Vanity Fair’s puff piece on Beto O’Rourke, published nearly simultaneously with O’Rourke’s announcement that he was running for President of the United States, says more about the author of the piece than it does about O’Rourke. My interest in the piece was limited to its description of O’Rourke’s library, which author Joe Hagan described as follows:
“Behind the door, in the O’Rourke living room, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf contains a section for rock memoirs (Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, a favorite) and a stack of LPs (the Clash, Nina Simone) but also a sizable collection of presidential biographies, including Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon B. Johnson. Arranged in historical order, the biographies suggest there’s been some reflection on the gravity of the presidency. But there’s also some political poetry to it, a sense that O’Rourke might be destined for this shelf. He has an aura.”
Obviously Hagan is not a real book lover. If he were, he would have given us a much more detailed description of O’Rourke’s library. The most impressive book mentioned is “Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon B. Johnson.” Actually, the biography is a series of books—four to date and still not complete. Caro’s biography of Johnson is one of the best biographies I have ever read. One volume, Master of the Senate, won a Pulitzer. Continue reading “Vanity Fair Beto O’Rourke & a Library Without an Aura”→
Note: This is the first of a series of posts that will appear from time to time dealing with personal libraries, whether real or fictional.
In his short story, “The Jelly Bean,” which appears in the collection, Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes Jim Powell’s bedroom above Tilly’s garage, where he works part-time, in a fictional Georgia city of 40,000 people.
“It was a cheerless square of a room, punctuated with a bed and a battered table on which lay half a dozen books—Joe Miller’s Slow Train Thru Arkansas, Lucille, in an old edition very much annotated in an old fashioned hand; The Eyes of the World by Harold Bell Wright, and an ancient prayer book of the Church of England with the name Alice Powell and the date 1831 written on the fly-leaf.” Continue reading “Jelly Bean’s Library”→
*Please note that the following essay does not apply to my regular customers, or new customers who have serious questions about books, prices, etc. I enjoy conversing with my regular customers, new customers, people traveling through, etc.
There are a lot of lonely people in upstate New York, mostly men, whose loneliness seems to be self created, drowning the people nice enough to lend them an ear in a tsunami of words and whose own ears are stopped up so they never know what you are saying even if they come up for air, which they rarely do. They seek out small business owners and sole proprietors, monopolizing their time, sometimes buying something, most of the time not. Continue reading “All the lonely people Where do they all come from?”→
The CIA had a problem. The world’s most powerful spy agency with its own military, bigger than most militaries in the world, owed me $5.53 but couldn’t figure out how to pay me. It would take more than three years for them to solve the problem. They had toppled governments in less time.
With Ian Buruma’s Resignation NYRB goes where it has never gone before
Daniel T. Weaver
Near the end of Katherine Anne Porter’s short novel, Noon Wine, the main character, Royal Earle Thompson, recently acquitted of murder, rides around the county attempting to justify his behavior to his neighbors. At his last stop, he says to Mr. McClellan, “Well, as I reckon you happen to know, I’ve had some strange troubles lately, and, as the feller says, it’s not the kind of trouble that happens to a man every day in the year, and there’s some things I don’t want no misunderstanding about in the neighbors’ minds, so—” Continue reading “New York Review of Books Commits Intellectual Suicide”→
(This is an excerpt from Nothing Much Happens, Diary of an Upstate Bookseller, a work in progress.)
New customer from the UK in today, a verbal salad shooter, manure spreader. “Bloody” this and “bloody” that and George W. Bush is a wanker. Obama is a wanker too, and John Wayne was a bloody wanker. Most of the the time I could understand him, but sometimes I needed subtitles.
He comes to the States once a year, entering from Canada with a suitcase full of hundred dollar bills to buy vintage cars and parts to ship back to the Island to sell at a profit. His name is Ford*, but he buys and repatriates Triumphs, Austin Healys and MGs not Mustangs.