Daily Archives: March 27, 2008

Flying Off the Shelves by Paul Constant

There’s an underground economy of boosted books. These values are commonly understood and roundly agreed upon through word of mouth, and the values always seem to be true. Once, a scruffy, large man approached me, holding a folded-up piece of paper. “Do you have any Buck?” He paused and looked at the piece of paper. “Any books by Buckorsick?” I suspected that he meant Bukowski, but I played dumb, and asked to see the piece of paper he was holding. It was written in crisp handwriting that clearly didn’t belong to him, and it read:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Jim Thompson

3. Philip K. Dick

4. William S. Burroughs

5. Any Graphic Novel

This is pretty much the authoritative top five, the New York Times best-seller list of stolen books. Its origins still mystify me..

I asked the man whether he preferred Bukowski’s Pulp to his Women, as I did, and whether his favorite Thompson book was The Getaway or The Killer Inside Me. First the book chatter made him nervous, but then it made him angry…

Continue reading Flying Off the Shelves by Paul Constant | via The Stranger

Any booksellers reading this?  I’m curious about the how the lists might compare from store to store, city to city… Not surprised Buk is at the top of this one, however.  But where is Hoffman?  Surprising omission.

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Hard-wired for the ups and downs

I’m here not to praise elitism but to understand it, not so much through a history of elites but by talking about elites in prehistory.

Human beings are naturally hierarchical and they like arranging themselves into hierarchies of skill, age, wealth, competence, experience, whatever. We can deny it if we want, but we all know that when the chips are down and the anarchists have formed the anarchists’ association, the first thing they do is elect a governing committee.

 Hierarchies, writes Denis Dutton, are intrinsic to human society, and resentment of elites can be traced back to prehistory.

Read the rest of Hard-wired for the ups and downs by Denis Dutton

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How to Survive in America

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This post on Flickr caught my eye as I was skipping rocks in my Netvibes universe today.

Scanned cover of a book I found dumped in a box on a street in Berlin, from the Cambridge University Press printed in 1983. Love the dramatic title and the strangely psychedelic imagery.

Oh, btw, this is a language book for Germans

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