Thursday, October 19, 2006

From the Bookshelf

By Judith

Ok, so on Monday I donated 3 bags of books and videos to the Dakota County Wescott Library's semi-annual sale and today I went to the sale and came home with 1 bag. I guess you can call that progress. But it's such a good deal - $1.00 for hardcovers, .50 for paperbacks. Who can resist? And at least I didn't buy anything I had donated. (The sale continues through Sunday for those of you in the Twin Cities area who are interested in checking it out.)

I started off in the biography section and scored with autobiographies of Art Linkletter (yes, he's still alive - over 90 and probably in better shape than I'll ever be) and Peter O'Toole (who looks over 90 even though he's only in his early 70s), along with a biography of St. Thomas More (who knows how he looks since he's been dead for 500 years). Then it was on to the mystery section where I found a book of short stories by Erle Stanley Gardner, which includes the only Perry Mason short story he wrote (all the others being full-length novels).

In the general non-fiction section I found something for Mitchell - The Encyclopedia of US Spacecraft (produced in cooperation with NASA, no less). This will complement nicely the other 30 or so books and magazines he has about space exploration.

But, the best for last - a 1931 edition of Poems for Enjoyment, edited by Elias Lieberman, principal of Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. Apparently, editing books of poetry was not an unusual thing for a high school principal to do in that era because I remember seeing other such books in a used book store in Northfield this summer. This particular volume had a life in the Curriculum Library of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee before it started showing up in used book sales. Imagine - a university (or a high school) where they actually taught poetry in an English literature class.

The book is divided into sections such as lyric poetry, narrative verse, sonnets and French verse forms. Also included in this gem is a section of "further reading" recommendations, in case you find a favorite and want to read a whole book of his or her verse. And finally there's a section of "Aids to Interpretation" that not only offers suggestions on what the poem might mean, but asks questions so you'll learn how to think about a poem on your own.

I love these older anthologies because they don't just choose the most popular poems, but get into the "deeper cuts." They don't dumb-down the offerings because they assume that one has been exposed to poetry in school and in life.

I hope that Poems for Enjoyment will deliver not only enjoyment, but inspiration as well.

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