Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Library Porch

The Village Library of Cooperstown
I succumbed on the third day of the annual library sale and wandered over to see what was happening and what book I could not live without. While I made grand resolutions of not coming home with a stack of books, I failed in that determination.

I'm always curious to see what book is present in very large numbers; this year the obvious honors go to a North Carolinian, as it was Cold Mountain, mostly in hardcover. Although a friend was leaving when I arrived and said, "There are no Marly Youmans books," I did spot one--a satisfyingly worn copy of Ingledove.

Want to know what I toted home?

One was a book that I really wanted, a big fat prose and poetry of Rudyard Kipling. Over a thousand pages of rather small print, so it should keep me busy. I ignored novels in favor of story collections and poetry, though I did bring home a Murakami novel. I nabbed three children's books: the 1928 Newberry Medal winner, The Trumpeter of Krakow, a beautiful small book by Eric P. Kelly with profuse decorations by Janina Domanska; a pretty little retelling of Don Quixote with the Walter Crane illustrations; and a collection of George MacDonald's children's novels with the Arthur Hughes illustrations. I also picked up an Oxford anthology of English poetry (probably completely redundant of what I already have), Murderers I Have Known, a collection of stories by Marina Warner (I have some of her nonfiction books but have never tried her fiction), and Strange Pilgrims, a collection of stories on Latin Americans in Europe by García Márquez.

It was hot out there! Amazing. Summer finally comes to Cooperstown.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.