D is the letter of the day today.

I’m pretending I’m in Hawaii today.

Hobart is presenting us with another drizzly, cloudy day but the rain on the color bond roof sounded nice during the night. One of the things I have noticed during these days of self isolation is the amount of people I’ve never seen walking past our house. People of all ages with dogs, without dogs, waving at Ollie and I in the yard. Who ARE these people? Evidently neighbours within our community who work during the day and are now at home. The foot traffic is quite remarkable while there is a definite decrease in the car traffic.  These times are presenting all kinds of changes now.

But…. on with the books.


*1.  The first book I am going to share from my shelf is one I found in a sad little Op shop that I couldn’t leave behind. I have quite a collection of dog books published from the late 1800s to no later than 1955. I collect them not so much for the stories but for the illustrations. Cecil Aldin is my favourite but I have also loved and owned several Albert Payson Terhune (Lad series) whose books I grew up with. Real Tales of Real Dogs comes to mind and I still have my mother’s childhood copy.

The book is Australian and called The Day of the Dingo (1955 published by Thomas Nelson  & Sons who published many children’s books) by John Kiddell.  I can find little information about Mr Kiddell anywhere. I am hoping that some older Australian born readers might shed some light on him for me. He has several books for sale on Abe books and though he seemed to cater for a young readers market the illustrations by Neave Parker drew my attention to this one. I am assuming Neave Parker is British but can’t swear to it. He spent most of his life working at the Natural History Museum in London reconstructing dinosaurs. Most of his art work is in that field as well but he did draw illustrations of other animals for books. He lived from 1910 to 1951.  Again there are art auctions online who represent his work but little biographical information about him. I will simply share the illustrations from this book and you can decide for yourself. I may spend more time doing online research to see if I can find out more about these two people.


**2. Next on the list is: Drawn From Memory by Ernest H. Shephard (Penguin books 6387563._UY427_SS427_1957, reprinted 1975). Ernest Howard Shepherd was born in 1879 in London. He was educated at St Paul’s School; and studied art at the Heatherleys and Royal Academy Schools. He had his first picture exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1901, and began drawing for Punch in 1907. During the war he served in the Royal Artillery and after the war he began illustrating books – especially children’s books. Among his more famous illustrations are those for Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows. He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1972.

The book represents his childhood memories during the 1880s. In words and drawings he uncannily recalls a horse-drawn London where a penny was wealth and the fire at Whiteley’s the event of the year. A kindlier, less austere view of Victorian England emerges from these recollections of the Jubilee, of bathing at Eastbourne and hop picking in Kent, of the Drury Lane Pantomime and aunts and illnesses, of hansom cabs and pea soup fogs. It was a world where the spirit of Charles Dickens walked. He died March, 1976 in London. (Penguin)

9781925498936***3.  After talking about a couple of books of interest to children I am going to walk down a different path here with one of my all time favourite books. I only need to say two words. George Orwell. No, not 1984 as that while his most famous book, is probably the least favourite book of his as I am not a big dystopian fan though I do appreciate the meaning behind it and how relevant his writing remains.

My favourite books of his are his memoir/auto-biographical books. Burmese Days, Homage to Catalonia, The Road to Wigan Pier and this one, my favourite, Down and Out in Paris and London. I’ve read Animal Farm a couple of times and seen the play years ago but it broke my heart and I can’t read it again.

Orwell was born as Eric Arthur Blair in June 1903 in Motihari, India. He died in January 1950 at the too young age of 46 in London of tuberculosis.  He was such a prolific novelist, essayist, journalist and critic.  I can’t help but think of how much more he would have blessed us with had he not died so young.

While 1984 was the last book of his life, Down and Out in Paris and London was his first book, written in 1933, when he was not yet 30 yrs of age. It is one of the greatest accounts of life in the underclass; of being hard up and hungry, of sleeping in seedy hostels and working in squalid restaurants. (publisher notes)
One can’t help but feel and smell the poverty in this book while reading it and it very likely is one on my list to read again.
Well, now it is just noon and I have the rest of the day ahead of me.  I should go walk Ollie or he will drive us all mad but the wind is gale force at the moment and I never walk under gum trees during a strong wind. Maybe later. I will have to find something else to do to ensure boredom does not set in. Until tomorrow…
Just for fun, What book did you hold in your hand today?


13 thoughts on “D is the letter of the day today.

  1. I sort of had a D book in my hand early this morning: Essays by Lydia Davis. It’s a wonderful dipper of a book – LD thrives on short pieces which are equally entertaining and dazzling as her longer essays. She’s such a stimulating writer – writing about a wide range of topics.
    I’ve notice that dog themed books are pretty popular with ou9r Book Club. Being a cat fan myself, I give them a wide berth!


  2. A nice selection of D books! Mr. Kaggsy has commented on the number of people we’ve seen walking lately too, so it’s obviously a global thing as people adjust to being indoors for most of the time apart from their designated exercise!

    I love “Down and Out…” – we studied it at school (along with 1984 and Animal Farm), which is when I learned to love Orwell. What a writer.

    I have held a *lot* of books in my hands today as I’ve been having a bit of a sort out and shuffle! But I have *read* some Proust and some Ian Nairn on Paris, both of which are most entertaining although very different!


  3. i loved the Terhune stories eons ago… i recall rereading them a lot… i had John Woolmans’s Journal in hand briefly; may get around to actually reading it sometime this year… by all means watch out for falling branches! i had personal experience of rain and hail while on my bike ride today: that was kind of exciting… and wet haha…


  4. I love Orwell’s memoir writing much more than the better know novels also.
    I just had Mary Webb’s Gone to Earth in my hand but now off to find a new read.


  5. Orwell, great choice, and yes, shout out to Bill for nominating Dusty:)
    I’m going to nominate Dustfall by Michelle Johnstone, a novel about Wittenoom…


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