Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Straight Purge

I go from extreme to extreme, bingeing and purging with books instead of food, putting on weight and then peeling it off by unloading a bunch of old HBs. To no avail, really. I feel about the same once the rush of purchase or purging is over. I mean, sometimes I feel good about an odd book that sells for a good deal of money but my house doesn't add or subtract rooms just to suit my mood of the moment. It's just as well. I disgorge books almost as quickly as I acquire them.

Mao's little red book, for instance. Why get this? It was printed in Communist China in 1971. It wasn't signed by Mao (that would have been too cool). Unlike Vietnam, a country that the US fought a war with, China, while being a global power from its beginnings, is less of a draw at the moment. I felt that the market for stuff from the 1960s was strong, there was a lot of interest, but it's selective. China isn't really hot - or Mao isn't - or this book isn't. But I guessed, and guessed wrong.

If I owned a bookstore, I could fudge my bad guesses with plenty of good ones, but being a book scout doesn't offer me the advantages of hoarding (for some future day when everyone comes crashing through my walls with money galore, wanting everything I own). A bookstore owner is a slave to his/her location. I resist that sort of restriction. It goes with the territory.

I like my freedom to NOT do it as much as the having the freedom to drive 3 hours to go booking in a town in a different state. But so much freedom can be too much freedom, undirected "freedom" can be maddening. And of course, one man's treasure is another man's junk

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