We had some errands to run on Clement Street this noon, so my husband casually suggested that we stop in at Green Apple Books. For a quick browse, I thought — why not? But no, it was actually because he wanted to see if our book was still on the shelf there…
It was. This was the first time I’d seen it on a bookstore shelf — one usually buys technical books online these days — so it was a treat. I admired it briefly, took a quick photo, and then turned for the stairs. Bookstores are a wee bit dangerous, for me. But just a quick browse; what could it hurt? I hoped to escape Green Apple unscathed, but nooooooo….
Jules Feiffer’s latest, the noir-tinged graphic novel Kill My Mother, has just come out. Green Apple had it. Into the shopping bag. I picked up several more enticing volumes, then put them down again, because the Feiffer was a bit extravagant. Just one, just one, I’ll be fine!
Then I saw The Book of Monelle by French symbolist Marcel Schwob, whom I’d recently been reading about at Weird Fiction Review — they’ve put translations of two of his stories online (here, and here). My fingers twitched. Into the shopping bag. Quick, close my eyes, to the register, pay — go!
But yesterday, in the mail, I got Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Ueda Akinari, nine Japanese gothic tales written in 1776, which I discovered because Carlos Fuentes said that his ghost story novel Aura was inspired in part by the Japanese film Ugetsu Monogatari. I think there are several films by this name, but at any rate the 1953 Mizoguchi version is based in part on Ueda’s stories, or one of them at least, and you know that the DVD is also on its way to my house right now, oh yes. A used copy, because I’m not crazy….
And onto my bedside table all of this goes, next to Robert Aickman’s The Wine-Dark Sea, which I bought at Borderlands Books last weekend. I cheated and read the first story (the title story; it went well with the Carlos Fuentes that I’d been reading), but really I shouldn’t have started it, because ahead of it in line is the new Swan River Press volume, Dreams of Shadow and Smoke, an anthology in tribute to last month’s bicentennial of J.S. Le Fanu. I couldn’t start that when it arrived, because I was in the middle of my Carlos Fuentes kick, which technically I’m not done with yet (I finished Constancia, and other stories for Virgins, but I still haven’t gotten to The Crystal Frontier, or Vlad), but I’ve interrupted to re-read Julio Cortázar’s collection Blow-Up, and other stories (Oh, so good! So, very, very good), because last month was also Cortázar’s centennial….
And I still have a couple of half-finished collections (Daphne du Maurier and Sherman Alexie), waiting, too. And a collection of Dickens’ ghost stories, and of Robertson Davies’ ghost stories, and Amelia B. Edwards’ crime tales, and an anthology jointly edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, and….
In fact, I have books in my to-be-read pile that have been waiting so long that I’m not sure the bookstores where I bought them even exist anymore (Constancia was one of those). Arghh.
Can’t someone pay me to read these? Then I could legitimately call it “client work,” and read them in the middle of the day with a clear conscience.
Oh, well. How’s your week going so far?