Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Start Saving Your Pennies . . .

. . . Nickels, Dimes, Dollars, 'Folding Money', Plastic . . .

So, yesterday came an innocuous little postcard that cd end up costing me a lot of money, given that it announces this year's Antiquarian Book Fair, held once again at the Seattle Center (at the foot of the Space Needle). Visiting the Book Fair is rather like dropping by during Smaug's Open House: things you'd assume cd only be found in a rare books room of some major library are sitting out on shelves or occasionally in display cases. Pay the asking price and walk home with a Kelmscott Chaucer, or a Tolkien letter,* or a copy of Lovecraft's first book, or the original issue of a journal from the 1840s with the first appearance of some Poe story inside, or . . . -- the list goes on and on. Over the years I've picked up Dunsany's THE MAN WHO ATE THE PHOENIX (and I think also JORKENS BORROWS ANOTHER WHISKEY, though there my notes are less specific), Leiber's TWO SOUGHT ADVENTURE (the second Fafhrd & Gray Mouser collection), Hodgson's CARNACKI THE GHOST FINDER (the Mycroft & Moran edition, not the original), the faux-Poe collection THE EXPLOITS OF THE CHEVALIER DUPIN, and two Clark Ashton Smiths: THE ABOMINATIONS OF YONDO and OTHER DIMENSIONS.** In fact, so heavily do my visits to the Book Fair impact the budget that I only go every other year or so (sometimes every third, depending on how the schedule goes).

This year, it's October 8th & 9th. It looks like we'll be in town, and I don't have a deadline that weekend or the following week. So things look good right now; unless something unexpected comes up, I'm expecting to make it this year and see (a) what wonders they've got and (b) what, if any of it, can I afford. We'll see.

--John R.
current reading: PICTURING TOLKIEN, ed. Bogstad & Kaveny.

*that's where we bought my Tolkien letter, an extravagance I've never regretted.

**in addition, at least once I've seen a book at the Book Fair, passed on it, regretted it, and bought it later directly from the dealer (a collection of OSSIANIC tales from 1801). And then again once I saw an interesting book on my initial pass through the hall that was gone by the time I decided I wanted it (a profusely illustrated book on Petroglyphs of the Pacific Northwest -- I later checked it out from the library and made many, many photocopies from it, but it wasn't the same . . .).

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