Sam: Johnson’s Bookshop

Sam: Johnson’s, Publishers

12310 Venice Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90066

Tel.: (310) 391-5047

Email: samjohnsons.books@verizon.net

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McGillicuddy the Bookseller: a Bibliofantasy

By H. C. Tidian

Published: 1997

 

Maroon Cloth            159p.          First Edition                                   ISBN 0-9658598-0-0

Price: US  $20.00                        Shipping within U.S.A. $5.00        Tax as appropriate

 

Book Description:

 

Does your bookshop suffer from poltergeists? Are bibliovampires sucking the red dye from the bindings of your books? Has an intergalactic bookfair been costing you business? Do you have problems with dragons? No?

Well, then, you are more fortunate than Mr. McGillicuddy.

 

Excerpt:

 

‘Most bookshops are haunted. The nature of the infestation varies, of course, from establishment to establishment. Occasionally, the spirits are benign, imbued with a beneficent impulse so to direct a client’s steps that, seemingly by chance, that fortunate individual comes on the special volume he or she long has sought. But, alas, it is not always, or even usually so.

‘It was the night before Halloween….’

 

Critical Response:

 

‘In McGillicuddy the Bookseller, H. C. Tidian presents a witty and satirical look at the intimate workings of the antiquarian book trade, combined with an entertaining romp through many of the conventions and clichés of the fantasy, detective, and science-fiction genres.

AB November 3, 1997

 

 

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Additional Problems in the Life and Writings of A. E. Housman

By P. G. Naiditch

 Published: 2005

 

Sea-blue Cloth 230p.            First Edition                                        ISBN 0-9658598-2-7

Price: US  $40.00                  Shipping within U.S.A. $5.00            Tax as appropriate

Book Description:

‘The present collection of notes, articles, reviews, addenda and corrigenda constitutes my second volume of miscellaneous papers on A. E. Housman. Like its predecessor, and indeed my original book on Housman, this volume will probably interest specialists more than general readers. The book itself consists of seventy-seven papers and six appendices. In one form or another nearly all of these writings have appeared in print elsewhere. Indeed, it is proper to emphasize that over three-quarters of the text in this volume first saw the light in the Housman Society Journal. … All of these I have updated and, when necessary, corrected. In this volume, only seven notes are completely new, as are the six indexes.’ (From the Preface.)

Part I: Biography (items 1-27), e.g. ‘The Date of the Van der Weyde Photograph’; ‘A New Firm of Publishers’; ‘Thomas Hardy and A. E. Housman’; ‘Barbue Housman’ [the recipe from La Tour d’Argent]; ‘Grant Richards’s “Nefarious” Conduct’; ‘A Book Inscribed by A. E. Housman to Clarence Darrow’; ‘More Light on “Alfred Housman” Leippert’ and ‘Housman in Paris Again’.

Part II: Classical Scholarship (items 28-37): e.g. ‘A. E. Housman’s Pronunciation of Latin’; ‘Housman on Plato’s Doctrine of Forms: Some Difficulties’; ‘Rhetorice Housmanniana’; and ‘“The Slashing Style which All Know and Few Applaud”: the Invective of A. E. Housman’.

Part III: Verse (items 38-47): e.g. Burnett’s The Poems of A. E. Housman (review); ‘Spencer Blackett and the “Romance of Enlistment”’; ‘More Poems V 27: Pirithous’; ‘“Ye Nine, Behold”’; Hoagwood’s A. E. Housman Revisited (review).

Part IV: Bibliography (items 48-67): e.g. ‘First Notes on Dating the Peter Pauper Press editions of A Shropshire Lad’; ‘The Date of the Cameo Classics A Shropshire Lad’; ‘The First American Issue of Last Poems’; ‘The Rarity of A. E. Housman’s More Poems’; and ‘The Sequence of Knopf’s More Poems’.

Part V: Miscellaneous (items 68-77): ‘The Library of A. E. Housman’; ‘Biography and Method: the Marginalia of A. E. Housman’; ‘The First Edition of A Shropshire Lad in Bookshop and Auction Room’; ‘A. E. Housman and the Supernatural’; and ‘Jane Ellen Harrison and “Mr. Houseman”’.

Appendices: (A) ‘Dated and Datable Facsimiles of the Handwriting of A. E. Housman’; (B) ‘Photographs of A. E. Housman’; (C) ‘Illustrations of and Decorations for A. E. Housman’s Verse’; (D) ‘A. E. Housman’s Marginalia’; (E) ‘More Corrections and Additions to A. E. Housman at University College, London’; and (F) ‘Corrections and Additions to Problems in the Life and Writings of A. E. Housman’.

Indexes: (I) Scholars and Writer; (II) Subjects; (III) Books from A.E.H.’s Library; (IV) Booksellers, Auction Houses, etc.; (V) Acknowledgments: Individuals; (VI) Acknowledgments: Institutions.

Critical Response:

It is good to have this new collection of pieces on A. E. Housman by the world’s leading expert on the subject…. P. G. Naiditch’s scholarship is as impeccably meticulous as ever, and errors from earlier publications are invariably corrected.

J. H. C. Leach, T.L.S. July 1, 2005

Mr Naiditch, with this collection of short papers dealing with Housman minutiae, has produced a box of delights for Housman devotees; readership should not, however, be confined to that circle alone.
Whether on topics biographical, philological or literary, all is perfectly researched and meticulously explained. Mr Naiditch wears his scholarship very modestly and writes with a lightness of touch rarely seen in an academic work such as this.

The author is well served by the publisher who has produced a beautifully finished volume which will sit finely on any bookshelf.

‘I would recommend this book to all who wish to be better acquainted with A E Housman, his work, life and times and would use the work as an example to would be history researchers who need to know “how to do it” and, more importantly, “how to write it”.

W. A. Keel (Amazon.com reviewer)

The Writer:

Mr. Naiditch is the author of A. E. Housman at University College, London: the Election of 1892 (E. J. Brill, 1988) and Problems in the Life and Writings of A. E. Housman (Krown & Spellman, 1995). He is an emeritus librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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 The Way to Mt. Lowe: a Southern California Tale

 By R. E. Klein

Published: 2005

 

158p. Paperback                  First Edition                                       ISBN 0-9658598-1-9

Price: US $19.95                  Shipping within U.S.A. $5.00            Tax as appropriate

Book  Description

‘The Way to Mt. Lowe: A Southern California Tale’ is a historical dramatization of Southern California life between the years 1892 and 1959. The story is told from the standpoint of Lyman Bright, a young boy who with his eccentric family emigrates from Indiana in 1892 and lives the life only livable in Southern California. The central theme and metaphor is Mt. Lowe (the most popular Southern California attraction at the time). The book also focuses on life along the Venice (California) Canals during Venice’s cultural explosion. Filled with colorful characters and odd situations, this novel also functions on a unique level as a textbook of the history of Los Angeles and environs during a time of wonder and excitement.

Cover art by Karen Delgadillo.

Critical Response

Having read and enjoyed The History of Our World Beyond the Wave, I decided to look into R. E. Klein’s other novel, The Way to Mt. Lowe. What I found was a charming history of Southern California from the 1890s through the 1950s seen from the point of view of one Lyman Bright.

A native of Indiana, Bright moves to Los Angeles with his family in 1892. As a 10-year-old, he was astounded by a new trolley line ascending thousands of feet to Mount Lowe, where there were hotels, restaurants, and other tourist amenities—not to mention a phenomenal view in those pre-smog days extending south and west toward the Pacific and offshore to Santa Catalina Island.

Bright, his family, and friends exemplify the boom days and bust days of L.A. After the Mt. Lowe project ended in bankruptcy, Bright’s attention was drawn by the canals of Venice, a community developed by Abbot Kinney, after whom a street in present-day Venice has been named.

Although I have not climbed Mt. Lowe myself—though I could tell that Mr. Klein has—I have frequently walked along what remains of those same Venice canals, now being re-gentrified after decades of neglect. As a native of Southern California, Klein saw it all, registers all the joys and disappointments, only to come to this summary of the whole experience in the last chapter: ‘A flawless record of stupendous achievements ending in extinction.

As Lyman ages and the chapters toward the end of the book get shorter and shorter, he takes to the famous Red Cars that once connected the outlying towns of the Los Angeles area, only to be killed off by the automobile. He aimlessly travels from place to place, soaking in what’s left of what he loved.

If you do not know or care much about Los Angeles, this book will probably not do much for you. You will lack the frame of reference required to see where everything takes place. (There is, however, a handy map on the back of the paperback edition.)

But if you know and love Los Angeles as I do, having lived here for over 40 years myself, it is easy to be swept away by author’s enthusiasm. His characters are lightly sketched in, but then the main character is Los Angeles itself, especially in its moments of glory represented by Mt. Lowe, Venice, and the Red cars. Lyman and his friends represent the city in its spectacular growth and, at times, disappointing deterioration.

James Paris “Tarnmoor” (Amazon.com reviewer)

 

Think of Fitzgerald’s economy of language combined with the folk wit of Twain and you have a hint of the fresh, clear writing of R. E. Klein. This well-researched novel is about the Los Angeles area from 1892 to 1959—specifically the birth and death of two of the most famous family recreation spots: Mt. Lowe and the Venice Canals. But, it’s the characters that make our hearts ache for the musical grace of those times. Lyman Bright ages from ten to seventy-seven with an enthusiasm for adventure, providing a narrative filled with images so tight and lyrical they make each page spin. Through him we meet his family, friends and locals. From the mystical Luana and bossy Emmaline to the comic boogey man, Dratch, terrorizing Lyman with tall tales of villainous deeds—along with Tung Fisher, who always holds both ends of the conversation in a Bronx dialect—everyone is grand company. For this reason, I keep Mt. Lowe on my bedside reading table to visit again and again.

Rhoda Penn (Amazon.com reviewer)

 

The Way to Mount Lowe was a wonderful and intriguing read—I literally could not put it down. And, I was so disappointed when I turned the last page. I yearned for more. This epic tale of a young boy’s journey through adulthood, and the adventures he encounters while growing up in the beginnings of the southern Californian metropolis really intrigued my whole being as an adventurer and southern California native. I learned so much about the places I grew up near and around, and never knew that much about. Some of this is pure fiction—and I loved every minute of it! Not to spoil the tale, but the whole imagery created by Klein with the mere thought of someone coming up with a ‘tar suit,’ which would enable one to permeate the depths of this gooey wonderland at La Brea is fantastic (one of my favorite sections.) And the Venice Canals—ahhhh, the Venice Canals—again, wonderful fictional/historical imagery. Thank you for this tantalizing creation. A must read for all southern Californias and those who would like to grasp a more through understanding of the place we call home. Bravo!!!

Clyde ‘Clyde’ (Amazon.com reviewer)

 

Mister Klein presents us with a strange book. It is a book to read twice straight away: once for entertainment and the second time to indulge in thought.

It is more than an autobiography of our narrator, Lyman Bright, who takes us on a tour of southern California, and in particular, Los Angeles from 1892 to 1959, it is a description of how a community can eat itself and the people within it and still come shining through.

This book—a most readable volume in short chapters—comprises so many facets: California history, and for those readers who have never been there it is a superb introduction; mini-biographies of the famous—not least Professor Lowe; the supernatural and fantasy are here as well as religion (mainstream and otherwise); love, relationships, life and death compound the story while friendships are important to Lyman; this is the story of a community growing perhaps too quickly—even the movie industry seems to outpace itself!

But throughout, the magnetism of Mount Lowe draws Lyman Bright to its heights—even in his old age.

There are fascinating insights into Los Angeleno life: why, for instance, fifty years ago was the public transport system so good and no so poor?

One thing that non-Californians wil be surprised about is Lyman’s descriptions of the weather thereabout—doesn’t the sun always shine in California???!!!

And running throughout the book is the malevolent seam of anthracite that is DRATCH.
Read! Enjoy!

W. A. Keel (Amazon.com reviewer)


Mr. Robert Klein’s wonderful new book ‘The Way to Mt. Lowe: A Southern California Tale’ is much more than a mere novel. It is a magic mystery tour, an enchanted time machine that transports the reader back to that Paradise Lost that was once Southern California.

Having lived in Southern California for over half a century, it is difficult for me to imagine a time when it was any different from the way it is today; viz., a cement jungle full of freeways, gridlock, smog, rap music, and overcrowded shopping malls.

After reading “The Way to Mt. Lowe” I realize that it was not always this way; that at one time Southern California was truly a sun-drenched eden when one could inhale the fragrance of orange groves and night blooming jasmine instead of car exhaust; when “there where hundreds of square miles of wild sage, meadow grass and lupine” instead of all night gas stations, fast food stands, and parking lots; when the Venice of Abbot Kinney, built in 1905, looked as if it had stepped out of a Canaletto painting-instead of the way it is now, with its derelicts drinking cheap wine out of paper bags--next to expensive yuppy restaurants.

Mr. Klein evokes Southern California’s past so vividly that while reading The Way to Mt. Lowe there were moments when I felt I was an actual participant.

Mr. Klein is a marvelous literary landscapist. There are dozens of beautiful passages describing natural scenery. Here is one of my favorites: ‘I never saw such oaks. As we made our way down, oaks crowded out everything else, oaks so big, thick, and old, their tips formed a ceiling, insulating the canyon from the world. `Ghostly with oaks,’ as Ma put it. We descended to a little clearing at the bottom and found a little stream tinkling through. It being autumn, a million orange and yellow leaves carpeted the canyon floor, spilling into the stream, choking the pools beneath the overgrown oaks. The canyon smelled lovely with leaves, a kind of powdery, medicinal aroma.’

Another beautiful scene stands out in my mind: the author’s wonderful description of Mt. Lowe, looking as if it had dropped right out of heaven. It is so vividly described that I felt I had gone back a century and was riding Professor Lowe’s cable car and going up the mountain’s Great Incline, breathing in the fresh scent of pines and passing crystal clear streams, woods, Swiss chalets and an occasional timid deer peeping out of the bushes.

This glorious Southern California tale is narrated and seen through the eyes of the novel’s main character, Lyman Bright. The growth of Lyman from the time he arrives in Los Angeles in 1892 as a boy of ten, to the end of the novel in 1959, when he is seventy-seven, parallels the growth and development of Southern California itself. With the exception of Joyce’s Ulysses, there are very few novels that I can think of where the main character and his milieu are so at one with one another; Lyman Bright is as closely associated with Southern California as Leopold Bloom is to Dublin.

Besides Lyman Bright, there is a whole gallery of zany Dickensian characters, characters I felt I had known all my life. There is Garibaldi, a devious real estate developer with the brain of a Machiavelli and the heart of a Mother Teresa; there is Lyman’s sister-in-law Nyla, an eccentric young woman who enjoys sitting by the La Brea Tar Pits reading Baudelaire and Verlaine while greedily inhaling the pungent tar fumes; there is Dratch, a curmudgeonly criminal who looks and talks like Wallace Beery. And there is Professor Lowe, a visionary genius, a Civil War balloonist turned entrepreneur.

The Way to Mt. Lowe is beautifully written. Mr. Klein describes Southern California’s past, its people, its pristine beaches, its glorious weather, its mountains and lush valleys-sometimes with the bittersweet nostalgia of a Proust, and sometimes with the uninhibited zest of a Mark Twain.

Did I say that the main character of The Way to Mt. Lowe is Lyman Bright? I was wrong. The central character is Southern California itself, from its beginnings, its growth, and finally its lost innocence.

Andy Kovats (amazon.com reviewer)


About the Author

R.E. Klein is the author of The History of Our World Beyond the Wave (Harcourt 1998) and Mrs. Rahlo’s Closet & Other Mad Tales (Time Warner, 2001). He teaches English literature and lives in his native Los Angeles.

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