Today I would like to talk about some of the books which I have recently purchased. Books can mean a lot of things to a lot of people and every new buy tends to be made for a specific reason, not counting those of us who can’t keep away from the old curiosity book stores.

I have recently bought six books but they are not all ones that would be readily available in the bookstores, real-life or web-based.

The first of my purchases, excuse the title, is, “The Cambridge Tart”. It is a selection of satirical poems relating to Cambridge University. This copy was published in 1823 and the title is a mocking of an old Oxford term, stating inside, “Oxford has its sausage and why not Cambridge its tart.”

The Cambridge Tart 2

The preface goes thus:

“For my part, seeing no legal objection, I shall turn cook and mould as delicate a Pasty as my slight knowledge in the art will permit; and I do hope that every Cantab will design to taste it. Should any individual find a kernel of spice rather too hot for his palate, I entreat he will forgive its biting quality and not turn Crusty on the occasion; but place the accident to my over anxiety, in wishing to indulge his appetite for the delicious.”

Basically, the author is saying that some of the poems inside may be a little naughty and he asks the readers forgiveness early on, in case he has gone a little too far in his attempt to entertain. I have yet to read through this and the others on this list but I am intrigued to read on and see what humours lie ahead.

The second of my new buys is “The Poetical Works of Longfellow”, published somewhere between 1850 and 1899. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet from Portland in Maine. His works have included, “Paul Revere’s Ride”, “The song of Hiawatha” and “Evangeline”. I enjoy a good poem, now and then, and am looking forward to reading the informative and talented efforts of this New Word Poet.

Longfellow 2

I will put books three and four together as they are both by the wonderful, Bombay born, Rudyard Kipling and they are, “Soldier’s Tales” (published in 1896) and “Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories” (also published in 1896). Kipling has always been a favorite of mine and has become, because of the success of “The Jungle Book” and “How the Camel Got Its Hump”, one of the best known Late-Victorian Authors.

Soldier's Tales 2

Kipling is a wonderful writer who was most capable of writing for children as he was for adults. His work spanned poetry and novels; to articles and letters of encouragement. I can’t wait to get stuck into these two books and expect great things.

Book five is “Heroes and Martyrs” (Charles H. Kelly) and recounts the histories of famous Churchmen and Missionaries, from Wycliffe to Wesely. I enjoy a bit of Church history although I cannot say I am well read. My father, the Rev. Prof. ATB McGowan, is the man to speak to there. He has more theological history in his head than I could ever hope to imbibe. I do, however, like to stick my toe in the water every so often and this is a great book to give me some insights into the to’s and throws of the Christian Church and what the Churchmen went through for their beliefs.

Heroes and Martyrs 2

Finally, I come to “Sea Songs and Ballads”, published in 1923, by C. Fox Smith. Songs of the sea are endearing to me. I love the idea of sailors singing songs that get lost in the wind, in an attempt to keep themselves occupied during long trips. Also, drinking songs (of which most folk songs seem to be) are great in number.  If you are able to get a copy of this, I would advise it. A lot can be learned about a group or society by their songs and tales and this book is looking to be a good read, through and through.

Sea Songs and Ballads 2

I hope you found this interesting. Not having read the books yet, I am unable to go into great detail about them but I love old books and love to share my new purchases with others. Whether a book is old or new, enjoyment can be found and there are a great many wonderful tales out there. Delve into the old curiosity bookstores, rummage around in the back and see what you find.


Please feel free to comment below.

You can also Follow me on Twitter @AuthorMcGowan


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