Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Dusty Bookcase: Brian Busby

The Dusty Bookcase is a literary exploration of Canadian books, especially those that have been forgotten, neglected, or suppressed. As the author, Brian Busby, tells us in his introduction:
We should read the forgotten because previous generations knew them well. My father read the works of Ralph Connor, as did his. Reading Connor myself has brought me a better understanding of the times these men experienced.
We should be curious about the ignored because recognition is so often a crapshoot; too much depends on publisher, press, and good fortune. 
We should read the suppressed for the very reason that there are those who would deny us the right.
Brian Busby blogs on this same topic at The Dusty Bookcase, and the book gathers information from his posts over the years. I read this book straight through, over a few weeks, and I will dip into it again and again.

The books starts with a section on several books by Grant Allen, a Canadian author of both nonfiction books and novels written from the 1970s until his death in 1899. Allen was a friend of Arthur Conan Doyle, who finished his last book, Hilda Wade. A new author to me and one I will try out.

The last book covered in The Dusty Bookcase is I Lost It All in Montreal by Donna Steinburg, my favorite title in the book.

In between, he covers books by the Millars – Kenneth Millar, also known as Ross Macdonald, and Margaret Millar. Also several pulp novels, including some written by Brian Moore, a well-known author I don't know much about. And I will be seeking out books of his to read.

Here are the titles of some of the chapters:

  • Dicks & Drugs
  • Erotica, Porn, Perversion, & Ribaldry
  • Pop & Pulp
  • Romance
  • True Crime
  • War
  • The Writing Life

Lots of variety, and a lots of information to ponder.  Outside of the section on the Millars, Pop & Pulp was my favorite group of articles.

Busby discusses these books in a very personal way, and each article is readable and interesting. Some of them are hilarious. I love the premise of this book, and I highly recommend it as an informative and entertaining read.

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Publisher:   Bibioasis, 2017
Length:       364 pages
Format:      Trade Paperback
Genre:        Reference, Books about books
Source:       I purchased this book.

10 comments:

  1. This really sounds fascinating, Tracy! And I like that combination of information and wit. So glad you enjoyed it, and now it looks as though I'll have to get it on my wish list.

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  2. Looks to be a great resource compendium, Tracy. And your excerpt from Brian's intro is perfect!

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    1. That is a great quote, Mathew, and the introduction is as interesting as all the pieces in the book.

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  3. Off Topic: just got When Books Went to War from the library and am starting it today.

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    1. Good, Rick, I hope you enjoy it. There was a lot of information in that book that I did not know.

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  4. Very interesting - is always good to be reminded of the variety of literature out there.

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    1. It is definitely the perfect book for me, Moira.

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  5. A few of the chapter heading piqued my interest, but probably not a book I'll seek out.

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    1. More my thing than yours, Col. But I do think you would find it entertaining.

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