Reading MLs (was Re: Which to sell, which to keep?)

Buck Lawrence mlawrence at
Mon Oct 22 09:41:22 EDT 2001

I think Blood Meridian is in the "new" modern library. It seem like there is multiple deaths in each paragraph, much less on each page.

>>> j b krygier <jbkrygie at> 10/21/01 01:29PM >>>
Sharon Biederman wrote:

> John brought up one aspect of Modern Library collecting that is often
> neglected--reading the books.  In addition to familiar classic authors,
> the ML series contains books by lesser-known writers that are well worth
> reading.  It also contains some titles that are virtually
> unreadable (Flame of Life comes to mind).  I'd enjoy seeing the
> recommendations of others and will offer one of my own--True Tales from
> the Annals of Crime and Rascality  by St. Clair Mckelway, ML paperback
> P26.

I tried to bid on a copy of this on eBay but Kamins outbid me.

I hope Sharon has found more than one good read among all
the ML titles!  Sharon: do you have a fave from the hardcovers
(for those of us who don't collect the paperbacks)?

I was staring at my MLs trying to recall which I have read
(I seem to acquire books much more quickly than I read them).

A few stinkers:  Those ML titles that must have resonated
with certain past generations, but failed to make much
sense to me: Beerbohm's "Zuleika Dobson," Day's "Life
with Father" (the old movie also unwatchable) had to
be returned to the shelf, unread, in shame.

I could not make it through either of the Dinesen titles
despite feeling that I should enjoy them.  I do like the DJs

Finally, I found copies of Fineman's "Here Ye Sons" and
Lewishon's "Island Within" around the same time and tried
to read both (to see why they were such dismal failures).
Well, try and read them yourself and find out why.

Good reads:

Surprises: Jackson's "Lost Weekend" - as I figured that it
should have been a stinker (it was a ML failure) but I pretty
much could not put it down.  Also Edna Ferber's "Show
Boat."  Expected something smarmy - but the book was much
darker (and more enjoyable) than expected.  "African Queen"
was also much better than I would ever expected.

Both Traven's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and especially
Kosinski's "Painted Bird" shocked me - mostly because I
didn't expect so much mayhem and immorality in a nerdy
little ML book.  I enjoyed both - and got a clue where Cormac
McCarthy got ideas for his "Blood Meridian" (not in the ML yet!).
"Painted Bird" in particular really wigged me out.  What a way
for the (real) Modern Library to end!

I do wonder how many book collectors actually read what they

John K.

j   b   k r y g i e r

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