Sunday, October 28, 2007

Used Book Store Redux

Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of my review being due on a weekly basis rather than affording the leisure of two weeks to read the work at hand. It was probably a reasonable fear speaking out when, as I sat in the editor's office and agreed to the new, weekly schedule, I suggested, How about if I alternate between new books and golden oldies. Of course, looking at the logic, I realize it takes just as long to read and review an old book as it does a new book, and so my reasonable fear, as in how am I going to fit that in, was speaking quite reasonably.

The cyber ink is still wet on my most recent review, a golden oldie, just spell-checked, copyedited, and sent off. The connect between this act and revisiting used book stores is not so tenuous as it might seem. When first published in 1965 by Viking Press, which among others, published John Steinbeck, Stoner by John Williams sold two thousand copies. Nevertheless, that was then, a different approach to taking on titles, and sure enough, John Williams went on to write another novel, an historical, that won the National Book Award.

The connect to used book stores is still coming, as in, I'd have to haunt one or, worse haunt to have found a copy of the original. Lucky for me, New York Review of Books has reissued Stoner in their splendid classics series. They also have a reissue of Mrs. Wharton's New York short stories which I'm about to dip into. Their Summer 08 catalog looks so hot I may be accused of a sweetheart deal if I ask for and review too many.

Used book stores are splendid venues for the good stuff from the past. Because there are so many flat-out bad books as well as books not to my taste, the search for something worthwhile, exciting even, intensifies the atmosphere of the read to come.

Twenty-six new books and twenty-six golden oldies a year. Nice balance.

There is a new Richard Russo, which I may have a go at for the next newbie, and in the interests of two birds with one stone, it might be fun to reread Mario Vargas Llosa's The Perpetual Orgy, which is a splendid study of Flaubert, which suits me quite well because there's some good stuff on Madam Bovary and said Bovary is a beehive of varying points of view, and on the weekend of the 11-12 of November, I have a longish workshop on, you guessed it, point of view.

I think there's a copy of The Perpetual Orgy in the garage somewhere; if I can't find it there, I can it the used book store on Anapamu and State and if they don't have it, there's Amazon and they're sure used book store, right?

1 comment:

x said...

That seems like a challenging yet not too demanding review schedule. I miss used book stores. They are all gone around here.