I have been at the Northeast Modern Language Association annual conference for the past few days. Normally this kind of convention offers excellent opportunities for book-buying. However, the conference has been a disappointment in this respect, as the selection at the bookfair was rather paltry. I only bought one book there.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner Graphic Novel. Illus. Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo. New York: Riverhead, 2011.
I’ve heard that Hosseini’s novel by the same name is excellent, and have also heard good things about the illustrated edition. It was a steal at $5.00.
I then went to the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, which is a short walk from the conference’s main hotel in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I had heard that it was an excellent independent bookstore. While it is true that the store is large and has an inventory covering a wide variety of subjects, it is horribly organized. I was primarily interested in browsing the fiction section, and within this section the books were organized by the first letter of authors’ last names, but within each letter there was no organization whatsoever, not even to the point of putting all of an author’s books next to each other. For instance, in the D section, I saw books by Don DeLillo on at least three separate shelves. In the nonfiction sections, books were alphabetized by their titles rather than by their authors, which made browsing in any meaningful way close to impossible. The store, in short, was infuriating.
Nevertheless, I am such a book-buying addict that I acquired two volumes. I believe in supporting independent bookstores, even badly-organized ones.
Spark, Muriel. Open to the Public: New & Collected Stories. New York: New Directions, 1997.
I recently read some of Spark’s work for the first time and loved it, thus I was delighted to find a like-new hardcover copy of her collected stories for only $6.95.
Welsh, Lindsay. Necessary Evil. 1995. New York: Blue Moon, 2005.
I had not heard of this book or of Welsh before, but I noticed it on the shelf because it has Blue Moon’s distinctive cover design. The book was originally published by Masquerade Books, which published high-quality erotica in the 1980s-1990s. It was also only $6.95.