I just ate a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich from La Bonita that I bought with a Diane Di Prima book. Right before hand, I had trotted over to Spoonbill and Sugartown to try to sell four rare books.
You see, I am a little sick today and so did not go into work, so I thought I should finally try to sell these books somewhere to make money since I did not go to work. I also took too long debating my sickness with myself, trying to decide if I should go into work and make money or stay home. I did this right until one-thirty, the time I am supposed to be at work, and since they just commented on my tardiness, I thought it would be better to call in sick rather than to show up half an hour late. Problem solved. So, I called in sick.
Then because I am sick and because I couldn't really go to the Strand to sell books, I went to a bookstore in my neighborhood, Spoonbill. I went with:
-Revolutionary Letters by Diane Di Prima - an early City Lights copy
-Candide - a printing of 625 illustrated by Paul Klee
-Candide - a printing of 1000 illustrated by Clara Tice
-Fortunate Son by J Hatfield - from the first printing that St. Martins recalled and burned
All four of these books were outrageously low priced at the Strand. I probably bought all four for about ten dollars, and if I were a good employee, I would have told the Strand that these books are worth more. The one I had the most guilt about buying was the never touched copy of Fortunate Son that still had the reviewer's inset in it, because the other ones were just stupid choices. Di Prima someone had made 48 cents because it is an old paperback, and no one there thinks old paperbacks are worth anything. But this one was an unknowing mistake. It was just stickered at half the cover price, whoever priced it probably was totally unaware of its publishing history, which you can read about here. St. Martins pulled the books out of stores after a week in print, caving in to threatening letters from Bush's lawyers, and said that they were going to burn the inventory! Soft Skull later put out the book in paperback form, and the author was trashed left and right by Bush lackeys digging into his past, and because of the pressure, Hatfield killed himself in a hotel room. So should I have let them know that really even though it looks like a normal new hardcover, it is in fact really rare, and should go up to the rare book room?
In case you cannot tell, I did not. (PS - this is also why this entry is locked.) Instead I brought these four books into Spoonbill today, and the man told me the only one he wanted was the Di Prima and that he would give me three bucks for it. Ergo, the bacon, egg, and cheese. I asked him where I could sell the others and he told me across the street, they would probably give me a couple of bucks for each. I told him that Fortunate Son sells for about 80-200 on Bookfinder. And then he looked it up and saw that I was right. It's so funny how new hardcovers are just presumed to not be worth anything, and can look really normal, but have this whole hidden history. So he said that he didn't know if he could sell it but would be willing to sell in on comission, putting in online. And so it's going to go online for 75, and if it sells, I'll get fifty, which would be about six times more than I paid for the book, and which I'd be really happy with.
The piegeons are circling around in front of my window, hundreds of them. They do loops around my building because the man who lives behind me goes out on his roof, does wild bird calls, feeds them, and they all circle around and around and their thin wings, sunlight almost piercing through them, look beautiful when they flap by in great numbers, again and again past the blue square of sky that is my window.
There is that to contrast with this. I had noticed the top story of the Times for the past couple days about soldiers abusing Iraqi troops, but had not read the details or seen the photos. I finally read the details, and then went hunting for the photos that were described in the articles. It is interesting to think back to Sontag's latest book while reading all of these news articles that cannot show the graphic photos but can describe them, because torture in language is different than in photos. And man, it is true. The photos shocked me way more than the reporting on them was able to do. It is unreal, the smiling thumbs up of the soldiers in these photos. I can hear that guy in Pulp Fiction saying, "Bring out the gimp."
And then there are the piegeons coasting by my window in giddy circles.