Saturday, September 24, 2016

A ridiculous orgy of bookshopping

Well, this has been another of those weeks. The weeks when the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library have their Big Book Sale. The weeks that end in exhaustion and a mingling of giddiness and shame. The weeks when Andy imagines what life might have been like had he married someone less obsessed with books.

And this time, I am almost embarrassed to show you the photo of all the damage. I really don't quite know what came over me. It was, I believe, a particularly good book sale, so that there were many genuinely exciting finds. And the excitement from those finds somehow led me (much like an alcoholic on a bender) to get more and more carried away, which led to more exciting finds, which led to, well, you get the picture.

But I must face up to what I've done, and so I make a full confession of the scope of my depravity, in a single photo:


As Colonel Hastings so often says on the "Poirot" series that we've been addictively watching on Netflix, "Good heavens!"

The grand total: a staggering 96 books (and we were staggering, from exhaustion if nothing else, rest assured). This is actually the product of two different trips to the sale, one to the madness of the Tuesday evening "members only" preview, from whence 59 of the books came, and then a surprisingly successful reconnaissance mission today, which brought 30 more books into our apartment. (No, it's not that I can't do math, but 7 of the books actually came from a book giveaway, believe it or not, hosted in our neighborhood this past Sunday. See below)

I will say upfront that, alas, with our trip looming in less than two weeks now (!!!!) and last-minute planning going on at a frenzied pace, not to mention with the sheer numbers of books in this haul, I don't have time to do the full individualized book fetishization that I usually do for these posts, and which I dearly wish I could do this time too (I've kept returning to the piles of books all week long, merely to gaze adoringly at them, as Andy sighs). Perhaps I can return to them in November for further fetishization. But I will provide some more detailed pics and some brief explanations of some exciting finds.

First, those of you from the DES discussion list, and others who are fans of D. E. Stevenson, just look at this:


It seems ungrateful somehow to have any regret at all over finding an unprecedented six DES novels at one sale, but I can't help a tiny wish that I could have found just one more Mrs. Tim, Mrs. Tim Carries On, which would have made a complete (if slightly bedraggled) set. I don't even put DES on Andy's list of authors to search for anymore, because they're simply never there. But suddenly, on Tuesday night, there were four of them, and today, amazingly not picked over on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, there were two more. 

Other finds are perhaps less astonishing, but nevertheless very satisfying. Here are some of the best of the hardcovers I came across:


The one that you can't make out at all, in the middle of the pile, is, appropriately enough, a study of Bath by the eccentric and entertaining Edith Sitwell. I'm afraid it may have to make more of a reminiscence after our return than a preparation for it, as my time is limited in the next two weeks (what with the actual publication of the Furrowed Middlebrow books just a few days before we depart!), but I'm happy to have the book anyway. And I had just been thinking I needed to read Doris Grumbach's novel about the Ladies of Llangollen, and there it was in a pristine first edition! And here are even more hardcover finds:


I seem to be collecting Anita Brookner novels now. I've only read two of them, but I now have three more to add to the two that were already on my TBR shelves. Ahem. The Elisabeth de Waal novel on top was, as many of you know, a Persephone reprint last year, and I've always meant to buy it, so how could I resist a pristine copy of the American edition for $3?! I was delighted to find a lovely copy of Elizabeth Bowen's stories, and yes, that is actually a Mabel Esther Allan in there, another first for this book sale.

Of course, what is any book sale without a few lovely green Viragos:


I even had substantial success at the tables of paperbacks this time around, which I usually save for the bitter end because so few of my authors have been reprinted enough to be available in paperback:


That incredibly beaten up book on top, which you may not be able to read, is a 1947 Pan paperback of Rose Macaulay's Staying with Relations, a book I read only recently from the library (I hope to report on it here some time before the next presidential election!). I'm sure I'll be fetishizing that one here somewhere down the road...

But wait, there's more, as they say. Here's a whole slew of other books not quite so directly related to this blog, but I was on a bender (and apparently laboring under the misapprehension that I would a. live forever, and b. have unlimited time for reader):


A few of these will be re-reads of books I know from my misspent youth as a scholar of modernism, but a few I don't even know anything about. Will the Maurice Baring be a keeper, one wonders, never having heard of him before? But it was published by Oxford Twentieth Century Classics, so I added it to my granny cart. And who on earth is Theodora Keogh? We shall see. But as for the book on top, Junichiro Tanizaki's The Makioka Sisters, some readers of this blog might find it as lovely and addictive as I did. It's a rather quiet novel of domestic family life in Japan in a time of social change, so I can't resist a quick recommendation of it.

I didn't neglect the mystery table, though I had perhaps a bit less success than usual:


Those are the last two Iain Pears art history mysteries that I didn't have, so I was pleased with that, and one of those might make its way onto the flight to England with me.

And last but not least (well, perhaps least as well, but not negligible anyway), I mentioned the book giveaway held in our neighborhood last weekend. We almost forgot all about it, what with the Emmy Awards on Sunday and preparations for our trip, as well as anticipation for the bookstore, but we sauntered down the hill on Sunday afternoon and I came back with seven books:


Yes, that makes three E. F. Bensons in all this week, in addition to the Mapp & Lucia series waiting patiently on my Kindle, all despite never having actually read one of his books. But smarter people than me adore him, so I am preparing to be addicted.

And that's that. A mere 96 novels to add to bookshelves I only recently culled with considerable agonizings and tearing of hair. Clearly, we need a bigger apartment...

But as a closing, here are some photos the nearly exact copies of which you've seen several times before, but Andy took a few pictures of me, the line, and the inside of the book sale for a co-worker who had never been, so I might as well share them with you as well:

Geek waiting (im)patiently in line

The (almost) full length of the line 15-20 minutes before opening

Early on in the sale, before all the hordes from further back in
line had made their way inside

All in all, a completely decadent example of lack of self-control. But, as the youngsters say these days, "Sorry not sorry!"
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