Etsy seller goes verbal
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I love libraries. Growing up, I loved the Pine Hills Library, and also Harmanus Bleecker. The Pine Hills Library was in a dark old creaky house, which held out a lot of promise for the books you were going to find in there. Harmanus Bleecker was a lot grander; it was a big old manor house, and had a really great name, which I would sometimes say over and over for no reason just because I loved it. RIP Pine Hills and Harmanus Bleecker Libraries.
In this new age, I cannot get over what libraries have become. Internet is free, e-books are free, meeting rooms are free. There are no late fees. Talking is allowed. And, best of all, lots of libraries have sale rooms. I started going to the sale rooms mostly to buy books for their covers. I love the lurid graphics of mid-20th century book jackets. And then I got into reading the books. They were mediocre. (In contemporary culture, I think, a lot of stuff is, and it’s up to future generations to whittle it down to real art or music or literature–which is timeless.)
In these books there was often a commonality, such as a plot where the family goes out of New York City for the summer, and the husband stays behind to work…and then what he does with his freedom. Sometimes on his adventures he would come upon what’s called in French a ‘Bal Populaire,’ a dance, outside, open to everyone, where kids would be doing the latest crazy dances. And in my mind’s eye I see these scenes in the style of Alice Neel and the WPA painters of the time. People were so progressive in the thirties, with their communism and free love and their jive dancing and World of Tomorrow.
And so it’s kind of like being on drugs, reading these old books from another era. It’s jarring. When you read Jane Austen, you soon get over the talk of carriages and so forth because the books are so enduring. But this is the opposite, because you are glimpsing a world which is fleeting and ephemeral because the book is not so well-written, and its truths are neither timeless nor universal. But they do open the door to another world, and when Amazon.com gets time machines, I will definitely visit the 1930s first. I just hope everything’s still all black-and-white, like in the movies….
Once I got a book at a Goodwill. It was a collection of short stories, and at the back it had an extensive bibliography, like they used to, as well as an afterward that was like a whole nother bibliography. But a lot of the books mentioned there were already out of print by, say, 1950, when my book was printed. Anyway, I looked one up on eBay, it was called ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ and they had it! In Australia! So I ordered it, it was about ten dollars, and, I remember, I ordered it on December 31, 2010. I got the book soon after, and i happened to notice the printing date: January, 2011!! That’s how I found out about book-printing machines. I think they are amazing, you can really print anything these days, whether it’s a single book or whatever!