A Month away from Blogging! Yiiii!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Apologies for the vacation; I've been hoping to become more constant in my posting -- and, of course, that trick never works.

So for today's post (and let's see whether I can pick up the pace), I take you behind the scenes of my recent book-store bargains, thereby providing a behind-the-scenes look at the sorts of thing that captures my attention. (You know how, when you go into an antiques shop, the staffer will ask you what you're looking for? I can never answer with a specific, because -- as in a used-book store -- I won't know it until I see it.)

Conkey's, a fixture in downtown Appleton, Wis., had been in business for 113 years. While the current owner still hopes to find a buyer, everything in the store is being liquidated, so I stopped by on a whim on Sept. 2, two days after the official close. Aside from the fixtures' flat pricing (I bought two tabletop items, one for a flat $2, one for $3), everything was 75% off. So -- in a store selling its stock of already-well-picked-over volumes, how could I find anything of interest?

$6.25 Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Topffer by David Kunzle, paperback, 2007. The biography (including a brief tracing of the influence Topffer had) accompanied Kunzle's collection of Topffer's strips.

$6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Court: The J.K. Rowling Copyright Case and the Question of Fair Use by Robert S. Want, paperback, 2008. It contains a lengthy discussion of what fair use is, a history of the legal actions taken leading up to the actual trial, Rowling's testimony, and the judge's decision.

$2.25 A Reconstructed Corpse by Simon Brett (Large Print Edition), jacketed hardcover, 1993. While the Charles Paris mysteries are my favorites of Brett's work, I also enjoy the Mrs. Pargeter novels.

$2 Talking Funny for Money: An Introduction to the Cartoon/Character/Looping Area of Voice-Overs by Pamela Lewis, paperback with 2 CDs, 2003. 2CDs: How could I not buy it? There's lots of solid information (even including contact info for the New York-area performers involved in the demos).

$1.75 Biblical Figures outside the Bible edited by Michael E. Stone and Theodore A. Bergen, paperback, 1998. Here are a number of scholarly essays on apocryphal tales of Adam and Eve, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, Joseph, and Ezekiel, among others.

$1.75 Mystery Women: An Encyclopedia of Leading Women Characters in Mystery Fiction Volume I: 1860-1979 by Colleen A. Barnett, paperback, 1997. Since the volume is complete in itself, I didn't need Volumes II and III (though I'd have bought them, had they been there). I'm not sure why Marlene Dietrich is on the cover; the photo doesn't seem to be sourced or explained. Nevertheless, the book is informative, and I like the notation on the dedication page: "In recognition: One hundred years ago, Anna Katherine Green published That Affair Next Door which launched Amelia Butterworth, the first female sleuth to play significant roles in three mysteries." I'm not nuts about the book's organization, in which the user needs to know the era of the character in order to locate her. (An index would have been more than handy.) Nevertheless, it's informative.

$1 Work Hard and You Shall Be Rewarded: Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire by Alan Dundes and Carl R. Pagter, paperback, 1992. I'm intrigued by urban myths and folklore in general, and here the authors take a look at a series of stories, gags, etc. perpetrated in faxed memos and the like. Some of these are, of course, now showing up in e-mails, on Facebook, etc. (I haven't done more than glance through the book at this point, but my guess is that some of the picture-plus-text material originated in greeting cards.)

Not a bad accumulation ...


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