An experiment I’ve been conducting since moving to Los Angeles: not buying books deliberately. This is not to imply abstinence, merely that I’ve opted to not acquire books based on my desire for them, instead letting fate and chance determine what ends up getting purchased. I can’t swear to total fealty to this approach– there have been a handful of Amazon foulups– but mostly I’ve kept to the technique. LA helps: is this the only major city in the US without a crazy huge warehouse bookstore?
A major component of the strategy has been the cheap acquisition of titles at the Hollywood & Western Out of the Closet, which has the best selection I’ve ever seen in a thrift store. Most books sell for $0.25. My guess is that these shelves are the end destination for the collections of the recent (but not rich) Hollywood dead & volumes given up by failed actors before the move home. Along with countless great deals, I’ve found many oddities — including a book club edition of Bellow’s Herzog that had been a rental at a local Hollywood bookstore in the 1960s. It still has the store’s secondary dustjacket detailing the terms of rentals. $0.05 a day.
Just recently I came across the weirdest book yet– a rebound copy of the 1960s Dover edition of Joris-Karl Huysmans’s A Rebours. I’ve read both the Dover and the Penguin, and if I’m not mistaken, this is the good translation. It keeps in all the homoerotica and god knows what else. Plus it’s readable. Anyway, considering that Dover’s books are designed to never fall apart, it is very strange to find one rebound– and, as the spine demonstrates, this is a privately rebound copy. It’s not a library book.
Huzzah for Peter Smith!
Other details include a flyleaf inscription by (presumed secondary) owner John G. Cleary, Jr., and another flyleaf inscription from the dealer that sold the volume. $4.50! I paid a quarter! The seller was Charles Sessler Inc., of Philadelphia, which seems to have been a storied establishment. Apparently now gone. Que sera sera.
Drudge in Hollywood
On Steve Ditko
From Sunset Blvd
Welcome to Kurdistan