Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Best and My Worst Posts of 2017

You, my readers, have determined which of my posts are the best and the worst of the lot for the year 2017.

My Sentimental Library is still my most popular blog.  And the best three posts of that blog are:

 A Conglomeration of Cookbooks Collected by a Man Who Doesn't Cook

About Elliot Stock, Henry B. Wheatley, and The Book Lover's Library Series

Tom and Jerry:  Friends and Aiders

The "worst" three, or least popular posts are:

The Bewicks and Their Bookplates: Number Six of the Twelve Blog Posts For Christmas

Passages From Lambians in My Library;  Large and Small

The Sentimental Airman

Some of my older posts have found new readers.  Since April, over 200 people have read My Autograph Letter Collection (Sep 2011) and My Many Lives of Samuel Johnson (May 2011).  And over 100 people have read seven other older posts.

With 4,491 pageviews, Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit (Nov 2008), on my Bibliophiles in My Library Blog, is still my most popular post of all time, and has gained 341 new readers since April.

Which post is your favorite? You can view all my posts and their updated pageviews on My Blog Browser.

Surprisingly,  most of my readers go directly to the individual blogs than to My Blog Browser.  Maybe I should change that domain name to "My Book Blog Browser."

Here's to a Happy New Year!
Jerry Morris

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Trumpeterville by Dean Gessie

TrumpeterVille is animal allegory in the tradition of Animal Farm by George Orwell.  The story reflects American political culture before and during the presidency of Donald Trump.

                Overview by, Barnes and Noble, and Alibris

   TrumpeterVille might be called animal allegory but it doesn't hold a candle to George Orwell's Animal Farm.  It is pure nonsense.  But it did get a laugh or two from me because of the author's selection of names and terms he used in this story.

President Lulu:  the first black knob elected as the leader of Swanville, whose signature accomplishment was the Swan Care Act, also known as Lulu Care.

Trumpeter or the Trumpeter:  his campaign slogan was Make Swanville Great Again!  He boasted that his beak was waaaaaaay bigger than yours.  And so were his feet!  He was going to replace Lulu Care with something terrific.  It was going to be wonderful!   And he was going to drain the swamp.  He honked day and night using one hundred and forty windpipe vocalizations.

Madam Secretary, also called One Percenter and Madam Status Quo.  Trumpeters wanted to put her on a barbecue spit because of her purported crimes.   imPALE Her!  imPale Her! imPALE Her! That's what they yelled at Trumpeter rallies.

Bunion:  Trumpeter's Chief Political Adviser who helped him drain the left-wing swamp and convert it to a right-wing swamp.

Cinnamon:  Trumpeter's Press Secretary who got along great with WHITE BARK NEWS and ROCKS NEWS, but had hissy fits with USS News.

The story goes on.  The beavers in the North built a dam, a veritable wall that lowered the water level in Swan Lake.  And the Trumpeters yelled, "Tear Down That Wall!  Tear Down That Wall!"

Throw in such terms as the White Loaf Rebellion, the War on Error, the Russian Swan Affair, Bewick Swans, and overwhelming evidence of lake to lake collusion and you have the recent sad state of the American Political scenery presented as a satire.

Both the Political Right and the Political Left are ridiculed in this story.  The sad thing is that you're going to think that half of it is true.  It just depends on whose side you're on.



Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Book Hunters of Katpadi by Pradeep Sebastian

   It is sometimes difficult to switch from writing nonfiction to writing fiction. One is based upon fact and the other is based on figments of one's imagination.   Pradeep Sebastian has succeeded in writing nonfiction.  He is the author of  The Groaning Shelf & other instances of book love, a series of essays about book collecting that was published by Hachette India in 2010.  He is a literary columnist for The Hindu and writes articles about book collecting for other  periodicals as well, including the Business World, IndiaAnd now, Pradeep Sebastian has succeeded in writing fiction.

   In one of his nonfiction articles, Pradeep mentions working in an antiquarian bookshop prior to becoming a teacher.  He has used his past experiences to write a life-like bibliomystery, The Book Hunters of Katpadi.  I say "life-like" because the characters in this book are veritable clones of people you and I have met in the real book world.  Neela, the knowledgeable bookseller and proprietor of the bookstore, Biblio, instructs her assistant, Kayal, on the wiles and ways of bookselling.  Come hell or high water, Nallathambi Whitehead, the Sir Richard Francis Burton collector, wants to be recognized as the foremost Burton collector in the whole wide world.  But Whitehead has an adversary, 'Arcot' Manovalan Templar, owner of Heritage Auctions, the only book auction house in India.  Templar thrives on acquiring choice items for his auction house before Whitehead has the opportunity to purchase them directly from their former owners.  Both men were originally from Katpadi,  about 138 kilometers west of Chennai, and thus the title, The Book Hunters of Katpadi.

   Biblio is located in Chennai in south India, on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, and most of the action takes place in Chennai.  Kayal, however,  is dispatched by train to Ooty, over 500 kilometers away in the Blue Mountains to see a man about a fragment reportedly from a notorious manuscript by Burton.  But I'm getting ahead of myself!  There is more than one plot in this story.  The story begins with a priest who accuses Biblio of trafficking in stolen books!  And the books prove to be originally from the 300-hundred year old library of one of the world's greatest book collectors.  But I'm getting ahead of myself again. You'll just have to read the book to find out whose library I'm hinting about....

   Pradeep Sebastian wrote The Book Hunters of Katpadi for the bibliophiles of India.  But bibliophily is a universal language.  And the bibliophile in America will readily recognize the names of bibliophiles of the past who are mentioned in this book.  The American reader may even be surprised with the connection some of these bibliophiles had with India.  Currently, the book is only being published in India.  But the hardback is available at fairly reasonable prices from several India bookstores via Abebooks and Biblio.  A Kindle edition is available via Amazon UK.

   Pradeep asked his publisher,  Hachette India,  to send a copy of The Book Hunters of Katpadi to me because he wanted to see what I thought of it.  I told him that Hachette should have its American-based Hachette Book Group publish his book in America as well.  I believe that American booklovers will enjoy reading it.

My copy of The Book Hunters of Katpadi now rubs covers with my copy of Sebastian's other book, The Groaning Shelf and other instances of book love.  I had traded a couple of books from My Sentimental Library Collection for Sebastian's first book: