Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charity Cases

Day 1
A charity book sale just opened near work.  Its a temporary thing, set up in a small, abandoned space and it doesn't seem to have much good stuff - Docx's nightmare is what it is.

I collect books connected to the New Yorker magazine.  Have a big bookcase full of  them.  Hidden in a box under a table of books on current affairs at this book sale, I found a copy of The World of John McNulty by John McNulty with an introduction by James Thurber.  McNulty wrote for the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1956.  This is a collection of most of his pieces for the magazine.  I had never heard of him before and this first edition hardcover from 1957 with its dust jacket in perfect shape (I don't think anyone read it back in '57) was only four bucks so I grabbed it.  (I can't find any photos of the book online.  Also, I can't find the cable to connect the camera to the computer.)

I want to do some research on McNulty but it will have to wait until after the holidays.  Our x-mas tree blocks access to the bookcase with all of my New Yorker books.  McNulty seems to have written pieces about life in New York city - stories about cab drivers, bar tenders, gamblers - colorful characters, mainly.  From skimming the book, it seems to me that the reason no one remembers much about him is that Joseph Mitchell covered much of the same territory and did so with much greater skill. To be fair, Mitchell used the English language better than most who have ever picked up a pen and it must have been unlucky to be on the same beat at the same time as him.

Day 2
I picked up a copy of The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher.  Apparently most of what I have been reading this year is crap genre fiction (see Mr. Docx in the Observer) so I thought I should read some nice literary fiction.  TNC definitely passes the Docx test and I think it will be quite good.  I had this book from the library when it came out but never got to it before the library insisted that I bring it back.

Day 3
I found a brand new copy of Paul Auster's latest novel, Sunset Park.  It was only published in November and its astonishing that it could end up in a bin in  charity sale so quickly.  I probably would've purchased this book new so finding it for four bucks is a bargain. 

I overpaid for a copy of Fear of Drowning by Peter Turnbull.  I've had my eye on Turnball for ages - probably back from when my Ian Rankin-mania started in the mid to late 90s.  Rankin's Insepector Rebus series is one of my all-time favorites.  Around then I started noticing short paperbacks by this Turnbull fellow but I couldn't find out much about him.  He seems to have written a series of police procedurals set in Glasgow and now maybe is writing other stuff.  My book dowsing sense was telling me to start getting his books but I never did.  I've been passing on them for years now.  When I saw an ex-library copy Fear of Drowning I decided this would be the book I would read to determine whether or not to hunt down the rest of Turnbull's books.  Unfortunately, Turnball seems to have dropped Glasgow for North Yorkshire.  Nothing against North Yorkshire (never having been there) but Scotland (never been there either - but I feel like I have) is such a great place for crime novels.  On the other hand, I do have a box of Yorkshire Gold tea in the kitchen.  Had it for breakfast.  (Had a cup of Scottish Breakfast tea earlier this evening.)  So I guess I'm ready for Mr. Turnbull.

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