i went to my favorite bookstore the other day: http://www.samwellers.com/ (which is sam weller’s downtown salt lake city. this is a link to their online rare / used books.) they have a sale with 25% off of used and rare books as they are moving. i got some good deals and found some lovely lovely things. here’s what i ended up buying:
- Imagination – Stories of Science and Fantasy, Sept.1951
- Astounding Science Fiction, Oct. 1951 (awesome cover!!!) (see top of post)
- Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1979
- Macaulay’s Life of Samuel Johnson – with a selection from his Essay on Johnson, Standard English Classics, Boston 1903 (nice little hardbound, formerly owned by someone named Flora Woodmansee, 1 USD)
- Autobiography of So-and-so: Poems in Prose, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, 2001
i love the old sci-fi magazines, short stories with little blood and gore but interesting ideas. also, not a lot of tech-talk or space-boom-bang-fighting. and best of all, the covers…
now why did i buy the life of johnson, you ask? or you won’t ask; you might think i just got it cos i am into literary figures. truth is, i bought it as a source book for quotes to use in the prose poems i have been writing lately. they tend to be studded with footnotes and annotations and there is nothing quite like the odd little old book to look to for ideas. in this context i have also used a copy of hippisley’s haunted britain (from the early 70s) which is full of oddities. the johnson book has a large part about macaulay himself and his childhood and lifetime, and wow he sounds like he was quite the character. explaining calmly at four years old, after having been burnt by spilled hot tea (or was it coffee? does it matter?) that “The agony has abated.” uh. sure. rather your kid than mine. 🙂
other reading materials bought this week:
- columbia poetry review # 22/spring 2009
- a public space # 08/2009
- simpsons comics # 157 – “Marge’s extreme make-under” fun story – with a moral?!
- simpsons comics # 156 – “The Simpsons save the world” not their strongest story
- simpsons super spectacular # 9 – part 3 of 3 of a radioactive man story arch, a bit lame
- bart simpson # 49 – “Children of the Cob” is a wacky fun story
highly recommended from the past three weeks’ readings:
Ox-Tales – this is a series of four books of short stories by various well-known and skilled authors somehow connected to the UK:
Kate Atkinson, Beryl Bainbridge, William Boyd, Jonathan Buckley, Jonathan Coe, Geoff Dyer, Michel Faber, Sebastian Faulks, Helen Fielding, Giles Foden, Esther Freud, Xialou Guo, Mark Haddon, Zoë Heller, Victoria Hislop, A.L. Kennedy, Hari Kunzru, Hanif Kureishi, John le Carré, Marina Lewycka, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Morpurgo, David Park, DBC Pierre, Ian Rankin, Vikram Seth, Nicholas Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie, Lionel Shriver, Helen Simpson, Ali Smith, William Sutcliffe, Rose Tremain, Joanna Trollope, Louise Welsh, and Jeanette Winterson.
each volume has as focus or connecting element, one of the elements: earth, air, water, fire. my favorite so far is “fire” – although all three books i have read so far (“earth” – volume 1 of the series, ironically – is waiting for me to read when i get back home in october) had many intriguing stories. the variety of voices and backgrounds and settings is highly enjoyable. the stories are short so this makes great reading on trains, buses, planes, waiting, or just as a little brain-snack during the day. stories of love, mystery, cultural differences, discoveries, – as varied as any collection of stories could be.
a pleasing side-effect to this reading adventure is that more than half of what you pay goes to support Oxfam, a remarkable charity that works internationally as well as locally to “make poverty history”, make disaster areas livable again, and educate people to help and support themselves. oxfam also promotes fair trade and arms control. to learn more about Oxfam, go here: http://www.oxfam.org/
[the original price for each book is 5 GBP, 3.5 of which go straight to Oxfam. i paid about 7.7 euros, money well spent.]