Monday, January 07, 2008


Rara avis

Trying not to watch Jonathan Lethem browse at the little library sale this past Saturday was like seeing an indigo bunting sitting for an hour in the forsythia outside your window: looking, but trying not to look too much or make any startling moves, not quite believing your eyes. I mean, you know they're out there somewhere, these famous and talented authors, living their lives and writing these fantastic books, but seeing one is a rare occurrence around here. That said, I saw JL at this particular library sale before, once, when I actually got up the nerve to tell him I enjoyed his writing, and bythewayIhaveabookshop (Doh - see this blog, early June 2006). This time, no. Too few people there, I was too shy, I didn't want to bother him. Anyway, what else could I have said. Besides that, he looked too good. Well-dressed, hip but not too hip. Great hair. Not what we usually spot in the wild here in Maine, in January. Natives have to wear all L.L. Bean, all the time. It's the law. (Kidding. But not by much.)

On to the books - besides the memory of my glimpse of the bookish Mr. Lethem, I came away from the sale with two cartons of books for thirty-six bucks. A light catch, but it included an Edith Wharton first editon in fine condition, a first U.S. edition of Sara Crewe, or What Happened at Miss Minchin's (the book Burnett later expanded into The Little Princess), a first edition of Nelson Algren's book A Walk on the Wild Side (decent condition but no dust jacket, arg...), and a first U.S. of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan. I also picked up books by Michael Pollan, Maugham, Elspeth Huxley, Dashiell Hammett, Rabelais, Joyce, and Evelyn Waugh. And a pile of other stuff. I'm cleaning it up and getting it all out on the shelves on this customer-less morning.

Last January I spent the entire month with The Reader's Encyclopedia. This year, what. I have no plan, so I'm suffering from this vague malaise. And the shop remains too quiet for comfort. I clearly need a project. It's already been a long winter.

An Edith Wharton first! How lovely!
And to think that we almost went to that little sale. We stayed home so that Dave could install plumbing in the shop bathroom. Not quite as much fun as book hunting, but I am looking forward to results!

That's right, blame it on Dave. Well, perhaps we'll see you at the sale in February (weather-permitting). Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to spring?
Just discovered your blog this afternoon and enjoyed the visit. I'll be dropping in regularly.

A collector from the Adirondack Mountains,

Thanks, Judith. You're very welcome here any old time.
Ah, a Jonathan Lethem sighting. Better than a robin in March. How nice. I had him in our bookshop too several years back, when he must have been staying at the Yaddo Colony. I don't remember how fabulous his hair was (damn my eyes!) and I only knew it was him because he used a credit card to buy a book and I saw his name on the receipt. I was too shy to bug him, too, but I WANTED to tell him how funny and original I thought "Motherless Brooklyn" was.

Keep up the amusing posts. I really enjoy this blog.

-Rachel, Old Saratoga Books
Hi Rachel - JL's hair looked great *even after he'd taken off his cool hat* which just goes to show that genius can be sweetly dishevelled, while the rest of us just get hat head.

Sure do love the Book Trout...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?