31 January 2009

More Second-hand Bookstore Discoveries: East Bay Emptying Wallet Edition

Carrol Smith-Rosenburg, Disorderly Conduct (1985): $6.00

First: “Women’s history bridges the scholarly and political, weaving their disparate visions into one.”

Last: “Our very first lesson must be to understand and not to blame them.”

Ted Joans, Black Pow-Wow (1969): $9.00

First: “If you should see a man walking down a crowded street talking aloud to himself don’t run in the opposite direction but run toward him for he is a poet.”

Last: “If he says—Nigger CUT IT!!”

H. Brett Melendy, Asians in America (1977): $10.00

First: “Since the 1850s, people from many different nations have migrated eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the mainland United States and Hawaii.”

Last: “These Asian immigrants have helped to demonstrate that America remains a mutli-ethnic nation and that their presence has contributed to a better sense of purpose.”

Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn, Dangerous Music (1975): $7.00

First: “There are some people I know whose beauty is a crime.”

Last: “A carnival of spirits shredded blossoms in the water.”

I.F. Stone, The Haunted Fifties (1963): $1.00

First: “I am, I suppose, an anachronism.”

Last: “Only if it [the sovereign state] dies can humanity live.”

E.H. Carr, Twilight of the Comintern, 1930-1935 (1982): $2.00

First: “Two crises, whose eventual repercussions were incalculable, coincided in the winter of 1929-1930.”

Last: “The seventh congress pointed the way to the denouement of 1943.”


Tom said...

I love these first and last sentence encapsulations. Especially Black Pow-Wow.

Buster said...

I still recommend, however, reading the middle parts of these books.

Personally, I'm most impressed by Carr's first and last offerings here, because they are, respectively, exactly where his story starts and stops. I can't think of the last history I read that was quite so straight-forward in its approach.

Anonymous said...

Damn, if I'd known you wanted the Carr I'd have given you my copy. I drudged through it; he's a good writer but I found the material very tedious. As I recall it consists mainly of accounts of the CI scolding its member parties for their many failures, most of which were due to their following CI orders right off the nearest cliff. I dunno, maybe my memory is skewed, but it made depressing reading, and lacked Claudìn's sharp polemical passion, though it's probably more reliable as to the record.

Buster said...

Rootless, No worries--that purchase actually saved me money. Two dollars spent at the bookstore on the way home from research got my parking validated and cut the fee from $12 to $6.

Anonymous said...

The best day's work that book ever did. I worked my way through 9 or 28 volumes of Carr's History of the USSR, which brought me very nearly to 1922 as I recall.

The George V. Higgins book about the (thinly disguised) Bulger brothers is "The Digger's Game," and I love it. If you see a copy in a second-hand store, grab it.

sarah said...

I just want to chime in and agree that I'm a big fan of the first last book reviews. I'm also a big fan of used bookstores. I wish there were some good ones locally. Maybe I need an NYC bookstore trip.

Buster said...

Sarah, Frankly, NYC used bookstores are (1) overpriced and (2) picked over. None of the books featured in January were NY purchases.

I always look forward to trips away from New York for my old book urges. The Bay Area always makes me happy, as do little road trips around western Massachusetts and Vermont. Also driving in the desert and stopping at random places is nice; the dry air and cheap rent makes for large warehouses full of non-mildewy finds.

Ummm, do I sound like a junkie?

Anonymous said...

The ironic thing for me, since gaining home (meaning regular) access to the internet about five years ago, is the opportunity to search for used books online. Living in a small town, up in the north of England, options have been sparse. An indispensable electronic tool for finding old pieces of paper.

Buster said...

Defrosted, On the one hand, I hear you. On the other hand, I have fond memories of a little used-bookstore I visited in Bamburgh in 1996. I don't know (and highly doubt) that it has survived and it probably wouldn't have served all my needs were I a full-time Northumberlander. But I remember happily buying a couple of tomes there, though their titles escape my memory at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the above. You have an interesting blog by the way. Some interesting views on Russia, a place where I too will be living one day for studies. I have been there myself several times on short visits, and have found myself drawn to Moscow, although it is rather depressing becoming more acquainted by words with the racism, chauvinism and violence happening there against non-whites, from the reports of people such as yourself.