Subject: rec.arts.books Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Newsgroups: rec.arts.books Followup-To: rec.arts.books Approved: email@example.com, news-answers-request@MIT.EDU Keywords: monthly Last change: 20 Dec 2005 This FAQ is in digest format. Questions include: 1) Where can I find book X by author Y? 1A) What are the (good) bookstores in city X? 2) What is BOOKS IN PRINT? 2A.) Is "Books in Print" available on the Internet? 3) What is the answer to the Lewis Carroll riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" 4) What Sherlock Holmes novels (stories) are there besides the ones by Arthur Conan Doyle? 5) What is Project Gutenberg? How can I access various electronic information databases? 6) Who wrote the horror story "The Monkey's Paw"? 7) Where can I find books on audio tape? 8) What English-language authors learned English as a second language? 9) What books or plays have been written about scientists? 10) Is there really an S. Morgenstern, listed as the author of THE PRINCESS BRIDE and THE SILENT GONDOLIERS? And what is the reunion scene? 11) Does anyone have a list of female mystery writers? 12) What is the difference between the male and female editions of DICTIONARY OF THE KHAZARS by Milorad Pavic? 13) What is the short story by Jorge Luis Borges in which a Chinese taxonomy is discussed? 14) Where do ISBNs come from? 15) What are the "Penguin 60s"? Does anyone have a full list? 16) What is KIRKUS REVIEWS? 17) Who wrote THE WONDERFUL FLIGHT TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET? 18) Which is the best translation of Dante's DIVINE COMEDY? [There are also several other FAQs posted separately: bookstore lists for various cities, Arthurian lists, Holmesian lists, catalog lists, and probably lots more. --Evelyn Leeper] There is a rec.arts.books home page http://www. interleaves.org/~rteeter/rab.html with links to all known home pages of r.a.b. regulars. If you consider yourself a r.a.b. regular and you're not on the r.a.b. page, let Robert Teeter (firstname.lastname@example.org) know. Also on the r.a.b. page are links to archives of the FAQs and to other pages where you can find more book and literature links. Frequently Asked Questions List (Quarterly Posting to rec.arts.books) First of all, a few suggestions: DISCUSSIONS: If you want a discussion on a particular topic, start one by posting something yourself. Asking "Why isn't anyone talking about books here" is not likely to get you much (useful) response. Asking "Why isn't anyone talking about the latest book by I. B. A. Writer" is slightly better, but posting your opinions and asking for comments would probably be more successful yet. However, some topics come up so frequently that people are sick of them. So here's a re-cap of them (much thanks to Mark Taranto [email@example.com]): Q. What do you think of Thomas Pynchon? A1. Love him. A2. Hate him. A3. Who?
A4. His books are too long. Q. Can you get me the phone number for in ? A. Yes, I probably could, because I know how to use the phone, how to use phonebooks, and how to call information. Q. I have a paper due on , what can you tell me? A. I can tell you that if you have some ideas about the book, many r.a.b.ble will be happy to discuss them with you, but if you are fishing for ideas, you will probably get a response like: Read the book, look up criticism, and think for yourself. Q. Who/What is/are your/the favorite/best: Author? A. E.M. Forster Book? A. HOWARDS END Poets? A. Yeats, Eliot, Auden Living Poets? A. Cope, Kumin Movie from book? A. A ROOM WITH A VIEW Trilogy? A. Davies' Deptford Trilogy S. F.? A. Bobby Bonds Q. Is Kingsley Amis Funny? A. Yes. Q. What do you think of the books in the Canon? A1. Love 'em. A2. Hate 'em. A3. Not enough women/blacks/non-western/Latin American/ non-(dead-European-white-dudes) on the list. A4. Not enough Romance novels on the list. Q. How do you kill bugs in a book? A1. Grab the book by the spine, shake out all of the bugs onto a flat surface, smash bugs with book. A2. Put book into a microwave, zap. A3. Invite Meg Worley over for dinner, hand her a book. Q. How many books do you own? A1. I go to the library. A2. Less than 100. A3. 100-300. A4. 300-500. A5. 500-1000. A6. 1000-3000. A7. Enough so that Meg Worley borrows my books. Q. What is the best bookstore? A. Powell's Q. What do you think of Barnes & Noble verses Borders? A. Borders has better cappuccino. [Note: My *public library* is adding a coffee bar!] Q. What do you think of censorship. A1. It sucks. A2. Oddly, nearly everyone agrees on the issue of censorship, yet it seems to be *the* hot topic on the net. SPOILER WARNINGS: Many people feel that much of the enjoyment of a book is ruined if they know certain things about it, especially when those things are surprise endings or mysteries. On the other hand, they also want to know whether or not a book is worth reading, or they may be following a particular thread of conversation where such information may be revealed. The solution to this is to put the words SPOILER in your header, or in the text of your posting. You can also put a ctl-L character in the *first* column, though this only works if your readers are using rn. Some people think that spoiler warnings are not necessary. We don't understand why, and do not want to discuss it. Use your best judgment. REVIEWS: Many people seem to be interested in reading book reviews. Unfortunately, not nearly as many people are interested in writing them. If you do review a book, please try to say more than, "THE RETURN OF AHAB THE SAILOR was a great book!" Unless you are a well-known net.personality, this sort of comment tells the reader little about whether s/he would like the book. Reviews may also be found in alt.book.reviews and rec.arts.sf.reviews. Which brings us to... SCIENCE FICTION: Some people think science fiction should be kept in the sf hierarchy. Other people think that "books" includes "science fiction books." This is one of those issues that will never be resolved, so arguing about it is a waste of time and bandwidth. If you object to reading about science fiction in this newsgroup, put the string "/rec.arts.sf/hj" in your KILL file. But for those interested in science fiction, there are archives of interest currently stored on SFLOVERS.RUTGERS.EDU (220.127.116.11) under the directory /pub/sf-lovers. The archives are currently available to anyone with FTP access to this machine. (These are SF-LOVERS archives.) Text files of interest to readers include: alternate-histories.txt amber-timeline.txt gender-swapping.list hugos.txt (awards) nebulas.txt (awards) prometheus.txt (awards) transformation-stories.txt Also in the archives: the author lists provided and maintained by John Wenn are available. The list for each author is contained in its own file with the filenames being in the form: Lastname.Firstname, e.g. Niven.Larry (please remember, unix filenames are case sensitive). Many of the authorlists have recently been updated. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1) Where can I find book X by author Y? The United States's most complete bookstore is the combination of BOOKS IN PRINT and the U. S. Post Office. BIP will tell you the price and the publisher's address. Send them a check for the price and they will be happy to send you the book. We do it all the time. Some publishers grudgingly send a note with the book saying "Next time please include N% for postage and handling," or even a bill for the additional amount. You can always call and ask first. At least once they sent a check with the book because if ordered direct, they gave a discount. We rarely order through a bookstore because it is so much easier to order the book and have it sent to us directly. (This is probably not true for mass-market paperbacks where the handling charges would be more than the book!) In addition, Cindy Tittle Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a list of book catalogues and book clubs which is posted to rec.arts.books and news.answers every thirty-five days. Copies of this list may be obtained by anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under /pub/usenet/news.answers/books/catalogues. Or, send email to email@example.com with "send usenet/news.answers/books/catalogues" in the body of the message. If, on the other hand, you just want to borrow the book, ask your library about inter-library loans--chances are good they can find it for you in a library they have reciprocal agreements with even if they don't have it themselves. ------------------------------ 1A) What are the (good) bookstores in city X? Check out the following listings of bookstores. http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-can-e.htm Eastern Canada http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-can-o.htm Ontario http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-can-w.htm Western Canada http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-ne.htm New England http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-wmass.htm Western Massachusetts http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-bost.htm Boston http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-capco.htm Cape Cod http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-nyc-m.htm New York City (NYC) (Manhattan) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-ny.htm New York (other than Manhattan) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-east.htm Eastern US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-dc.htm Washington DC http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-chi.htm Chicago http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-midwe.htm Midwestern US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-south.htm Southern US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-cent.htm Central US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-west.htm Western US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-sw.htm Southwestern US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-la.htm Los Angeles http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-diego.htm San Diego & Hawai`i http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-bay-s.htm San Francisco Area (San Francisco & north) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-bay-b.htm San Francisco Area (Berkeley and East Bay) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-bay-p.htm San Francisco Area (Peninsula and south) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-nw.htm Northwestern US http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-can-e.htm Eastern Canada http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/na-can-w.htm Western Canada and Alaska http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/uk-nire.htm UK (Northern Ireland) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/uk-scot.htm UK (Scotland) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/uk-engl.htm UK (England) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/uk-wales.htm UK (Wales) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/eu-fr.htm France http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/eu-de.htm Germany http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/eu-benl.htm Benelux http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/eu-nord.htm Nordic countries http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/europe.htm Europe (various) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/asia.htm Asia (excluding Japan) http://www.leepers.us/evelyn/bookshops/japan.htm Japan http://www.anatomy.su.oz.au/danny/books/shops/index.html Australia ------------------------------ 2) What is BOOKS IN PRINT? Just about every public library and every bookstore in the country has, for public use, a multi-volume reference work called "Books in Print." It is just about what the title claims it is. It is a listing by title, by author, and by subject of every book currently listed by publishers as being currently in print in the United States. (There are versions for other countries as well; in Britain it's WHITAKER'S.) It tells you the list price and the publisher. It also has a volume of out-of-print books and a separate volume that lists the mailing addresses of the publishers. The local B. Dalton keeps it at the information desk. Almost bookstore or public library will have a set that they would be happy to have you look at. Also, "Books in Print" is available as file number 470 in Bowker's Online Databases on DIALOG. Bowker can be reached at 800-323-3288 and DIALOG at 800-334-2564. There is also a similar database on Compuserve. There is a similar reference set called "Paperback Books in Print." I am not sure what it would list that would not be listed in its bigger cousin, but that reference might also be of interest. In Britain, there is "British Books in Print." At this time, there is no public site that provides "Books in Print" on-line. (For used books, there is BOOKMAN'S, the used book trade magazine. Lots of books are advertised there that haven't been in print for decades. You may be able to find the annual bound copy of BOOKMAN'S PRICE INDEX (the used book dealer's pricing bible) in your local library. There's no guarantee that the book you want will still be for sale if you go that way, but it is a good way to plan your budget.) One way of getting out-of-print titles is to get in touch with University Microfilms, Inc. (or other such companies). They'll print a copy of a book from microfilm, generally within 3 weeks of your order. They take care of the copyright issues & royalty payments, and you get the book (although the printing quality is what you'd expect for a photoreprint from microfilm). They're a standard resource for librarians. A 106-page book was recently quoted as US$30.00, with a US$6.00 surcharge for cloth binding. (The default is paperbound). And of course,not all books are available for reprinting--they've obviously specialized in academic books. University Microfilms, Inc. 300 North Zeeb Road Ann Arbor, MI 48106 313-761-4700 800-521-0600 800-343-5299 (works in Canada) ------------------------------ 2A.) Is "Books in Print" available on the Internet? The American "Books in Print" is not available for free searching on the Internet. "Books in Print", a compendium of basic information about currently available books from U.S. publishers (excluding Bibles, government documents, and some small-press titles), is available in both electronic and paper format. Its publisher, R. R. Bowker, makes a lot of money from its database. Bowker isn't about to give that information away for free (IMO). Bookpages used to have "British Books In Print" up, but when it was acquired by amazon.com, that went away. If by this question one means "Can I use "Books in Print" for free?" or "Can I search "Books in Print" via the Internet?" the answer to both of those questions is yes. How to use "Books in Print" for free: Go to almost any bookstore, public library, or academic library and use it there. Or, you can probably call your nearest library and get information over the telephone, as long as you don't overdo it--for example, asking for every edition of every work by Mark Twain. How to use "Books in Print" on the Internet: It's available for a fee from online vendors such as Dialog and from commercial online services like Compuserve (the command is "Go Books" for the British as well as the U.S. "Books in Print"; the charge is $2 a search). In both cases, you will need an account and password, and you will be charged by the minute or the search. Using Dialog requires knowing the basics of online searching and Dialog commands. (In the U.S., call 1-800-3-DIALOG; on the Internet telnet to dialog.com.) "Books in Print" is also available on CD-ROM from R. R. Bowker. It's expensive and only for the heavy-duty user. Other big databases : Large library catalogs are excellent sources for bibliographic data if you want to find out who wrote a certain book, verify a title when you only have some of the words in the title, or get a list of books on a certain subject. What they won't tell you is whether a book is in print and how much it costs. A on-line collection of these can be found at telnet site pac.carl.org. Library of Congress http://lcweb.loc.gov/catalog/ telnet locis.loc.gov gopher locis.loc.gov select Library of Congress online systems (Note the Library of Congress' online catalog is not complete for titles published before 1968.) Other library catalogs http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Libweb/ gopher yaleinfo.yale.edu 7700 select Library Catalogs World-wide Book vendors are another source for book information. Several vendors make available large catalogs on the Internet. These will tell you whether a book is currently available and what it costs. See the FAQ on online bookstores regularly posted to rec.arts.books. [Provided by Robert Teeter (firstname.lastname@example.org).] ------------------------------ 3) What is the answer to the Lewis Carroll riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" According to Martin Gardner, Carroll had no answer in mind which he first wrote this. However, Carroll did gave a solution himself, in an 1896 edition of "Alice": "Because it can produce very few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar [sic] put with the wrong end in front." Gardner has recently added another: "Because there is a 'b' in 'both.'" In a brief preface that Carroll wrote for an 1896 edition of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, he said he had no answer in mind when he gave this riddle. Many answers have since been suggested, including one by Carroll himself, some of which you will find in my AA note. In 1989 England's Lewis Carroll Society announced a contest for new answers, to be published eventually in the society's newsletter, "Bandersnatch." Aldous Huxley, writing on "Ravens and Writing Desks" (Vanity Fair, September 1928), supplies two nonsense answers: because there's a 'b' in both, and because there's an 'n' in neither. James Michie sent a similar answer: because each begins with 'e'. Huxley defends the view that such metaphysical questions as: Does God exist? Do we have free will? Why is there suffering? are as meaningless as the Mad Hatter's question -- "nonsensical riddles, questions not about reality but about words." "Both have quills dipped in ink" was suggested by reader David B. Jodrey, Jr. Cyril Pearson, in his undated TWENTIETH CENTURY STANDARD PUZZLE BOOK, suggests, "Because it slopes with a flap." Denis Crutch ("Jabberwocky," Winter 1976) reported an astonishing discovery. In the 1896 edition of ALICE, Carroll wrote a new preface in which he gave what he considered the best answer to the riddle: "Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are *very* flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front." Note the spelling of "never" as "nevar." Carroll clearly intended to spell "raven" backwards. The word was corrected to "never" in all later printings, perhaps by an editor who fancied he had caught a printer's error. Because Carroll died soon after this "correction" destroyed the ingenuity of his answer, the original spelling was never restored. Whether Carroll was aware of the damage done to his clever answer is not known. Another answer is that Poe wrote on both. Dan'l Danehy-Oakes also suggested the variant that both have inky quills. In chapter 39 of THE SHINING, Stephen King says, "The higher the fewer, of course! Have another cup of tea!" The latest answer is from Martin Graham (B7337@GTE.NET): In a LEWIS CARROLL--FRAGMENTS OF A LOOKING-GLASS by Jean Gattengno and in the first biography on Carroll by his nephew Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF LEWIS CARROLL, we learn of a few facts regarding Carroll's (Dodgson's) intrest in the occult. We learn that "Mr. Dodgson took a great interest in occult phenomena, and was for time an enthusiastic member of the 'Psychical Society.'" Also we learn that Carroll had a specific interest in automatic writing. We also learn when consulting any good dictionary of Symbols that Ravens are believed to be messengers between the land of living and the land of the dead. Automatic writing is also used to communicate with the dead. Thus, though the answer to the riddle taking these factors into account is not especially humorous, it seems that the correct answer to this riddle should be.... A raven is like a writing desk because one might communicate with the dead through either. ------------------------------ 4) What Sherlock Holmes novels (stories) are there besides the ones by Arthur Conan Doyle? See accompanying posting of non-canonical Sherlock Holmes works. The list includes all known works using Sherlock Holmes as a character, though the individual stories by Conan Doyle are not listed, just the book titles. It includes hundreds of non-Doyle works (many of which are out of print). (This list was compiled by me over a period of years from suggestions from many people.) ------------------------------ 5) What is Project Gutenberg? Project Gutenberg is planned as a storage- and clearing-house for making books available very cheaply, by freely providing them in standard electronic formats (usually ASCII). This can only be done for books where the copyrights have expired, or when authors have permitted free redistribution, so that effectively much of the work has focused on classic literature. A sample of famous works or authors would include: Lewis Carroll: ALICE IN WONDERLAND; THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Dante: THE DIVINE COMEDY (in several translations and the original Italian) Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay: FEDERALIST PAPERS Charles & Mary Lamb: TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE Dr. David Livingstone: MISSIONARY TRAVELS AND RESEARCHES IN SOUTH AFRICA Plutarch: LIVES Shakespeare: Works Robert Louis Stevenson: A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES Mark Twain: TOM SAWYER; HUCKLEBERRY FINN; and others But just as important is the ability of an electronic medium to cheaply convey information that is less known, or regional, but still worthwhile, such as: Lady Gordon: LETTERS FROM THE CAPE Henry Lawson: JOE WILSON AND HIS MATES (Australian Lit) Joseph Munk: ARIZONA SKETCHES "Banjo" Paterson: THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER; and others (Australian Lit) W. D. James / W. G. Simms / M. C. Weems: 3 biographies of FRANCIS MARION Project Gutenberg has produced over 2,000 etexts, and is releasing 32 new etexts per month, hoping to double production each year until 10,000 etexts are finished in 2001. These vary from classic fiction to nonfiction to large numerical calculations like the square root of 2 to 10**n decimal places). Releases are announced on bit.listserv.gutnberg. Project Gutenberg is available by anonymous FTP from uiarchive.uiuc.edu in directory pub/etext/gutenberg, and mirror sites. One of the best places to find electronic texts (etexts) is: The Online Book Page: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/index.html where over 10,000 online texts are catalogued by author and title, in a searchable database, with some subject listings as well. It is by far the best and most comprehensive site for etexts presently on the net. [Provided by Alan Light (email@example.com).] Another similar directory is held at info.umd.edu, in directories under inforM/EdRes/ReadingRoom/Fiction. Found there are books by 14 authors including Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They also have the Bible, Book of Mormon and Koran in ASCII format. Also available from info.umd.edu is a collection of economics time series data from the Federal government, as well as daily and long-term weather forecasts. (I am told info.umd.edu allows you to telnet in and use an intelligent front end to browse the files on line, and transfer them back using ftp, tftp, or kermit? Simply telnet info.umd.edu, and login as "info", then follow the instructions on the screen.) cwdynm.cwru.edu has the Bible, the Book of Mormon (and other Mormon texts), and the Koran available via anonymous FTP. obi.std.com also has a lot of texts; check ~ftp/obi/ls-lR for a list. The Eden Etext Archive is at http://www.cs.rmit.edu.au/etext/ or via FTP at ftp.cs.rmit.edu.au:/pub/etext/. And someone else says, "Probably the best available Bible depository and concordance type program that I've seen on the net is the Online Bible, available in the doc/bible subdirectory on wuarchive.wustl.edu. This is freeware and includes several different English translations of the Bible as well as Greek and Hebrew texts, concordances, etc. I spoke to one of the developers yesterday, and a major upgrade is coming (in August, I believe). There are also plans for foreign language Bible editions in the works." There is also a huge archive available from Oxford, but most of the texts here require a physical letter of request be sent to England -- still cheap, but anyway -- if you want the address/catalog, send a 'help' message to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're looking for general electronic information, try telneting to consultant.micro.umn.edu and logging in as 'gopher'. It is menu-driven and you can access the library catalogs of many universities, as well as lots of other neat stuff. Other sources for etexts include the Online Book Initiative at obi.std.com (available through Gopher or FTP), and the Internet Wiretap Gopher server at wiretap.spies.com. Users of the World Wide Web can find pointers to these and other collections at http://sunsite.unc.edu/ibic/IBIC-homepage.html and there is also a page of pointers at http://www.cs.cmu.edu:8001/Web/books.html which partly overlaps the page above. It's less "official," but does have some pointers the other page doesn't have. There is also the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts on the World-Wide Web, at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/stacks/alex-index.html, indexes over 1800 books and shorter texts by author and title, incorporating texts from Project Gutenberg, Wiretap, the On-line Book Initiative, the Eris system at Virginia Tech, the English Server at Carnegie Mellon University, Project Bartlesby, CCAT, the on-line portion of the Oxford Text Archive, and many others. [Thanks to John Ockerbloom (email@example.com) for updating this info.] ------------------------------ 6) Who wrote the horror story "The Monkey's Paw"? William Wymark Jacobs (1863-1943), an English writer of sketches of seafaring and rural life, mostly comic. He wrote a few other horror stories, notably "The Toll-House." For more information see E. F. Bleiler's THE GUIDE TO SUPERNATURAL FICTION, Kent State Univ., 1983. ------------------------------ 7) Where can I find books on audio tape? Duane Morse suggests several sources (much of this is *very* old): Books on Tape P.O. Box 7900 Newport Beach, CA 92658 http://www.booksontape.com/ To order: 1-800-626-3333 Comment: very large selection of unabridged books on tape. Rentals available for just about everything in the catalog. Good readers. HighBridge Audio 33 S. Sixth St., CC-2205 Minneapolis, MN 55402 http:www.highbridgeaudio.com Comment: Has public radio programs and literary fiction and nonfiction. Recorded Books 270 Skipjack Rd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678 1-800-638-1304 FAX: 1-301-535-5499 http://www.recordbooks.com Comment: unabridged books on tape. Rentals available for just about everything in the catalog. Not nearly as large a selection as Books on Tape, but rentals are cheaper. Generally outstanding readers. Can be ordered via their web site. Audio Editions P.O. Box 6930 Auburn, CA 95604 To order: 1-800-231-4261 Comment: primarily abridged books on tape, but some poetry and plays; readers usually professional actors or acting companies. The Olivia and Hill Press 905 Olivia Avenue Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 313-663-0235 Foreign language tapes, primarily French, German, and Spanish, but some Russian, including stuff for kids. Reddings Audiobook Superstores 2302 N. Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, Arizona 85257 800-REDDING Comment: Produces nothing of its own, but rents and sells what they have purchased from Recorded Books, Books on Tape, and others. Dercum Press P. O. Box 1425 West Chester, PA 19380 Comment: Has some unabridged short stories on cassette under the label "Active Books," notably some SF collections. Readers are average. Blackstone Audio Books P.O. Box 969 Ashland, Oregon 97520 1-800-729-2665 http://www.blackstoneaudio.com Comment: lots of unabridged classics on tape. Narration is done in a different style (less transparent) than some other companies. Dove Audio 301 N Canon Drive Suite 207 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Audio Book Contractors P.O. Box 40115 Washington D.C. 20016-0115 +1-202-363-3429 Some libraries have audio tapes available for loan as well. The United States federal government also has a (free) program to provide tapes to people who are blind or who cannot physically manipulate a book. Contact the reference librarian in your public library for information. And now there are on-line sources, including such general (book)stores as http://www.audible.com and amazon.com. You can also rent from such specialized dealers such as http://www.simplyaudiobooks.com and http://www.audiobook2.com. And lastly, there are companies specializing in other fields (religion, self-help, etc.), but they are too numerous for me to list here. ------------------------------ 8) What English-language authors learned English as a second language? AUTHOR FIRST LANGUAGE Achebe, Chinua Ibo* Arlen, Michael (Dikran Kouyoumjian) Armenian? Asimov, Isaac Yiddish* Bellow, Saul Yiddish, French? Brodsky, Joseph Russian Bronowski, Jacob Polish Broumas, Olga Greek Budrys, Algis Lithuanian Codrescu, Andrei Romanian Conrad, Joseph Polish Cousteau, Jacques French+ Dinesen, Isak (Karen Blixen) Danish Heym, Stefan (Helmut Flieg) German Ishiguro, Kazuo Japanese* Kakuzo, Okakura Japanese Kerouac, Jack French Kingston, Maxine Hong Cantonese Koestler, Arthur Hungarian Kosinski, Jerzy Polish Lewis, Saunders Welsh Limonov, Eddie Russian Lin Yu-tang Chinese (Mandarin?) Lowe, Adolph German Lundwall, Sam Swedish Malinowski, Bronislaw Polish Milosz, Czeslaw Polish Mukherjee, Bharati Bangla Nabokov, Vladimir Russian* Narayan, R. K. Tamil Nin, Anais French Rand, Ayn Russian Sabatini, Rafael Italian Seth, Vikram Hindi Skvorecky, Josef Czech Smirnov, Yakov Russian Soyinka, Wole Yoruba Stoppard, Tom Czech* Traven, B. German? Tutuola, Amos Yoruba from Abeokuta (Nigeria) van Gulik, Robert Dutch Vincinzey, Stephen Hungarian Wertenbaker, Timberlake French Zukofsky, Louis Yiddish * Learned English as a child. + First book was in English B. Traven is a pseudonym for someone of uncertain national origin, who went to great lengths to obfuscate his past. German was probably his first language, despite his disclaimers that it was English. (More detail: His works were mostly originally published in German, and usually translated into English by someone else, but the US edition of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE was edited for word order from B. Traven's own translation. (And we know he was faking the bad word order, since his letters and diaries are in proper order.) He did sometimes publish in English first a few times, and that part of a pre-publication English manuscript for THE DEATH SHIP (originally published in German) is known.) Other possible candidates include Timothy Mo, who grew up in Hong Kong and was later educated in England. There are numerous Indian and Anglo-Indian writers, like Vikram Seth (Hindi/Punhabi/Hindustani), R. K. Narayan (Tamil/Kannada), Raja Rao (Kannada), Bharati Mukerji (Bengali), Gita Mehta (?), Anita Desai (?), Markandaya (?), Tagore (Bengali), and Salman Rushdie (Hindi/Urdu), for whom English may very well be their second language. Some of the modern Soviet expatriates write in English now (see Smirnov, above). Also Guneli Gun (Turkish), Wole Soyinka, Ayi Kwei Armah (?), Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Kikuyu), Dambudzo Marechera (Shona), many other African writers, Waguih Ghali (Arabic), Walter Abish (German), Apirana Taylor (Maaori), Albert Wendt (Samoan). Other possibilities include a number of Chinese and East Asian authors. Also possibly Mavis Gallant, who spoke French as a child in Montreal. Jan Willem van de Wetering wrote in Dutch and then translated his books into English. Banumir Wongar had been listed as an Arnhem Land aborigine, but it turns out he was actually Sreten Bozic, a Serbian immigrant who identified with the aborigines he worked with. How about switches to other languages? French has Samuel Beckett (first language English), Camara Laye (Dahomey), Julien Green (English), Leopold Senghor (Senegalese?), Leon Troyat (Lev Tarassov, a.k.a. Lev Tarossian) (Russian? Armenian?), and Elie Wiesel (Magyar and Yiddish). Russian has Fazil Iskander (Abkhaz) and Chingiz Aitmatov (a Central Asian Turkish dialect). Leonora Carrington wrote several short stories in French or Spanish, before their translation into English. Was Paul Celan's first language was Hungarian? Milan Kundera's first language was Czech, but he now writes in French. Then there are bilingual-from-birth writers, such as Liám Ó Flaithearta Flann Ó Brien (real name Brian O'Nolan or Ó Nualláin), and Sean Ó Faoileán. Many authors have also written novels in Esperanto. ------------------------------ 9) What books or plays have been written about scientists? (Given that science fiction would expand this list beyond the disk limits of most systems, this question is restricted to non-SF only.) Plays or theatrical performances: Albee, Edward: WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (biologist) Bentley, Eric: THE RECANTATION OF GALILEI GALILEO--SCENES TAKEN FROM HISTORY PERHAPS Brecht, Bertolt: GALILEO Bronowski, Jacob: THE FACE OF VIOLENCE Darion, Joe and Ezra Laderman: THE TRIALS OF GALILEO (opera) Duerenmatt,Friedrich: THE PHYSICISTS (physicists in an insane asylum) Eisenberg, Mike: HACKERS (computer scientists) Emanuel, Gabriel: EINSTEIN: A PLAY IN TWO ACTS Esst, Garrison: UNCERTAINITY (Einstein and Heisenberg) Heimel, Cynthia: A GIRL'S GUIDE TO CHAOS Ibsen, Henrik: AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (although main character is a doctor) Johnson, Terry: INSIGNIFICANCE (Einstein and Marilyn Monroe) Kaiser, Georg, THE GAS TRILOGY Kingsley, Sidney: MEN IN WHITE (1930s Pulitzer-prize winning play about a young/old doctor) Kipphardt, Heinar: IN THE MATTER OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER Leonard, Jim: GRAY'S ANATOMY (about a MD who has to deal with contaminated water that kills off a town) MacLeish, Archibald: HERAKLES (a play in verse about the power of scientists--that of a god--and the meagerness of their imagination) Mighton, John: SCIENTIFIC AMERICANS (physicist and computer scientist) Rice, Elmer: THE ADDING MACHINE Schenkar, Joan: FULFILLING KOCH'S POSTULATES (microbiology) Shadwell, Thomas: THE VIRTUOSO (late 1600s parody of the Royal Society) Socolow, Elizabeth: LAUGHING AT GRAVITY: CONVERSATIONS WITH ISAAC NEWTON (poetry) Stavis, Barrie: LAMP AT MIDNIGHT (1940s, about Galileo) Stoppard, Tom: HAPGOOD (physicist) Stoppard, Tom: ? (about Stephen Hawking) Whitemore, Hugh: BREAKING THE CODE (about Alan Turing) Williams, William Carlos: various short stories about doctors Wilson, Robert: EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH Wilson, Robert: THE LIFE OF SIGMUND FREUD (?) ?: PARTICULAR MEN (about J. Robert Oppenheimer) ?, PICK UP AX (engineers and engineering managers) Novels: Asimov, Isaac: A WHIFF OF DEATH Banville, John: DOCTOR COPERNICUS, KEPLER (Banville's novel THE NEWTON LETTER, is not directly about Newton.) Baring, Maurice: CAT'S CRADLE Borges, Jorge Luis: short story in LABYRINTHS about Averroes Boyd, William: BRAZZAVILLE BEACH (mathematician and social biologists) Brod, Max: THE REDEMPTION OF TYCHO BRAHE (astronomers Brahe and Kepler) Chekhov, Anton: (many stories with doctors) DeLillo, Don: RATNER'S STAR Djerrasi, Carl: CANTOR'S DILEMMA Levi, Primo: (several semi-autobiographical books) Lewis, Sinclair: ARROWSMITH McCormmach, Russel: NIGHT THOUGHTS OF A CLASSICAL PHYSICIST (professor of physics) Powers, Richard: THE GOLD BUG VARIATIONS Pynchon, Thomas: GRAVITY'S RAINBOW Pynchon, Thomas: V. Rand, Ayn: ATLAS SHRUGGED (physicists) Rosenthal, Erik: THE CALCULUS OF MURDER Rosenthal, Erik: ADVANCED CALCULUS OF MURDER Shute, Nevil: NO HIGHWAY (structural engineering) Smith, Kaye Nolte: MINDSPELL (genetic engineering) Snow, C. P.: THE NEW MEN (building the British atom bomb) Snow, C. P.: THE SEARCH Stone, Irving: THE ORIGIN (a biographical novel of Charles Darwin) Trollope, Anthony: THE CLAVERINGS (engineers) Thomas, Walter Keith and Warren U. Ober: A MIND FOR EVER VOYAGING: WORDSWORTH AT WORK PORTRAYING NEWTON AND SCIENCE Wibberly, Leonard: THE MOUSE THAT ROARED Yourcenar, Marguerite: THE BLACK WORK Short stories: Chappell, Fred: "Ladies from Lapland" (about Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis) Chappell, Fred: "Linnaeus Forgets" Chappell, Fred: "The Snow That Is Nothing in the Triangle" (about Karl Wilhelm Feuerbach) ------------------------------ 10) Is there really an S. Morgenstern, listed as the author of THE PRINCESS BRIDE and THE SILENT GONDOLIERS? And what is the reunion scene? No, it's really William Goldman. When you write for the reunion scene, this is what you get (or what Mary Margaret Schuck, firstname.lastname@example.org, got anyway): ======= Dear Reader, Thank you for sending in, and no, this is not the reunion scene, because of a certain roadblock named Kermit Shog. As soon as bound books were ready, I got a call from my lawyer, Charley -- (you may not remember, but Charley's the one I called from California to go down in the blizzard and buy _The Princess Bride_ from the used-book dealer). Anyway, he usually begins with Talmudic humor, wisdom jokes, only this time he just says, "Bill, I think you better get down here," and before I'm even allowed a 'why?' he adds, "Right away if you can." Panicked, I zoom down, wondering who could have died, did I flunk my tax audit, what? His secretary lets me into his office, and Charley says, "This is Mr. Shog, Bill." And there he is, sitting in the corner, hands on his briefcase, looking exactly like an oily version of Peter Lorre. I really expected him to say, "Give me the Falcon, you must, or I'll be forced to keeeeel you." "Mr. Shog is a lawyer," Charley goes on. And this next was said underlined: "_He_ _represents_ _the_ _Morgenstern_ _estate_." Who knew? Who could have dreamed such a thing existed, an estate of a man at least a million years dead that no one ever heard of over here anyway? "Perhaps you will give me the Falcon now," Mr. Shog said. That's not true. What he said was, "Perhaps you will like a few words with your client alone now," and Charley nodded and out he went, and once he was gone I said, "Charley, my God, I never figured --" and he said, "Did Harcourt?"* and I said, "Not that they ever mentioned" and he said, "Ooch," the grunting sound lawyers make when they know they've backed a loser. "What does he want?" I said. "A meeting with Mr. Jovanovich," Charley answered. *_The Princess Bride_ was first published in hardcover in 1973 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Now, William Jovanovich is a pretty busy fella, but it's amazing when you're confronted with a potential multibillion-dollar lawsuit how fast you can wedge in a meeting. We trooped over. All the Harcourt Brass was there, I'm there, Charley; Mr. Shog, who would sweat in an igloo he's so swarthy, is streaming. Harcourt's lawyer started things: "We're terribly terribly sorry, Mr. Shog. It's an unforgivable oversight, and please accept our sincerest apologies." Mr. Shog said, "That's a beginning, since all you did was defame and ridicule the greatest modern master of Florinese prose who also happened to be for many years a friend of my family." Then the business head of Harcourt said, "All right, how much do you want?" Biiig mistake. "_Money_?" Mr. Shog cried. "You think this is petty blackmail that brings us together? _Resurrection_ is the issue, sir. Morgenstern must be undefiled. You will publish the original version." And now a look at me. "In the _unabridged_ form." I said, "I'm done with it, I swear. True, there's just the reunion scene business we printed up, but there's not liable to be a rush on that, so it's all past as far as I'm concerned." But Mr. Shog wasn't done with me: "_You_, who _dared_ to _defame_ a _master's_ characters are now going to put your_ words in their mouths? Nossir. No, I say." "It's just a little thing," I tried; "a couple pages only." Then Mr. Jovanovich started talking softly. "Bill, I think we might skip sending out the reunion scene just now, don't you think?" I made a nod. Then he turned to Mr. Shog. "We'll print the unabridged. You're a man who's interested in immortality for his client, and there aren't as many of you around in publishing as there used to be. You're a gentleman, sir." "Thank you," from Mr. Shog; "I like to think I am, at least on occasion." For the first time, he smiled. We all smiled. Very buddy-buddy now. Then, an addendum from Mr. Shog: "Oh. Yes. Your first printing of the unabridged will be 100,000 copies." **** So far, there are thirteen lawsuits, only eleven involving me directly. Charley promises nothing will come to court and that eventually Harcourt will publish the unabridged. But legal maneuvering takes time. The copyright on Morgenstern runs out in early '78, and all of you who wrote in are having your names put alphabetically on computer, so whichever happens first, the settlement or the year, you'll get your copy. The last I was told, Kermit Shog was willing to come down on his first printing provided Harcourt agreed to publish the sequel to _The Princess Bride_, which hasn't been translated into English yet, much less published here. The title of the sequel is: _Buttercup's Baby: S. Morgenstern's Glorious Examination of Courage Matched Against the Death of the Heart_. I'd never heard of it, naturally, but there's a Ph.D. candidate in Florinese Lit up at Columbia who's going through it now. I'm kind of interested in what he has to say. (signed) William Goldman P.S. I'm really sorry about this, but you know the story that ends, "disregard previous wire, letter follows?" Well, you've got to disregard the business about the Morgenstern copyright running out in '78. That was a definite boo-boo but Mr. Shog, being Florinese, has trouble, naturally, with our numbering system. The copyright runs out in _'87_, not '78. Worse, he died. Mr. Shog I mean. (Don't ask how could you tell. It was easy. One morning he just stopped sweating, so there it was.) What makes it worse is that the whole affair is now in the hands of his kid, named -- wait for it -- Mandrake Shog. Mandrake moves with all the verve and speed of a lizard flaked out on a river bank. The only good thing that's happened in this whole mess is I finally got a shot at reading _Buttercup's Baby_. Up at Columbia they feel it's definitely superior to _The Princess Bride_ in satirical content. Personally, I don't have the emotional attachment to it, but it's a helluva story, no question. Give it a look-see when you have the chance. -- August, 1978 P.P.S. This is getting humiliating. Have you been reading in the papers about the trade problems America is having with Japan? Wll, maddening as this may be, since it reflects on the reunion scene, we're also having problems with Florin which, it turns out, is our leading supplier of Cadminium which, it also turns out, NASA is panting for. So all Florinese-American litigation, which includes the thirteen lawsuits, has been officially put on hold. What this means is that the reunion scene, for now, is caught between our need for Cadminium and diplomatic relations between the two countries. But at least the movie got made. Mandrake Shog was shown it, and word reached me he even smiled once or twice. Hope springs eternal. -- May, 1987 ======= ------------------------------ 11) Does anyone have a list of female mystery writers? Adamson, Lydia Aird, Catherine Albert, Susan Wittig Allingham, Margery Ames, Delano Babson, Margery Barr, Nevada Baxter, Alida Brand, Cristianna Braun, Lilian Jackson Brown, Rita Mae Butler, Gwendoline Cannell, Dorothy Carlson, P.M. Cau[l]dwell, Sarah Cheyne, Angela Christie, Agatha (a.k.a. Mary Westmacott) Churchill, Jill Clarke, Anna Cody, Liza Cooper, Susan Rogers Craig, Alisa (a.k.a. Charlotte MacLeod) Crane, Hamilton Cross, Amanda Dale, Celia Daly, Elizabeth Davidson, Diane Mott Davis, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Leslie De La Torre, Lillian Dominic, R. B. (see Emma Lathen) Douglas, Carolyn Duke, Madelaine Dunlap, Susan Dunnett, Dorothy Elkins, Charlotte Elrod, P. N. Emmuska, Baroness Orczy Evanovich, Janet Ferrars, E. X. Ferrars, Elizabeth Fleming, Joan Frankel, Valerie Fraser, Anthea Fraser, Antonia Fremlin, Celia George, Elizabeth Gilman, Dorothy Gordon, Alison Gosling, Paula Grafton, Sue Grimes, Martha Hambly, Barbara Hampton, Sue Hardwick, Mollie Harrington, Joyce Hart, Anne (apparently there are multiple mystery authors named Anne Hart) Hart, Carolyn Hess, Joan Heyer, Georgette Hitchman, Janet Hogarth, Grace Holland, Isabelle Holt, Hazel Hornsby, Wendy Hughes, Dorothy Jackson Braun, Lilian James, P. D. King, Laurie R. Kijewski, Karen Kittredge, Mary LaPierre, Janet Lang[s]ton, Jane Lathen, Emma (pseudonym for Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Hennisart) Laurence, Janet MacLeod, Charlotte (a.k.a Alisa Craig) Mann, Jessica Maron, Margaret Marsh, Ngaio Matera, Lia McCrumb, Sharyn McMullen, Mary Meek, M.D.R. Meredith, D. L. Michaels, Barbara (see Elizabeth Peters) Mitchell, Gladys Moody, Susan Morice, Anne Moyes, Patricia Muller, Marcia O'Connel (the Mallory series) O'Marie, Sister Carol Anne Orczy, Baroness Emmuska Olliphant, B. J. (A. J. Orde and Sherri Tepper) Orde, A. J. (Sheri Tepper) Papazoglou, Orania Paretsky, Sara Paul, Barbara Perry, Anne Peters, Elizabeth (a.k.a. Barbara Michaels) (Barbara Mertz; a now-retired archaeologist specializing in Egypt. Peters is the name she uses for stories dealing with Egyptology somehow, and Michaels for the rest.) Peters, Ellis (Edith Pargeter) Pickard, Nancy Pirkis, Catherine Louisa Radley, Sheila Raskin, Ellen Rendell, Ruth Rinehart, Mary Roberts Roberts, Gillian Rowe, Jennifer Sayers, Dorothy Sayles, Medora Scoppetone, Sandra Shankman, Sarah Shannon, Dell Simpson, Dorothy Singer, Shelley Smith, Barbara Burnett Smith, Joan Smith, Julie Stacey, Susannah Tey, Josephine Truman, Margaret Weber, Thomasina Wells, Tobias Wentworth, Patricia White, Ethel Lina Wilhelm, Kate Wilson, Barbara Wright, L. R. Yorke, Margaret Zaremba, Eve (from Judy.Harris@nirvonics.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and others) Marilyn Wallace has five or so "Sisters_in_Crime" anthologies for folks who are looking for even more mystery authors who are women. Cindy Steinhoff (email@example.com) writes: "One of the questions included in the FAQ asks for a list of mysteries written by women. The list is very complete. Thought that you might want to add an additional resource to that question. Just published this spring was a guide to mystery fiction by women, called BY A WOMAN'S HAND: A GUIDE TO MYSTERY FICTION BY WOMEN, by Jean Swanson and Dean James. The publisher is Berkeley, ISBN is 0-425-14143-8, cost is about $10.00 in paperback. The book includes only female mystery writers currently writing. It is not intended to be a complete bibliography of all works by the authors listed, just a guide to provide basic info about the author, name a few of her books (such as the first title in a series), and give some suggestions for other writer who are similar." Carol Wayne (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes: "While at the Library Ltd. in St. Louis, I ran across a pocket guide to Detecting women 2, a reader's guide and checklist for mystery series written by women, which noted that a full-sized edition was available. I now have both and find it wonderful reading. Lists authors, titles, characters, pseudonyms, etc." ------------------------------ 12) What is the difference between the male and female editions of DICTIONARY OF THE KHAZARS by Milorad Pavic? Page 293 FEMALE: And he gave me a few of the Xeroxed sheets of paper lying on the table in front of him. As he passed them to me, his thumb brushed mine and I trembled from the touch. I had the sensation that our past and our future were in our fingers and that they had touched. And so, when I began to read the proffered pages, I at one moment lost the train of thought in text and drowned it in my own feelings. In these seconds of absence and self-oblivion, centuries passed with every read but uncomprehended and unabsorbed line, and when, after a few moments, I came to and re-established contact with the text, I knew that the reader who returns from the open seas of his feelings is no longer the same reader who embarked on that sea only a short while ago. I gained and learned more by not reading than by reading those pages, and when I asked Dr. Muawja where he had got them he said something that astonished me even more. MALE: And he gave me a few of the Xeroxed sheets of paper lying on the table in front of him. I could have pulled the trigger then and there. There wouldn't be a better moment. There was only one lone witness present in the garden -- and he was a child. But that's not what happened. I reached out and took those exciting sheets of paper, which I enclose in this letter. Taking them instead of firing my gun, I looked at those Saracen fingers with their nails like hazelnuts and I thought of the tree Halevi mentions in his book on the Khazars. I thought of how each and every one of us is just such a tree the taller we grow toward the sky, through the wind and rain toward God, the deeper we must sink our roots through the mud and subterranean waters toward hell. With these thoughts in my mind, I read the pages given me by the green-eyed Saracen. They shattered me, and in disbelief I asked Dr. Muawja where he had got them. ------------------------------ 13) What is the short story by Jorge Luis Borges in which a Chinese taxonomy is discussed? "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins," in OTHER INQUISITIONS (University of Texas Press, 1964). It is not, repeat NOT, "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." I re-read that with a specific eye toward looking for this reference and it isn't there. Nor does it appear to be in any other story in LABYRINTHS. ------------------------------ 14) Where do ISBNs come from? Each country has an issuing agency that assigns numbers to publishers, then the publishers assign numbers to each title. In the US, it's the R. R. Bowker Co., publishers of "Books in Print" [see question #2]. Look at the beginning of the first volume for details. I'm not sure who does it in Canada; check "Canadian Books in Print." Here's how it works: First digit: 0 or 1 for English-speaking countries; other numbers elsewhere. Second part [varying length]: The number assigned to the publisher. Bigger publishers have smaller numbers and vice versa. Third part [varying length]: The number for the individual book and edition. (The paperback will have a different ISBN from the hardback of the same title, for example.) Tenth digit: 0-9 or X. This is a check digit (we just had a long, boring thread about how this is formed from a mathematical formula). The point is that it allows a computer to alert you if you made a typo. Thanks to Robert Teeter (email@example.com) for this. ------------------------------ 15) What are the "Penguin 60s"? Does anyone have a full list? Briefly, they are a set of 60 small books in celebration of Penguin's 60th anniversary. In Britain they are priced at 60p, but the United States one are 95 cents each. A full description and list of the titles available in in United States can be found at http://www.penguin.com/usa/news/sixty/penguin60.html. The set available in Britain is different. ------------------------------ 16) What is KIRKUS REVIEWS? KIRKUS REVIEWS is a review mostly read by librarians and booksellers. It's sort of a tip sheet as well as a review, since it reviews books quite a while before publication. I've never seen it on sale anywhere, so if you want to have a look at it, ask your friendly librarian or bookseller. (It's looseleaf, so it is hard to display.) Thanks to Robert Teeter (firstname.lastname@example.org) for this. ------------------------------ 17) Who wrote THE WONDERFUL FLIGHT TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET? Eleanor Cameron wrote it. There were four sequels: THE STOWAWAY TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET, A MYSTERY FOR MR. BASS, MR. BASS'S PLANETOID, and TIME AND MR. BASS. ------------------------------ 18) Which is the best translation of Dante's DIVINE COMEDY? There is no consensus. Robert Pinsky seems to get the strongest rcommendations so far as I can tell. The two best known are Dorothy L. Sayers and John Ciardi. People seem to disagree on whether either preserved the terza rima, with more consensus that Sayers did, but her translation is quirky, and the "Paradiso" was finished by Barbara Reynolds after Sayers's death. Ciardi is more readable, but less credited with preserving structure. Others recommend Charles Singleton for a prose translation, or Allen Mandelbaum for verse. Other translations recommended by people included Peter Dale, Robert Durling (accurate and scholarly), and Mark Musa. http://members.aol.com/vdbshop/d_ed.htm is a "virtual bookshop" which lists all these with short descriptions. http://members.aol.com/lieberk/welc_old.html has more Dante links. [Random note: The first time I saw it was in a *Spanish* translation that my father had. I couldn't follow much, but it had these *great* illustrations.... I was quite crushed later when I got out of college and wanted the book for the Dore illustrations to discover that he had donated all his Spanish-language books to the university library.] ==================================================================== (Contributions for addition to this FAQL gratefully appreciated. Suggestions for things *I* should write to add to this FAQL are not so gratefully appreciated.) ==================================================================== Copyright Notice This FAQ is not to be reproduced for commercial use unless the party reproducing the FAQ agrees to the following: 1) They will contact the FAQ maintainer to obtain the latest version for their collection. 2) They will provide the FAQ maintainer with information on what collection the copy of the FAQ is in, and how that collection may be obtained. 3) They will agree, in writing, that the FAQ will be included in the collection without modification, and that acknowledgements of contributors (if any) to the FAQ remain in the FAQ. 4) They will agree, in writing, that the collection including the FAQ will be distributed on either a non-profit basis, or have some percentage of profit donated to a non-profit literacy program. Project Gutenberg counts. Information contained in the FAQ is compiled from many sources. 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