The Strand, to which Kinsor and I went, is a good-sized Broadway-located book store with, its promotional material promises, ``18 miles of books''. That's a pretty ambitious claim, although when there are many shelves on each level and four levels accessible to the public it starts to become a bit more plausible. I didn't have any particular books to look for and, indeed, knew I should resist buying many books because I have to transport them in a week and a half, although I did end up buying one book, a trade paperback, which looked interesting and seemed like something I might not encounter again (about the handling of the refugee problem after the Second World War). Kinsor had a few books he was looking for, and absolutely no luck in finding them. Jack Vance, particularly, was an author I would have bet they'd have in reasonable abundance but there wasn't anything by him on the shelves (except in anthologies). Still, he did pick up a few books, some for himself, one for a friend, and relied on the hard-to-assail grounds that after all, when was he going to be back?
One of the signs of a good bookstore is the way it twists and contorts geometry, so that it's full of strange non-topologically sensible bits with alcoves and corners and places where the floor just goes to a different level for not much reason, and the Strand does very well at that. I was trying to be sensitive to how long Kinsor wanted to spend standing and looking at things, but we kept running across new stuff. For example, a collection of Frank Paul's science fiction magazine covers provided a new, wondrous image just about every page, particularly considering how many of those images were about giant insects, robots, or throwing the island of Manhattan into outer space. Add in people wearing Space Navy uniforms which are not flattering to their bodies or our eyes and you've got a ready-made blog that probably already exists.
The fourth floor, the rare books collection, had as one might expect some particularly interesting curios we were scared to touch. For example, there was a copy of the cute book accompanying Gracie Allen's mock run for President from 1940. They also had several Pogo volumes, allowing me to discover that Peek-A-Boo Pogo, a collection of illustrated sincere or mock nursery rhymes, seems to be wholly constrained in Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo. Good for book collectors of today, since Ten is reasonably accessible, but baffling for the original 1959 publication of Ten since why reprint a book maybe two years old in your new book? Still, that doesn't compare to the most baffling item, one of this millennium's Dave Barry books (I should have checked to see if it was autographed), or the most thrilling item, the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of South Dakota of 1889, Volume II.
I must say I was mightily tempted by the finger puppets. There was a whole display of finger puppet Hamlet characters, but I thought the finger puppet Andy Warhol was utterly right in every way. Probably it's best to let feelings like that pass gently away.
Trivia: Before returning to Britain after reaching the Dutch East Indies, Captain William Bligh turned over to Dutch custody ship master John Fryer and carpenter William Purcell, noting they had turned openly mutinous, and were overheard saying Bligh would hang in England, and had falsified expense claims. (Bligh denied the charges, and produced receipts and vouchers on his behalf.) Source: Mutiny: A History Of Naval Insurrection, Leonard F Guttridge.
Currently Reading: Comic Theaters: Studies In Performance And Audience Response, William E Gruber.
PS: Reading the Comics, June 13, 2012, as it's been too long since my last update on these.