Saturday, 19 February 2011

Book recommendations

Right now on UK eBay this book is up for auction at a reasonable price (they will ship to the States).

Long out of print, the only copy you can get on US Amazon at the moment is $37 - but thee knows how it is with out-of-print books, the pricing is very erratic, it'll be around at much less than that some other time.  And on UK Amazon, prices start at £2.99.

The same problem applies to being a writer as to being a preacher - one's critical faculty goes into over-drive when presented with other people's work.  Very rarely can I find a book that I can simply enjoy.  Many of the well-written ones are full of stuff I would rather not be reading.  A book, a film, a song - it has to edify my soul, or I lose interest in it.  Many of the ones that fulfil my criteria of edifying the soul are badly written.

But I do enjoy a good read, to lose myself in a story I can really enjoy.

Recently I have been groping back through my memory to books I read long since, and would like to find again.  I tracked down a few, and they have started arriving in the post.  As I read them, I'll let thee know which I thought were the really good ones.

Yesterday this book, Torrie by Annabel & Edgar Johnson arrived in the post.  I read it when I was fourteen (the same age as the girl in the book), and absolutely loved it.  I was intrigued to find out if forty years on it seemed as good.  I sat down and read it straight through.  I think it's brilliant.  It's well crafted - really well written - it celebrates goodness and it identifies and explores some of the less glamorous noble traits of character like steadiness, humility, dependability, modesty, honesty, fairness and kindness, and well as the more exciting ones like courage, self-sacrifice and adventurous spirit.

It also examines the theme of romantic love with a concern for that being love that will last forever, love that a person can trust.

Annabel & Edgar Johnson had this book published in 1960.  They married in 1949 and lived in New York for a while, then took to the open road, travelling the western states, hunting and fishing, camping and writing.

Torrie, set in 1846, is about a pioneer family who left St Louis for California, and tells the story of their wagon-train journey to get there.  You can always tell people who really spend a lot of time out of doors, because they write about the weather so much and in such vivid detail!

Reading this book made me feel happy, and it did my soul good, and it reminded me of things I want to be reminded of - like not following the opinion of the crowd, the value of a provident life, and holding firm to my purpose.

I very much recommend it.

I see that Annabel and Edgar Johnson have written other books too, all in the 1960s I think.  I'm going to try Wilderness Bride, The Black Symbol and The Golden Touch.  All of them are available second-hand on Amazon, and it's wise to check between US and UK Amazon for the best price - or just google the titles.


Mim said...

I so agree with you about a books' storyline. I am terribly picky about what I read and tend to favor older books because of that. I have found several over the years at our local librarys' semi-annual sale of books...people donate during the year, old titles in poor shape or hardly read...those are the ones I usually score on ;)
I do like Amazon and since I buy used books the prices are usually good...although I can easily go a bit overboard and must watch myself! I just bought all three Phyllis Tickle books of "The Divine Hours" and her book for my grandson of daily five months he sits on my lap and looks and listens intently to them...we read the whole week at one sitting, I cannot help but love a good book!
I believe you mentioned your books on sale on Amazon...are they available here in the US?
Have a lovely Saturday and a blessed Lords Day :)

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi Mrs Bee - I love the idea of you and your grandson!
Yes, this month I said to myself I must *stop* spending money! I think I've bought six books on Amazon since then! Ah, well...
My books are indeed on US Amazon - if you type Penelope Wilcock into the search box there, they will come up for you.
Or, if you look on the right-hand column on my blog, if you scroll down a little way you will come to a small pic of The Hawk & the Dove front cover and under it The Hardest Thing To Do front cover. Both of those are live links to US Amazon. Just click on them. The list of 'Books by Pen Wilcock' next down in that column on my blog page are all live links to Amazon - they are mainly to Amazon UK but all available on US Amazon as well.
Hope that's not too much information!

Ganeida said...

I have read Torrie ~ a long, long time ago. ☺ It was on my Aunt's bookshelf.

I don't think I am quite so picky about my reading material ~ one can always self edit out anything disagreeable ~ but the writing must engage me & there are very few books that really do that for me; very few writers. I treasure them when I find them & read them over & over again.

Pen Wilcock said...

Ganeida. :0) How odd. I was just thinking about thee; then a message came into my inbox. From thee. Hello! x

Anonymous said...

I am an avid reader, so spending money on books tend to become a really bad habit to break.

This month and the next, I am on a book diet :-)

Have a blessed weekend!


Pen Wilcock said...


Buzzfloyd said...

How about Daddy Long-Legs? I have a copy if you'd like to borrow it.

Pen Wilcock said...

Cool - I just looked that up on the internet - it sounds really interesting! I'd love to borrow it, thanks! :0)

Julie B. said...

Buzz and Ember, I think anything by Gene Stratton Porter is worth reading - especially Girl of the Limberlost. Daddy Long Legs and Laddie were good. Have either of you read Girl of the Limberlost?

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Julie - yes, it is one of the books I read when I was a girl that I have been remembering and have just purchased to read again.
:0) said...

Thanks, this sounds great and I too want to be reminded of the same thing. Thanks for our review.

Pen Wilcock said...