November 04, 2003

Kinda Sad...

Julian Sanchez makes an interesting find in a used book store:

Julian's Lounge: Notes from the Lounge: Strolling home today from the cafe where I sometimes work so as to get out of the apartment for a while, I popped into a local used bookshop. Browsing through the new arrivals, I spotted a hardbacked copy of Effort, Opportunity and Wealth by the late economist Julian Simon. Flipping it open idly, I was surprised to find it inscribed:

For Bea and Irving,
In hopes of more
[ILLEGIBLE] together,
Julian
January 10, 1988

I had chanced upon a copy signed by Julian Simon! But what of "Bea and Irving"? I immediately thought of Irving Kristol. But wasn't he married to the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb? I asked the clerk to Google Kristol's name along with "Bea" and quickly saw that Himmelfarb is known as "Bea" to her friends. So this was indeed a book Simon had given them some 15 years ago. I don't know how it came recently to this little bookshop, but it's kind of a cool find—15 bucks in mint condition.

Kinda sad. The only books of mine that are in "mint condition" are those that are still unread, after all. No copy of anybody's book should have to suffer that indignity...

Posted by DeLong at November 4, 2003 05:53 PM | TrackBack

Comments

It seems kind of unfortunate that the most important word in the dedication is the illegible one - you can't help but imagine the possibilities.

(reading? success? time? wild threesomes?)

Posted by: Nasi Lemak on November 4, 2003 05:58 PM

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I read an interview with some publisher who specializes in reprints of books by living authors, and he said that when he wants a pristine, unread copy of a book, he asks the author to ask his mother for the copy he inscribed to her...

Posted by: Mike G on November 4, 2003 08:58 PM

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G. B. Shaw (I think) was browsing a second-hand stall when he found a copy of one of his books that he had given to an intimate friend, and inscribed rather fulsomely, only a short time before. Something like "with great fondness and affection, GBS".

Peeved at the slight, he bought the book and sent it to the friend, but now further inscribed "With renewed expression of my great fondness and affection, GBS".

Posted by: terry on November 5, 2003 01:57 AM

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The idea that book recepients are supposed to read the books they are given always reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon in which a fashionable young women, opening birthday gifts, comes upon a book and responds, "Oh. Homework."

Posted by: Martin on November 5, 2003 07:41 AM

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The idea that book recepients are supposed to read the books they are given always reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon in which a fashionable young women, opening birthday gifts, comes upon a book and responds, "Oh. Homework."

Posted by: Martin on November 5, 2003 07:43 AM

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D'oh! Terry got there first:

"Speaking of old acquaintances, I recall a story concerning the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw which has particular significance for a column that makes its bed in a Used Bookstore's newsletter . . .

It seems that Shaw was in such a store once, and came across a book of his own plays that featured an inscription in his own hand to a friend of his: "With the compliments of George Bernard Shaw." He immediately purchased the book, and that same day mailed it off to the friend with the added inscription: "With renewed compliments, GBS."
http://www.bookagain.com/folklore98b.html

Posted by: ymr049c on November 5, 2003 12:51 PM

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Ya know, I gotta give them Kristols mad props for being the kind of family who shows the rest of us what gracious living is all about.

Surely Mr. Kristol could find some nice university (like, maybe, the one he works for) which could have used the book to save a struggling student a few bucks? I know there aren't many of them in New York, what with the reasonable cost of living and the recent increases in educational funding and dropping fees at the public universities and stuff.

Oh, wait, he probably got a few bucks for it himself.

Well, I'm sure it was near christmas and the doorman was all expectant.

Posted by: julia on November 5, 2003 03:54 PM

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No university needs anything by Julian Simon. They did right. I'm not in favor of book-burning, but if they'd used to to prop up a shelf that would have been about right.

Posted by: Zizka on November 5, 2003 04:48 PM

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