General Crack by George Preedy

Not the most romantic title, but so far I’m enjoying this piece of fiction by George Preedy (actually a pen name for British Author, Margaret Gabrielle Vere Long Campbell). I haven’t read anything in a while that I looked forward to at the end of the day, so this has been such a pleasure. To think it has been in my collection for years and I never touched it! What other beautiful stories are hiding on my bookshelves? 🤔

The Street by Ann Petry

So good! I came across this at @cottagebooks over the summer and thought I’d give it a whirl. Her writing is fabulous! Sometimes you just know when someone’s got it and Ann Petry has IT! As a writer, talent like this, the mystery of it, because you can’t really put you finger on what makes it great, but you know it just is, inspires me. Maybe because she just says what something feels like and looks like without thinking about how the reader will think, without TRYING to make the descriptions sound good but just putting them out there. I need to wrangle that kind of courage!

“Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American dream for herself and her son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham

Currently reading! I searched for this book in every bookshop for years—it was probably the only book of Maugham’s I didn’t own. He is a favorite of mine. I eventually found it in @johnkingbooksdetroit , a surprising find since I had looked multiple times before this with no luck. King’s always has a good supply of Maugham’s work, I suspect a deceased lover of his work donated their entire collection, of which most belongs to me now. 😄


.Although literal ‘cake’ and ‘ale’ is probably not what Maugham meant, here it is anyway with some Screamin’ Pumpkin ale from @griffinclaw and a piece of my mother’s delicious cake. 😋

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

You can’t go into this novel expecting it to read chronologically. It is a dream, a vignette where the edges have been chipped away, washed away by what is lost to Nathaniel. The brilliance of the novel is its complexity and the connections of maps and people, the same way the author constructs a map for the reader of places and strangers. Also the story itself is just as cloudy and muddled as the protagonist’s mother who is a mystery he is trying to discover throughout the story.

I don’t read Ondaatje’s work because I want to be entertained as much as I want to experience life through the eyes of someone new, and because his prose is delicious. It is like reading Dinesen’s Out of Africa—it all came out of the memory of her experience, as the book drew me in for the words alone and the experience of a life I’ll never know. However, even though I enjoyed the book I didn’t like it as much as The English Patient.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Currently reading…Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, something I had to read in school but have forgotten much of it. I realize a city scene picture would be more appropriate but i was on the beach so…

His writing is fantastic. Everything moves in chaos in the first chapter like he intended, as if the words jump off the page and dance and fight and play—marvelous stuff!! This work actually launched a federal investigation of the working conditions for the poor!

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge is the story of unrequited love and disappointment, but it is also filled with the lesson to be satisfied no matter what end of the stick you received out of absolute necessity. It took me a long time to get through and it didn’t really get good until the end. I enjoyed it most of the time however, and I’m told it was a popular read when it came out in 1944. It was even adapted to film in 1947. I do think it’s worth giving it a read, even if you must get through the first 300 pages to get to the meat of it. 😬

Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson

Of Whales and Men by Dr. R. B. Robertson is a creative nonfiction piece written in the 1950s about the whaling industry and the “psychopaths” that work on the factory ship for 8 months out of the year–every year. Dr. Robertson dubbed all the whalers psychopaths because they chose a life away from civilization, to the furthest ends of the southern seas, to the Antarctic and the South Georgia Islands to catch whales—a very smelly occupation. “You won’t get to know us, doctor, in the short time you’ll be with us,” he cautioned me, “and, when you come to write about us, it will be very easy to make us out to be a mob of half-crazy malcontents whose only aim in life is to see the bottom of every whisky bottle. But try to give a fair report on us, even when you come to tell about our boozing. After all, though the kirk and the owners and the folks at home say we drink too much, we bring the wales back to them.” –Old Burnett: Whaler (Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson; 1954)

I really enjoyed this, apart from the killing of whales—that was hard to stomach—but the men on the ship were an interesting lot. Thanks Dr. Robertson for giving us such rare glimpse of a (thankfully) deceased era. Below is my review on #goodreads … I don’t understand why the other reviews are just so-so?! Maybe I’m strange? I absolutely loved this creative nonfiction piece! …To the point that I didn’t want to put it down, especially toward the end. I found myself excited to get back to the sea with these whalers as they all became like beloved characters in a classic fiction novel. I would highly recommend. The content is interesting and mysterious since so man on earth, hopefully, will ever experience adventures in legal whaling again.

I found this copy tucked away in a damp, moldy basement during a local estate sale. I love seafaring stories and since this was TRUE, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did!!




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