Thursday, 27 May 2010

W. Somerset Maugham Cover. Books and Bookmen in stock at

Monday, 24 May 2010

Name These Writers

If you are the first to name all the writers featured in this video you will win a copy of Books and Bookmen. All you have to do is post your answers in the comment box below along with your Twitter ID.

My Very Short Book Reviews 1

Follow The Toff by John Creasey
The Toff is trailed into the Louvre by a classic English beauty, leading to some more classic adventures. Paris setting, urbane, absorbing.

Aground by Charles Williams
A thirtyish blonde, lame hero; yachts; Miami; villain with telescopic sights on his rifle. Smoothly written, plentiful action.

Men and Angels by Robin White
Set in India, where Mr. White was born and bred, this tells of a young American's search for the secret of his Missionary father's death and last days; exquisite writing.

Sabishisa by Ethel Mannin

Derived from personal experience of Japan and the agony that comes from any attempt to reconcile Eastern and Western values, this is the story of the efffect of an English couple on a Japanese family; professional writing and exciting atmosphere.

New Years Eve by Michael Cornish
Set among the bed-sit population, this tale revolves round the question of loyalty to one's boss and to oneself.

Latitudes of Love by Thomas Doremus
Hector, the hero, is an amoral version of Holden Caulfield caught in an exotic and alien world; subtle and fascinating.

Watching Out For Dulie by David Westheimer
Hilarious novel about a T.V. promotion spree for a new serial remotely based on Ivanhoe; I strongly recommend it for a good pick-me-up.

A Delivery of Furies by Victor Canning
Splendid thriller set in South America; exciting plot plus real-life characters and a strong human element; to be devoured at a sitting.

A Private View by Joyce Howard
The story of one man's life, revealed as he looks back down the years from his last refuge in an Old Folk's Home; sensitive and vigorous.

Experience by Albert Palle
A curious work like a highly associative dream-cum-hallucination; the 'story', where this can be disentangled from reminiscence and evocative images, concerns a crime reporter and his photographer.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Oscar Wilde

Just for Twitter fans.

Bookselling Made Easy

Have you ever wanted to start a career as a book dealer? If you watch this video you will be half way there.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Book Cover Quiz

I have removed the title and authors name from this book cover.
If you are the first to name the book and the author correctly, and post your answer along with your Twitter name in the comment box below you will win this book.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Sage of Canudos by Lucien Marchal

My review.

It is a full, rich tale, founded on the life of Antonio Conseliheiro, a mixed-breed hinterlander in north-eastern Brazil, who revolted against the brutal life of his people, who recognized no law but that of the gun and the knife.
Sickly in health, he early showed signs of violent religious emotion, a sort of sublimation of the blood-lusts to which he had been born. Penetrating inland, he founded the holy city of Canudos, to which the superstitous, the simple minded, the mystics, as well as the outcasts and the thugs gravitated in such numbers, and with such incoherence, that a reign of terror resulted, so that the Brazilian Government had to send an army to wipe out this anti-social phenomenon.
This is the theme which the Belgium author has handled in detail, with characterization that is heroic, primitive, and as vigorous as the theme demands; all action, no comment.
I enjoyed it immensely.

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Lumpton Gobbelings

This is a our photograph of the first edition hardcover of "The Lumpton Gobbelings" by Ernest Elmore. Fantastic, and very weird fantasy/sci-fi novel that features the wonderful little naked people.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Photograph of Stones

This is a photograph I took of some stones on our beach.

"Hanging Johnny" by Myrtle Johnston

This book was first published in 1927.
A short review.

The story is set in Ireland, the Ireland of the second half of last century. Johnny Cregan was a hangman, and in the course of his dreadful business it fell to him to execute one of his best friends, who, as it turned out later, was innocent. Johnny, under the influence of a half-demented prison chaplain, leaves his job and goes wandering. He is then taken on as an odd-job man by Anna Murphy, the very practical daughter of a small country grocer, and married her. This in my opinion is the weak point in an otherwise powerful story. Would Anna have married him, sacrificing the shop and everything else? They then go to Dublin, start a business that fails, and Johnny, with his wife's approval, resumes the hanging profession. The final catastrophe is appalling. This is a most painful book, but it grips and holds.

"Scabby Dichson" by Richard Blaker

A review.

The story opens at a school near Simla, where young Dichson, who has no knowledge of his parentage, is a pupil. He has great independence and resourcefulness, but, though he can hold his own with his fellows, there is something in him that is aloof, making him avoid intimate contacts and revelations. Consequently, later on, he resigns his love and takes an ill-paid and lonely job on the Canals. Even at the end, after heroic efforts to save others, he would have preferred to drown rather than to return to the living world. This is a finely conceived and powerful story, full of humour and true pathos.

Who Wrote This?

"She looked older than her twelve years. Her thick-set body with its short limbs supported a massive misshapen head. The forehead, indeed, was clear and candid, the eyes quick and shrewd, penetrating and sagacious; but below the small flat nose an ape-like mouth thrust forward its enormous jaws and pendulous underlip. Her copper coloured hair was coarse, wiry, and dull, her skin patchy and of a dull greyish pallor."

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Foreigners by Leo Walmsley

Review by Rayner Heppenstall in "Now And Then" in 1935.

As we progress helplessly towards complete centralization and standardization in our social and political life, it becomes more and more true, in the world of books, that everything good comes to us out of some well-marked region, out of some part of the British Isles which still preserves something of its old seperate way of life. Mr. Walmsley's books are testimony to this truth.
'Bramblewick', the North Yorkshire fishing village of which he writes, is situated (we were told in Phantom Lobster), roughly somewhere near Whitby; and Whitby, again is not so far from Staithes (pronounced 'Steers'), of which the legend persists that still, at the approach of a stranger, the tom-toms start beating. And 'foreigners', of course, are what we call 'comers-in' in the West Riding, people (born anywhere outside The Village and are necessarily treated with scorn and suspicion unto the third and fourth generation.
Mr Walmsley's new story is told by the young son of such foreigners - an artist and his wife, choked with poverty, who eke out their existence in Bramblewick with portraits of the visitors in summer, photography and coffin-plates in winter. The boy's only friends in Bramblewick are foreigners like himself: 'Chicken', the dirty, talkative schoolmate at the one-roomed, one-mastered country school, and Mike Regan, an Irishman, the best fighter, best fisherman, and almost the best drinker, in a place of fisherman who are all good fighters and good drinkers (Mike is posing for the artist father's Academy picture).
With the boy, we go 'scattering' for valuable jetsam at low tide on the scaurs, bird-nesting, fishing, fighting, poaching; with him, we suffer the anguish of sins committed against a religiuos mother and the aspirations towards virtue which lead (after a Temperance Service and the exhibition of an alcohol-bleached liver, and as an act of devotion to the lovely lady who sings the temperance songs) to the destruction of a barrel of - not beer! vinegar; and through his eyes we see the adult comedies and tragedies of the place - the struggles of his parents, in horror of the fisherfolk's ways; the sad end of Mike Regan; the Major, who comes as a visitor and defrauds all the wealthier natives; the reformation of 'Boozer' Lingdale. And all this is told with such rare simplicity that one would be tempted to speak of 'classical restraint', had not the phrase done, by now, such long and bad service.
A fine story.