Thursday, October 06, 2011

Incoming Books: October 6th

Last night, The Wife and I went to a long-delayed Elvis Costello concert (originally scheduled for mid-May) in the dumpy old Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey. The sound was muddy, and Elvis's phrasing has gotten more croony over the years, which doesn't always mesh well with his older, spit-out-the-words-like-they're-burning-your-mouth songs. (And the guy right next to us had incredibly bad breath, as if he had been pickled in month-old coffee and the cheapest of horrible cigarettes. Oh, and the seats were tiny both side-to-side and between rows.) Despite all that, the show was a lot of fun -- and almost worth the secondary-market prices we paid for the tickets, since it was also long, at about two and a half hours.

And what was almost as much fun was going to the nearby Montclair Book Center (still my favorite indy, after all these years) and buying a bunch of stuff, just because I was in the neighborhood.

The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 is going to be bittersweet; Charles Schulz was getting simpler and less interesting in these years. (And, on top of that, my copies of all of the previous, better books are now gone in the flood, so I can't even look back.)

I found myself after the flood with only one Gene Wolfe book in the house -- I lost my first-edition Peace, the last thirty years of Tor hardcovers, another whole shelf, and three story collections and Soldier of Sidon that I hadn't even read yet -- and that was the still-unread Home Fires. So when I saw copies of Shadow & Claw and Sword & Citadel -- the handsome two-volume trade-paperback edition of his masterwork, the "Book of the New Sun" -- as gently used books, I knew I had to grab them.

I've also got three full shelves of the lovely and wonderful Overlook P.G. Wodehouse books to re-buy, so I started with A Prefect's Uncle, a book of very early school stories that I haven't read. (I did save about one shelf's worth of Overlook Wodehouse, but only the ones I hadn't read.)

I'm not sure if I've seen Henry Petroski's The Essential Engineer before, but I lost all of the books I had of his as well -- both read and unread, from The Pencil to To Engineer Is Human -- so that was a good place to start rebuilding.

And last from Montclair was a new book by New Yorker cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, a picture book for adults with the hopeful title Everything Is Going to Be Okay. (At the risk of sounding like a broken record: yes, all of my Kaplan books, both his previous picture books and cartoon collections, were destroyed by rising water a month ago.)

I also got a book from my employer this week, related to a vacation that I plan on taking with my family in just about a month: Beyond Disney, another in the incredibly useful "Unofficial Guide" series. And I also lost the three books in that series that I'd been saving from last year for this year's prep -- I can't win for losing, this year.


RobB said...

I saw one concert at the Wellmont about a year or two ago and REALLY like the venue.

Dave said...

I love those Gene Wolfe books so much that just seeing the covers makes me happy.

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