Books Read


Intro to Books Read

Now I am going to introduce a curious old document that I found by chance while searching for something else in my old library-study in Berkeley. It is a list--and I can’t recall why or when I made it--of all the books I read during a period of four years or so? from my entry into the Army in 1944 until some time in 1948 when I had returned from the Army and was an undergrad student at U.C. again. The term “books” is used loosely--some are collections of plays, or long poems, etc.

I carried books with me always when I was in the Army, because we spent so much time waiting, time that could be spent reading. I was bawled out often for having a bulge in the pocket of my uniform, a bulge that was a pocket book, one of the Oxford World Classics or something like that. In free time in Ann Arbor I haunted bookstores, especially one called Wahr’s on State Street near the campus--it is no longer there. As a special customer I was allowed to descend into their basement where a great many books were stored--I found treasures there. I carried books in the footlocker that held all the soldier’s belongings; I had (and still treasure) a small leather-bound India-paper volume of the poems of Robert Browning that I meant to take into battle if I were ever sent to the battlefield, to carry over my heart to stop bullets, as the Bible had reportedly done for others.

Many of the books on this list now bring back no memories at all--I can’t remember why I read them, or what they were about. Others, on the other hand, stir nostalgia and an urge to find copies and read them again--as of course I never will. A few are still in my old library in Berkeley--Max Beerbohm’s A Christmas Garland, Ben Hecht’s Count Bruga, for two. (If you enjoy delicious parodies and don’t know Beerbohm’s book, find a copy--a treasure.)

Appended to the List of Books Read is a list of espionage novels that I read and liked during this early period, as a guide to what I considered the especially good ones. A note at the end mentions the authors I would of course include if I were to update it, especially three: John le Carre (his early books especially), Alan Furst, Charles McCarry (serious spy novel readers need to find all of his and read them, ideally in sequence since a kind of all-over narrative connects them.)

So, here it is to browse and wonder over: where did he find that? And why would anybody read it?

James Cahill   February 20, 2012

BOOKS READ (from Jan. 2, 1945, entry into Army, until 1948?)

I. Ann  Arbor (Jap. Language School)

1. Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen

2,  Count Bruga: Ben Hecht (second time)

3.  The Somerset Maugham Pocket Book (Cakes and Ale, The Circle, stories, essays)

4. Old Man Adam and His Children: Roark Bradford

5. Anna Karenina (2 vols.)

6. Six Elizabethan Plays (1. The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Beaumont & Fletcher; Philemon: Webster; 3: The Duchess of Malfi, 4. The White Devil, Dekker; 5. The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Massinger; 6. A New Way To Pay Old Debts.)

7. Shakespeare Tempest, As You Like It, Merry Wives of Windsor.

8, 9, Ruskin: Sesame and Lilies, Ethics of the Dust.

10-12, George Moore, Hail and Farewell (3 vols: Ave, Salve, Vale)

13. John Austen, Rogues in Porcelain: 18th cent. lyrics.

14. Kenneth Grahame, Pagan Papers (second time)

15-17. Christopher Morley, Thorofare, last half; The Powder of Sympathy (read by bits at USO), Ex Libris Carissimus

18. Flaubert, Madame Bovary (on first furlough)

19, Yeats: five or six plays, many poems.

Poetry of many sorts; magazines (chiefly Encore, Tomorrow)

20. Parts if Romany Rye, Tristram Shandy, Rabelais, etc.

21. Gissing, Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft.

22. Rockwell Kent, Wilderness (this includes much time enjoying the pictures)

23. Kenneth Grahame & wife, First Whispers of The Wind In the Willows.

24, F. A. Steel, Arthur Rackham illus., English Fairy Tales.

25. Hendrik de Leeuw, Cities of Sin—on the Oriental underworld.

26. Robinson Jeffers, The Tower Beyond Tragedy (dramatic poem)

27. Christopher Morley (Arthur Rackham illus.) Where the Blue Begins

28, Poems, Translations from the Chinese; Christopher Morley, The Rocking Horse.

(This much by June1,1945)

II. Basic Training in Alabama.

29. James Stephens, In the Land of Youth.

30. W. B. Yeats, The Great Hern’s Egg, and Other Plays.

31. Lawrence Housman, A Farm in Fairyland.

32. Kenneth Grahame, The Headswoman (second time)

33. Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden

34. Alexander Smith, Dreamthorp and Other Essays

35.  Anatole France, Penguin Island

36. George Moore, Evelyn Innes

37.  Llewelyn Powys, Love and Death

38. Robert Frost, The Masque of Reason

39. Isaac Walton, The Complete Angler.

40.John Cowper Powys, The Meaning of Culture

(Second furlough)

41, Thomas Love Peacock, The Misfortunes of Elphin

42. Peacock, Headlong Hall

43. George Moore, Avowals

44, Essays from Charles Lamb

“     “     George Moore, Impressions and Opinions, Modern Art

“      “    the prose works of Francis Thompson

45. Chaucer, The Miller’s  Tale, Reve’s Tale, Monk’s Tale, Merchant’s Tale, from Canterbury Tales

46. John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera

47. Petronius Arbiter, Satyricon

48. Maeterlinck, Pelleas and Melisande

49. The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part I.

50. Ludwig Bemelmans, Small Beer

51.   “         “            , My War With the United States

52. Byron, Don Juan, Cantoes I – IV.

53. Darrel Figgis, The Return of the Hero.

54.Clarence Day, Scenes from the Mesazoic

55. Jean de Bouscheres, illus., Folk Tales of Flanders

56. Hermann Kesten, Copernicus and His World.

57. Abbe Prevost, Manon Lescaut

58. Anais Nin, Under a Glass Bell

59. Anatole France, The Gods Are Athirst

60. Longus? tr. George Thornley, illus. John Austen:  Daphnis and Chloe

61. Kate Greenaway, Under the Window

62. Flaubert, Temptations of St. Anthony

63.George Borrow, The Romany Rye

64. Lord Dunsany, Last Tales of Wonder

65. Horace Gregory, trans., The Poems of Catullus

66. George Dorsey, Man’s Own Show: Civilization (Harriette) ch. 1-8

67. Anatole France, The Revolt of the Angels

68. W.B. Yeats, The Wanderings of Ossian (dramatic poem)

69. Richard Garnett, The Twilight of the Gods (short stories etc.)

70. Lord Dunsany, My Talks with Dean Spanley (?)

71. Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops To Conquer

(To here by Jan.1, 1946)

72. Ella Young, Flowering Dusk

73. H. P. Lovecraft, The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth etc.

73a. Fiona MacLeod, Deirdre and the Sons of Usnach.

74, Voltaire, Candide (reread) (Here on third furlough)

75. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars

76. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

77.A. Merritt, The Ship of Ishtar

78. A. Merritt, Dwellers in the Mirage

IV. Basic Training, Alabama

79. William Saroyan, 48 Short Stories

80. Five Pre-Shakespearian Comedies, ed. Boas.

1, Fulgens and Lucrece, Medwall

2. The Playe Called the Foure PP, John Heywood

3. Ralph Roister-Doister, Nicholas Udall

4. Gammer Gurton’s Needle, Mr. S. Ma. of Art

5. Supposes, George Gascoigne

V. Fort Snelling, Minnesota

81. H. P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror, The  Shadow Out of Time

82. Walt Whitman, Prose Notes from Nature

83. Henry James, The Death of the Lion (Y.B.)

84. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Night Flight

85.Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

86.James Thurber, The White Deer

87. Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

88.  Robert Gibbings, Lovely Is the Lee

89.Erskin Caldwell, God’s Little Acre

90. Walter de la Mare, The Return

91. Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

92. Henry James, The Coxom Friend (?) (YB)

93. Shakespeare, King Lear (reread), Timon of Athens

94. W. H. Hudson, Green Mansions

95. H.W. Longfellow, The Spanish Student (play, worthless)

96. John dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer

97. John Collier, Defy the Foul Fiend

98. D. H. Lawrence, The Lovely Lady

99. Christian Darnton, You and Music

100. Kaufman and Hart, Once In a Lifetime, You Can’t Take It With You

101.Ben Johnson, Every Man In His Humour

102. Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

103. George Gissing, The House of Cobwebs

104, Virginia Woolf, Orlando

105. Ralph Temple, Cuckoo Time

106. Andre Maurois, Ariel: The  Life of Shelley

107. Christopher Morley, Thunder On the Left

108. Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson

109. S. J. Perelman, Crazy Like a Fox

110. H.. P. Lovecraft, In the Vault, The Rats in the Walls, Pickman’s Model, The Music of Erich Zann, The Color Out of Space, The Call of Cthulhu, The Moon Bog, The Hound.

111. Irving Stone, Lust For Life (life of van Gogh)

112. Ludwig Bemelmans, I Love You, I Love You, I Love You

113.Arthur Machen, The Great God Pan, and Other Stories

114.John Collier, Green Thoughts, and Other Stories

115. Aeschylus, tr. Lewis Campbell, The Early Plays: The Persians, The Suppliants, Seven against Thebes,

116, Lord Dunsany, The Book of Wonder

117.James Stephens, The Charwoman’s Daughter (Mary, Mary)

118. Robert Lawson, Mr.Wilson (illus. by author)

119. Aeschylus, tr. Lewis Campbell, The Late Plays: The Orestrean Trilogy: Agamemnon, The Choephoroe, The Eumenides; also Prometheus Unbound.

120. Jessie (?) The Undying Monster

121. Goldoni, The Liar

122. Yone Noguchi, Harunobu

123. Frank Lloyd Wright, Japanese Color Prints: An Appreciation

124. Henry James, Daisy Miller, An International Episode, The Author of Beltruffio.

125. Edward F. Strange, Japanese Color Prints

126. Rupert Brooke, Collected Poems

127. H. Rider Haggard, She

128. (skipped)

129. Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici

130. H. Davison Ficke, Chats on Japanese Prints

131. Norman Krasna, Dear Ruth, play.

132.  Sir Thomas Malory, Morte d’Arthur Books I-VII (reread)

133. Algernon Blackwood, Short Novels and Stories

134. Jeremiah Digger, Bowley Bill

135, Sir Thomas Browne, Hyudriotaphia, or the Urne Buriall

136, W. H. Hudson, The Purple Land

137. G. B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (with Author’s Apology)

138. Lord Dunsany, Time and the Gods

139. Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

140. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

141. Walter Pater, The Child In the House, Conclusion to Studies in the Renaissance, Sebastian von Storck, etc.

142. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Diamond As Big As the Ritz, and Other Stories

143. Virginia Woolf, The Years

144. Stefan Zweig, The Royal Game, Amok, Letter From an Unknown Woman

VIII. Korea

145. H. L. Wilson, Ruggles of Red Gap

146, Dorothy Parker, Sunset Gun: verses

147.A. A. Milne, The Red House Mystery

148. Thornton Wilder, Our Town

149. Alexander Woolcott, While Rome Burns

150,  Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

151. Joseph Wechsberg, Looking For a Bluebird

152. Morton Thompson, Joe, the Wounded Tennis Player

153. Herman Melville, Moby Dick or The Whale

154.Nicolai Gogol, Dead Souls

155.Ivan Turgeneff, Fathers and Sons

156. Lawrence Watkins, On Borrowed Time

157.H.H. Munro (Saki) 24 Short Stories

158.Arthur Kober, Thunder Over the Bronx

159. John van Druten, The Voice of the Turtle

160. James Gibson Huneker, Painted Veils

161. Aaron Copland, What to Look For in Music

162. Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Portraits

163.John Erskine, The Private Life of Helen of Troy

164.Whit Burnett, ed., Time To Be Young (anthology)

165. John O’Hara, Pal Joey

166. Max Beerbohm, A Christmas Garland

167. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

168. Kaufman and Ryskind, Of Thee I Sing

169. Maxwell Anderson, Elizabeth the Queen

170. Edmund Wilson, Memoirs of Hecate County

171. Maxwell Anderson, What Price Glory

172. Eugene O’Neill, Anna Christie

173. Frederick William Gookin, Japanese Colour Prints and Their Designers

174. John Galsworthy, Escape

175. R. C. Sheriff, Journey’s End

176. Stephen Crane, Whilomville Stories

177.G. B. Shaw, Candida

178. D. H. Lawrence, The Portrait of M. M.

179. Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters In Search Of An Author

180. Edmund Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, reread.

181 Arthur Schnabel, Music and the Line of Most Resistance

182. Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths

183. George Moore, Esther Waters

184. E. B. White, The Fox of Peapack and Other Verses

185, Ferenc Molnar, Liliom

186, James Stephens, Collected Poems

187, A. E. Housman, Collected Poems

188. Robert Herrick, Love Poems

189. George Moore, Heloise and Abelard

190. E. B. White, Stuart Little

191. Kenneth Patchen, Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer

192. G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

193. Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader

194. Philip Wylie, Night Unto Night

195. Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way

196. Sally Carrighan, One Day On Beetle Rock

197. Max Shulman, Barefoot Boy With Cheek

198.Walt Whitman, Specimen Days (pages from his journal)

199. Edwin Bulmer and Philip Wylie, When Worlds Collide

200. Philip van Doren Stern, ed. The Moonlight Traveler, anthology

201. Isaac Dineson, Winter’s Tales

Jan. 2, 1947

202. E. M. Forster, A Passage To India

203.James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

204. Andre Malraux, Man’s Fate

205. John O’Hara, Pipe Night

206. Adolf Dehn, Water Color Painting

207. Virgil Thompson, The State of Music

208. T. H. White, Mistress Masham’s Repose

209. Christopher Isherwood, Prater Violet

210. Thorne Smith, Rain in the Doorway

211. Joseph Conrad, Typhoon

212.Max Schulman, The Zebra Derby

213. James Stephens, The Crock of Gold, reread.

214. George Papashvilz, Anything Can Happen

214. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

216. Ben Hecht, Concerning a Woman of Sin, and Other Stories

217. Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, reread

218. Graham Greene, The Confidential Agent

219. E. E. Cummings, The Enormous Room

220. Henry James, The Lesson Of the Master

221. Walter Pater, Imaginary Portraits.

222. J. M. Synge,  In the Shadow of the Glen, The Tinker’s Wedding, Deirdre of the Sorrows, reread.

223.Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

224. J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World, The Well of the Saints, Poems, reread.

225. James Henry Duveen,  Art Treasures and Intrigue

226. Christopher Morley, John  Mistletoe

227. J. M. Synge, The Aran Islands, reread

228. John McNulty, Third Avenue, New York

229. Henry Fielding, Tom Jones

230. G. B, Shaw, Saint Joan

231.William Maxwell, The Folded Leaf

232, E. E. Cummings, Tulips and Chimneys, XLI Poems

233. George Harriman, Krazy Kat, Preface by E. E. Cummings

234. Osvald Siren, The Chinese On the Art of Painting

235. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey

236. E. E. Cummings,  W,  No Thanks, Last Poems
237. Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall

238. Joel Sayre, Rackety Rax

239. Walter de la Mare, Peacock Pie (reread), Bells and Grass, verse

240. Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts

241. Five Great Modern Irish Plays, including J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World, Riders To the Sea (already read), Sean O’Casey, Juno and the Paycock, Lady Gregory, Spreading the News, Paul Vincent Carroll, Shadow and Substance.

242. John Dos Passos, Number One

243, Norman Douglas, South Wind

244. Virginia Woolf, Monday Or Tuesday

245. Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree

246. Kenneth Fearing, The Big Clock

247. Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson (reread)

248. Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg Ohio

249. Walter de la Mare, Behold the Dreamer

250. William Saroyan, Razzle Dazzle

251. Ambrose Bierce, In the Midst of Life

252. James Branch Cabell, Jurgen

253. Jaraslov Hasek, The Good Soldier Schweik

254. Baudelaire, Selected Poems, trans G. A, Wagner, intro. Enid Starkie

255. Maxwell Anderson, Winterset

256.James Branch  Cabell, There Were Three Pirates

257. P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back

258. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night

259. James Joyce, Ulysses

260. Huysmans, Against the Grain

261. D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

262, Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward Angel

263, George Moore, The Brook Kerith

264. Five Elizabethan Tragedies, including:

Jasper Heywood, Thyestes

Norton & Sackville, Gorboduc

Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy

Anon., Arden of Feversham

Thos. Heywood, A Woman Killed With Kindness

265. Walter Barton, This Is My Beloved, poems

266. Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River

267. Dostoievsky, The Gambler, Notes From Underground

268, Herman Wouk, Aurora Dawn

269. J. A. Symonds, Wine Women and Song: Medieval Latin Student Songs

270, Shakespeare, Othello

271. Dostoievsky, The Eternal Husband

272, Thomas Wolfe, A Stone, A Leaf, A Door

273. Mary Webb, Precious Bane

274. Dostoievsky, The Brothers Karamazov

25. Lawrence Housman, Victoria Regina

276. Christopher Morley, Human Being

277. Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture

278. Richard Sale, Not Too Narrow, Not Too Deep

279. Isaac Dineson, Seven Gothic Tales

280. Algernon Blackwood, The Silence

281, Kenneth Fearing, Clark Gifford’s Body

282. Graham Greene, The Ministry of Fear

283. E. A. Robinson, Tristram

284. Brahms & Simon, Don’t, Mr. Disraeli

285. Graham Greene, The Orient Express

286. Walter de la Mare, Memoirs of a Midget

287, Frederick Prokosch, The Asiatics

288. Mary Webb, The Golden Arrow

289, John Tasker Howard, This Modern Music

290. Frederick Prokosch, The Conspirators

291. Yosup Chu, Kim Yuan: The Romance of a Korean Woman of the 7th Century

292, W. H. Auden, The Sea and the Mirror, New Year’s Letter, Songs and Other Musical Pieces

293. Andre  Gide, The Counterfeiters

294, Richard Hughes, A High Wind in Jamaica

295. Frederick Prokosch, Idols of the Cave

296. Cecil Stewart, Byzantine Legacy

297. Christopher Morley, The Trojan Horse

298. Stendhal,  The Red and the Black

299. John Dos Passos, 42nd Parallel

300. John Dos Passos, 1919.

301. Eugene O’Neill, The Iceman Cometh

302. Jean Charlot, Art From the Mayans to Disney

303. Bruno Frank, The Days of the King

304. John Dos Passos, The Big Money

305. J. A. Symonds, In the Key of Blue, and Other Essays

306. E. H. Visiak, Medusa

307. Paul Goodman, The Facts of Life

308. Anais Nin, Children pf the Albatross

309, Anais Nin, The House of Incest

310, Thomas Wolfe, The Web and the Rock (unfinished)

311. Will Rothenstein, Men and Memories (vol. I: 1872-1900).

312. Charlotte Armstrong, The Unsuspected

313. E. M. Forster, The Longest Journey

314. Kunigita Doppô, Shôjiki Mono, Jonan, Ummei Ronsha (in Japanese)

315, Will Rothenstein, Men and Memories (vol.  2, 1900-present)

316. Elizabeth Ruggles, Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life

317. Elmer Rice, A Voyage To Purilia.

318. M. P. Shiel, The Purple Cloud

319. Ludwig Bemelmans, Dirty Eddie

320. Rudolf Besier, The Barrotts of Wimpole Street

321. Willa Cather, Oh Pioneers

322. G. B. Shaw, Short Stories, Scraps and Shavings

323. Dostoievsky, The Idiot

324. M. P. Shiel, The Black Box

325. Anais Nin, Ladders To Fire

326. John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

327. Chekov, Short Stories

328. Dorothy B. Hughes, The Delicate Ape

329. John Tasker Howard, On Modern Composers

330. (skipped)

331. H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines

332. George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feveral

333. Walter Karig, Zotz!

334. Katherine Ann Porter, Selected Short Stories

335. Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers

336. Pietro Donato, Christ in Concrete

337. Eugene O’Neill, The Long Voyage Home

338. Francois Viollon, Poems, trans. J.P. Lepper (reread)

339. H. G. Wells, The Food of the Gods

340. Aristophanes, Comedies, vol. I: The Knights, The  Acharnnians, Peace, Lysistrata, The Clouds

341, H.L. Mencken, Heathen Days

342. Earl  Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde

343, William Irish, Phantom Lady

344. Aristophanes, Comedies, vol. II: The Wasps, The Birds, The Frogs, Plutus, The Thesmophorizusae, The Ecclesiaszusae

345. John Gay, Polly

346. W. S. Ede, Savage Messiah

347. Ludwig Lewissohn The Tyranny of Sex

348. F,  L. Green, Odd Man Out

349. E. M. Forster, Room With a View

3509, Natsume Soseki, Inhuman Tour (Kusamakura)

351. George Moore, Celibates

352. H. H. Munro (Saki), The Unbearable Bassington

353. Max Beerbohm, Seven Men

354, Franz Kafka, The Trial

355. Osvald Siren & Others, Studies in Chinese Art and Some Indian Influences

356. D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

357. Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis

358. Maeterlinck, The Death of Tintagulea

359. Graham Greene, The Man Within

360. Kenneth Fearing, Dagger Of the Mind

361. Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent

362. Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children

363. E. M. Forster, Howard’s End

364, John Cleland, Fanny Hill

365. The Kamasutra

366. Edwin Muir, The Marionette

367. Norman Lindsay, The Cautious Amorist

368. john O’Hara, Butterfield 8.

369, Thorne Smith, The Glorious Pool

370. Elinor Wylie, The Venetian Glass Nephew

371. Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

372. Albert Camus, The Stranger

373. George Cronyn, The Fool of Venus

374. Maude Magher, White Jade

375. Christipher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta

376. Anonymous, The West Chamber

377. Haskins, The Normans in Europe

378, Barker, The Crusades

379. Henry Adams, Mont St. Michel and Chartres

380. Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

381. Rose Quong, trans., Chinese Love and Ghost Stories

382. Andre Gide, The Immoralist

383. Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

384. Marco Polo, Travels

385. Alan Watts, The Spirit of Zen

386. Eric Ambler, Journey Into Fear

387.    “    “      , Background to Danger

388.     “    “      , Cause For Alarm

389. Manning Coles, Let the Tiger Die

390. Roger Maxwell, Film

391. Ida Zeitlin, Gessar Khan

392. Charles Louis Philippe, Bubu of Montparnasse

393. Eric Ambler, A Coffin For Demetrius

394. Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

395.    “        “       , This Gun For Hire

396. D. T. Suzuki, Introduction to Zen Buddhism

397. Thomas Mann, Death In Venice

398. Tanizaki Junichiro, Ashikari

399. Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

400. Tanizaki Junichiro, The Story of Shunkin

401. Arthur Waley, Three Ways of Thought In Ancient China

402. Kenkô Hôshi, The Harvest of Leisure (Tsure-zure Gusa)

403. Gilbert Collins, The Starkenden Quest

404. Anon. Chin P’ing Mei

405. Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

Supplement: List of International Intrigue & Espionage Novels (written ca. 1950, maybe a bit later)

The Great Masters

1. Eric Ambler.

a) Earliest, not so adroit as later: Epitaph For a Spy.

The famous four: b) Background to  Danger

c) Cause for Alarm (these two including Zaleshoff, a

Russian agent, and his sister)

d. Journey Into Fear

e. A Coffin For Demetrios

More recent, still first-rate: f) Judgement On Delchef

Co-authored under the pen-name of Elliott Reed: g. Skytip, another.

2. Graham Greene

a) The Confidential Agent (favorite of mine)

b. The Ministry of Fear. Both masterpieces of the genre.

c. The Third Man. Not really espionage, but same atmosphere. (Later: The Tailor of Panama, comic-espionage.)

d. The Orient Express (early work)

3. Almost in the same rank: Dorothy B. Hughes

a) The Delicate Ape. Finest of the lot; read all in one sitting if possible.

b) The So Blue Marble. Not quite a spy story, but same technique.

c)  The Bamboo Blonde, genuine spy story with same characters as b),

d) The Fallen Sparrow. Also one of the best. Also e) The Blackbirders

f) Johnny, g) The Candy Kid, all worth reading.

4. Peter Cheyney, an English writer, does spy stories of a particular sort, concerning network of British agents masterminded by man named Quayle.

a) The London Spy Murders

b) The Dark Street Murders

c) Dark Interlude, and others.

(He also writes imitation-Hammett private eye mysteries)

5. Darwin L. Teilhet & Hildegarde Tolman Teilhet, co-authored:

a) The Fear-Makers. Good book.

He has written several others, names of which I can’t recall; she has written at least four five spy novels, all including a Colonel Hook as deus ex machina:

a) The Assassins b) The Double Agent c) The Rim of Terror, d) The Terrified Society, or something like that—set in Latin America—a pocket book edition appeared under a different title.

6. John P. Marquand: the Mr. Moto stories. All very skillfully written, enjoyable. Curious semi-glorification of Japanese espionage. Dated, of course. See the movies with Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto.

7. Manning Coles. A long series of novels about a British agent, Tommy Hambledon. More relaxed, slower moving than Green, Ambler, Hughes variety; not so exciting, but worth reading. Drink to Yesterday, A Toast To Tomorrow, are the first of them; many follow.

8. Michael Innes (John Innes MacIntosh Stewart).

a) The Case of the Journeying Boy. His only real spy novel, so far as I know. Wonderful.

b) The Paper Thunderbolt. Same sort of thing, well written, like all his novels. Highly recommended.

9. E. Phillips Oppenheim: the old school of espionage writing, seems rather lumbering now.

10. John Buchan. Also old school, but still holds up, although slow.

The 39 Steps, The Four Hostages, Greenmantle, others.

11. Geoffrey Household. In the John Buchan tradition.

a) Manhunt (movie title: Rogue Male.) Probably his best. [Reread recently, 2009: still holds up.]

b) The High Place. Curious book about a colony on international pacifists.

c) Arabesque. Not primarily a spy novel.

d) A Rough Shoot, e) A Time To Kill. Both somewhat disappointing after the above; e) is actually about the efforts of Russian agents to spread the hoof-and-mouth disease among British cattle!

12. Victor Canning

a) A Forest of Eyes, b) Panther’s Moon c) The Chasm, d) The Golden Salamander, e) another located in Venice, don’t recall title. All above average, well worth reading.

13. John Sherwood, Mr. Blessington’s Imperialist Plot, and another one since. Pretty good.

14. Van Wyck Mason: A long series involving one Major Hugh North. Sloppier, slower, more in magazine-serial style. Last resort reading.

15. Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Memo To a Firing Squad. Not bad, not first rank.

16. Robert Parker, Passport to Peril, also another one, minor. To be read when one runs out of other things.

17. Kenneth Millar: The Dark Tunnel, perhaps others. He’s the one who changed his name to John D. MacDonald, copied the Chandler formula, went on to write best-seller private-eye books (Lew Archer).

18, Martha Albrand, No Surrender and Without Orders. More realistic, quite good.

19. Barton MacLean (?) The Baited Blonde. Adventure-story type, not first rate, but good enough of the sort.

Haven’t yet read:

David Garth, Appointment With Danger

Pat Frank, An Affair of State

George Griswold, A Gambit for Mr. Groole

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion, others. [Later: I read most of hers, enjoyed them, can recommend them.)

(Afterword, June 2010: Needless to say, if this were updated it would include the major John Le Carre books, the Alan Furst books, lots of others. I haven’t the energy or time to attempt updating it, and offer it only as a list of what seemed worth reading back around 1950.

James Cahill.)

(If I were writing about private-eye novels of the Hammett-Chandler type, for people who have read all of theirs and want more, I would recommend Thomas Dewey: pretty good of that genre.)

Anyone interested in the espionage genre should find and read all the books of Charles McCarry, ideally in rough chronological order, since they form a kind of continuous narrative, up to his last book which rounds off the series.


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