Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Author of the Day: A. J. Cronin

A. J. Cronin (1896 to 1981) was a prolific mid-century author who wrote more than 20 novels, many which were made into movies or television shows.

Cronin was born and raised in Scotland, with a Protestant mother and a Catholic father. Many of his characters came from similar backgrounds.  Cronin was a medical doctor before he became an author and many of his books, especially his most famous, The Citadel, concern medical school and doctors. 

I have had a copy of The Green Years on my TBR shelf for decades. But I only got around to reading his books after I found a nifty matching set of six of his most popular books at a library book sale. I started with Three Loves, his second published novel and the earliest in my set. I was swept away in the story, which is sometimes all I want out of a book.

I may never get around to reading all of Cronin's fiction and non-fiction -- most of his books are out of print -- but I would like to try. I only included novels and his autobiography on my list, I have not included "serial novellas" (unless they have been published in a book), short stories, or a play.

Those I have read are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Hatter's Castle (1931)

Three Loves (1932) (reviewed here)

Grand Canary (1933)

The Stars Look Down (1935)

The Citadel (1937)

Vigil in the Night (1939)

The Valorous Years (1940)

The Keys of the Kingdom (1941)

Adventures of a Black Bag (1943) (out of print and hard to find)

The Green Years (1944)

Shannon's Way (1948)

The Spanish Gardener (1950)

Adventures in Two Worlds (autobiography, 1952)

Beyond This Place (1953)

A Thing of Beauty (also published as Crusader's Tomb) (1956)

The Northern Light (1958)

The Native Doctor (also published as An Apple in Eden) (1959) (out of print and very hard to find)

The Judas Tree (1961)

A Song of Sixpence (1964)

Further Adventures of a Black Bag (1966) (out of print and hard to find)

A Pocketful of Rye (1969)

Desmonde (also published as The Minstrel Boy) (1975)

Lady with Carnations (1976)

Gracie Lindsay (1978)

Doctor Finlay of Tannochbrae (1978)

Teaser Tuesday: Portland Noir

"She's  a touch thick, not quite shed of her winter fat, but she wears her flesh with oblivious self-assurance.  I have no doubt a man with a flatter belly could pay her bar tab and bed her the same night, with no idea of the problems she'll cause over breakfast."

-- From "Coffee, Black" by Bill Cameron in Portland Noir, edited by Kevin Sampsell.
This collection of original short stories is all over the map -- if the map is Portland, Oregon. Each one is set in a different neighborhood in the Rose City, but all those neighborhoods are in the seedy underbelly of my city. 

I am half-way through the collection, and so far, Bill Cameron's story is my favorite. It is traditional, hard-boiled detective noir -- but caffeinated. This coffee-house mystery perfectly captures Portland's espresso-fueled culture.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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