Wednesday, November 30, 2011

in underneath

Some places I am "in" already, like the library. Although I don't feel all that special, I seem to be one of the Friends of the library who actually shows up. I spend about a hour there putting books out onto the shelves and rooting through new donations for my own pursuits - my own unpolished gems - and occasionally finding something of real value. A Ray Bradbury or Stephen King chapbook.

Then I lug some of my lesser finds to Bennies or someplace where the young idiot clerks who don't know shit from shiola do just that - they take the shit and give me almost shiola in store credit. So, almost in revenge, I look for something that is completely underpriced and I know will sell for double or triple what they are asking, and I get it for my meager store credit and go from there. Or I get in store credit books that I know another bookstore owner across town would die to have. Hey, it's a gift (learned art).

My wife had to fly out of town for work. I don't ask much since I can't. All I know is that she'll be back tomorrow but instead of taking her overnight bag, she takes my orange backpack. I decided to carry some books out into the world in a grocery bag. Slightly inconvenient but not a problem.

I never sell enough. I always get more than I sell. The buy public is nervous about the economy or fickle or have behaved like lemmings and jumped over the cliff into e-books. Maybe a combination of these insanities.

There's the reality show that's on these days called Storage Wars and it's about this small group of parasites that buy the contents of storage lockers whose rent has gone south. The storage unit company hires these auctioneers who auction off the contents of these storage units to these low lifes who, at least in the TV show, are little more than hucksters. They own second hand stores or are collectors - doesn't matter. To me, it glorified theft. They are bidding on someone else's property. Yeah, okay, left behind property, "not up to date on the rent" property. To me, it feels scummy. It's like Antiques Roadshow for hucksters and "out-for-a buck" moles. I have little respect for anyone on the show or who made the show. Then, the topper, was when in two consecutive episodes of the show, one of these "experts" bemoan the fact that the storage unit they won (stole) had books in it. Of course, to them, books are useless nothings. At that point I turned off the TV and won't watch another second of that filth. They are all ignorant dirtbags.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

nobody knows everything about everything

I got that thought, loud and clear, while reading John Baxter's A Pound of Paper and it's incredibly true. A lot of places I visit to get books have a blanket "50 cents for paperbacks, a buck for hardbounds" rule. But the used bookstores are another thing. The owners pride themselves on their knowledge of this-or-that writer, edition, publisher : whatever. But they don't know everything about everything and it's really surprising how little they know in my area about Hunter S. Thompson for example.

I went to Bennies and was really pissed when they only took my Orwells, but I found a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas there for $3.50 and it was a 1971 Popular Library edition. Hell, I instantly recognized a possibility there and took it for store credit. Of course store credit means that I took to Bennies dozens more books, some I actually paid real money for, and they "gave" me credit and I had enough credit to get this book as well as two others. But I really wanted the HST and once I got home posted it online for $3.85 (to prove a point to myself, I guess) and it sold for $21.50 (proving a point for myself, I guess)

Yes! A slightly bigger student loan payment this month. I can almost feel the interest falling!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

who reads George Orwell?

Orwell wrote only 9 books. Most Americans are familiar with possibly two; 1984 and Animal Farm. He had others although the disinterest in them is palpable. I had two like new copies of his books Homage to Catalonia and The Road to Wigan Pier and I couldn't get a nibble. Finally, I took them along with a dozen other "orphans" to Bennie's and they ONLY took the Orwell. Because he's Orwell. But his writing style - is his. I mean, not everyone, myself included, like the way he writes. He's very morbid. The life he chose played out in his work. One can almost feel his exhaustion. And that isn't even his real name, I mean, he is as much a fictitious character as any he writes about!

Anyway, I got A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf and The Saddest Story: A Biography of Ford Madox Ford by Arthur Mizener, who seems to have had a cottage industry of biography writing as I think of it. He wrote a number of them. I don't know a whole lot about Ford. I read The Good Soldier and liked it okay. "okay", sheesh, I sound like Holden Caulfield. Next I will be saying "phonies" or something. Somewhere I have another book by Ford, a book of non-fiction actually. The March of Literature published by the Dial Press in 1938. Ford died in 1939. Was the book panned, is that why a 1971 biography of him not even mention the work?

The strands are too numerous. I get so sidetracked that I lose my place, or my head; both. So, yes, Orwell, I won't try and collect him. Joseph Conrad, yes, and THERE there is a tie in to this whole posting. Conrad and Ford collaborated on at least two novels!