The Unbearable Banishment: feeding my addiction

Monday, April 6, 2009

feeding my addiction

I honestly don't know what happened to me. I use to drive drunk, have unprotected sex and smoke a ton of weed. Today, I get my kicks by chasing rare books. I'm sure I'm a big disappointment to my friends back home.

I attended the annual rare book fair at the Park Avenue armory. Holy Mother of God what a show. When it comes to rare books I have a rather weak disposition and it was probably not wise for me to walk into a large room filled with temptations. But I am happy to report that although I had a few moments where I was woozy and weak, I successfully fought off all attempts to rationalize a purchase.

The one item I would have loved to own was a set of early (1966) broadsides by Charles Bukowski in PERFECT condition in a custom made clamshell box. But at $37,000, it was easy to say no. Here are a few fun items. You can click on these pics to for a better look.

A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Not one of his masterworks but just look at the design on that jacket. Beautiful.

It seems to me that authors don’t take pride in their signatures like they use to. Here’s a signed copy of The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald signed in 1922, the year of publication, in his hometown of St. Paul Minnesota. Look at that handwriting and signature!

Hemingway was another author whose inscriptions have an art-like quality. Here’s an inscribed copy of The Green Hills of Africa by Hemingway signed in Key West in 1936.

Here’s another example of Hemingway’s signature. This is a signed first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Isn't that grand?

This is a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royal—the first (and most violent) Bond book. The jacket was designed by Fleming and the phrases in the wreath reads: A Whisper of Love. A Whisper of Hate. I love that. The price is a measly £18,750.

The fair is mainly about books, but there are also autographs, some artwork and other sundry items. Here’s a manuscript leaf in Mozart’s hand from the Serenade in D Major. Take it home and hang it on your wall for only $195,000!


Anonymous Greg said...

"an old, experienced fisherman and a giant marlin"

i think he would have been into dope graffiti if he was alive today.

April 6, 2009 at 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the signatures/handwriting - amazing! more calligraphy than anything else...

too rich for my blood, that's for sure. i'll stick with drunk driving, unprotected sex, and get back to the weed once i retire...

April 7, 2009 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

The cover on that Fitzgerald is fantastic.

I know what you mean about the mild life. I get thrills from eating a beautiful steak these days.

April 7, 2009 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger Sid said...

Reading Free Man's comment - "thrills from eating steak". Please tell me this isn't all I have to look forward to once I hit mid life.

April 7, 2009 at 3:35 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Greg: Actually, if he hadn't committed suicide, he'd be 110, so he still wouldn't be alive today.

Daisy: "Calligraphy" was the word that I was trying to come up with. It was on the tip of my tongue.

AFM: I may sound stogy but jacket designs were just better back then. Fitz's Great Gatsby Is a classic.

Sid: No worries. By the time you've hit mid-life, that's all you WANT to do!

April 7, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My signature would disappoint for sure because it is a scrawl.

April 7, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Annie: Nobody has a worse signature than Irish author Roddy Doyle. Doesn't he care?

April 7, 2009 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Ahhhhhh! I don't know what I would prefer more ... to own more books (nice old ones!) or to actually have the space to keep them.

April 7, 2009 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I suppose it's just as well that not too many doctors become authors.

April 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

I wish I wouldn't have seen that. Now I want that Hemingway so bad.

April 8, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

E: It’s a dead end. No matter how much space you get, you’ll never have enough books.

K: I think by Khaled Hosseini is a doctor AND an author (The Kite Flyer). What a smarty-pants!

DF: So sorry. Welcome to my nightmare.

April 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

i have an autographed copy of a jonathn ames book wherein he drew a quick caricature of himself.

i believe he did this for everyone at the book signing.

if you've not read his stuff you might like it. his stuff is great.

April 8, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

p.s. same situation with me as i've gotten older.

from the mosh pit to the orchestra pit.

April 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jason: I'm a big fan of Ames and also have a book with his quirky caricature drawn in. Have you read Wake Up, Sir!?

April 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Angel said...

Oh it would have been a bad bad thing for me to have attended that show. I was giddy just reading about it.

April 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

UB- i've read all his stuff. guy's a genius!

April 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM  
Blogger AM said...

Reading the first sentence of this blog post was almost more funny than watching Queen Noor knight Stephen Colbert on his show this week.

I'm sorry you haven't found a job yet. Something will come along and everything will fall into place.

Ambiguity isn't an easy thing to embrace, but you're being proactive about getting a job and that will pay off.

April 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger AM said...

p.s.- You are so lucky to be in NYC for this:

April 8, 2009 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous popomatic Jeff said...

Have you ever tried combining your old interest with your new one? It could make for one hell of a weekend or at least, blog post.

I also enjoy searching for hard to find books but prefer the ones that can eventually be found in a dusty corner of an old book barn or used book shop.

April 9, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

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