Friday, August 24, 2012

Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?

My Grand Southern Literary Tour traveling companion Rose and I managed to go to two fairs today. The first was the State Fair where we looked at quilts, cakes, watercolors and photographs, painted china, sculptures, and decorated Christmas trees until out knees and feet gave out.

Over lunch, somehow one of us mentioned the book fair held this weekend at an historic home here and off we went. Much more dangerous than riding a roller coaster on the midway.

I ran into two fellows that I had worked with in an independent bookstore in the '90s. A couple of years ago and after a good fight, that bookstore went the way of so many, but these guys were still in the business. One has always had a used book and out-of-print concern going and the other buys remainders. They were helping out at this book fair and it was great to see them again.

I have been to the public library's twice-a-year book sale many times. It has gotten very big and tiresome. Too many tables, piles, boxes, and people. Today's sale was quite manageable and of course within the hour I walked out with a stack.

Here is the haul:
One Man's Meat by E.B. White which replaces my paperback edition and is #8 on my List of 10. It is inscribed to: Ruth Ferguson Smythe - For Christmas 1944 - From Fred. I hope she enjoyed it.

The Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb and a copy of Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and his sister Mary Lamb. I had just written about them here. It seemed fortuitous that these two books were for sale.

Another hardback to replace my paperback copy of The Art of the Personal Essay edited by Phillip Lopate. This is a very thick book, some 777 pages, and very difficult to read in paperback form. I actually recognize the inventory sticker; this book came from my former bookstore. Yikes. The date: 1994.

Two others are new to me: My Ears Are Bent by Joseph Mitchell and The Writer Observed by Harvey Breit.

Mitchell was a newspaper man in New York City from 1929 until 1938 when he went to work for The New Yorker.  This is a collection of feature stories and articles from his newspaper days. They were originally published in book form in 1938. My very clean, crisp edition was published in 2001 and contains the original stories and some additional ones as well. Just my cup of tea.

Breit was on the editorial staff of The New York Times Book Review. His book is a collection of 60 of his weekly "Talks With -----" columns. It was published in 1956. Here are interviews with T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bowen, Dylan Thomas, Christopher Morley, and Angela Thirkell. There are also interviews with many I have written about on Belle, Book, and Candle: Hemingway, Faulkner, Thurber, Robert Penn Warren, and Aldous Huxley.

Treasures all.

I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend.

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