Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Haul This Year

While my mother was here last week, I bagged a cache of fabulous finds. (She was kindly, defeatedly, long-sufferingly, patient.) While strolling through the subterranean hallways of Pike Place Market looking for the moomin postcard shop and a headband for my brother, we found a used book store which coughed up a postcard of Graham Greene and this:

Iris M's first novel in the hottest incarnation of a paperback.

The proprietor, who may or may not have been 1) Russian and 2) possessed by the devil, commended Iris Murdoch and said she was one of his favorite writers, but as he had been literally coughing up a hairball not a moment before and was rhapsodizing about Dover publications, I took it to mean he was an enthusiastic salesperson, nothing more, and had no special affection for Iris.

In Victoria we stopped by Renaissance Books, a treat for the soul. I could have spent $350 in a moment. Sadly, I couldn't. I had to leave Dostoyevsky's writing notebooks and the biography of Sylvia Townsend Warner, and the memoirs of Malcolm Muggeridge, and the thousands of penguin trade paperbacks I could have put in a sandwich and consumed on the spot.

However, I did pick up three: the second volume of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage novels (read more here), another of Ivy Compton-Burnett's razor-sharp novels (more here), and Summer Will Show (already finished).

I also saw at the counter a few of Enid Blyton's Noddy Books. Noddy, like Nellie the Elephant, the Wombles, and the Famous Five, was a big part of my childhood. Noddy is a relic of different days (like Postmand Pat, who I hear was finally kicked off the Royal Mail...)

"No one knows who Noddy is," I said to my mom, fingering the books.
"Excuse me," said the proprietor of Renaissance Books, "Everyone knows who Noddy is."
"Oh pardon me, on the Other Side."
"Aha!" (With scorn.)

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