wood and wobble

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The library is gradually trickling West, though it appears FedEx managed to lose a biggish chunk of it en route, most lamentably a lot of my Krazy Kat books. Aargh. But the comics shelf is filling up with old favorites: "From Hell," Marvel Masterworks vol. 23 (the one with all the Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange stories that everyone who's dealt with the character for the past 40 years is still wrestling with--I have a particularly deep love for catherine yronwode's attempt to make profound sense of something she knew perfectly well had no sense to it--read at least her prolepsis), the first four volumes of Promethea, all of The Invisibles except for the final volume that's gone mysteriously missing in its many lendings-out, same situation with the absence of Finder's "Talisman" collection, a Jack Kirby book I'm saving to read sometime when I need some extra loopiness in my life.

And the beautiful hardcovers are living on the shelf above it: Everett Fox's translation of The Five Books of Moses (the really beautiful Bible inherited from my mother's side of the family isn't going anywhere except in my sight; the cheap but solid QPB editions of the Bible, Koran, Dhammapeda, etc. await the next New York-to-Portland shipment, probably), the Robert Fagles translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey (the Pope translations, lovely 19th-century editions, are likewise still in NYC), Borges' Collected Fictions (the poems and non-fictions won't be joining me for a bit yet), Lucie Brock-Broido's The Master Letters (nestled, appropriately, by a solid blue-covered paperback of the complete Emily Dickinson--a month or so ago, I wanted to introduce Dickinson to a German woman who'd never heard of her, and simply didn't know where to begin), Alasdair Gray's The Book of Prefaces (which I'll read someday, honest).

And then a few shelves down are the old paperback standards that I thought it'd be good to have on hand for one reason or another: Joanna Russ's mercilessly argued How to Suppress Women's Writing; the Keith Bosley translation of the Kalevala; Rebecca West's mighty Black Lamb and Grey Falcon; Ben Marcus's The Age of Wire and String; Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style, which on my more devious days I think of using as a manual toward world domination; Jerome Rothenberg's Technicians of the Sacred, which tastes as if I'm drinking directly from the spring from which water itself emerges.

And then of course there are the shelves that taunt me: the ones with the books I mean to read. Friends, I'm being good. I've been very careful to avoid buying books since I got here (I've only bought a couple of little ones). Today, on hourlong bus rides to and from an insurance agent's office, I polished off a few more sections of Rising Up and Rising Down: "Defense of Animals," "Defense of Gender," "Defense Against Traitors." Once I'm done with that, I'll finally allow myself to read the autographed script I bought at auction from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, for the never-published third issue of Big Numbers, which I still like to call my favorite comic book ever. ("Only inarticulate people use language.")

And then? Back to business. The confessions of St. Augustine, "Nine Greek Dramas," The Wealth of Nations. Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon, lent to me a couple of weeks ago by Brandy, maybe, to break up the heavy old-time seriousness. (By then the final Cerebus will be out, and it'll be time for an intent re-read of all 6000+ pages, in preparation for a gigantic article I'm writing about it.) The Count of Monte Cristo, which I started idly a few months ago and loved before I was distracted by a shiny thing, or a deadline. A novel by a friend that's been quietly chirping my name for months; I am too embarrassed to name names, especially since other people I know have told me it's terrific. (Maybe a peek at the two Dangerous Visions anthologies I just ordered, ostensibly for Lisa's benefit--after all, I haven't read them since I was ten or twelve, passing the summers in Lake Luzerne with whatever old SF books I could find at the Hadley-Luzerne Library--E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Lensman" books hadn't been checked out since the '50s, I think, and I wanted to read what I'd heard had been the inspiration for Green Lantern. They weren't there any more when I visited the library summer before last.)

And then, and THEN, maybe, a trip to Powell's: my reward for being so good for so long. That new translation of Swann's Way. That new translation of Don Quixote. A shopping basket that I'll fill, and come home with my backpack and arms overflowing. I will try as hard as I can to wait.

3 Comments

Mer said:

Oooops! I have "The Invisible Kingdom", mea culpa. I promise to mail it to you as soon as I read it a second time...

Sodapop said:

Enjoy the hard-boiled cyberpunk. It is good for the brain!

Jeff said:

I hope FedEx compensates you very properly. When I moved from LA back to the Bay and I thought they lost my K-M records (like King Tee through The Meters!) I went berserk and forced them to kick down $200 or something. Then I found the box, hee hee!

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on February 16, 2004 10:59 PM.

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