Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Saturday: Discounted Literary Criticism!

Greetings, book enthusiasts. The heat of a late Chicago August has driven me into the nice cool store, and now, while I sit here recovering from the humidity, I shall tell you all about some of the beautiful items gracing our window!

Also, this gives me a break from our gigantic Literary Criticism section, which has been eating me alive as I reorganize it. But I want more of a break, and so I'm going to lighten my load on the next First of the Month Discount Day. Every first of the month, we do a specific discount; and this Saturday, September 1, we'll be offering 25% off on Literary Criticism books.

So come in on Saturday if you want to read about Dickens, Dickinson, who knows who else ... and in the meantime:

Doug has mentioned that he may soon take home this week's Collector's Item, so you should come see it while you can:

You may look at that picture and ask, "What on earth kind of book is that?" Well you might ask. It's actually a vase -- Doug will sometimes pick up interesting antiques that he sees while buying estates, and this one was so lovely that it immediately caught his eye. He has classic taste: it turns out that it's an example of the work of a late 1800s artist, Van Briggle, who rediscovered a lost ancient Chinese glaze and helped birth the Art Nouveau movement. This is an example of Van Briggle's famous Lorelei vase: the design features a mermaid or siren wrapped around the top, with her hair streaming lusciously around her. We are assured that the vase is not a reproduction, and it's an absolute steal at $450.00 (unless Doug takes it home first).

And now for something incredibly colorful. While acquiring a whole bunch of pulps recently, we came by these Affordable and Interesting little papers:

"The Wizard: Stories for Boys" was one of those inimitable 1950s-60s pulp-type things that used millions of exclamation points and bolded words. The top of one issue, for instance, shrieks: "Stories that go with a Bang! This paper's loaded with them!" All the headlines say things like, "Don't miss reading the latest action-packed exploit in the smashing war yarn: Vengeance of the Snow Wolf!" or "Can Craddock's whale of a tale lift the jinx on Jonathan?" or "The hightailing hogs that gave the sheriff a horse-laugh!" Indeed.

Some of these papers are astoundingly politically incorrect, and all of them are in excellent condition -- in fact, when we got them, they had never once been removed from their mailing wrappers. I suppose whoever first got them in the mail didn't think that it was worth their time to read things like "The Mysterious Mr. Roscoe strikes again!", but you can for $7.50 per issue.

I will never forget the day Alan first showed me this Favorite:

It doesn't look like much from the front -- just a little batch of patterned paper. But if you open it up, it's got one of the strangest, most wonderful stories I've ever seen. It seems that this was an art project for students at the famous Design Institute (now Illinois Institute of Design) -- the students were asked to make a book; unfortunately, this one was never completed.

It starts off in a fairly amazing fashion, chronicling a happy family composed of Humorous Cat, Saggy Pup, Silly Chick, Gorgeous Sunflower, and Peculiar Mary. Sadly, the five do not share culinary tastes. When Peculiar Mary cooks, she serves "love worms" that Humorous Cat can't stand. Apparently, "Love makes Mary feel like a giggle!" A giggle, eh? I see.

As a result, each member of the family seeks a new place to live. And as you can see below, for instance, Humorous Cat finds "a girl who gave her humid milk":

... but soon thereafter, we lose track of the family in a spread of empty, unsigned pages.

I haven't the faintest idea what I would do with this if I owned it, but it tempts me -- it's got such a sideways, hilarious style to it. And hearing Alan read it aloud in a stentorian voice is just about the best thing ever. I would miss it if someone bought it (at $75.00), though I suppose that's the kind of emotional risk I run by working in a place like this.

That wraps us up for today, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for reading -- but do go outside a bit before the summer's over! The cool blue lake beckons ....

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