Monday, December 10, 2012

*must... show... restraint*

I was so, so very tempted to just post this link with a maniacal laugh under the title "VINDICATION!" But I'll have to settle for a little paralepsis instead.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

I don't normally do this.

But I have a New Year's resolution of sorts. I'm usually opposed to such things, but this is a long-standing ambition of mine and I think I'm going to take a serious crack at it this year. I'm going to try to read 200 books in 2013. I've never gotten through more than about 175 or so in any year where I kept track. I'm up to 130 so far this year, so I'm well off my usual pace, which is in the 150-160 range. If I can get through 16 or 17 books each month, I can do it.

So, a little planning. I'll plan to read through my collection of Wodehouse, as well as re-read the Master and Commander series. That's about half of what I need to read right there. I've decided to start on the mystery novels of Margery Allingham (apparently she is a Golden Age mystery author that was coeval with Sayers and Christie, but is largely forgotten now) which is about another 20 or so (I think, maybe it's more). I'm not sure how many Erle Stanley Gardner mysteries I can get my hands on, but those are fun reads too. Of course I need to re-read LOTR and The Count of Monte Cristo, but other than that I think I can safely read as the whim strikes me.

Bookstores, Second-hand

An elegiac article from Theodore Dalrymple in the Telegraph about the slow demise of the second-hand bookstore. It is a thing to be regretted, but he is wise enough to know that fulminations and grandiose plans to arrest their imminent doom are useless and foolish. Here is the best paragraph.
Customers of second-hand booksellers, such as I, are also a rum lot. What kind of person spends two-and-a-half hours in a shop and then havers indecisively over whether he really wants a copy of Augustine Birrell’s (unjustly) forgotten essays marked at £3? If he fails to buy it, he will regret it the moment the shop has closed or he can’t get back to it. If, on the other hand, he (and customers are almost always he) buys a book that his wife will find outrageously expensive by comparison, say, with a pair of shoes, or even a single shoe, he will ask the bookseller to rub out the price. All booksellers are so familiar with this pattern that they are ready with their rubbers even as their customers buy.
And if you liked that, here's another article he write a few years back on the same topic.