Two Weeks Before the Opening of Swan’s Fine Books… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Sound familiar? Have you ever heard the old saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? I’d worked hard to draw up a wonderful timeline of everything that needed to be done to open the store, as planned, on May 1. Oh, it was a thing of beauty: a lovely outline, with all sorts and manner of indents, radio buttons, and highlighting. Everything neatly laid out with a day, time, name, desired outcome. I knew that if I only followed THE PLAN, the month of April would be smooth sailing and May 1 would arrive without a hitch. Well, God
Brick and Mortar Thoughts Archive
I didn’t join Goodreads. Mostly because until recently I didn’t know what it was or what I would want to join for. Many authors and friends had suggested via facebook I should join, and that only made me less likely to do so, because I assumed it was another facebook game or oddity. When I finally realized it consisted of normal people, well, as normal as any one who would join something called Goodreads–meaning lovers of the written word–are, the grassroots group sold out to the man, as the kids in my youth would say. They sold their original nice friendly swapping of what members enjoyed and didn’t like to the Robber Baron devil of Amazon. On the Goodreads home page, the list owners describe
Among the powers wielded by a bookshop owner is the authority to unite on the shelf what could never be united in life. At Circle City Books this week two of the most valuable books that have come my way were paired in a forced marriage that might still set the heavens aflame. Last fall I found a copy of “The Fountainhead,” the 1947 edition (issued for the release of the Gary Cooper movie version) of Ayn Rand’s early polemic against collectivism, and because it is a strikingly handsome copy, I’ve had it on display ever since. This book, as you might know, is one of the more controversial novels in the English language, at least insofar as it provokes people just by being seen.
Murphy’s Loft, Mullica Hill NJ. This was my third experience in this laid back book and ephemera store. I visited years ago, and then a few months back, right after the original owner retired, and her son (grandson?) took the reins. Unfortunately, his mother decided to rid herself of half the inventory, so he let it be known he was fine with trade ins, if I had them. Ha, is the pope catholic? (at least he was when the smoke cleared). It took me months to get myself in gear and bring the boxes piled up at my mother’s front door–yes there was still room to go in and out–barely. I had around 5 filled regular sized boxes, and a couple of bag pretty nice copies.
“Collect books, for as ye stow, so shall ye read.” This is the new motto of Circle City Books. I started thinking about epigrams several weeks ago when a woodworker happened by, peddling free-standing sandwich-board signs. I bought one put it on the sidewalk in front of the store. On one side I put in chalk “Open Eight Days a Week,” and on the other I have been rotating what I hope are amusing epigrams that relate in some way to books. I started with paraphrasing Oscar Wilde: “Cheap editions of great books are preferable to cheap editions of great men.” After a week or so, I turned to Mark Twain: “Beware of health books; you might die of a misprint.” And then, “No