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books and things

There are a few book posts kicking around at the moment, and I’m going to do my own. you know, ‘cos that’s how I roll. I actually love books as much as I love records and art. Not just as content but as object. (that bit was just for you Opi)

Firstly, check out this cool idea: blogging dog-eared pages.

One that I wanted to do is from the book I’m currently reading in fits and starts, Decline and Fall, by Evelyn Waugh:

’The problem of architecture as I see it,’ he told a journalist who had come to report on the progress of his surprising creation of ferro-concrete and aluminium, ‘is the problem of all art – the elimination of the human element from the consideration of form. The only perfect building must be the factory, because that is built to house machines, not men. I don not think it is possible for domestic architecture to be beautiful, but I am doing my best. All ill comes from man,’ he said gloomily; ‘please tell your readers that. Man is never beautiful, he is never happy except when he becomes the channel for the distribution of mechanical forces.’

Secondly, check out this super-cool bargain I got: First published 1888, this is the 1904 edition. Red leather cover, gold embossed signature on the front. The spine is a little, well, weary, but it’s still beautiful and the price was ace: $17! From the gorgeous Sylvia at Second-hand Things in Northcote.

And it contains gems like this:
And supposing our mode of dress were really graceful or beautiful, this might be a very doubtful question; for I believe true nobleness of dress to be an important means of education, as it certainly is a necessity to any nation which hwishes to possess living art, concerned with portraiture of human nature. No good historical painting ever yet existed, or ever can exist, wher the dresses of the people of the time are not beautiful

Thirdly, check out what else I picked up for $1 on Smith St!

In the nature of what goes around, comes around, I was only talking about this with my mum the other day. we were saying how we liked the film and I mentioned how I always thought of it when walking down Charing Cross Rd (but I could never remember the damn number).

Some highlights:

14 East 95th St

SEPTEMBER 25, 1950

he has a first edition of Newman’s University for six bucks, do I want it, he asks innocently.
Dear Frank:
Yes, I want it. I won’t be fit to live with myself. I’ve never cared about first editions per se, but a first edition of THAT book -!
oh my.
i can just see it.
Send the
Oxford Verse, too, please. Never wonder if I’ve found something somewhere else, I don’t look anywhere else any more. Why should I run all the way down to 19th St. to buy dirty, badly made books when I can buy clean, beautiful one from you without leaving the typewriter? From where I sit, Lond’s a lot closer than 17th Street.
Enclosed please God find $8. Did I tell you about Brian’s lawsuit? He buys physics tomes from a technical book-shop in London, he’s not sloppy and haphazard like me, he bought an expensive set and went down to Rockerfeller Plaza and stook in line and got a money order and cabled it or whatever you do with it, he’s a business man, he does things right.
the money order got lost in transit.

Up His Majesty’s Postal Service!


am sending very small parcel to celebrate first edition, Overseas Associates finally sent me my own catalogue.

lovely stuff isn't it.

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At 22 January, 2008 08:56, Blogger Tim said...

I like that red book. Especially the fact that it's from 1904. I like buying book slike that too. It's pretty cool if you read those and think to yourself this is cool stuff I wonder who read this before and if he or she thought that too.

At 22 January, 2008 13:26, Blogger Stan Lee said...

I checked out 84 Charing Cross Rd when I used to live/work in London. Its was an ad agency! Still some great bookstores on the street, just not at number 84.

I went to see Tai Snaith's show in Brunswick the other day. Cute little artworks on old book covers. Can't believe no one has done it before.

At 26 January, 2008 01:59, Blogger Cynical Rob said...

Did you ever see that Book Tag idea that was going around a while back?

Basically you 'register' your book online, place a special sticker in the front [which details what to do and how to do it] then when you've finished reading, you leave the book somewhere - maybe on a park bench or cafe table somewhere - and let some random person pick it up and do the same.

Over time you can find out where your book has ended up, who has read it and what it meant to them.

Of course I can't remember the website - and it might of all gone kaput by now - but there was something really nice about the whole thing.

Nothing brash or loud ... just simple and pure ... making the World abit more interesting and friendly. Well, as long as the book wasn't Motley Crue's [albeit brilliant] The Dirt.

I like you writing this sort of stuff Lauren - don't get me wrong I ADORE when you write more art/planning posts too - it's just this shows your more sensitive side and I think that's something that is to be treasured and not hidden away.

God I've become a hippy. What is wrong with me? First I go anti-cynic on John's blog and now this!

At 26 January, 2008 04:07, Anonymous lauren said...

tim - i do too! how beautiful is it! and it has a written dedication on the inside front cover from 1906. it's why i love second hand books, that sense of continuity of experience.

stan - i wanted to try and find it in london and forgot the fucking number. how ironic that it's an advertising agency. but i did love wandering down near there and checking out the lovely second hand bookstores.

rob - firstly, ixnay on the sensitive side-ay. i've got a tuff, sweary, car-crash exterior i need to keep up, remember?

secondly, i know the site you're talking about, it's great: book crossing have registered with them, having found one of the books in vienna (an alexander mccall smith no. 1 lady's detective agency book). it's a great service and thanks for the reminder to pick up with it again here.


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