Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stop Me Before I Read Again!

Pratt Library's Annual Book Sale


Central Booking: Readers Queue Up Outside Pratt Library

I need more books like Mick Jagger needs more paternity suits. But I am a book whore, so like a moth to the high-octane flame, I was drawn once again to the nexus of bibliographic hording: the Annual Enoch Pratt Library Book Sale. Since I work there, it's actually kind of hard to avoid, but as a lifelong pack-rat horder of things, I need to fight off this urge to amass more stuff. I failed. But at book sale prices - hardbacks sell for 50 cents; paperbacks for 25 cents; maps and posters for 10 cents; and videos, CDs and DVDs sell for one dollar - who can blame my relapse into conspiciously thrifty consumption? And besides, proceeds go to buying more library books for my fellow Baltimorons in "The City That Reads."

Last year I limited myself to a handful of books and a very odd Encyclopedia Brittanica children's film short (on 16mm no less!) called Fantasy of Feet that was a deceptively innocent exercise in foot fetishism. (It also had a countdown reel that subversively substituted "666" for the number 6!)

This year I tried to be good, but when I encountered so many "clean" books (either gifts or Sunpaper review copies that were devoid of library labels and markings), I picked many up as gifts for friends and family. I list these not to boast but to let you know that far from being a dumping ground of dog-eared remaindered books and discarded damaged goods, the book sale's inventory contains a plenitude of valued page-turners. So the next time it rolls around, do some selective sifting through the piles; you might just find some gold.

Almosthipguy's Big Booksale Scores:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $14.95
Book sale price: 25 cents

I've already read it, but any book that has a hero named Kafka who sleeps with his Mom, gets handjobs from his sister, has a cat-torturing villain dressed like the Johnny Walker Scotch guy, a philosophical hooker who quotes Hegel, a benevolent spirit who takes the corporeal form of a pimp named Colonel Sanders, a retarded idiot savant hero who can talk with cats and, of course, cats who talk back, is a keeper.

Dispatches from the Tenth Circle: The Best of the Onion
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $16
Book sale price: 25 cents

"Funyons still outselling Responsibilityons" is one of the eye-catching headlines on the cover of this "best of" compilation from The Onion. The funniest writing in America. Need I say more? An essential purchase.




El Borbah by Charles Burns
Condition: Discarded library hardcover
Retail price: $16.95
Book sale price: 50 cents

Picking up anything by Charles Burns is a no-brainer. And if the hero just happens to be a masked wrestler/private detective? Bonus!






Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square
by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $17.95
Book sale price; 25 cents

God I love reading about sleaze! Especially vintage sleaze from the good old "sell the sizzle, not the steak" smut glory days of the '60s and '70s. This look at the pre-Disney Times Square movie scene was my big score this year. It's by Bill Landis, who wrote the best bio of Kenneth Anger (the out-of-print Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger), an effort for which Landis got himself "cursed" by the ever-cranky Mr. Anger. Reading about The Dirty Deuce made me dig out my other Times Square books, like Josh Alan Friedman's classic Tales of Times Square (now a movie) and When Sex Was Dirty.

Spent by Joe Matt
Condition: New hardcover
Retail price: $19.95
Book sale price; 50 cents

Though he's turned into a sort of one-trick pony whose best days are behind him (making Spent an eerily appropriate title for this work), I have to admit that I loved reading Joe Matt's autobiographical comic Peepshow when it first came out. Maybe because we seemed so similar - he's a skinny myopic with a poor diet who loves comics, pornography, and Asian women and is notoriously "fiscally conservative" (i.e., cheap). Plus his best friends are other cartoonists, people like Seth (Palookaville, It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken) and Chester Brown (Yummy Fur, I Never Liked You), who often served as the responsible adult Ego to Matt's unrestrained Id.

Spent collects the last couple of issues of Peepshow and chronicles Matt's anti-social personality (he keeps jars in his apartment to pee in so he doesn't have to use the shared bathroom in his boarding house!), his compulsive masturbatory habits (he claims to have "spent" himself up to 6 times a day), and his curious porn tape editing fixation - the latter reminding me of the time my friend Scott Huffines (who used to carry Matt's comics at Atomic Books) and I met Matt at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD. I remember Scott tried to trade XXX tapes with Matt, but Matt refused them because they were "unedited pre-records" and he said that he only watched tapes that he could edit down to his personal tastes (which included cutting out all shots of men's faces/asses, all reaction shots, and anything remotely resembling plot/narrative). Weird guy! But his unrepentant excesses actually made me look in the mirror and feel shame, so I guess I should thank him! (Personal aside: For some reason my feminist ex-girlfriend loved Joe Matt, though he represented everything she claimed to detest in me and all other men not named Joe Matt - go figure!)

Let Me Finish by Udo Grashof
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $16.51
Book sale price: 25 cents

A fascinating collection of suicide notes amassed by the author over the years, many with unforseen endings (like the guy who slit his wrists, took pills and crashed his car hoping for instant death, only to end up suffering for 10 days in a hospital before succumbing to his crash injuries). Misery loves company and there's plenty of it in this volume.

KISS: The Early Years
Condition: Nearly new library discard, hardcover
Retail price: $24.95
Book sale price: 50 cents

Picked it up for my KISS-fanatic friend, the one for whom Ace Freeley's upcoming solo tour is the most exciting musical news of the new Millenium.




America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart & The Daily Show
Condition: Nearly new library discard, hardcover
Retail price: This edition is out-of-print, but new it went for $15.95
Book sale price: 50 cents

OK, it's from 2005 and perhaps played out, but better late than never. In the same spirit as The Onion and just as funny and probably more factually accurate than the civics and history books we read in high school.

Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit by Robert Bogdan
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $22.50
Book sale price: 25 cents

I see enough freaks on a daily basis, so the whole Jim Rose/sideshow/body modification scene no longer titillates me as it once did. Others still collect this sort of thing, so I picked this up, and a few other freak books, for Baltimore's Sideshow Peanut Gallery.

American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History's Most Wondrous and Curiously Strange Performers by Marc Hartzman
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $16.95
Book sale price; 25 cents

This A to Z guide is the best sideshow/freak book I've seen, a handy reference book for those into this sort of thing, which I'm not anymore, so I picked it up as a potential gift item.

Circus of the Scars: The True Inside Odyssey of a Modern Circus Sideshow by Jan T. Gregor with Tim Cridland

Condition: Library discard, hardcover
Retail price: Out-of-print, used copies start at $29.55
Book sale price: 50 cents

Tim Cridland once toured as "The Torture King" with the Jim Rose Circus before branching out on his own (nice guy - I think I filmed one of his solo gigs years ago for Atomic TV at Fletchers), so I scarfed this up right away, and it's a good thing I did, as it looks to be out-of-print. Another future gift item.

The Voodoo MAD
Condition: New mass market paperback, 1963 edition
Retail price: Out-of-print
Book sale price: 25 cents

A MAD pocketbook from the 60s? Another no-brainer!




A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song by Steve Turner

Condition: Used library paperback, cover crease
Retail price: This edition's out-of-print, but used copies go for $12.95
Booksale price: 25 cents

You can never have enough Beatles books. I already own a copy, but this way I can spread the gospel via a gift.

Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter
Condition: New paperback
Retail price: $16
Book sale price: 25 cents

I repeat: You can never have enough Beatles books!




Weird U.S.
Condition: New hardcover
Retail price: $19.95
Book sale price: 50 cents

Had to pick it up, if only for the mention on page 132 of Delran, New Jersey's own native visionary artist, Suzanne Muldowney! Yup, you can look Underdog up in a social science and history book, kids - albeit one whose title is prefaced by the word Weird!

Une Ravissante Idiote by Charles Exbrayet
Condition: Used paperback in good shape
Retail price: Used copies of this edition goe for $10 and up
Book sale price: 25 cents

This French language book by mystery/thriller writer Charles Exbrayet was made into a 1964 movie starring Brigitte Bardot and Anthony Perkins. I picked this up as a Joyeux Noel present for my French filmmaker friend - the only person I knew who could possibly read it! Movie Tie-In Bonus: Bardot appears on the cover, suitable for framing. According to Books & Collectibles, that qualifies it as a rare, collectible book. I'd be a ravishing idiot to pass it up!

Weird Maryland
Condition: New hardcover
Retail cost: $19.95
Cost: 50 cents

Any self-respecting Marylander needs this book, if only to learn about Maryland's own Abu Ghraib - the abandoned and horrifically haunted Glenn Dale Hospital, a former mental asylum filled with miles of corridors that used to be home to patients who were rumored to have been tortured, experimented upon and murdered. Plus shout outs to the Goat Man, the Bunny Man, the Snallygaster, Creature Feature's Count Gore Devol, Divine, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and Dundalk's U.F.O. house.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the Dundalk UFO house long gone?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous zukzon said...

เว็บตรงไม่ผ่านเอเย่นต์
จบในเว็บนี้เว็บเดียวรวมเกมสล็อตแตกง่าย
ทุกค่ายดัง

3:03 PM  
Anonymous zukzon said...

เล่นง่าย ได้เงิuเร็วสล็อตjoker
เกม แคนดี้ สุดน่ารักจากค่ายสล็อตpgแตกง่าย

3:05 PM  
Anonymous zukzon said...

แนะนำเว็บพนันบอล
ออนไลน์สำหรับนักลงทุน จ่ายไม่อั้นสูงสุดถึงหลักล้าน

3:05 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home