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My Bookshelf: Radcliffe, Blume, Birdman of Alcatraz, Plath, and Olsen

The Birdman of Alcatraz book cover

This is my college reader copy of The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe. This was her third novel, and it was first published in 1791.

Those who love a mystery with elements of the supernatural and impending threats of horror and terror should reach for a Gothic novel.  Radcliffe is a wonderful place to start, as she was the best-selling author of the genre. While she may not be very well known today, she was enormously popular in her day.

Many readers seek out this book because it is referenced in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Interestingly enough, those same readers don’t often enjoy Radcliffe.

Read it online or download it for free. The book is in the public domain.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume should be required reading for every adolescent. Ms. Blume is one of my idols, and I appreciate her ability to write books for children and young adults that are honest and humorous. I bow to Ms. Blume.

Watch Ms. Blume perform the breast-enhancing exercise from the book. Adorable, thy name is Blume.

The Birdman of Alcatraz is a haunting read. Once you’ve been told the story of this man’s life, it will never leave you. Robert Stroud served 54 years in prison, and 43 of them were in solitary confinement.

After  you read the book, watch the 1962 movie of the same name; it is also very good.

The Bell Jar by American poet Sylvia Plath celebrates its 51st year in print. The semi-autobiographical book was published in 1963 in the United Kingdom a month prior to her suicide. She was thirty years old. The first edition was published under Plath’s pseudonym, “Victoria Lucas.” It wouldn’t be published in the United States until 1971. My edition is from 1971.

Her only novel, The Bell Jar is “the heartbreaking story of a talented young woman who descends into madness.”

I think you’ll enjoy reading this interview conducted with Ms. Plath in 1962. I particularly enjoy her answer regarding the types of people she preferred to be around. Writers were not at the top of her list.

This exhibit of photographs features images of Ms. Plath, her family, and her works.

Listen to Ms. Plath read “Tulips” during her  1961 appearance on the BBC radio series, The Poet’s Voice.

 

The Little Locomotive by Ib Spang Olsen, 1976 edition. This little book was/is so dear to me. I loved the personification of the train. I don’t know how I came by this book, but I’m thankful it was always a staple in my room. I’m surprised I was allowed this book, as I’m certain my mother would have viewed it as something more appropriate for a boy. I’d love to know the story behind my coming to own this book.

Watch Ib Spang Olsen, Danish writer and illustrator, draw and paint in this video.

Did you miss the previous peek at my bookshelf?

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My Bookshelf: Alcott, The Goonies, Masters, Armstrong, and Berube

The Goonies book cover

It’s time to take another peek at the items on my bookshelf! I’m having so much fun with this series, and I hope you are enjoying it. Has it encouraged you to go to your bookshelves and rediscover the books you own?

My husband purchased this hardback copy of Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, edited by Madeleine Stern with stories by Louisa May Alcott. This beautiful Christmas gift thrilled me, as I had never heard of the four stories.

Some of the stories in the book were published anonymously or under the name A.M. Barnard. The stories included are: “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” “The Mysterious Key,” “The Abbot’s Ghost,” and “Behind a Mask.”

Six years before she wrote Little Women, Louisa May Alcott was in financial straits. She entered “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” a novelette, in a newspaper contest. She published it anonymously, and it won the $100 prize. The subsequent “blood and thunder” tales she published would provide her livelihood for years.

Download a copy of the story from Project Gutenberg.

Listen to the audio recording of the short story “Behind a Mask” by Green Audio Books.

 

Who doesn’t love “The Goonies” movie? I love the artwork on this 1985 edition.

Steven Spielberg presents The Goonies, a novel by James Kahn, story by Steven Spielberg, and screenplay by Chris Columbus. 

“I will never betray my Goon Dock friends,

We will stick together until the whole world ends,

Through heaven and hell and nuclear war,

Good pals like us will stick like tar,

In the city, or the country, or the forest, or the boonies

I am proudly declared a fellow Goony.” — The Goony Oath

If you haven’t heard, they are making a sequel.

I’ve been enamored with Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Less Masters since high school. A teacher read parts of the book to my class, and I found it to be a unique method of telling a story. The stories unfold in a series of epitaphs.

I’ve since purchased the audiobook, and I love to play it in the car for friends who’ve never read it. They are instantly drawn into the tragic and scandalous tales of the people buried in little Spoon River.

The book is in the public domain, and you can download a free version at Project Gutenberg.

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong is a new addition to my bookshelf. If you haven’t done it yet, you should scoot over and give a listen to my podcast. I review this book and share news about the second book in the new trilogy.

Whenever my eyes fall upon Joint Mission by D. Gary Berube, I smile and instantly remember the author. He was my high school janitor. I was a reporter for the high school newspaper, and a teacher thought Mr. Berube’s story would make an interesting article.

Mr. Berube didn’t look like other janitors. His long hair fell just below his shirt collar, and he wore jeans and short-sleeved plaid shirts. I always thought he looked as though he were headed out to a concert. He was easy-going and kind. I remember how tickled he was when I interviewed him for the paper.

He autographed this copy he gave me, and I’ve always cherished it. The cover and internal illustrations are his work, too.

Did you miss the last items on my bookshelf?