunately, when the conclusion came, I felt that a lot of things were left unanswered or nonsensical in their inclusion. I just couldn't understand a lot of what happened and the resolution left me feeling impartial and unaffected.

This is a rather ambitious story with beautiful prose in parts, but it's tied messily together and seems like it could have used a lot of tough love from an editor. It has a lot of potential and is still an entertaining read, but I feel like it missed the mark a little. Hopefully further work from the author will iron out the kinks in her storytelling.

RE:The Girl Before by J P Delaney

I've seen He Said She Said floating about but haven't got my hands on a copy yet! I'll add that other one to my to-read list as well! I love books that I can smash through in one or two sittings. Crime/thriller in particular, because it always leaves me thinking about it after I'm done.

RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Hi History Lover, I was thinking about writing when I opened this up....hope you are well. Sounds like a nice spot to watch the rain, in the comfort of one's library. Good to hear you enjoyed " All For The King's Shilling". I did check it out and put it on the back- burn list. My copy of " Big- Noting" is a little foxed and smells " booky" as if it has been entombed somewhere in a dank dungeon for years and finally has taken that  breath of fresh air. It is marked , unfortunately, with pink and purple underscoring in places but a good working copy and  otherwise nicely intact. 'The Book Gods' should wreak  book deprivation on those who used marker pens in books( just kidding)..could have used pencil at least. Very pleased to have it again. My copy of " Charmed Life: The Phenomenal World of  Phillip Sassoon" by Damian Collins arrived last week. He was a cousin of Siegfried, both really didn't want to be seen in each other's company for their own reasons. He was a gad-about in political , artistic and  social circles, had enormous wealth , looks, contacts, the works. I thought it would be interesting because of all the background information. Waiting on a few books I ordered from places in UK, France and US.... Wilfred Owen books, two Jon Silkins( nice h/cs), Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Poetry h/c . Most of these books are ex-library, used, h/c, good condition. Remember I told you I'm too embarrassed to say how many, but all in all not that expensive total cost.? Heh. All  the stuff I had in my former library , pared to the most-wants! I am stoked at not only have found them but also I have secured them for myself and on the way here. I'm going to end up in 2-3 weeks with a nice heap of Owen, poetry and an old  biography of John Singer Sargent, literature of the Edwardian and First World War. Sorry for talking about my finds so much , however, it is truly wonderful. Currently reading " The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage: Gesture, Touch and the Spectre of Dismemberment" by Farah Karim-Cooper. It is fascinating as it brings to light how the hand is used, on the stage but also in painting etc. Cheers, History Lover.

RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Hi Ghost Writer,

​Well I am at home watching it rain from my library window, its been wet all week which is great for the garden. I am currently reading two very different but quite enjoyable books; "Imperial Triumph: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine" by Michael Kulikowski ​and Ben MacIntyre's "SAS Rogue Heroes". I was out shopping today and dropped in at one of the Dymocks stores and purchased the revised edition of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror" which I will try and read very soon.

Good news on your purchases of Robin Gerster's "Big-Noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing". Very nice indeed :)

I really enjoyed "All For the King's Shilling" and it has me all fired up to read similiar books on the subject covering both the British and French armies of the period.

​What new books have you managed to bring home lately and what are you currently reading? I hope you are well and enjoyign some decent weather down your way.

 
 
 

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