Open Letter To All The Authors I Read, Both Mainstream And Independent

Thank you for all of the wonderful books that you have written over the years. And thank you for all of the opportunities to read ARC's both in print and eBook form. Due to vision issues I have to cut back on ebooks. So if I unsubscribe my following it is not because of the writing. It is because you currently don't have a format I can read it in.

I can still read paper books and audio. So if you have those formats available for review I can still do those.

Once again thank you for giving me the oppertunity to read your works.

Theresa Dhondup

P.S. Like always I can be found on goodreads and Litsy as quirkyreader.

Forgotten Fiction The Expensive Halo By Josephine Tey

This was another story that Josephine Tey wrote under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. It was published in 1931 just after her famous story "A Man In The Queue."

This is another lesser known story that passes under the radar because it wasn't one of her mystery stories. It is from the interwar era when many women writers created some of their early work that often gets overlooked.

It deals with class structure and where people fit in. After the First World War the class system was often challenged and questioned. That is especially seen in Jazz Age novels. And this particular story is set in the Jazz Age.

And the question of morals come into play in this story. Should one allow themselves to be a plaything of the higher classes and lose their reputation and self worth. Or stand their ground and keep their morals and reputation intact. It was the question is old fashioned better than modern.

I want to thank the people from Project Gutenberg Australia for transcribing this story on their website. This was another hard book to find.

I have one last Tey/Daviot story to read. It is called "The Privateer".

Always try to make time for a book.

Forgotten Fiction: Kif By Gordon Daviot

This year I have been working on finishing the fiction written by Elizabeth MacKintosh. She wrote under the pseudonyms Gordon Daviot and the very famous Josephine Tey.

"Kif" was one of her first novels written under Gordon Daviot. It was published in 1929 during the inter-war years in England.

The story starts with Kif being a farm boy who loves horses. Then "The Great War" starts. Kif lies about his age and joins up. From there we see how his character develops. He falls into many different groups of friends who influence his future decisions and life choices. And Kif's final outcome is heartbreaking.

I have included "Kif" as Forgotten Fiction because it is very hard to find. When I looked for it on WorldCat.org there weren't any avaible copies in the area where I lived, so I had to do some searching. I found a txt. file on the Australian Project Gutenberg website. Thank you to whomever typed it out and posted it.

I am not sure why this book is never included when Josephine Tey's works get re-printed, but it should be. Granted it is not a mystery story, but is on par with "Miss Pym" and "Brat". And another reason why it needs a new re-printing is because it is an important piece of woman's writing during the inter-war years. All to often those works get looked over. Thanks to publishers like Persephone Books and Source Books for keeping the writers in print.

Try and find this one.

And keep on reading.

Madame Solario By Gladys Huntington

I received an ARC of this book from the lovely people at Persephone Books. It is one of the three tittles being released this fall by their imprint.

A brief history of this book, it was initially published in 1956 under a pseudonym. It was only many years later that her name was attached to the story. Huntington also wrote plays along with her novels. As far as I know this story was last reprinted in the 1980's by Penguin.

Now onto the review.

The first impressions I got of this story were that it combined elements of "Lolita", "Sophie's Choice" and "Mansfield Park". At the time when the book came out, "Lolita" and "Sophie's Choice" still had yet to exist. It is the story of a woman who became the obsession of more than six men. Each of these obsessions caused different forms of strife. It makes you wonder if Madame Solario welcomed there attentions or abhorred them. Was she an attention seeking and vain creature or just a victim of circumstance. Or finally just a plain victim.

This is one of those stories that reamains with you after you finish it. Could the characters done other things to alter their outcomes to make them happier or did some form of narcissism or self importance win out in the end. The European setting of the early 20th Century before The Russian Revolution and World War One also helped to amplify the proceedings of the story.

I would highly recommend this story to readers of Vladimir Nabakov, Leo Tolstoy, Angela Carter, and Margaret Atwood. I hope this edition becomes a big seller in its latest imprint.

Keep on reading everybody.

Forgotten Fiction Frank Belknap Long

Having just finished a spate of H.P. Lovecraft stories I wanted to continue in that vein. So I selected Frank Belknap Long. He wrote under his name and two pen names. One of those being his wife. So if you ever find stories written by Lyda Belknap Long you are reading Frank.

Many of his early stories were part of the Lovecraftian mythos and then he branched out to other genres such as Science Fiction, Gothics, and Westerns. What ever the reading public wanted he wrote. Thus keeping his stories in many magazines for years.

I have yet to read any of his novels, but he is a master at the short story form. I recently read "The Man Who Died Twice", "The Man From Time", "The Man The Martians Made", "Humpty Dumpty", "The Calm Man", "The Sky Trap" and "The Missippi Saucer". From the previous tittles you can tell he liked to use the word man.

I found some of the stories on Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, and the obsolete Munsey's Mobile site. "Humpty Dumpty" took a while to find, but I had sucess in getting it. Many of the stories are out of print, but now that the copyright on some of them has expired we might start to see more. I have a feeling we won't see reprints of the Gothics until at least 2020 when the copyrights start to run out for those.

Frank Belknap Long is an author that needs to be brought back.

Now onto other forgotten fiction that I am reading. The first is Weird Tales Magazine. Volume 24 #3. I am currently into the first story which is by Seabury Quinn. I will try to do a review on the whole issue after I finish it.

The other piece of forgotten fiction is "Madame Solario" by Gladys Hunting. It has recently be re-printed by Persephone Books for their fall releases. The last major re-print of this book was in the 1980's by Penguin. Persephone Books kindly sent me a copy to review and so far I am enjoying it greatly.

So those dusty tomes sitting in the back of a great aunts or grandparents library are worth dusting off and rediscovering.

Keep on reading everybody.

The Crimson Petal And The White By Michel Faber

This was a long and very impressive novel. During my time spent with it, I kept looking forward to reading it. And yes, I would like to read more of Faber's work.

This is a story about a woman named Sugar and the people in her circle. Sugar happens to be a prostitute in Victorian era England who will do anything. But she has a secret. She has educated herself in literature and other subjects of the day. She is a very intelligent woman and that makes her different and special. She meets a man by the name of William that will lead her into a whirlwind.

I am having a bit of a book hangover, but Faber did write some short stories about his characters in a book entitled "The Apple". I will get to that story very soon.

Don't let the legenth of the novel be over daunting. It is a very brilliant story and well worth reading.

Keep on reading everybody. As usual I can be found on goodreads, Litsy, and Open Library.

The Virago Book Of Food.

I like the quality of books that Virago puts out. That said many forgotten authors were mentioned in the book "The Virago Book of Food: The Joy of Eating". There were snippets of writing by authors such as Enid Blyton, Barbara Comyns, Edna Ferber, Rumer Godden, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dorothy Wordsworth.

The food writing in this book featured recipes, journeys to out of the way places to taste regional food, dinner successes, and dinner failures. The writers noted down childhood favourites and hates.

But what made this book for me, was how cooking has evolved over the centuries. A meal that used to take days, such a sumptuous wedding feats would take days, sometimes weeks to complete. Now there are venues with industrial kitchen that can prepare feasts in hours.

A person from the 15th century might get confused and bemused with all the items it now takes to cook something in the 21st century. One or two knives that were probably used in the 15th century are now replaced with five or more in this century. For me living in an Asian household there is the small cleaver and the big cleaver. There is a butcher knife, but I brought that with me as part of my stuff when we set up housekeeping.

This book is an enjoyable time out from the cuisine that is prevalent in the world today.

American Pulp By Paula Rabinowitz

Last week at the library I was looking at the 805's to the 830's and found "American Pulp". Being a big fan of mid 20th century paperbacks, I checked it out.

Pulp is a history of the mid century paperback trade and how it influenced American reading habits. The book showed how changing the cover of a high brow classics could make them more appealing to the average reader. Then of course, after there were obscenity charged held on the artwork of the covers, the lewdness went away for a few decades.

Probably the most interesting items I took away from the book were how Penguin publishing sent one of their own to the states and how he defected and started his own publishing houses. The other item being how Penguin's Pelican imprint morphed into NAL, New American Library, and Mentor books. Flash forward to the 21st century, and the aforementioned imprints still play a big role in publishing industry as Penguin imprints.

The biggest surprise was the continual mention of "The Blank Wall" by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. I had to get my copy of the book through Persephone Books, because at the time I wanted it it was no longer in print in America. Now it has been recently been reprinted in a new collection along with the story "Laura" by Vera Caspary. I also found a new author to read, Ann Petry.

Give this one ago and find out about how changing a book covers promoted a literacy movement.

As usual I am on goodreads, litsy, and OpenLibrary. Keep on reading everybody.

More Forgotten Authors

Just a quick posting. This past week at work some books came in by three forgotten authors, Elswyth Thane, Janice Holt Giles, and Eugenia Price. I have added some of their works to my goodreads TBR list.

Also, if you haven't checked out litsy give it a go.

Keep on reading eveybody.

Forgotten Fiction The Spy With Five Faces By Amelia Elizabeth Walden

"The Spy With The Five Faces" was saved off a discard pile from a school I was employed at. I did some research on Amelia Elizabeth Walden and didn't find very much. So, she now has her day in the sun with Forgotten Fiction. This is what I could find, Walden was considered to be one of the first writers of what is known as YA fiction today. She mostly wrote about young women trying to find their place in the world. A line from the biography in the back of the book says, "Miss Walden's books are full of enthralling characters no matter whether they are about sport or the theater, or have a love, career, or suspense theme". One more fact I did find is that Walden has a book award named for her. And, that she was the one that endowed it.

Now onto the story. The main action of the story takes place in and around Mexico City of the 1960's. The main character is a teacher named Toni, trying to find her lost brother. Toni has to rely on her heritage to help her find her lost family. The story has the themes of romantic suspense, adventure, anthropology, and science. And remember things aren't always what they seem.

This book has shown how YA has evolved, but also stays the same. Do not dismiss YA because some of the stories are very engrossing and it keeps people reading. YA also dares to ask the question what it an adult issue and what is a child issue. This genre helps many people who often read it, because sometimes it can lead to answers that can make the transition from child to adult much easier.

But I digress. Time to step off the soap box.

Walden's book was time well spent. As soon as I started it, I knew that I had to drop whatever I could to finish it.

Now it is back to my Michener book and another early YA book circa 1950,s called "Dark Sunshine" by Dorothy Lyons.

Keep on reading everybody.