Archive for October 24th, 2010


Second time unlucky

It seems that my landing upon Agatha; or, A Narrative Of Recent Events for my first round of Reading Roulette was something in the nature of letting a rookie gambler win a few early hands, a lure to sucker me in so that I could get taken to the cleaners later on. In other words – the second time around, the reading gods have been a little less kind.

I was worried immediately after my recourse to the random number generator. I hit a high number, which meant I was straying from my comfort zone. The book in question I had never heard of: Eve’s Daughters by Arthur G. Learned, from 1905. When I began to hunt for a copy, I learned that it had a subtitle: compiled by a mere man. Hmm, I thought, that doesn’t sound promising. My next discovery was that the book was, A collection of aphorisms about women. No, thank you. In any event, it wasn’t a novel, and that gave me and my OCD an out:

And then it was back to the random number generator, and…another high number. Not really the time period I wanted, but I can hardly object on the grounds of insufficient obscurity:

Philip And Philippa: A Genealogical Romance Of Today (1901) – John Osborne Austin.

Austin was, as his subtitle suggests, a genealogist, one best known for his studies The Genealogical Dictionary Of Rhode Island and One Hundred And Sixty Allied Families. At first I had some faint hope that “A Genealogical Romance Of Today” was simply his facetious way of describing another family history, but no – Austin did just once turn his hand to novel writing, publishing this single work privately through the Rhode Island Press. This helps to account for the book’s comparative rarity: what seems to be the only secondhand copy still in existence is currently winging its way to me from Poultney, VT.

This is turning out to be an expensive hobby. Thank heavens the dollar reached parity.