#BookADay - catching up on days 1-3: - The Gory Details
Jun. 3rd, 2014
05:37 pm - #BookADay - catching up on days 1-3:
OK, I adore the book-a-day idea, which I saw in N8an's feed, but since "procrastination" is my middle name, I'm a bit behind-hand. Still, here goes with the first three days' worth:
1. Favourite book from childhood:
This one's easy; it's Kipling's Jungle Book, which I discovered at age 8 or so, and read cover-to-cover in one sitting, after which, completely entranced, I started over and read it again. (The link is to one of my BookCrossing copies, with additional comments.) I still love the book - though I've had to grit my teeth whenever I see bits from the Disney animated version, since it turned favorite-character Kaa from wise-and-dangerous-mentor to comic-relief semi-villain. Grrr!
2. Best bargain:
Not so easy to choose, here; I've found lots of fabulous books for little or nothing, at yard sales or charity shops or (for free!) at the local recycling center swap-shop (which, alas, closed after people kept abusing the privilege). My most unusual swap-shop find was probably the 1865 edition of The Love-letters of Dr. Kane. Dr. Kane, it turned out, had been along on some Arctic voyages in search of the lost Franklin expedition (a topic that's always fascinated me), and had made sketches that were the basis for some of the better-known engravings of the trip, including one of the graves on Beechey Island. I recognized the images at once from my other reading - but I had had no idea of his very odd and rather controversial romance with Margaret Fox until I found this book. Fox was one of the two Fox sisters renowned in spiritualist circles - and who later confessed to having faked all the table-raps. It seems that Fox and Kane had a long flirtation, and she claimed that they were secretly married before one of his last expeditions, but when he got back he denied this, and much conflict and litigation ensued. The book contains the text of slews of letters between the two, most of which are, frankly, pretty boring, but the mere fact that these two people, both of them quite notorious in their different spheres, had had such an interesting relationship, and that it went public in a scandal-mongering kind of way that seems more like today's celebrity-expose TV shows than something I'd equate with the mid-1800s... well, it was fascinating!
3. One with a blue cover:
Lots of candidates here, but the one that sprang to mind was My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. It's another of his delightful epistolary novels, this one for young adults, and it's charming, informative, and often hilarious. [The link is to one of my BookCrossing copies, with additional comments and quotes from the book. I dare you to read that and not want to try the book yourself! Oh, and there's a very good audiobook version of this one, too.]