I’M ON A TREASURE HUNT. I’m tired of hearing people say there are “no good books left.” Yes, the market is inundated right now, but I’m on a mission to find the best literary fiction out there provided by the “little guys.” I’m digging through the muck to find rare gems: meaningful and culturally significant literature that engages and says something more than vampire love.

Today the book market is dominated by Amazon and big publishing houses, so I want to give a nod to the small presses who are fighting the good fight. ALL the books I read here have been published by small presses and (whenever possible) purchased from local bookstores.

You won’t find negative reviews here. The market is too vast to waste anyone’s time with bad reviews. Rather, you will find that I am selective about the books I read, and if I don’t like something, I won’t review it. In other words, I won’t give you the dirt, only the plunder.

I will be posting quarterly book recommendations for writers, avid readers, and anyone who thinks good literature is dead. I will also have "Throwback Thursdays" to show some of my old book collection to promote the preservation of classic stories and the art of beautiful bookbinding.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#tbt Oldie Books: Longfellow Wrote Short Stories?

People read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in high school and generally not in their spare time. That's why I'm a bit of an odd bird. I've enjoyed reading his old short stories even more than his poetry. What they don't teach you in high school literature class is that these old writers had a sense of humor, and you're allowed to laugh at what they write. Teachers often put each writer in a bubble: this writer did x, this writer did y, and that writer did z. I didn't discover that Longfellow wrote short stories until I got "The Continental Tales of Longfellow" as a gift. His stories are strange, often with absurd conclusions, and not at all like his poetry, which is why I like this book so much. Most of all, I like the broad pages with large open spaces.

This book was printed in 1948. The rims of the pages were painted blue to match the cover, and the binding is engraved in copper. What makes this book of prose so special is that Longfellow published most of his short stories anonymously. The creators of this book, over sixty years after Longfellow's death, wanted to show his works that were never studied or observed much during his career. That's an interesting concept - will that happen to some writers of today, sixty years down the road? Will someone be unearthing their ebooks from a digital stockpile and resuscitating them?