Friday, December 23, 2011

Aaand now for the real holiday post!

I kind of tried to avoid talking about the holidays in our last entry, gentle readers. But by now, we are too close to Christmas for me to evade it. Let's start this week's entry with one of the coolest Affordable and Interesting items in the store right now:

For only $12.50, you can obtain this classic 1950s photo album cover! There is script in the background spelling out names from "Lee" to "Marilyn" to "Beverly", and as you can see, the graphics recall 1950s tropes from malt shops to radio technology. If you're hard up for a gift that would suit someone who was around in the 1950s, then might I suggest that you locate a bunch of their life photos and then enclose them in this amazing album cover? A homemade book or scrapbook: now that would be a pretty amazingly thoughtful gift.

Since it's the holidays, I'll give you another Affordable and Interesting option:

Tis the season for ornaments. And these are such perfect ornaments that I just had to post about them! They're tiny, antique Russian dolls that we're selling for only $3.00 apiece. We've got a whole box of them: you could put hooks on them and hang them from a tree, or you could arrange them on a mantel.

But now that I've posted two Affordable and Interesting things, you're probably jonesing for this week's Collector's Item. And I am happy to oblige!

Beautifully painted on a piece of wood, this $350.00 image is about a foot high. The background color is a really pretty deep gold, and I love the way it's painted, though I'm not sure what it portrays. Obviously it shows a woman in the street holding an apple, and there's Garden of Eden imagery every which way! But I really wonder what else the painter intended. This was apparently created in 2003 by an artist named Sasha Williams; I thought about trying to find the artist, but the closest result on Google was for a painter who created this blog (click here), and the art looks very different. So by purchasing this piece, you gain both beauty and mystery.

But I heard somewhere that we're a bookstore. And you know what my Favorite thing is? Books! Such as:

At $5.00, this is a typically awesome book from the O'Gara and Wilson inventory. Who doesn't love books for holiday gifts? We've got gifts in all shapes and sizes, but books are the greatest. And this Benjamin Franklin book in particular includes a wonderful Christmas quote:

"How many observe Christ's birthday; how few His precepts! O 'tis easier to keep a Holiday, than Commandments!"

Truer words were never spoken. I hope everyone is keeping faith and honor this holiday season, whether you observe Christmas or some other holiday or none at all. Stay warm and enjoy, gentle readers. We'll talk more in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Incipient midwinter holidays, but I refuse to celebrate yet ... mostly.

Midwinter holidays are on the horizon, and with them all the crass commercialism you could possibly expect! I guess I should be more excited about crass commercialism given that I am currently writing a blog post for a retail establishment, but I always feel somewhat resistant. So I won't mention midwinter holidays. Much. Yet.

Our last dragon-shaped brass candle-holder was sold in record time, but we've got more where that came from! For Collectors:

Lovely, right? And in fact, this is a two-candleholder set! Here are both of them together, lit by an excessively bright light:

Normally their shininess is more muted, as per the first picture. But the bright light in the second picture shows us every tiny and detailed scale! If you missed the first dragon candleholder, then these can be yours for $135.00. They might also make lovely romantic lighting for your holiday dinner. Wait, I said I wouldn't talk overmuch about the holidays.

Okay, you know what's not about the holidays? These Affordable and Interesting antique 1920s-1930s chapbooks from the "Chicago Tribune":

At first I was somewhat puzzled by these little pamphlets, and thought they might be a magazine-ish thing like I highlighted in our last blog entry. But then I read inside the front cover of one, and lo, all my questions were answered!

The first Linebook was published in 1924 and since then it has become a yearly event, looked forward to by a steadily increasing number of people whose mornings would not be complete without reading the famous Richard Henry Little's "A Line o' Type or Two" in the "Chicago Tribune". The gay and impish tone of the column, made up of unregenerate laughter at the foibles of men, acid thrust at their follies, philosophy masked in humor, and the steady reminder that few things are to be taken seriously, pervades these small anthologies.

The pamphlet also asserts that they always went quickly out of print due to demand, and remained treasured possessions of those who purchased them. This may or may not be true, but I can attest that they are definitely really cool, if only for the covers:

This one too!

They are even cool on the inside, notwithstanding the fact that ... as it turns out ... I couldn't get away from the holidays even here:

That's an image from the inside of one pamphlet. Here's the text, retyped for your reading convenience:

Christmas Suggestions For the man who hasn't got a shirt: A shirt. For a man who wants an automobile: An automobile. For the girl who wants a skunk skin coat: A skunk skin coat. For a lady who wants a new set of false teeth: A new set of false teeth. For a boy who wants a fine set of skates: A fine set of skates. For a young man who wants a saxophone: A swift kick in the pants.

We sell Linebooks at prices ranging from $4.50 to a bit over $20.00. I won't comment about what kind of gift they would make.

Finally, this week's Favorite cannot possibly have anything to do with midwinter holidays:

Anansi is an African folk hero: a spider, clever and sly, who is always getting into hijinx and tricking the other jungle animals. If you Google for Anansi then you'll come up with tons of websites devoted to his adorable and brilliant exploits. This 1954 book is an especially great Anansi item, however. Firstly, because it's got neat illustrations:

Secondly, because it belonged to the pioneering African-American sociologist St. Clair Drake! Drake was a force to be reckoned with; he developed some of America's first African-American Studies departments, and was an advisor to the first prime minister of Ghana. Also, he wrote an awful lot. Drake's name is written on the inside front cover of this little Anansi book, and you can purchase it for $20.00.

See? No midwinter holidays when I covered Anansi. Our next blog post will have to be all about midwinter holidays, I suppose. But I guess it's okay if it's only one entry! Stay warm, gentle readers ....