Friday, June 8, 2012

dreams and realities

In my dreams now I am scouting for books. I dreamt last night of being in Portland, Maine or rather going to Portland, Maine and looking for books at flea markets, used goods stores, second-hand shops. In the dream, I wasn't finding anything special but - I was looking. I also had to hurry since I had to fly to Seattle later in the day and look there for books as well.

In my waking life, books are keyboard clicks away. Easy to find, too easy. Of course, half of the search - the physical search is the handling of a book. The thrill of discovery. The validation of a decent sale. Like when I found a copy of a local history book in Pennsylvania that was signed by both authors, and to have it sell for over $100.00. That's cool. That's why I do it. Rescuing unwanted books and finding better homes for them. Like place orphans into good homes. Similar in a way.

The down side of electronic pursuits is when a book, say Minutes to Go by Burroughs, Corso, Gysin, and Beiles comes from across the pond (England) and there's a note written on the inside front cover saying that this is not the copy I want. I want the hard-bound version from 1957(1959?) and not this Beach Books paperback edition with flimsy cover. Shucks! Is that true? Is the very rare hard-bound first edition that much better? I am glad to have any copy of this book. It's an important document in the history of "cut-up". For that alone, it's worth having - but is this copy really that inferior? Would it have made a difference if I had handled the book before buying it? The book has a provenance, it's an association copy. Did someone warn Michael Butterworth that he had the wrong copy? The note goes on to suggest a different book. The note, I failed to mention, was on the inside front of the book.

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