Thursday, August 22, 2002

Looking over the exploits of my book-buying trip, I must say I am quite pleased with my purchases. The major purchases were at Munro's Books in Victoria, the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, and the Book Warehouse on Granville in Vancouver.

First, Munro's. Not too good this year. I was a bit disappointed because I came away with only a 99 cent copy of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist; a biography of Anais Nin by Deirdre Bair; Moliere's The School for Husbands & Sganarelle, or the Imaginary Cuckold; the full price Liane de Pougy's My Blue Notebooks: The Intimate Journals of Paris's Most Beautiful and Notorious Courtesan; and the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. At another Victoria store, I got an Aesop's Fables colouring book made with woodcut illustrations from a 1476 German edition.

At Elliott Bay, I bought Japan at War: An Oral History and faced a big dilemma about A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton. I decided to sleep on it and see if I would be any closer to buying it the next day. I had wanted to buy a Burton biography for so long. Twenty nine languages and twelve dialects! How did he do it?

The next day I went back to Elliott Bay, but, before taking Burton to the check-out counter, I thought I would have one last look around the bargain corner. In the end, I walked out with Henry James: A Life in Letters; An American Childhood by Annie Dillard; Ginsberg: A Biography; Was Huck Black?; Inventing Mark Twain: The Lives of Samuel Langhorne Clemens; and A People's History of the American Revolution.

Sending the books home through a book bag was quite straightforward. I must commend the helpful clerks, though they did forget to refund my money for the envelope I didn't buy - the greedy rats! The only snag to sending books through this system is that you need an American return address.

(In between here I got Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Read the bad bits about Nero, Tiberius and Caligula.)

Finally, my complete triumph at the Book Warehouse. I got a few comic books and guidebooks about birds, seashells and mushrooms. I also got Black Boy, Richard Wright's "classic" autobiography; The Virgin Queen by Christopher Hibbert (no endnotes or footnotes!); Faith & Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser; Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard (the turbulent lives of the four
Lennox sisters, 1740-1832, but again no endnotes or footnotes!); Anna Akhmatova by Roberta Reeder; Vera: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov by Stacy Schiff; and D. H. Lawrence: The Story of a Marriage by Brenda Maddox (she of Nora fame).

My only other two purchases were Tuesday's 50 cent The Good Person of Szechwan (care of the Port Moody Public Library sales table) and the rediscovery of last year's forgotten buy, Tsvetaeva by Viktoria Schweitzer.

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