Friday, May 27, 2016

Revisiting the Bookshelf

Forgive me. I know I shouldn't brag, but I still feel the need to share my--for lack of a better description--long-winded verbal "shelfie:" I've been a bit aquisitive since I first posted about My Lafferty Bookshelf in 2013. My collection now consists of:

  • The Reefs of Earth (1968) (2 reads)
  • Space Chantey (1968) (3 reads)
  • Past Master (1968) (4 reads)
  • Fourth Mansions (1969) (multiple copies, so I can force them into people's hands) (~7 reads)
  • Nine Hundred Grandmothers (1970) (Collection) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • The Devil is Dead (1971) (1 extra copy to force into people's hands) (4 reads)
  • Strange Doings (1971) (Collection) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • The Flame is Green (1971) (2 reads)
  • Arrive at Easterwine (1971) (multiple copies, so I can force them into people's hands) (5 reads)
  • The Fall of Rome (1971) (2 reads)
  • Okla Hannali (1972) (4 reads)
  • Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add? (1974) (Collection) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • Not to Mention Camels (1976) (0.2 reads)
  • Funnyfingers and Cabrito (1976) (Collection) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Apocalypses (1977) (2 reads)
  • Archipelago (1979) (1 read)
  • Aurelia (1982) (0.25 reads)
  • Annals of Klepsis (1983) (1 read)
  • Golden Gate And Other Stories (1983) (Collection) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • Through Elegant Eyes (1983) (Collection) (1 read)
  • Laughing Kelly and Other Verses (Poetry) (1983) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Heart of Stone, Dear and Other Stories (1983) (Collection) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Snake in His Bosom and Other Stories (1983) (Collection) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Half a Sky (1984) (2 reads)
  • Ringing Changes (1984) (Collection) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • It's Down the Slippery Cellar Stairs (Nonfiction) (1984) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • The Man Who Made Models and Other Stories (1984) (Collection) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Slippery and Other Stories (1985) (Collection) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • My Heart Leaps Up - Chapters 1 & 2 (1986) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • My Heart Leaps Up - Chapters 3 & 4 (1987) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • My Heart Leaps Up - Chapters 5 & 6 (1987) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • My Heart Leaps Up - Chapters 7 & 8 (1987) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • My Heart Leaps Up - Chapters 9 & 10 (1987) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Serpent's Egg (1987) (Morrigan Press (UK) edition) (1 read)
  • East of Laughter (1988) (Morrigan Press (UK) edition) (0.5 reads)
  • The Early Lafferty (1988) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • The Back Door of History (1988) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • True Believers (Nonfiction) (1989) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • How Many Miles to Babylon (1989) (Chapbook) (1 read)
  • Episodes of the Argo (1990) (0.66 read)
  • Lafferty in Orbit (1991) (1 read)
  • Mischief Malicious (And Murder Most Strange) (1991) (Chapbook) (0.25 read)
  • Grasshoppers & Wild Honey - Chapters 1 & 2 (1992) (Chapbook) (not read yet)
  • Iron Tears (1992) (2 reads)
  • Dotty (1990) (0.5 reads)
  • Tales of Chicago (1992) (1 read)
  • Sindbad: The 13th Voyage (1999) (2 reads)
  • The Man Who Made Models (2014) (#1 of The Collected Short Fiction of R. A. Lafferty) (1 read)
  • Feast of Laughter Issue 1 (2014) (Lafferty fanzine - by the Ktistec Press --including ME!) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • The Man With the Aura (2015) (#2 of The Collected Short Fiction of R. A. Lafferty) (1 read)
  • Feast of Laughter Issue 2 (2015) (Lafferty fanzine - by the Ktistec Press --including ME!) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • Feast of Laughter Issue 3 (2015) (Lafferty fanzine - by the Ktistec Press --including ME!) (uncounted multiple reads)
  • The Man Underneath (2016) (#3 of The Collected Short Fiction of R. A. Lafferty) (1 read)
  • The R.A. Lafferty Fantastic MEGAPACK® (2016) (Collection) (0.12 reads)

That’s 51 books and chapbooks if you don't count the three volumes of Feast of Laughter. I finally have both published Coscuin books. I have more of the Argo mythos, but only one part of More than Melchisedech (one of the joys of Tales of Chicago was discovering the wonderful R. Ward Shipman illustrations--arrgh, I want to find Tales of Midnight and Argo).

That being said, the primary joy of collecting these is reading them, not just owning. My copies go back and forth to work and on vacations with me for bus rides and odd quiet moments. Of course, I still haven't finished reading all of it. I'm currently halfway through Dotty, I have yet to get through Not to Mention Camels. I haven't actually finished Aurelia yet. There are also a few stories in some of the collections that I've skipped here and there. In time, I imagine I'll read through it all, and re-read, and re-read, and keep discovering new things!

One notable exception to the reading-over-owning rule is the three Centipede Press volumes. They are so beautifully bound and published that just holding them in my hands is an aesthetic experience. They are a joy to see on the bookshelf--almost as much as they are a joy to read! I also get a kick out of seeing Feast of Laughter up on the bookshelf with all the other greats! 

There are still few hard or impossible to find Lafferty books I would love to track down (and be able to afford): The Devil is Dead Trilogy:
  • More than Melchisedech
    • Tales of Midnight (1992)
    • Argo (1992)


  • Four Stories (1983)
  • Strange Skies (Poetry) (1988)
  • The Elliptical Grave (1989) (Novella)
  • The Early Lafferty II (1990)
  • Horns on Their Heads (1976)
  • Promontory Goats (1988)
  • Anamnesis (1992)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah, Texas (2007) (Single story - reprinting of Gutenberg text)
  • The Six Fingers of Time (2010) (Single story - reprinting of Gutenberg text)
  • Cranky Old Man from Tulsa (Nonfiction) (1990)

And I'd love more than many things (almost more than coffee itself) to read some of the unpublished Lafferty:
  • Esteban
  • First and Last Island
  • Sardinian Summer
  • The rest of In a Green Tree
  • Loup Garou
  • And of course many others

My Bookshelf:



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  1. I'm perversely glad to hear that you didn't finish Aurelia. I started it several months ago, read about 50 pages, then lost my copy. And I didn't try very hard to find it. (I have since found it in a box of books in the basement; where else?)

    It's the first of the novels that I felt completely disengaged from. And I wasn't able to fight through that feeling.

    I'll try again. Right now, I'm four or five chapters into Okla Hannali, six chapters into Arrive at Easterwine, halfway through Centipede 3, and often dipping into Talked Tales (most recently read "Seven-Day Terror aloud to my family a few nights ago.)

    1. "Seven-Day Terror" is one of the very best read-aloud stories!

  2. Gregorio and I will have to do our best to sell everyone on Aurelia, I see.

    Anyway, Kevin: don't bother with the single-story chapbooks, they're ripoffs and bibliographic dead ends. The Wildside Megapack is too, so far as I can tell. Of the others you list, Anamnesis is generally the hardest to find (the other most difficult one, generally reckoned, is "Hound Dog's Ear", only in Strange Plasma.)

  3. Interesting post I enjoyed read this