Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A page on books...from her book

This is a page from a book that Margretta (Blay) Johns kept to record births, marriages, deaths, addresses and other information. This page lists books. Was she listing them because they were books she read and enjoyed? Or was it a list of books she wanted to read? I don't know. But I wanted to learn more about the books and the authors, and I'm bringing you along on my search: I've listed the books (linked to either Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg), the author (linked to Wikipedia) and reviews or quotes from various sites. I enjoyed this small glimpse into her life and finding out more about the types of books she (probably) read.

John Galsworthy

"They who have known the doldrums--how the sails of the listless ship droop, and the hope of escape dies day by day--may understand something of the life Gyp began living now. On a ship, even doldrums come to an end. But a young woman of twenty-three, who has made a mistake in her marriage, and has only herself to blame, looks forward to no end." (quote from Fantastic Fiction)

"To the reader with a critical instinct, the first impression made by Mr. Galsworthy's new novel, The Dark Flower, is that of keen delight at the sheer technical skill of it, the beautiful symmetry of its structure and its symbolism. It is only after enjoying this feature to the utmost that such lovers of fine artistry will begin to enjoy the equally fine interpretation of an almost universal phase of human life." — The Bookman (December, 1913) - (editorial review from Amazon)

"The story is divided into three epochs, "Spring," "Summer"and "Autumn" three great passions in a man's life belonging respectively to his youth, his maturity and his middle age. Of the three women who successively inspire these three passions, the first might almost have been his mother, the second was of suitable age to be his wife, and the third could easily been his daughter. Such is the substance of "The Dark Flower," a curiously interesting and probing study of man's passions and woman's weakness." (quote is from Fantastic Fiction)

Harold Bell Wright

"The shepherd, an elderly, mysterious, learned man, escapes the buzzing restlessness of the city to live in the backwoods neighborhood of Mutton Hollow in the Ozark hills. There he encounters Jim Lane, Grant Matthews, Sammy, Young Matt, and other residents of the village, and gradually learns to find a peace about the losses he has borne and has yet to bear. Through the shepherd and those around him, Wright assembles here a gentle and utterly masterful commentary on strength and weakness, failure and success, tranquility and turmoil, and punishment and absolution. (editorial review from Amazon)

B. M. Bower

"A vigorous Western story, sparkling with the free, outdoor, life of a mountain ranch. Its scenes shift rapidly and its actors play the game of life fearlessly and like men. It is a fine love story from start to finish." (description from FeedBooks)

"He was hungry for a solitary ride such as had, before now, drawn much of the lonely ache out of his heart and keyed him up to the life which he must live and which chafed his spirit more than even he realized. Instead of such slender comfort, he was forced to ride beside the girl who had hurt him--so close that his knee sometimes brushed her horse-- and to listen to her friendly chatter and make answer, at times, with at least some show of civility." (editorial review from Amazon)

William MacLeod Raine

"The sun had declined almost to a saddle in the Cuesta del Burro when the sleeper reopened his eyes. Even before he had shaken himself free of sleep he was uneasily aware of something wrong. Hazily the sound of voices drifted to him across an immense space. Blurred figures crossed before his unfocused gaze." (product description on Amazon)

Gene Stratton Porter

"...the tale ...starting with the mangled body of a cardinal some marksman had left in the road she was travelling, in a fervour of love for the birds and indignation at the hunter, she told the Cardinal's life history..." (quote from Gene Stratton-Porter, A Little Story of the Life and Work and Ideals of "The Bird Woman")

"...is the uplifting story of a plucky waif without a name and without one hand, disabled since infancy. Raised in a Chicago orphanage, he survives abuse and harsh circumstances and grows up a brave, loyal, and hardworking young man with a true capacity for self-sacrifice. Freckles becomes a timber guard in the Limberlost swamp in Indiana and exhibits extraordinary courage and resourcefulness on the job. He also falls in love with the Swamp Angel, a young girl whose beauty and kindness bring out the best in others." (product description from Amazon)

"The book is an account of many species of birds that Stratton-Porter studied over the course of five years, including photographs that she took. In each chapter, she discusses a different species of bird and her experiences in the field with that species. She describes in intimate detail her encounters with birds in the Limberlost and how she photographed them in their natural habitat. Her strong feelings against harming an animal or its surroundings for the sake of nature study or photography are evident." (quote from Our Land, Our Literature)

"...uses fishing as a backdrop to tell the story of Jimmy Malone and Dannie Macnoun, who is in love with Jimmy's wife, Mary. In addition, this includes a lengthy biographical introduction on the author's life and work." (from Library Journal posted on Amazon)

"...the timeless story of an impoverished young girl, Elnora Comstock, growing up on the edge of the Limberlost swamp." (product description from Amazon)

"...a very scholarly work and required a great deal of research. It was by no means decisively popular, but was interesting and replete with illustration, some of which were collected abroad with painstaking care." (quote from Wabash Carnegie Public Library's "The Life and Work of Gene Stratton-Porter")

"While making photographs of birds in the spring of 1910, Mrs. Porter became interested in their music, calls, and sounds; the result was "Music of the Wild". She dedicated this book to her husband's brother, Dr. Miles Porter, then a physician in Fort Wayne." (quote from Wabash Carnegie Public Library's "The Life and Work of Gene Stratton-Porter")

"Gene Stratton-Porter returns us to her beloved Midwestern woodlands with a hero modeled after Henry David Thoreau. He and his "wonderful, alluring" Ruth ultimately find idyllic bliss in the pure, unspoiled woods, but not before her mysterious past is revealed and resolved." (product description from Amazon)

Marie Van Vorst

"...the story of a stenographer in love with and loved by her employer, a married Wall Street financier. In Mary Moreland, Van Vorst writes her most sophisticated discussion of the moral issues surrounding marital dissatisfaction and infidelity and creates her most complex and admirable heroine. Mary, a self-supporting suffragist dedicated to her career while searching for a passionate love that is neither compromising nor limiting, is a memorable fictional portrait of a young American woman seeking her identity in a world of shifting social and sexual values." (quote from NovelGuide.com)

Vera L. Connolly

The Lone Trail - this appears to have been a serial that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" magazine in September and October of 1923. The author wrote other serials such as "Cry of a Broken People" (Good Housekeeping, Feb 1929) and "We Still Get Robbed" (Good Housekeeping (Mar 1929). Columbia University Libraries' Archival Collection holds the Vera L. Connolly Papers (27 boxes of her writings, correspondence, and clippings).

The Blue Book ("The Blue Book Magazine)

And finally she lists Favorite Songs - Hall and McCreary, Chicago, Ill. This appears to be a music publishing company. They published "The Golden Book of Favorite Songs" (1915), "The Gray Book of Favorite Songs" (1919), and "The Blue Book of Favorite Songs" (1924).

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