Tuesday, December 18, 2018


time is a bandit

On our travels out and about the other day we noticed a book sale sign at a local library of note.  They don't usually have their sale room open right now so we stopped in for a look-see.  I received a heads-up from a dealer-friend that I missed a great sale there a few weeks ago - someone donated a lot of art books and people were stacking them up like pancakes, to buy buy buy.  I thought at the time, Oh well, probably for the best, enough books in the sea, and moved on.  But there we were, going by on Saturday afternoon, so we stopped in, and except for one other couple, we were the only people at the sale at that time of day.  I didn't expect to find much but quickly released those lackluster expectations when I started to look at the books themselves.  On the shelves in the sale room: wonderful poetry books, literature, art, essays, biographies, and more.  We bought a carton and two bags full of books for $85, more than usual because one book was $20, but it was a good one!  Most everything else was just a dollar a book.  Many of these books were from the collection of this person who donated her books en masse to the friends of the library.  Oh the books.  They are wonderful.  I am selling some, and will keep many.  Here are a few of each:

Montaigne!  Baudelaire!  Elizabeth Bishop!  Adrienne Rich!  Alan Bennett!  Lovely fat hardcovers in decent condition!  Many first editions!  I could buy books like this all day long.  Except for the Rose Macaulay book I think all of these belonged to that same owner.  She wrote her name, the date, and her town or city of residence inside the front covers of some of these and many others.  I saw books with her name from seven decades, and from at least five of the places she lived, the last two of which were here in Maine.  It looks like, throughout her life, she bought wonderful books when they were first published, and kept them well.  I hope she lived a long and happy life.  I know she lived a rich and interesting one, with these books for company.  And now, here are the books again, released back into the wild as it were.  I will add my bookplates to a few and attempt to sell the rest to new owners, to help keep the book world slowly turning.

Looking at everything, I found myself cogitating over the passage of time and the knowledge that everything in its turn will eventually be dispersed.  Our very own books.  (Our very own selves!)  Sigh.  What to do about that, I do not know.  Time is a bandit, we've been saying around here a lot lately.  Everything seems to give me pause while simultaneously sending me to work, hard, to make life matter.  Weeks and years tick by too quickly.  Another birthday, another new year.  I remember the turning of the millenium so clearly, and just like that, nearly two decades have come and gone.  And a book I just read brought my even earlier years into clear focus this week so I am feeling more melancholy than usual.  Apologies!  Let's be of good cheer.  How about I speak of that book another time, and simply say the following, for now.  Thank you to the giver of these books.  Thank you for your long life in books.  May we all be so fortunate.  I will continue to count my blessings like books on the shelf, one after the next, each so full of life and so real, now and always.

The best of the season, to you and Ryan!

I love Rose Macaulay and haven't heard of that one - and what a beautiful edition it is! How nice to be able to trace the owner's life across seven decades at the sale!
Happiest of new years, Dan, I hope you are well and thriving! And reading! xxoo
Dear Simon, thanks for your comment - I too love Rose Macaulay and just finished reading the little book to the left of her "Life Among the English" in the picture - essays by various authors, edited by John Lehmann, about how and when authors encountered London, "Coming to London" - I mention it because my favorite essay in the book is by Rose Macaulay. She talks about being in the city as a young woman just out of school, walking around with family friend Rupert Brooke, who was so striking that people would stop and stare and she was proud to be his friend. What a great writer she is. "Pleasure of Ruins" a favorite of mine.

Love your blog, even though I almost always lurk and don't comment (sorry...). xxoo
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