I May Need an Intervention…

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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…

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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?

15 thoughts on “I May Need an Intervention…

  1. Oh…it’s catching. Your mention of Charles Dickens reminded me I wanted to read the story collection The Haunted House. Is that the one you have? I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Gaskell, and I wanted to see what she and the other authors added to the book. So, I just bought it. Not that I needed another book.

    • My collection only includes the contributions that Dickens himself made to “The Haunted House”, along with several other ghost stories of his. I do mean to read the entire collaborative piece as well — someday…

  2. By Darwin’s fuzzy beard bookshops are dangerous places for folks like us, thankfully since I have been working from home I am spending far less to clutter up our house than when I worked in London’s west end with Forbidden Planet, Waterstones, Foyles and the whole host of 2nd hand booksellers down Shaftesbury avenue al within a lunchtime stroll

    • I fear that when I finally make my way to London that I will explode from bookstore happiness — completely broke. Wandering around the bookstalls in Madrid made me very happy, even though my literacy in Spanish is weak enough that I wasn’t tempted to buy anything…. just the idea of the stalls was enough.

  3. Most of the books you mention I have not heard of before (or had yet to discover 🙂 ) If you could recommend one, just one all-time absolute favourite, which would it be? I’ve got a feeling I’ve set you an impossible task!

    • My *all-time* favorite? Oh, impossible, for sure! Of the books and authors I’ve mentioned in this post, I love love love Julio Cortazar’s collection Blow Up … but I am also excited for the Gaiman/Sarrantonio anthology (it’s called Stories), just because I really like Gaiman, and don’t imagine he would steer me wrong. And Aura was quite good, if you don’t mind ambiguity…

      Oh, and I saw a very good review somewhere for Dreams of Shadow and Smoke, too….

      I’m not really answering your question, am I? 🙂

    • Oh, dear. She writes about mathematics. I’m in trouble (and she’s on my list)…. Thanks for sharing that (I think).

      I tell myself that I should finish all that I have before I get more. There’s enough of it, and I don’t read that fast. But then things pique my interest, or I stumble on something in a bookstore that I just can’t resist… Ah, well….

  4. I think I have eight books in various states of partially read and another seven I swear I’m going to get to by the end of the year. If you find out who’ll pay you to read really good stuff, sign me up too.

    I didn’t know your book was about R! R gets a passing mention in my book (thanks to my husband’s familiarity with it).

  5. As a record (now CD) collector, I’m reminded of the old “Wolf Man” movies starring Lon Chaney, Jr. In at least one of them he pleads with a small town jailer to imprison him before the full moon comes: “Stop me before I kill again!” or some similar words. At least we can be glad we do not share his demon, even if we buy too many things.

  6. There is no cure for book addiction I fear. I have a house full and always have about 4 or 5 on the go at once! I particularly love those cluttered old second hand book shops where the owner clearly loves the books so much that they don’t really want you to buy any of them! I would be like that if I ran a book shop ;0)

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