December 28, 2010

Books, books, books

The lovely and talented Jean asked what books I have downloaded so far. I purchased Bernard Cornwell's newest The Fort. If you dig historical fiction there is no one better writing that genre today. I also copped a copy of the Autobiography of US Grant, The Red Badge of Courage, The Count of Monte Cristo, Tarzan, and some Zane Grey among others. I have plenty to occupy me while on my travels.

I used to own  copy of Grant's memoirs.  It is one of the best autobiographies ever penned. Grant wrote it in the last months of his life, in a mountain top cabin. Though he was dying of throat cancer, he doggedly stuck to the project, living on the advance, so his family would have something to live on after he died. This hefty tome was part of my collection that was destroyed by termites at my Mother-in-law's house. 

I had taken a job in a different city and when it came time to go, we still had not found a house to live in. We rented a small apartment and took what furnishings and such we needed to live, and boxed the balance and stored it at my MIL's. Clearly hundreds of books were not necessary. I lost probably 40 or fifty books on the Civil War, including Grant and Sherman's memoirs.  Gone was my rare copy of The Rock of Chicamauga. I lost my collection of books on the Zulu Wars (except The Washing of the Spears, which I had loaned to someone). I lost some college textbooks and both my wife's and my High School yearbooks. Box after box of novels, textbooks and history books were chewed.  They all had to go. Such is life. I hope the bugs that got to them enjoyed my Tacitus, my Livy, and my Herodotus as much as I did.

I still have far too many books. They are stacked in shelves, in boxes, in storage containers. I have weeded through them and sold or donated hundreds. I have spent far too much of my hard earned treasure on books. My wife has been accommodating, and in recent years I have backed off somewhat from my reading. Some of my favorite authors have had the bad grace to die, or write too damn slow. My vision is not what it used to be, nor is my attention span such that I can read for six, eight or ten hours at a time. My new toy may very well reverse that trend.

What are you reading?


Jean said...

I think that's heartbreaking about all those lost books!

I recently read a bio of Mark Twain. Said he had become friends with Grant and encouraged him in the writing of his autobio. His book is now on my list of 'find and buy'.

My most recent reads include: Hannibal (Thomas Harris), The Imperial Cruise(James Bradley), Band of Brothers (Stephen E. Ambrose), The Pacific (Hugh Ambrose, son of Stephen E.), Atonement (Ian McEwan).
Am currently reading a great bio of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Elizabeth Silverthorne) of The Yearling and Cross Creek.

(thank you for the lovely link.)

Yabu (EOTIS) said...

No such thing as "too many books". Fact.

Otter said...

I'm reading the HB Blog!

Cappy said...

HB, you are very well read. In fact, second read only to Red Foreman himself.

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