Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saturday Book Hunting :)

Good afternoon. As you can see, Kristina and I didn't make it to Louisiana this weekend. The weather decided to conspire against us and the entire Gulf Coast for that matter. So she went on the hunt for yard sales this morning despite the rain and I went to the library (yes, I know I said I was going to read what I have at home....and I have...but I was looking for craft books.....I have excuses for everything!! LOL).

After spending some time at the library, I drove over to Springhill College to the Book Nook to browse. I wasn't expecting to find anything, but imagine my surprise when they had a small selection of books by Sidney McCall (real name Mary Fenollosa).

I ended up buying Truth Dexter, her first novel and The Breath of the Gods, her first book set in Japan. Both books are published by Little, Brown & Company. Truth Dexter was originally published in 1901; the book I bought was published in 1907. The Breath of the Gods was published in 1905 and I was lucky enough to buy a first edition of the book :) 110 and 112 year old books in decent condition!!

I absolutely LOVE the decorative covers on these books. I consider it a shame that you don't see that type of workmanship on modern books unless the company puts the effort into presentation of their books or a company is making a 'special' or anniversary editions of a book.

For those of you that don't know Mary McNeil Fenollosa was quite the character. She ended up getting married three times (first husband passed away, second husband divorced her, but kept their child, but the third and final time was true love). Her last husband was Ernest Fenollosa, who she worked with at Boston MFA. He was married at the time, but divorced and married Mary. It was quite the much so that he was asked to leave Boston MFA!

They spent a few years in Japan and eventually came back to the United States. Fenollosa was quite influential in people's perceptions of Oriental art. He and his wife were friends with a circle of Western scholars in Japan, which included Lafcadio Hearn, Edward Morse, and others.

Mary began writing novels under the name Sidney McCall in 1901. Her first book Truth Dexter was about a southern woman whose marriage is threatened by a Boston socialite. (Interesting subject matter considering the origins of her marriage to Fenollosa). She would continue to write books until 1919. Several of her books were made into films or plays.

Not bad for a woman who grew up in Mobile, AL. Alabama Heritage magazine has a great article on Mary Fenollosa that they published recently.

Hope you liked learning a little literary history of Alabama.

Until next time >___<


  1. Nice finds! I didn't know about this author. I'll have to find out more!

    1. I have a feeling you could probably find her books for free via Kindle or even Project Gutenberg since she is in the public domain or at least she should be.

      Have a great day :)

  2. Good morning, Rachel. My son is also an avid book hunter. If there is a used book store withing 50 miles, he's been there. Twice. LOL

    My father supported my love of reading and I have done the same with my son. I can remember spending hours with books, using my imagination...I wanted the same for him. SMILE

    Have a wonderful day!

    1. Lol I can imagine he has been to every bookstore he can find ;)

      We only have three used bookstores nearby and one Books-A-Million.

      Definitely something I miss from England...a variety of bookstores! Lol

      I'm glad you encouraged reading. It is one of greatest gifts a parent can give :)