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Check It Out

Courier Articles by Sandy Schultheis
Sunday, August 8, 1999


Many Books Just Get Better With Age

Lovers of bargains and books will be happy to hear that the annual EVPL Book Sale is coming up next weekend, August 14-15 at Washington Square. Every year the Library Friends raise money by selling off books for which the library no longer has space. Folks often express dismay that the library must sell so many books, but we buy hundreds of new books every month, and there is only so much space on the shelves, so some of the old books must give way to the new. Come out to Washington Square next weekend, find some bargains and support your public library. Today's picks are some older books which are still available at your public library.

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (Doubleday, 1971).

One of the most asked-for older books in our collection is about a retired historian who sets out to write of his grandparents' pioneering the American west. His research reveals more about his own life than he is willing to admit. Stegner is a master, he won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 1972.

Rabbit Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990) by John Updike.

When asked to pick her favorite old book Red Bank Reader's Advisor Becky Browning chose Updike's "Rabbit" series. She said: "There is no contemporary writer that can get inside middle America's head as well as Updike. In these books you will be privy to Updike's mastery of the English language and, at the same time, find yourself in a love-hate relationship with Harry Angstrom, the recurring character whose life is chronicled from youth through old age."

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (TOR, c1984).

I was invited to a dinner honoring this author in New Orleans recently and felt obligated to read at least one of his works. When I asked a Sci-Fi- reading friend to recommend Card's best book Ender' Game was his pick, and surprisingly I enjoyed it too. Looking at comments on Amazon.com from readers I was astounded to find over 700 reviews, most were positive.

The Maine Massacre by Janwillem Van de Wetering (Soho, c1979).

The accidental death of his brother-in-law sends the Commissaris to the secluded town of Jameson, Maine. Detective Sgt. De Gier goes along to keep an eye on his ailing boss, but there has been a sinister series of deaths in the area and the two find themselves involved in a murder investigation. Library Director, Marcia Au who recommends the book highly says "…seeing the residents of Jameson through the eyes of the detectives is a hoot. The writing is descriptive without being boring… you feel as if you were tramping around the town with them". A great read, but then just about everything I have read by this Dutch author (now a resident of Maine) is outstanding.

Those Who Walk Away by Patricia Highsmith, (Crime Club, 1967).

The honeymoon is over, and the bride is dead. The grieving husband convinces the police in Rome of his innocence, but has no such luck with his father-in-law. Highsmith is perhaps best known for her novel "Strangers on a Train", which was later made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. The library has the video but the book is long gone and no longer in print. Critics have called her the master of the suspense novel and you will find a nice selection of her works at Central Library. Highsmith died in 1995.

The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe by Charles Nicholl (Harcourt Brace, 1994).

Not a terribly old book, but unknown to me until my husband requested it a few weeks ago. It won the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for a nonfiction thriller and will transport you back to sixteenth century England.

French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David (Harper&Row, 1962).

I grew up with a mother who thought frozen vegetables were the great modern convenience. In the early 1960s, a friend who wanted me to expand my repertoire and stop making meatloaf every Saturday night gave me this book. I still have a yellowed, grease spattered paperback copy which I consult when I want an old favorite. The recipes are authentic and fairly easy, but not low in fat.

Sandy Schultheis is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.