Archive for May, 2010

19th Century English “Yellow Fiction”

Posted May 20, 2010 By Jandy

James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Robert B. Parker, Danielle Steele, Dan Brown, Margaret Maron, Clive Cussler, Connie Willis, Jim Butcher, etc.

All these authors write popular fiction that is high selling and fun to read. But will they (and thousands others) last and stand the test of time? What similar work did people read 130 years ago?

In some of the English classics we see references to the popular fiction of the day. Now you can peruse over 2300 titles from 19th century England in an online database from Emory University. Yes, you’ll find some that are now classics. But there are other titles that have been long lost and forgotten.

To find them, go to the Emory University Library home page. Then type “yellowbacks” in the search bar in the middle of the screen. You’ll get a list of entries. Take it from there.

Yellowbacks are similar to our mass market paperbacks today. They have that name because of a yellow glaze used on the covers.

The Warden by Anthony TrollopeAs an example, there are 18 titles by Anthony Trollope, including The Warden. There are also 5 titles by Thomas Trollope. I haven’t studied historical British literature. I don’t know who Thomas Trollope was. Was he related to Anthony? His titles all have an Italian flavor (like La Beata: a Tuscan Romeo and Juliet).

Since most of these books are in public domain, Emery has many of them available for download. (But of course, when I tried to do this while on break at work, the site gave me an error message and wouldn’t go to the title I wanted to download. I’ll have to play with it more later.)

Popular fiction has been around a long time. Some of it even stands the test of time.

Nit Picky With Words

Posted May 18, 2010 By Jandy

Did anyone else notice that this morning’s headlines said “Five American Troops Were Killed In a Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan”? (That was on ABC.) I had to question that, because I wanted to know if it was five people or five full troops. I was fairly sure they meant people, but still…

I was glad to see the headline changed on NPR – “Five Americans Killed In Afghan Suicide Bombing”.

While neither number is good, five is better than 500 (how many soldiers make up a troop?).

Come on, copy editors and journalists, make yourself clear.

“Don’t Worry” Headlines

Posted May 17, 2010 By Jandy

Toddlers who lie ‘will do better’

Actually, when you read on, this makes good sense. The ability to lie is a developmental milestone as the child leans to put thoughts together. So go on, encourage your kids to lie! (Or not…)

Dear Jim Butcher,

Posted May 12, 2010 By Jandy

What? How could you let Harry Dresden sell his soul to (unnamed bad guy). So what if he has a bad physical problem? OK, his daughter (whoa! But this information isn’t a spoiler. It’s in the first line of the book) is kidnapped. I get that. But selling his soul? And letting (unnamed good guy) get shot down like that???

From reading your tweets, I’m also guessing that this novel, Changes, ends on a cliffhanger. This is absolutely terrible. I knew I shouldn’t have started it until early next year before the next one comes out. But I’m more than half way through Changes. I have to keep going now. The only reason I know Harry lives is that he is the first person narrator of the book. Then I’m going to mutter at you for the next 9 or 10 months for the next book in the Dresden Files.

This is book 12 in the series. At one book a year of a 20 book arc, with a trilogy after that to tie everything up, I just hope I live that long. But I’m telling you right now. If I find I’m on my death bed, I’m sending you an email. I want you to then send me the story arc for the rest of the books in the series so I know what happens to Harry before I die.

I’m just sayin’… (Yes, I’m probably too vested in this series.)

Single Too Long?

Posted May 11, 2010 By Jandy

First the background:

Will Unwound wrote a blog entry about needing to try some good mysteries. He got a lot of responses (including mine) and suggestions. Then he took the lists of authors and asked for specific titles. The second time around he received titles lists, as well as some additional authors.

Now to refer to this posting title…

Yesterday I spend a few minutes looking at the second list. I read one title I had forgotten and said “Ooooh, yeah!” My tone must have been…sultry? Did I also add “That’s good” in the same tone? One of my co-workers walked into the library just then and started laughing. She asked if she she leave again and shut the door behind her.

Oh, dear…

(I was excited about seeing someone add Joanna Harris’ Gentlemen and Players to the list.)

Google Lists

Posted May 5, 2010 By Jandy

Google changed their web site a bit, making it better according to their designers. I’ll decide for sure after I’ve used it more. They put out the new design today. Of course I had to try it out. So during my break, I check out some of my web pages. I know that if you just put “book reviews” into the search, my pages will fall somewhere well past the 6th Google page – not found that way. But most of my search hits come from searches for titles.

I put in some searches for some of my more popular titles from the web stats I have. Yeah, there are some impressive results there, like on Tuesdays with Morrie. I remembered another title from my stats list and entered it. I saw this:

Whoa! Octavia Butler had a wonderful voice and I think Kindred is the best of hers that I’ve read. I was pleased (OK, shocked and thrilled) to see my review first on the Google list. (Later it was second on the list, but so what, I had kept a screen shot, grin. The print on the screen shot may be too small to see well here, but it looks great in real size.)

Lovely Hibernating Weekend

Posted May 3, 2010 By Jandy

For the past few weekends I have been on the go. I don’t regret the trips – a girls’ weekend in an Idaho resort, the LA Times Festival of Books, visiting with my granddaughters, etc. This weekend I announced I wasn’t going anywhere and avoiding people.

No, I didn’t want to go swimsuit shopping with a friend. No, I don’t think I’ll go to the cookout (although I finally went for a while so I wouldn’t have to cook…). No, I don’t want to go to Trader Joe’s (I’ll go tonight).

Most of the weekend I hung out alone at home, wallowing in my guilty pleasure reading – romances and very light cozy mysteries. I put aside the deep Barbara Vane novel I’m reading for book club. I ignored the non-fiction I took off the shelf a few days earlier. I didn’t even consider the modern classics waiting on Mt. Bookpile. Instead I pulled out Nora Roberts and caught up on the Bridal Quartet (Bed of Roses and Savor the Moment).

I also caught up on some TV – the Mentalist, the movie Hancock, and Bones.

I even vacuumed and washed floors and clothes. It was a nice, quiet weekend.

Not Powell’s – But a Portland Tragedy

Posted May 3, 2010 By Jandy

Oregon bookstore destroyed by fire

Rare books, archives and a stock of more than 100,000 books have been destroyed. The owner started his first store in the early 1970’s.