January 5th, 2006
You may not understand the glee I found myself in after finding a copy of "Always Something Doing" at McIntyre & Moore tonight, but believe me, finding it provided the very glee, the precise moment of joy that used bookstore aficionados so crave. For me, the joy comes in finding an unexpected surprise. A book you've always wanted, but never really gone out and looked for. Aggressive searching doesn't count -- it has to be more of a "Hmm, while I'm here, might as well see..." That didn't even happen tonight. I wasn't in a "While I'm here" mood; I was just looking for a book to pass the time at Rosebud before Pete showed up.
It's also totally Against The Rules to use Amazon. Seriously, where's the fun in that? Oh, look, two copies left at $18.95 each! No serendipitous squeal of glee comes from me over that. Besides, I got mine for less than a third of that cost. And I didn't have to wait for shipping.
I should also shamefully admit I'm a sucker for first printings and/or older cover designs. I dislike a lot of the new trends in cover designs, especially mixed
and I cringe if I can only find, say, a work of fiction whose cover has a picture of someone featured in the movie adaptation. I don't want that copy. I wasn't interested in the book 'cause of the movie and I don't want anybody making such Base Assumptions, either. It also goes without saying that, for the longest time, the covers of the American editions of Terry Pratchett novels were horrendously ugly and I felt they totally betrayed the prosey goodness within.
What was that? Somebody said something? Snuh snuh snuh book by its cover, or somesuch? Huh. I didn't hear anything. Must've been the wind.
Anyway. The real treat comes when you're just idly glossing over shelf after shelf of printed offerings and suddenly your eyes lock onto a title you've known for a while. "Always Something Doing"... that was the motto of the Old Howard Theatre, wasn't it? And that means this is ... yes!
And so you bring the book out from the confines of the shelf, clutch it tightly to your bosom, and sigh happily. Then you gently whisper to the book that you're going to take it home, read it a hundred times, and promise never to drip chocolate ice cream on the pages or let the cat chew on the binding.
The book I'm so happy to find, by the way, is a locally-writ history of Scollay Square, Boston's original Combat Zone. 22 streets and a zillion buildings devoted, in its heyday, to burlesque houses, hot dog stands, and for some odd reason painless dentistry. But I digress. The whole shebang was gutted in 1963 to make way for the completely soulless Government Center/City Hall complex (Boston's vibrant West End was also simultaneously demolished to make way for high-rise condos) and we're all the poorer for it.
I cringe if I can only find, say, a work of fiction whose cover has a picture of someone featured in the movie adaptation. I don't want that copy. I wasn't interested in the book 'cause of the movie and I don't want anybody making such Base Assumptions, either.
Yes, yes, yes... a thousand times, yes! I flat-out refuse to buy "movie covers" of books that I need to pick up. Don't even get me started on the oprah book club selections. Bleh!
At MegaBookStoreWhatUsedToBeABank2000 the other night, I saw copies of Steinbeck's East of Eden for sale, each one emblazoned with "THE BOOK THAT REVIVED OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB!"
And I thought well shit, of all the accolades you could put on a cover...
I was coming in to quote just that bit. I can't help being a snob, I really can't. I've had Captain Corelli's Blood Mandolin sat on my shelf for about six or seven years now, 'cos just as I was getting round to it the darn thing became popular, and I couldn't be seen reading a book that people might think I was reading just because it was popular, oh no!
And I admit to chosing 'sophisticated' (alternative: really tatty and battered) covers for books to be read in public now and again. Classic Penguins and so on, because stuff like the Prachetts are just nasty (I hate the UK artwork).
Are you talking about the grotesque cartoony Pratchett covers? Yeah, they're pretty hideous too, but they're nowhere near as bad as the WaCKy MiXeD CasE and garish neon colors used on the American covers. Somebody at Pratchett's publisher got it into his head that "The only way to sell this Pratchett guy is to play up the CrAzY HiLAriTY!"
Hmm. Not sure if this is better or worse than Lois McMaster Bujold, whose Miles Vorkosigan books often carry a real bitchin' cover compliment from none other than Anne McCaffrey: "Boy, can she write!" I mean, yeah, Bujold can write, but I always felt that compliment would be better served with sentiment that doesn't feel like it needs to be followed up with "...and she's one hot tomato, too!"
Yeah the cartoony ones. They verge on the Saddam-Hussain-School-Of-Art-Appreciation now and again with bulgy heroes and skimpy bikinis. Gah.
|Date:||January 7th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)|| |
That's Kirby. Try the hardbacks -- the covers are illustrated by Kidby, who has actually read the books (I sometimes think Kirby just skims past the character descriptions to get to the One Good Scene he could put on the cover -- I like his illustrations in terms of context, but on characters he's pants in a very stereotypical manner).
Sad secret: it was the Kirby cover of Sourcary! that caused my first Queer stirrings.
Fact of no relevance; my SO works with Kirby's dad.
And so you bring the book out from the confines of the shelf, clutch it tightly to your bosom, and sigh happily.
yeah, I do that a lot. Sometimes I do it with books I already own but haven't seen in a while.
Though I know ordering is Cheating, you might sometime find this
useful; you are probably already familiar with it, though. Sometimes I find myself looking for something unusual but I need it more immediately.
This is the third time THIS WEEK that I've felt the need for a bookish icon; I have none!
|Date:||January 6th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)|| |
I love that little moment of happy discovery. No doubt this is why I have a stack of used books deeper than I'm every going to get caught up on.
|Date:||January 6th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)|| |
I don't think Amazon is cheating, but only because I'm lazy and impatient in a "want things now" kinda way. I held out for this style of cover
when catching up on my Lord of the Rings reading.
|Date:||January 7th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)|| |
for the longest time, the covers of the American editions of Terry Pratchett novels were horrendously ugly and I felt they totally betrayed the prosey goodness within.
That's why We buy the first editions of the UK hardback versions. Also sometimes the paperbacks because they have different (and arguably better) artwork. Both artyists are still leaps and bounds above the shit they put on in the US.
(I disagree with Kirby's interpretation of Rincewind, but almost totally agree with Kidby and also the people who make the scale models. My scale Rincewind sadly has no Luggage.)
|Date:||January 7th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)|| |
(Arguably better in that my first boyfriend liked them far more than the others, lading to a minor Argument between us. I prefer the hardcovers unless I really want to look at knobbly trolls and Boobs.)
|Date:||January 7th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)|| |
Which sometimes I do.
P.S. I have Thud! in my lap but haven't read it. I do, however, want a copy of (Dude - ) Where's My Cow? now.