Saturday, April 4, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #6

Sorry for the lesser quality of this snapshot. We're into the "catacombs" — the books behind the books in Shelfie #4. Some of these are reprints of older history volumes. There are some books about the history and folk tales of various regions of Pennsylvania. And there are some hyperspecific books about aspects of my family geneaology. After my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham, died in 2003, it took Mom and I quite a long time to go through her stuff. It included shelves and boxes full of her geneaology research materials. We ended up carting and donating most of it to various historical societies all over the Mid-Atlantic. (Moving books from Place A to Place B has pretty much been my secondary profession for the past 17 years.) Anyway, I only ended up with a handful of those books, some coming to my shelves after Mom died. I've had it drilled into me that some of these volumes are Important Family History™ that must be kept. But, looking around, I'm not exactly sure who the keeper will be after me, and I certainly haven't cracked all of them open. Among the titles here is Welsh Founders of Pennsylvania by Thomas Allen Glenn, which one Amazon reviewer gave five stars, stating "it's fairly easy to decipher, though a bit confusing at times." There is also the two-volume A History of Rose Valley, which is lauded as "a must read especially if you are from Rose Valley." My grandmother had a house in Rose Valley until the early 1970s and I've never written much about it, even though those are some of my earliest childhood memories. I'll have to get to that some day. Please remind me.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #5

Bit of a dull one today. This is a catch-all shelf without any real theme (I'm big on themes and order), and it's tucked back in the least-accessible part of the bedroom. Furthermore, the books in yesterday's #4 and today's #5 are double-shelved. So in the next two posts, we'll get a rare glimpse of what's behind them — the legitimate most-hidden books in the bedroom. Of note here is Boonastiel, which I featured in a post last summer. Just to the left of Boonastiel is Return to Earth, Buzz Aldrin's autobiography. If you want to know more about James Tiptree Jr. (the pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon), I highly recommend this Imaginary Worlds podcast episode.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #4

These aren't all going to be perfect and crisp photographs. I took them all during an hour or so of shuffling around my bedroom this past Sunday night. On this shelf there are some volumes from The Children of America Stories series, some books about Earth's climate and weather history, and a lovely old book by Edna Albert (whose postcards I wrote about in 2015 and 2018) that I would like to do a full post on some day, but until then...

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #3

It's a Mostly Pennsylvania shelf, including the Pennsylvania volume from the American Guide Series; a book about Madame Montour; The Elephant Hotel (about Lucy the Elephant, which is in New Jersey); and several history books by my former boss, Jim McClure. I learned about The Elephant Hotel in an extremely roundabout way, via Enob Serbok.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mystery RPPC: Girl with extremely long hair

This girl looks like she's 6 or 7 years old, and I'm not sure her hair had ever been cut! Based on the AZO stamp box on the back of this postcard, it was produced between 1904 and 1918. Alas, there is no writing on the back of the card. Nary a clue as to who this was. We can reckon she was born between 1898 and 1912. Depending how long she lived, she saw a great deal of interesting times: the Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the moon landing, and the disco era. Perhaps she even saw the Reagan presidency, Zaxxon and "The Smurfs." Crazy century, that 20th century.

If you have a hankering for more mystery real photo postcards, here's a good place to start.

Stay-at-home shelfie #2

Yes, I've read a bunch of Clifford Simak novels (including Way Station, Time Is the Simplest Thing, Cosmic Engineers, Ring Around the Sun, Special Deliverance, and City) and still have a bunch to read. I have to decide which one to read next. The two books on their side are The Encyclopedia of Fantasy by John Clute and John Grant and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, two great browsing books.

Bonus content: These are the books on the shelf that I had to move to snap the above photograph.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #1

I'm entering Week 3 of working from home here in Dover, Pennsylvania. And York County was officially added to Governor Tom Wolf's "Stay at Home" order on Friday. To mark the days and help pass the time, I'm going to start a Shelfie Tour of my bedroom. Consider it a visual version of 2016's "All my books (or A Perfectly Ridiculous Way to Spend a Sunday)." There are a lot of books, so we'll see how many days this gets us through. Be safe out there. Read lots of books!

* * *


On May 17, I realized that this wasn't a very comprehensive post, compared to so many of the other rambling shelfie posts. So I hereby and retroactively add this rundown of these shelves:

The top shelf includes two novels by Charlie Jane Anders, two books that journalist and Pennsylvania native Harry Warner Jr. (1922-2003) wrote about the history of science fiction fandom (All Our Yesterdays and A Wealth of Fable), and some works by Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane has surpassed Neverwhere as my favorite Gaiman novel). There are also some mid-century anthologies of science fiction edited by Groff Conklin.

The second shelf contains the start of the Cliff Simak novels (which continue on shelfie #2), some Hans Holzer paranormal paperbacks, and then a bunch of other purportedly nonfiction books about ghosts and hauntings, mostly within the United Kingdom. I have featured several of them in past posts, including A Ghost Hunter's Game Book, Haunted Houses, Haunted England, and Haunted Britain.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Smile-worthy old AP Laserphoto

I still have this 1991 Associated Press LaserPhoto from my days working at The Daily Collegian at Penn State. For many years, it was taped up in my work cubicle at various newspapers, because it always brings a smile to my face. I have an odd sense of humor, perhaps, but there's no doubt it's a great piece of photojournalism.

The caption states:

"ROYAL OAK, Mich., April 16 -- A TAXING MIDNIGHT -- Darryl Lee, of Detroit, seals his 1990 tax return as the final cart of mail is loaded onto a truck at midnight Monday at the Royal Oak, Mich. Post Office. Postal worker Bill Vanderveer hangs his head in disbelief as onlookers cheer for Lee. Lee works the midnight shift at his job and said he fell asleep, but awoke just in time to make the deadline."

The photo is by Blake J. Discher. There's someone by that name on Twitter and I've reached out to him. If he gets back to me, I'll be sure to add to this post.

Three elements of this photo, of course, are much different in 2020:
1. The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020, according to the IRS.
2. This crowd is not using proper social distancing.
3. Probably let's not lick envelopes.

One thing remains the same, however: Postal workers are unsung heroes.