Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Escapism follow-up

I'm still here in Bangor, Maine (not in Tangier). Feeling better today and I do love books again. Though it did occur to me last night that if I sold all the books I own, I could take a trip around the world. Possibly two trips. Hm. How about that.

Unrelated but relevant: a hint to anyone who is or wishes to become a used book merchant - if at all possible, do not put books in stacks on the floor, thinking you will deal with them at a later date. This date may never come. These piles quickly become fixtures, and the general rule of the book-pile vortex seems to be, after years of observation, that it takes at least four times longer to dismantle a given pile than it did to stack it up in the first place. I mention this as a public service, because today I'm tackling the windrows of weird books that somehow formed piles behind my desk this fall. I swear I don't know how they got there. During excavation, I found one book that has since gone to live in the fancy glass case with a price of $150 on it (an early edition of Pinocchio), two cartons' worth of dreck to leave at the thrift shop, and all sorts of odd stuff between those two extremes. And I can now see the floor. Which needs vacuuming (Ah, the romance and glamour of running your own business!), but I'm in a cleaning-up mood, so I'm contemplating doing that, and I'm even working on a few of the piles in the back room. Which is a whole different situation - books relegated back there, also "to be sorted at a later date," are practically fossils. One great thing I rediscovered - I've unearthed a lower shelf of old booksellers' catalogues, which did have boxes piled in front of it for... let's just say a while. I think I'll post a few here in the coming weeks. Maggs, H.P. Kraus, Goodspeed's, I've got some nice old ones. They make great reading. I'd like to have some of those books at the prices listed - I'd be able to go around the world three times. And pay off the mortgage early.

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