Monday, August 5, 2013

A Most Heavenly Review?

Things have gone to hell in a hand basket up here. And She is pissed. New York Yankee fans are fighting amongst each other over that darn book, The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History.

It all started out peacefully with Yankee fans  preaching about glowing deeds Yankee players from their respective generations accomplished. But then it turned to nasty words –– words we don't usually hear up here –– about the has-beens and upstarts with undeserved better rankings than the players of their own generations. To top it off, some of the Yankee fans managed to get their favorite players riled up. And that made the angels nervous because they had seen what pride hath wrought up here before.

I tell you, She is threatening to send the whole bunch to Purgatory, fans and players alike. And as for that all-knowing author, Robert H. Cohen –– God rest his soul –– I hope he knows there will be a proverbial lightning bolt heading his way in the near future.

All was well when an early review copy of that darn book somehow made its way up here. Yankee fans from all generations had no qualms at all with Cohen's first four picks: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. There were a number of rumblings concerning the placement of the next five: Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bill Dickey, and Whitey Ford. But a great multitude of Yankee fans went through our holy roof when it was announced that Cohen selected Don Mattingly as the tenth greatest player in New York Yankees history.

Thank God for no-nonsense gun laws up here, or we would have had a bloody war on our holy hands. No-nonsense gun laws? Simple. It means "no guns, period"(.)

The bickering over Mattingly got so bad that She commanded me to mediate the mess. I chose two of the most vociferous Yankee fans: one from Generation X, and the other from Generation Y. I set up two pulpits. And then I said, "Let the debate begin."

Says the Generation X Fan:
Don Mattingly? Really? Bull Donkey...

(Note from me:  Much stronger words were used, but we don't record such words up here).

How many home runs did he hit in a World Series game? None. Umm... how many World Series games did he play in? None. Yes, he is "number ten," all right.

Rebuts Generation Y Fan:

Why? Why did Cohen select Don Mattingly? Because Mattingly is the greatest player in New York Yankees history who never played in a World Series! Moreover, Mattingly holds the Major-League record for most home runs over an eight-game stretch –– ten of them he hit!

Retorts Generation X Fan:
Ten home runs? Wow! Roger Maris hit 61 home runs and where is he on Cohen's list? Number 22. Number 22? Are you kidding me?
(Note from me: "Kidding" is not the precise word Generation X Fan used, but it does end in "ing.").

Are you sure you're not related to Mattingly? Maybe Cohen is related to Mattingly?

At this point in the debate, Generation X Fan asks me to check the Book of Deeds online to see if either Cohen or Generation Y Fan is related to Mattingly. I have the results in two seconds: "Neither Cohen or Generation Y Fan is related to Mattingy," I reply.

Says Generation X Fan:
I am troubled with Cohen's interpretation of what really went on in 1961. That's not how I remember it. And I lived it. If I may, Pete, can I read a portion from Cohen's book which really disturbs me?

I nod my head. The multitude of Yankee fans grows noisier. Could this matter be the proverbial nail on the head?

Generation X Fan reads from pages 115 and 116 of Cohen's book:

...The feelings of the fans toward Mantle and Maris gradually intensified the following year, as the two sluggers drew closer and closer to Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. Since the mark was held by a Yankee, New York fans felt that Mantle should be the one to break it. Furthermore, many people believed that Maris's .269 batting average made him unworthy of eclipsing the great Ruth's long-standing record. The fans subsequently cast Maris as an outsider and a usurper, and nothing he might have done from that point on would have been good enough to please them.
Displaying their indifference toward Maris, fewer than 15,000 fans showed up at Yankee Stadium on the season's final day to see the slugger establish a single-season record....

Generation X Fan clears his throat and continues:
I was fourteen years old that year. Injury-wearied Mantle was the favorite, and he valiantly tried to keep pace with Maris, but he eventually ended up in the hospital in September. I kept track of their home run race by attending games, watching games on TV, listening to games on the radio, and reading about the home run race in the newspapers. Maris gradually developed a toxic relationship with the press, but the majority of the fans still respected him. And in late September, Maris was our only hope. We were still rooting for him to break Ruth's record. Speaking of rooting for him, I was at that game. I saw Roger Maris break Babe Ruth's record. I tell you, it felt like there were more than 15,000 fans in the stands. Could you please check on that Pete?

I check and respond:
Roger Maris yesterday became the first major league player in history to hit more than 60 home runs in a season.
The 27-year-old Yankee outfielder hit his sixty-first at the stadium before a roaring crowd of 23,154 in the Bombers' final game of the regular campaign.

Generation X Fan smiles and says, "I'm glad The Book of Deeds has got it right."

To which I reply:
Actually, that's from the front page of The New York Times, the Oct. 2, 1961 issue. As for the fans cheering, films captured of that momentous moment show fans giving Maris a standing ovation.

At this point in the debate, with the record set straight, God had seen and heard enough. In two nanoseconds flat, She implanted the thought in the brains of Yankee fans and players alike that all Yankee players were equal to each other in Her eyes. And those were the only eyes that counted up here.

As for Cohen, God relented. She cancelled the lightning strike. She figured he would get enough static from the Yankee fans still on earth. God knows who the greatest players in New York Yankees history are!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Former Owner's Review of the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning

What makes us buy certain books?

Usually, it's because we want to read it, and want a copy of it in our library.

In a local thrift store, for fifty cents, I bought the book displayed below, solely because of the review written on the ffep by a former owner, possibly, Osborne Griggs, Beta House, Beloit College, Wisconsin. Mr. Griggs was on the college's football team and graduated in 1936.

The book itself is in sad shape. The cloth on the spine is gone, and I want to wash my hands every time I touch what  is left of the book.

But I just had to have this book because of the former owner's review:


Thursday, March 28, 2013


At the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, held at The Coliseum in St Petersburg on March 8th through the 10th, I gave out the following postcard-sized notice to about twenty booksellers:

My phone was not ringing off the hook, nor did I receive any emails from booksellers wanting to buy my collections right now –– as one bookseller friend told me, "Most booksellers are in the selling mode and not the buying mode." But several out-of-state booksellers expressed interest in buying some of my books for stock next year, saving them the trouble of transporting books to the show.

Several book collectors have expressed an interest in acquiring portions of my library as well. And it is up to me to decide when to sell to them. As the days go by, however, I am leaning more towards keeping most of my books for myself as long as possible, and less towards selling my books off lock, stock and barrel right now. I enjoy looking at my bookshelves just the way they are, and don't know if I can bear looking at bare shelves again.

But I am making a list of potential buyers and what books they might be interested in for the executors of my estate. And I am thinking of adding private comments to the listings of the books on Library Thing –– comments concerning the value and collectibility of some of my books.  All my books about books will have this bookplate lightly pasted in them:

Some collections, such as my Poetry Collection, are up for sale now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Finding New Owners For My Old Books

Finding new owners for my old books is something I've done before. In 2006, while waiting for my disability retirement to be approved,  I sold some of my old books just to help pay the bills.   In the months to come, I will try to find new owners for some of my old books just to make it easier for friends and family to dispose of my books after I am gone.

I will sell some of my books now. And I will research and identify potential buyers of some of my other books. These potential buyers will be contacted, hopefully "at a much later date," and offered the books I think they might be interested in acquiring.
Among the books to be disposed of at a "much later date" will be the books that have been given to me, which are part of My Sentimental Library Collection.

What books will I be selling now? My First American Edition of Shakespeare's Works; my Poetry books; my History books; and a few selected author collections.

I would love to sell my Books About Books Collection en bloc –– anyone interested? Contact me: moibibliomaniac at, with @ replacing the word "at.'

But I am prepared to sell my Books About Books by sub-collections (bibliography, booksellers, etc.). What I will not do is list my Books About Books individually on eBay.

My Mary Hyde Collection will be sold en bloc at a later date. And I have a potential buyer or two already listed.

If you are interested in acquiring some of my books either now or at a later date, please contact me: moibibliomaniac at And if you want to find this blog post again, just go to, and the World Wide Web will point you there.

My blogs:

On Selecting A Bookplate For My Library

Which one of these four bookplates do you like the best? I like them all. And I can't decide which one to select as the bookplate for my library.

Bookplate #1:

Bookplate # 2:

Bookplate #3:

Bookplate #4:

Bookplate #4 is a "first draft" without a bookish background which displays images of Samuel Johnson, William Shakespeare, and Mary Hyde, three authors whose books I collect. The fourth image is of Yours Truly. If I choose this bookplate, owners of my books thirty years from now may wonder who that fourth person is. And I will chuckle up above.

My Books About Books Collection is, by far. my biggest book collection, containing over 900 books. I have designed a separate bookplate for that collection.

 Here's a list of all my blogs:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jerry Morris: The Never-Ending Story

When a very close relative died suddenly in his sleep last October, it got me thinking that I should make plans for the disposition of my books.

I've seen it too many times. A book collector dies, leaving his wife with shelves and shelves of books she doesn't know what to do with. She contacts a local bookseller. He comes, cherry-picks her husband's books, goes on his merry way, and leaves the widow with the task of getting rid of the rest of her husband's books.

I have also seen it where a bibliophile makes arrangements with booksellers or fellow book collectors to help his wife dispose of his books after he is gone. This, of course, is better than the first scenario, and one that I am making preparations for; but with several exceptions which I will discuss in my next blog post, "On Finding New Owners For My Old Books."

Last November, I queried a noted bibliophile, and he gave me some excellent advice on what to do, and what not to do in preparing for the disposition of my books. But before giving me his advice, he wrote, "Don't worry, nothing's going to happen to you for a long, long time."

The next month I almost died.

It all started with a stomach virus while visiting our grandchildren in Texas over the Christmas holidays. Everything, including my heart medications, went right through me for three days. It was a double whammy of what came next, the chicken or the egg. In my case, was it the pneumonia that worsened my COPD and woke me up gasping for air early Christmas morning? Or was it the silent heart attack I suffered that kept my oxygen level below 65%, even after several breathing treatments in the ambulance before being transported to the hospital?

It is hospital protocol to pump the patient full of Lovenox (a blood thinner) in the event of a heart attack. That helped my heart, but it made my lungs bleed. I was drowning in my own blood the next day. I couldn't breathe. They intubated me. My oxygen level tanked down to 30%. My heart was beating erratically.

It was the chicken or the egg again. If they stopped giving me the blood thinner, would my lungs clear before my heart stopped beating? "Notify the rest of the family," the doctors warned my wife and daughter.

They stopped giving me the the blood thinner. My lungs cleared. My heart kept on beating. Ten days later, the cardiologist performed an angioplasty and cleared the 90% blockage of one of my nine stents.

I am now alive and well and back in Florida, and making preparations for the disposition of my books.

And when I die, my wife will have me cremated, and will place me in a box in the shape of a book. And on the spine will be these words:

Jerry Morris
Never-Ending Story

My blogs:

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Seven blogs? Am I crazy? Maybe. But there is a method to my biblio-madness. Each blog serves its own specific purpose. And only six of the blogs are active. And I post to only two of them on a monthly basis.

Let's take a look at each blog:

My Sentimental Library:
A monthly blog for writing about my books and book collections, with particular emphasis on the association copies in My Sentimental Library Collection. This is my most popular blog drawing over 850 page views per month (over 1500 2500 page views per month in 2013).
First Post:  Oct 05, 2009  An Unexpected Find in Umatilla, Florida
Most Popular Post:  Changing Bookplates:  Multiple Bookplates of Famous People Note: In July, 2013, Maureen E. Mulvihill List of Online Work became the most popular post.
My Favorite Post:  A Virtual Tour of My Mary Hyde Collection

Biblio Researching
A blog for posting my research of books and other bibliophilic matters.
First Post: October 28, 2007 Researching a G. B. Hill ALS
Most Popular Post: My Elements of Style Collection
My Favorite Post: A Correction to the Copyright and Bibliographic Records of The Elements of Style

A monthly blog on how a bibliophile connects with other people in the book world. It is also about how I evolved from being an avid reader to becoming an enthusiastic book collector, and then to becoming a raving bibliomaniac. I will change the format in 2013 from dated entries to monthly summaries.
First Post:  July 05, 2011 Biblio-Connecting

Contemplations of MoiBibliomaniac:
A blog  for posting my contemplations: Random thoughts and reflections on my bibliophilic adventures, and on book collecting in general. Randomness will be the key for this blog. No set schedule. No set topics.
First Post:  April 03, 2004  Book Collection Offshoots
Blog Reactivated:  Dec 06, 2012  Contemplations of MoiBibliomaniac
My Favorite Post: Feb 14, 2013  Jerry Morris:  The Never-Ending Story

Bibliophiles in My Library:
A blog  for posting about the bibliophiles in my library. I began this blog in 2008 with blog posts on William Targ and Mary Hyde. But I have drifted off topic since then. No more. Look for random posts about the other bibliophiles in my library.   These blog posts will be more biographical in nature; whereas the posts to My Sentimental Library blog will be more about the collections of the bibliophiles in my library.
First Post:  November 06, 2008  Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit
Most Popular Post:  Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit
My Favorite Post:  Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit

The Displaced Book Collector:
I posted to this blog while I was in Hawaii and away from my library for seven months, watching some of my grandchildren while their father was in Iraq. I posted eight times to the blog and "officially" replaced it on Oct 31, 2007 with my Biblio Researching blog. Although The Displaced Book Collector blog has been inactive for over five years, it still gets about 85 page views per month. I don't foresee any extended displacements away from Florida, so this blog will probably stay dormant.
First Post: May 29, 2007 to displace: to take the place of
Most Popular Post: Among the Leaves, Fruit
My Favorite Post: A View From the Crib
Last Post: October 31, 2007 The Displaced Book Collector Has Been Replaced.

Idlewild Blue Yonder
A blog for posting about my childhood growing up near Idlewild Airport, my career in the U.S. Air Force, and beyond. I'm still posting about my childhood. But not as frequently as I'd like.
First Post: July 6, 2007 The Old Neighborhood
Most Popular Post: On Thanksgiving Day
My Favorite Post: Old Stoneface: Memories of New York