Allen M. Jones on the “pleasure and pain of owning books”: “It seems that we should treasure our books if only because the alternative – a life in modernity without the possibility of escape, without reading – is too bleak to contemplate.”
I drool. I drool intensely. A first edition of Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers is being auctioned off in Liverpool. Volumes 1 through 20 of Pickwick’s first novel (serialized during first publication) have been contained within a calf green box and apparently the illustrations are “clean and bright.” (via Rare Book News)
Last weekend, Tito, Scott, a few other fab folks, and myself went to the annual Big Book Sale at Fort Mason. What you see at the right is the haul that I came away with. (Scott’s acquisitions can be found here. Tito’s too is somewhere. However, it can’t be by accident that RotR fave Anthony Burgess lauded one of his serendipitious finds.)
There are fifty books in this photograph. And heaven help me if I had actually managed to venture past the fiction and history sections. These book were often selected on the flimsiest of pretexts, even when I was strong enough to purge and put other books back. I did manage to find So Little Time, a rare out-of-print collection of John P. Marquand’s essays. However, none of this did not stop me from forcing books into the hands of my companions, urging them in the strongest possible terms that they had to read certain books. Moral of the story: you do not want to be near me when books are cheap and I know your reading sensibilities.
Understand that this is the result of a mentally unbalanced man. Where others have drugs and pornography as rampant addictions, I have this whole book thing to contend with. I don’t know what I was thinking when I loaded an entire shopping cart with these babies. But I can certainly confess that I was feeling. Perhaps too much. Certainly, it was the proverbial tale of a kid let loose in a candy store failing to consider pragamatism, let alone self-control. It is this addictive component of my personality that has caused me to avoid video games and television like the plague, devoting such ardor to better things.
Scott Esposito, who is a far more practical gentleman than I am, was kind enough to store this unbelievably ridiculous load at his house for me to pick up later. It occupied four bags and weighed approximately thirty pounds.
I have enlisted a team of friends and professionals to ensure that I do not set foot near a bookstore or a book sale for some time. To encourage me is to release a recovering heroin addict without methadone.
If humans had not invented credit cards, and if books were not full of such interesting things, then, of course, none of this would have ever happened. I would be one of those safe and easily tractable beings getting excited about American Idol. So like Rosseau revealing his closeted sexual interests in his Confessions, I am here to tell you (if you hadn’t guessed already) that I am a book freak of the highest order. I need professional help, for I am nothing less than a moth attracted to the flame.
Ron is an evil man. Either that or a Dalkey PR flak. If you’re interested in good lit, you can purchase 100 books for $500. I won’t bother to describe what’s in their catalog. But there are enough goodies here (Elkin, Gass, Markson, Matthews, Millhauser, et al.) to make any lit geek take out a second deed of trust. If you take advantage of the deal before March 1, you get several Flann O’Brien books. The deal goes through April, however.
Patrice Moore, a 43 year old one-time mail clerk, was trapped under a pile of books and paper. Emergency workers filled 50 garbage bags with paper. It’s still not nearly as bad as the Collyer brothers, extreme reculsives who never threw anything out, got caught within their own debris, and who died of starvation and being gnawed upon by rats, respectively. (And, in fact, there’s a book on the Collyers called Ghosty Men.)
A Moore-Collyer type in training might be this 18 year old, who chooses books over partying. An admirable Hobson’s choice, but how does this kid expect to meet people?
French book commercials are a big controversy.
Linguist Charles Berlitz has passed on.
And, apparently, there are a few Bernard Goldbergs running around in France.