That was heavy
Booooooks. Here is the ritual pile of xmas books, deferred to early January because these were all ordered and mailed to Oxford while I was in Canada. It is a noble pile.
I know you can’t make out too many titles but those who have a habit of reading this blog have a good chance of identifying most of these simply by ‘feel’. At least, I suspect they can.
I am sure that the phrase identifies someone with a far more serious compulsion than I have, but it seemed apt for this brief and cheerless post about the books I have bought (or where waiting for me) on my return to Oxford.
I’m not sure a well rested and rational version of me would have gotten everything you see here. However, I am now unable to decide which of these would qualify as rational.
I’ll let you read the titles and make your own explanations for why I chose them. It’s easier, and potentially more entertaining, that way. I can say that this pile is nowhere near as expensive as it looks (I’m still sorry Z).
Apropos of nothing, I find myself in need of an academic literary agent. I got it in my head that Penguin Classics should include some 15th and 16th century English texts in their backlist (Hoccleve’s Regiment of Princes, or the Great Chronicle of London, for example) but I am tightly locked out in the cold because they do not take ‘unsolicited’ proposals which means they do take unsolicited proposals, just not from the unwashed public. One must convince additional intermediaries to take on your project and hand it over to the relevant people in the corporation. I suspect the best strategy here is to find someone I feel comfortable approaching, and who has successfully published in the series, and see if they will pass me on to their agent. I don’t, at the moment, know anyone who fits that profile.
Not that I actually need more work at the moment, but this is an idea that could go somewhere and it’s best to start early, than not at all.
Or: The demi-god prowess in the Luftwaffe.
One of the most recent additions to my library is up there amongst the strangest. It is also one of the most coveted and while I have not had to look very hard for it, I have had to wait a long time for one to appear in an affordable and clean form.
And now the blog is illegal in Germany and Israel. Oops.
What would have been an otherwise unremarkable and unremarked interview on American television has, thanks to the plague physics of the interwebs, come to my attention. I confess I have not actually sat through said interview but I don’t really need to (yes, that’s unfair of me but I have a tiny reserve of ‘care’ and it has prior commitments). The gist is this: An academic wrote a book about the historical Jesus of Nazareth and dutifully made the rounds deemed necessary by his colossal publisher (the new Penguin-House, or Random Penguin which now owns about 25% of the entire publishing world). One of his interviewers was hung up on an apparent contradiction in that a Muslim was writing about a Christian figure. The author, who displayed the patience of a saint (and I am aware of the humour in that), was accused of defending his ‘right’ to write on this topic by arguing from authority. This is a common counter when someone exhibits their credentials as a specialist or because they have some formal qualification in the field. Of course this is one of those times when an argument sounds like a fallacy but isn’t.
It’s also a nice example of how the news is rarely about ‘news’ and tells us more about the economic or political basis of any media source. It is also a case-study in controversy selling things, even when some of the buyers are those most offended by the product. The author’s book came out in mid-July and while it has only 2 reviews on the Canadian Amazon site it has over 200 on the American one and it is already at the #1 spot on several non-fiction bestseller lists. That is never a mark of quality but it is proof of an investment well made by the publisher (and publicist).
As is my habit, born of many birthdays and other gift-related occasions, here is the stack of new books, arranged neatly, from Leeds. All but two of these will have to stay in Oxford when I go back to Canada for what is left of the summer break.
Not as heavy as it looks
Of particular interest, because of their improbable availability is the one at the bottom, and the green one in the middle. Paul Watson, the publisher of the Harlaxton proceedings took over as the publisher for the Richard III society and they gave him some of the back-stock from Sutton Publishing (now absorbed into History Press). The Sutton stuff is uncommon and when it does appear it is way out of my price range. This stuff was well within that range.
Also, being a rare example of print-on-demand being a good thing, is the trade edition of Klaassen’s Transformation of Magic which is not otherwise available outside hardback. That one is coming home to live with the other esoteric stuff and, if conditions allow, to get ‘inscribed’ by the author himself. Although I will probably have to help build his cabin to compensate for cheaping out with the trade ed.
And honestly, I will actually write something for the blog in the relatively near future, once I get out from the oppressive… oppressions that I currently labour beneath.
G. O. Sayles (1901–1994) payed out, volume by volume, a lifetime over the king’s bench rolls at the UK Public Records Office, now The National Archives. His is the second life, consumed by those rolls, and that’s only up to Henry V. Several more will be claimed, I am sure, by the vastly more numerous records of the later kings and queens who sat, figuratively if not literaly, in propre persona.
There are more things to say about K-zoo this year, but I’m still recovering and all my little cognitive workers are still unpacking from the trip, re-filling things, and gathering up all that cardboard and those little bags of air they pack books in, to get the offices back into order for the rest of the week. For now, the best I can do is record the new intake of books.
I was as disciplined as possible in my book buying this time. I declined several titles and I studiously avoided browsing when I knew I had reached my limit. The final day fire-sale at Powells did add three more titles, but these were worth the added weight. Here is the haul:
not too towering a pile
So what occupied my time for the month of April? I’m not really sure, I will need to check. Hey! my day-book is a useless collection of mostly blank pages and short, largely uninformative, to-do-lists! Hmm. Was involved in some ‘incident’ and this is an effort to cover up unauthorized orders?
No. I’m thinking of U-boat commanders and their order logs. I was just crap at keeping track of things for almost the entire month of April.