Friday is a day in which I have a few rare spare hours to myself after lunch, and I often like to browse my beloved labyrinthine used bookstore in one of those hours. Last week, I managed to leave without picking anything up, but today I couldn’t resist these two Williams.
Wiliam H. Gass’s last collection of fiction Eyes jumped out at me. I struggled with his bigass opus The Tunnel last year, hardly making a dent, but I loved Middle C as well as the novellas in Cartesian Sonata and Other Novellas—so maybe Eyes will be more manageable.
I wasn’t actually browsing the Faulkner section, simply walking past it, but the orange spine of a 1960 Penguin edition of Go Down, Moses jumped out at me. I’m a sucker for these Penguin editions, and Go Down, Moses is my favorite Faulkner (I haven’t read everything Faulkner wrote but I doubt he wrote anything as great as “The Bear”). This edition makes a nice partner with the copy of Intruder in the Dust I picked up a few years ago, too.
Intruder is a really underrated Faulkner novel in my estimation, and Clarence Brown’s 1949 film adaptation is pretty strong as well.
I was attracted to another orange book, an English-language Japanese publication of Kenzaburo Oe’s The Silent Cry, but I had to pass on it—the print was tiny and my forty-year-old eyes aren’t as strong as they used to be. The cover is gorgeous though:
Has Man a Future? by Bertrand Russell. 1961 Penugin U.S. paperback. Cover design by Richard Hollis, using a photo credited to USIS.
I’m Not Stiller by Max Frisch. English translation by Michael Bullock. 1961 Penguin paperback (Great Britain). Cover by John Griffiths.
The Last Summer by Boris Pasternak. English translation by George Reavey. 1961 Penguin paperback (Great Britain). Cover illustration of the author by his father, Leonid Pasternak.
From Scarfolk Council, one of the finest sites I’ve seen in sometime. Their self-description:
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.
The site’s got this wonderfully weird Wickerman / Ballard / Prisoner vibe to it. Very cool stuff.
Book shelves series #5, fifth Sunday of 2012: In which we leave the southern wing of the house where the bedrooms are and enter a formal sitting room.
Okay. So. When I started this project, it was easy to identify the rooms in the house—they were bedrooms. As we go, I’ll have to occasionally make up names for rooms, often names that don’t really fit. Our house is a 1956 ranch with some of the atomic flavor, so it’s long and rectangular and very open—rooms open up into other rooms; spaces are demarcated more by ideas of rooms and not, say, walls. The house is essentially three sections; we’ve left the first, the bedrooms, and now move into a series of rooms for living and eating and cooking and sitting. And reading. I mapped out a little route for the rest of this series, and the first stop is this mid-century LP cabinet in what I’ll call, for lack of a better term, our formal sitting room. The cabinet once held many of my records but is now filled with comic books (more on those next week).
The books that set on top of it are coffee tablish, I suppose, and they tend to rotate, although there’s usually a stray novel or two that sets here as well. Today we’ll look at the two on top now: Penguin by Design and Atomic Ranch.
There’s also an Emerson Wondergram record player that sets on the table; I suppose it was the iPod of its day (see one in action here).
Atomic Ranch is my wife’s, although I don’t really make such distinctions when it comes to books. We lived for years in a bungalow and she amassed books dedicated to craftsman homes during that time; when we moved to the ’50s ranch, she wanted this:
Penguin by Design is essential for anyone who drools over beautiful modern book covers.
My pics are lousy—sorry—but just a few editions I’d love to pick up one day:
Next week, we’ll look at some of the comic books inside the cabinet.