Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Up Front and Personnel

Dear Readers,

Allow me to introduce a blog entry concerned with introductions. Recently, new forces have been introduced at O’Gara and Wilson, forces that are redefining the store from top to bottom, back to front. It would be an admirable day’s work if we could cover one of those areas -- I propose starting with the front.

Most importantly, there are new faces to be seen there. Sarah and Kim are now a part of the staff, helping in our mission to exchange one type of printed material for another. Lest you underestimate the power of their presence for this institution’s feng-shui, witness another significant change to the storefront, due in no small part to their efforts. Alongside Helena, these two dedicated craftswomen reshaped the glass cases, sculpting a thing of beauty that rivals any of its component parts.





Organized by topic: done. Arranged by size: done. Sorted by aesthetic appeal and age: done. In honor of their efforts there will be a ONE-WEEK SALE on the choicest Collectibles we have to offer. From the opening chime of the register on Saturday, August 23rd until the thump of the deadbolt next Friday evening, every single item in the glass cases will be discounted 10%.

Wait just one moment, you say. Hold on. What about the really high-end stuff? What about the signed T.S. Eliot, say, or the first folio Shakespeare? Surely those are not 10% off?

Do you think Mr. Douglas Wilson, owner and moral backbone of O’Gara and Wilson, would ever allow the electric ambassador of his business to disseminate deception? Never! First of all, the signed T.S. Eliot will absolutely be discounted 10% -- either one (yes, we have two). As for the first folio Shakespeare. We don’t have a first folio Shakespeare, and I never claimed we did. But for those that got their hopes up, rest easy. The Norton facsimile first folios partake of the same discount as every other item – either one (yes, we have two).





And they are much more reasonable -- $125 regular price, so you do the math.

Now that we’re up in front by the glass cases, I should mention a new policy introduced by the city. No longer is the beloved bargain book cart allowed to make its daily pilgrimage to the sidewalk. Chicago, ever thoughtful and clear-headed about the orderliness of its streets, has informed us via local agents that a fine will attend any such excursion. In protest of this unjust imprisonment, the week’s Affordable and Interesting item is taken from this humble cousin of the glass cases.





As you may or may not be aware, every paperback on the cart is $1, and every hardback is $1.50. Big deal, right? That’s where bookstores put all the crap they can’t sell… Think again, my friend, because things don’t work that way here at O’Gara and Wilson. Ask any of the book dealers who occasionally go treasure hunting through the contents of the cart. Or examine this gorgeous copy of Beowulf, illustrated in color and black and white by Lynd Ward, plucked freshly from the top row of bargain books. That’s right, only $1.50.





Of course, without the cart our window will have time to shine. Here you can see an assortment of high-quality art books featured there, all priced between $5.00-12.50.





The sign suggests more such treasures inside. Again, you may think we cannot resist exaggerating the extent of our selection – perhaps most of the books inside are paperback, or more expensive than those in the window. This week’s Favorite will put to rest any such notions, while simultaneously facilitating another introduction, this time one of my favorite illustrators.






Aubrey Beardsley does extraordinary work, some of it playful, some fantastical, some erotic, and nearly all of it intricate and beautiful. I found a wonderful book of his collected drawings inside on the shelf, when I was looking to verify the claim of our storefront sign. Price: $6.50.

Just to review this week’s key points: New employees -- Kim and Sarah. Glass cases sale -- Saturday the 23rd to Friday the 29th, everything 10% off. Front of the store -- changed, invigorated, and well worth a visit. From O’Gara and Wilson, this is Alan, hoping the conclusion of these introductions can be in person.

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