An Embarrassment (Of riches? Maybe?)

The library downstairs is nearing completion! All that remains is painting the ceiling and the wall under the shelves, and then putting in the floor (I know, that last part could take forever, but hey).

Last month, I got the idea to inaugurate the new library with some special/new books. I’ve noted before that I’m on a bit of an austerity plan this year. I’ve cut back most of my discretionary purchases, let some expenses go, and basically done some evaluating of what makes me happy and what just distracts me.

I decided our new library could use a nice set of A Dance To The Music of Time paperbacks. I was saddened to discover that the U of Chicago press edition of the four-volume set with slipcover isn’t available (I mean, you can find that set on ABEbooks for like $250, but eh), so I settled for the four paperbacks themselves. I ordered them through my local-ish indie bookstore, Well Read, since they offer a decent online special-order discount and I always try to toss some business their way.

I even had them delivered to the store, rather than my home, so I could stop in and look around the store. And look! Here they are! For only $81.01, with shipping and tax!

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(Yes, my wife bought me a pair of greyhound bookends. No, it wasn’t her idea. I actually looked around online trying to find a nice set for the library, but she’s better at that than I am.)

Well, mission accomplished! I found the books I want to celebrate the new library! I can go back to austerity mode!

Or can I . . .?

A day after I picked up these Powell books, I got an e-mail from bookcloseouts.com, a book remainder site. I noticed they had some Arden Third Series editions of Shakespeare in stock, so I checked out my books downstairs and realized that there were a dozen of them that I could order to (nearly) give me a full set of Shakespeare’s plays! And with the remainder discount, it would only cost me $93.72 (shipping, no tax).

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(No, I don’t want everything in a single volume; these need to be portable.)

There’s a reason I didn’t already have most of those histories, since they’re supposed to be lesser plays, but now I have ’em! The book-buying can end!

Well, there is that Roman “mini-curriculum” that Tom May sent me last weekend. But I can pick those up in drips and drabs. In fact, I took a half-day today to celebrate (there’s a lot of that) finishing my big Top Companies issue of my magazine, and stopped at the Barnes & Noble on Rt. 17 to see if any of Mr. May’s suggestions were in the used books section in the back of the store. I found a copy of Horace’s Odes for $2.50 (score!) and then I noticed . . . the first twelve volumes of the original Love & Rockets collections, for a little under $5 each!

Since I promised David Townsend back in June that I’d initiate him into the world of Los Bros. Hernandez (as part of my plot to get comic books on the curriculum at St. John’s College), I decided to grab the whole lot of them, write him a little guide for what’s worth reading and what he can skip, and start him on the roads to Hoppers and Palomar!

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(Yeah, they even had the 3×3 gridded square edition, Love & Rockets X.)

Which is to say, stop me before I book-buy again!

Podcast: My Old School

Virtual Memories – season 2 episode 6
David Townsend – My Old School

The June episode of The Virtual Memories Show is ready to go! Around Memorial Day, I took a little vacation to my alma mater, St. John’s College, for a seminar on Flannery O’Connor, and got to interview two of my favorite tutors: David Townsend and Tom May.

Because they both had so much to talk about, I decided to split this month’s show into two parts. This episode has my conversation with David Townsend, and it’s a remarkable take on education in America, the nature of good conversation, and the poetry of the Koran (among other topics)!

Check out the followup episode, in which tutor Tom May talks about a dizzying array of topics. There are also episodes with tutors Peter Kalkavage (2014) and Eva Brann (2013)!

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

If you’re interested in seeing some of Annapolis, check out my photoset from that trip!

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Credits: This episode’s music is Steely Dan’s My Old School. I recorded the intro on a Blue Yeti mic, and the conversation with was recorded on a pair of Blue Encore 100 mics, feeding into a Zoom H4N recorder.

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