Once again, my mailbox is my friend. I've just received Lost Tales Vol 1, a chapbook containing ten works of previously unreprinted prose fiction by Lord Dunsany. Here's how the Pegana Press ("dedicated," as it says, "to printing deluxe limited editions using traditional letterpress equipment and materials by hand"). website describes it:
Previously uncollected tales from 1909 to 1915. Introduction by Michael Swanwick. Fine letterpress edition in chapbook format, hand sewn with two color Irish linen thread and printed on german paper using Goudy types and ornamentation. These 10 stories were retrieved from their original magazine printing and are now published together for the first time with the approval of Lady Dunsany and the Estate. None of these stories have been reprinted since their magazine appearance. Limited to 128 hand numbered copies; 30 pp.Which is to say, it's not for people who like to read in the bathtub and let their cats make nests of books under the bed. And at seventy-five dollars a pop it's nothing I could normally justify buying. But, as you'll note, I wrote the introduction and so . . .
The table of contents is:
THE HEART OF EARTH
THE ERMAN SPY
EXCHANGE NO ROBBERY
THE WAY OF THE WORLD
THE LITTLE DOIGS OF DEMOS
THE RETURN OF IBRAHIM
HOW CARE WOULD HAVE DEALTH WITH THE NOMADS
THE EIGHT WISHES
It's a lovely chapbook and printer-publisher Mike Tortorello is to be commended for creating it. Serious collectors can find the ordering information here.
And, sadly . . .
Phyllis Diller died the other day. She was a very smart woman who knew more than her share of pain. In one of her books she had the best possible advice on how to clean a casserole dish that has that baked-in almost impossible to eradicate grunge on it -- bake a casserole in it, give it to a neighbor, and wait for them to return it clean.
Diller also did something that any one of us who ever wondered about whether Coca-Cola really rots your teeth or not should have done but didn't. When she had a tooth extracted, she took it home and dropped it in a bottle of Coke which she then sealed and placed in her refrigerator. A month later she took it out and guess what? The tooth was unchanged.
So she wasn't just a comedian who made fun of her own looks and life as a suburban housewife. She had a first-rate mind. We are poorer for her absence.