Book Gawking: Holiday 2016

We had a blah sort of holiday season this year at Chez Oddbooks.  Lots of reasons but mostly some years you are just ready for it all to be over with so you can start a new year and get going again.  We decorated but we didn’t bother giving gifts and instead just gave each other permission to buy whatever we wanted.  And of course, being who we are, we ended up buying a lot of books.

Somehow we bought 119 books.  I’m not even exaggerating.  I scanned them and put them into their own tag over on our Goodreads account.  Have a look if you enjoy browsing through other people’s books as much as I do.

I took a picture of some of my more photogenic choices from our holiday book binge.

All of these were impulse purchases, including The Fuck-Up. No one ever plans to buy a book called The Fuck-Up.

The most interesting purchases I made were not photogenic at all but I want to share them anyway.  All three were used and were just sitting there in the “collectible” section at the big Half-Price Books in Austin, waiting for me.

The first is Instant Lives by Howard Moss.  This is a collection of short, humorous stories about various poets and authors and composers, like Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and Claude Debussy.  I purchased it because the book is illustrated by Edward Gorey.  This is a first edition from 1974 and is going into my “Gorey” collection.

The second is one I think Mr OTC is going to appreciate as much as I do, if not more.  Act Like Nothing’s Wrong: The Montage Art of Winston Smith is a book I owned many years ago but lent out and never got it back.  Mr OTC and I were once SubGenii, and I guess we still are.  Once a SubGenius, always a SubGenius, right?  Winston Smith’s strange and incendiary collages were an important part of the 80s ‘zine culture and still have a cultural punch.  I was so happy to find a clean, collectible copy of this book.  Most copies of this book I’ve come across since losing my original look like someone found them in a dumpster.  This was a righteous score.

The final book is The Secret Books, with poems by Jorge Luis Borges and photographs by Sean Kernan.  It’s a large format, soft cover collection, with gorgeous photographs incorporating Borges’ poems.  I wanted to scan one or two examples but our scanner tests my patience. But never fear!  Scroll through this site and you’ll get a good idea of what the book is about.  This is one of those books that called to me.  I can’t tell you exactly why I needed to own this book but I needed it.  Some books are yours without you even knowing they exist and sometimes you’re lucky enough to find them before someone else buys them.

How was your holiday?  Get or buy any good books?  Any awesome plans for 2017?  Have grave concerns about our next credit card bill?  Share away!

2 thoughts on “Book Gawking: Holiday 2016

  1. Damn. 119? I can’t say anything though. I think space and money are the only reasons I don’t binge that heavily on books.

    Goodreads keeps recommending THE FUCK-UP to me so I’m have to pick it up at some point. Plus, how could I not pick up a book with that title?

    My holiday was pretty awesome. I went down to Dallas to meet this girl who I met online and had a great time with her. On Christmas, I spent the afternoon at my cousin’s place and had a lot of fun with them.

    I didn’t get many books over the holidays. I’m trying to cut back a little on buying until I work through the ones sent to me to review and the ones I have on my self. I did pick up THE NIGHT COUNTRY by Stewart O’Nan at a library. Your review of it intrigued me. I used the money my grandparents sent me to go see ROGUE ONE and to pick up HIGH RISE by JG Ballard and The TAO TE CHING. Ballard’s one of my favorites and I’ve been trying to read more philosophy.

    One book I got sent to review that I highly recommend is CARTOONS IN THE SUICIDE FOREST by Leza Cantoral. It’s a story collection with many of the stories being in the sort of colorful, girlish Bizarro vein. Cantoral’s an excellent writer. I was supposed to have a review of it today on the website Cultured Vultures, but it’s down due to technical problems right now.

    As far as 2017, I’m hoping to have at least one book ready to publish, if not actually published, this year. Everyone who’s read my poetry chapbook (which isn’t many, to be honest) have said they really liked it, so that’s encouraging.

    Looking forward to more discussions on here this year!

  2. I don’t let myself buy physical books anymore. I bought a bunch in 2014, and received a few more as Christmas presents, and despite my earnest intentions they’ve gone unread, just moved around from shelf to bedside table to shelf for the past couple of years.

    Instead, for the past few years I’ve been hoarding ebooks. I think I have about 900 on my Kindle app on my phone. I’m working through them at the rate of about one per month. I, uh, don’t think I’m going to read them all.

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