"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Edna St. Vincent Malaise (2/16/13)

The book sale was neither boom nor bust, but I found some interesting things.

This copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay's Conversation at Midnight (Harper & Brothers, 1937) isn't one of the signed and numbered limited editions, but it's still worth a couple of bucks.  The glassine cover is mostly intact, but it's not long for this world.  Millay lost her work-in-progress in a hotel fire; she reconstructed Conversation at Midnight from memory.  By the time it came out, I really don't think anyone gave a shit.

The Confidential Clerk (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1954) isn't particularly rare, I see them all the time, but it's hard to ignore T.S. Eliot and this copy cleaned up pretty well.  One of the problems of this particular book sale is the multiple stickers affixed to every volume. Each book has at least two stickers (one on the book, one on the dustjacket) and some have three. For years, I let my fingernails grow a few weeks before the sale, painfully aware that I'd have a few hundred stickers to deal with.  It's a real pain in the ass, to be perfectly honest.  

Fortunately, I haven't bought in bulk for the last couple of years.

I already own approximately 500 Modern Library books in a variety of dust jackets and it's getting increasingly difficult to find new additions to my collection.  At this point, I don't turn down any volume in the library, provided the dustjacket is intact and the book is less than $5.   

I picked up eight more Modern Library books at the sale, all of them duplicates or jacket variations except for a couple of Proust novels previously absent from my collection and a Modern Giant devoted to modern poetry (from 1946). 

A couple of years ago, I picked up two or three dozen vintage sci-fi magazines at the book sale.  No such luck this year, but I did find some Man From U.N.C.L.E. magazines that looked like fun.  

I went through my Man from U.N.C.L.E. phase about five years ago, watching the old show religiously.  Open Channel D, bitches!  My vintage paperback collection has many of the tie-in novels, but these magazines are new to me.  Each issue features an U.N.C.L.E novella, plus a half dozen unrelated short stories.  Nice. There were stacks of old magazines like Life and Saturday Evening Post but after flipping through a couple dozen I determined there was nothing there for me.  

However, I did find these old newspapers from 1961:  a couple from Arizona, one from Philadelphia, and a couple from New York, all celebrating astronauts and the space program.  I haven't really explored the non-space related content from these newspapers, but I'm looking forward to it.   

We browsed for over three hours.  Fiction is my priority, my first love, but once I've had my fill I allow myself to drift over into other sections:  poetry, film, humor and biography.  

Among the mysteries, I found a first edition of  The Lights of Skaro (Random House, 1954) by David Dodge.  It's not as interesting as To Catch a Thief, but--much like my encounter with T.S. Eliot--once I found it I couldn't ignore it.  

Last year I stumbled upon some terrific Grove hardcovers mixed in with the erotica, but that particular cupboard was bare this year.  I did find an old sex manual with illustrations featuring articulated wooden models, but (yawn) I've seen that sort of thing before.  

We checked out of the sale by noon, thoroughly satisfied with our purchases.

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