Montland Books
and Publishing


 Grandma's House

In the year or so since we started selling books, I swear my arms have grown 2.5cm longer. If I’m not carrying a box of books, I feel as if I’m slacking. They do forever need carrying: from the sale to the car, from the car to the house, from the storeroom to the office, from the office to the shelves. When they overcrowd the shelves, new units must be added and all the books in a category moved from one room to another.

Why do we do it?

The short answer is: it beats all heck out of selling fish.
The long, tedious answer would be an explanation of why we love books. But you already know.

We – I include Francis in this, though I don’t usually presume to speak for him – have loved books through our whole lives, from the first bed-time story to the latest Le Carre. We’ve hoarded and prized and augmented our libraries to the limit of our resources… and a little beyond. We’ve lugged boxes and built brick-and-board shelves and made a gadzillion holes in walls, searching for studs to support the brackets, and lusted after antique glass-fronted oak bookcases – never got any, which is just as well, given the number of times we moved. We’ve browsed Coles and Chapters, dark little basement book-shoppes and windy outdoor markets, overpriced antique-fairs and somnolent church bazaars, dusty thrift-stores and busy yard-sales. We’ve pawed through racks, tables and bins and invariably come home with something wonderful.

Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books. Then comes the culling. This is a wrenching and time-consuming process. We handle every single volume three or four times, because it’s hard to decide; because, what I’m sure I’ll never re-read one day is tempting the next day; because a ‘discard’ box out of sight for a week starts to resemble a bin at a garage sale, and i catch myself shopping. Of course, you can’t give away anything you received as a gift, loved in childhood or studied at college; that was written by a favourite author, belongs to a set, was hard to find; that introduced you to a genre or opened your eyes to a philosophy. At this moment, my private library includes three dozen paperbacks with pages so dark that I couldn’t read them even if I had the time and inclination, yet cannot bring myself to discard. Eventually, we settle on what simply must go. The most painful part is relegating to the wood-stove books that are too badly torn, stained or water-damaged: i feel like some kind of nazi, burning a book. For several months after a culling, our front porch is full of boxes and we exhort all visitors – including the plumber, stray travellers and Jehova’s Witnesses – to take a book. Sharing books, passing them on to someone else who will read them, always feels good. Eventually, we ferry eight or ten boxes to the library, and feel great. Of course, we go to the annual book-sale and buy a bag or five.

It’s almost as hard to part with books as it is to give away kittens… unless they’re going to a good home.
So, here we are, in the best of all possible worlds. We can drive around the countryside and explore attractive towns. Every trip is a treasure-hunt. We can smell, riffle and caress all the books we fancy; buy as many as the budget will bear, with the understanding that we’ll keep them only until the real, intended owner comes along. We can rescue good books from oblivion – or maybe destruction! We can read everything (Ha! Most nights, I’m asleep after 10 pages.) We can make a very modest living, at home - no boss, no regular hours, no commuting: we get to work barefoot, in our pajamas! (though that might earn some odd looks at an auction.)

So, here we are, in my very own little corner of the world-wide-web. From time to time, I’ll review a book, or tell a story or rant a bit. I will put up some word-games for insomniacs, oddballs and procrastinators who happen to wander in.
If you feel like sharing a review, comment or book-related anecdote, e-mail me and I’ll put it up here, too. (Make the subject line Grandma’s House, so I can retrieve them from the stupid spam-filter.)
So, here we are – and welcome.

(I promise not to keep saying, Vonnegut-like, “So here we are.”)


Cryptogram #1



Solution :

And blood in torrents pour
In vain – always in vain,
For war breeds war again

 War Song - John Davidson 1857-1909

 a=J  b=E  d=F  e=T   f=W  g=L  i=N   j= P  l=D  n=O  o=R  p=Y  r=U   s= G  t=A   u=C  v=B  w=H   y=S


                                War Song by John Davidson

In anguish we uplift
A new unhallowed song:
The race is to the swift;
The battle to the strong.

Of old it was ordained
That we, in packs like curs,
Some thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,
In crime should live and act,
If cunning folk say sooth
Who flay the naked fact
And carve the heart of truth.

The rulers cry aloud,
"We cannot cancel war,
The end and bloody shroud
Of wrongs the worst abhor,
And order's swaddling band:
Know that relentless strife
Remains by sea and land
The holiest law of life.
From fear in every guise,
From sloth, from lust of pelf,
By war's great sacrifice
The world redeems itself.

War is the source, the theme
Of art; the goal, the bent
And brilliant academe
Of noble sentiment;
The augury, the dawn
Of golden times of grace;
The true catholicon,
And blood-bath of the race."

We thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,
Like zanies rigged, and chained
By drill and scourge and curse
In shackles of despair
We know not how to break --
What do we victims care
For art, what interest take
In things unseen, unheard?
Some diplomat no doubt
Will launch a heedless word,
And lurking war leap out!

We spell-bound armies then,
Huge brutes in dumb distress,
Machines compact of men
Who once had consciences,
Must trample harvests down --
Vineyard, and corn and oil;
Dismantle town by town,
Hamlet and homestead spoil
On each appointed path,
Till lust of havoc light
A blood-red blaze of wrath
In every frenzied sight.

In many a mountain pass,
Or meadow green and fresh,
Mass shall encounter mass
Of shuddering human flesh;
Opposing ordnance roar
Across the swaths of slain,
And blood in torrents pour
In vain -- always in vain,
For war breeds war again!

The shameful dream is past,
The subtle maze untrod:
We recognise at last
That war is not of God.


Word puzzle #2
This is an anagram of an ordinary English word, said to have given A.A. Milne a headache; he could think of nothing else until he solved it…. by  “waggling his eyes” over it from every possible angle. It comes to me through Rudolf Flesch, the Clear Thinking guy, who also reports having some difficulty, and who cites a legend that it kept Queen Victoria awake one whole night.
I didn’t find it so difficult: took about a minute. Not because I’m terribly clever, but because I know the trick.
What’s interesting is how language trains us. From experience, we expect  Y to end  a word, and that’s where we want to put it, even though we know it can come at the beginning or the middle. This habit of mind can be a handicap in solving anagrams, but is a great benefit when making sense of someone’s poor typing or spelling. After all, which skill is more useful?
On the other hand, we need to be aware of our minds’ linguistic habits, because they can all too easily be used, by jokers, grifters and jingoes, to fool us.
Here is different example. Sign over a wooden post in Volterra, Italy, c1943:
On the third hand – not my own; must return it soon -  this habit of mind makes verbal humour  possible. More on that, anon. In the meantime, here are a few more anagrams, in ascending order of difficulty – except where I had a reason to deviate from that order. Do you know the reason?
Did you spot the odd-man-out? Two odd men, actually, or three, depending on how you count. Maybe more, if I missed some other point of similarity or a different way of classifying.  
If I miscounted I’s or something, be sure to let me know at:


Services, Features

Specials Seasonals Gifts Shelf Art Login/Register Members Grandma's House Publishing


Contact Information:
Montland Books
RR #1
Williamsford, ON N0H 2V0
Copyright Francis & Vera Mont 2007

Designed by
Francis Mont

Montland Computers