Monday, November 01, 2010

Eight Is Enough

I bought eight books on Saturday.  I haven't been out shopping for books in a while and I was really feeling the urge to go out and buy stuff.  So I did.  And it was much more satisfying than buying books online (which is what I am reduced to most of the time, given the collapse of bricks and mortar book selling and a lack of time).

Existential Ennui got a copy of something called X v. Rex by Philip Macdonald a few weeks ago and after reading about his copy, I wanted one, too.  (A lot of what he, EE, writes about has this effect.)  I found one but published under a different title.  Nothing special, just a paperback from 1983.  Bought it just to read, not to collect.

And I got a paperback copy of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for 50 cents.  I have never read a John Le Carre novel.  I've listened to and read interviews with him and always read about him but never got around to reading any of his books.  Can you be a fan of someone if you only read about him/her and never actually read their work?

I already have multiple copies of Joseph Mitchell's The Bottom of the Harbor but I couldn't pass up this one for only three dollars.  This copy is a first edition of the 1994 Modern Library edition of the book.  Not rare but it is a pleasure to hold, embodying all that mumbo-jumbo about how good a book can feel in your hands and how an electronic book can't provide a similar experience.  These nonfiction stories from the New Yorker about the New York City waterfront are some of my favorite things to read.  And re-read.  (I think his collection Up in the Old Hotel would be the book I would choose to have if I were to be stranded on a desert island.)
Okay, I already have a copy of Memory.  But I am taking a little trip soon and thought that this is something I would like to read while I am away.  So I bought a reading copy of it.  After paying through the nose for some old Richard Stark paperbacks I thought it would be wise to keep a pristine copy of Memory for my collection (though I must admit my Stark/Westlake books are for the most part a motley assembly of reading copies with only a few nice first editions).
This, Stuart Neville's The Ghosts of Belfast, I really dropped the ball on.  I should have bought this in hard cover when it was published.  But I was distracted by other things and never got around to it.  To make matters worse, I had a shot at a nice first edition of his new, second book but I was so down about not having the first in hard cover that I passed on it. 
 This was my only collectible purchase of the day - a first edition of this collection of Frank O'Connor short stories.  I have these stories in paperback - this copy is just to look at.
I knew very little about La Perdida by Jessica Abel.  A long time ago she did some work with the public radio program This American Life (perhaps the greatest thing on American radio) and that was enough for me to take a chance on it.  I almost always know a lot about a book before I buy it or read it so it was kind of fun to take a chance on something new.  This is about as wild as I get.
X'ed Out by Charles Burns was my final purchase of the day - and I bought it new and paid full price for it, unlike all my other items.  I think the egg on the cover has some sort of hypnotic attraction thing going because I did not plan to buy this.  I was going to wait and read it at the library or wait until all three volumes were published.  But once I had it in my hands, I had to have it.  I am not a fan of Charles Burns (I never even finished Black Hole) and don't know much about Tintin so I think that egg must be the reason I bought it.  Quite frankly, the book is strange and I don't know what to make of it.  But I can't stop looking at that egg.


Nick Jones (Louis XIV, the Sun King) said...

That's a good haul. It's always more satisfying buying books in person, in the real world; I popped along to a paperback and pulp fair up in London at the weekend and came away with a small pile of great crime paperbacks, which I was very pleased about. There's about a week's worth of blog posts there.

And I know what you mean about enthusiasm being contagious. Believe me, it goes both ways: you're to blame for my current Ross Thomas spree.

That Charles Burns cover's great. Never been a huge fan of his -- Black Hole was good, but also offputting -- but I'm still intrigued to know what his new one's like.

Book Glutton said...

I bought a copy of Mauretania by Chris Reynolds and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing Monitor.

One of the bookstores I went to is just across the street from one of the buildings in the early chapters of The Money Harvest. Sadly, I bought my copy of The Money Harvest in the suburbs four or five years ago. To have purchased my copy there would have been awesome.

Off topic: Yes, parts of the Boston area are that bleak. And Boston has really long, cold winters, too. Which makes everything tougher and harder. Lehane covers those parts of Boston the same way Pelecanos covers the rougher parts of DC. Thankfully I live in the Ross Thomas neighborhoods.