I am interested here in getting at our political psychology through our political rhetoric.
This is a collection of essays by historian Richard Hofstadter. Though I doubt it has ever really lost relevance since it was published in 1964, it has definitely gained a lot in the past year or so. It’s titled after Hofstadter’s most famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (which I’ll just refer to as “The Paranoid Style” from now on), and that essay was the reason I picked up this book. The collection adds a bunch of other essays loosely based around the themes that attracted Hofstadter in this period of his career: the cranks, kooks, and mad prophets of American political life. Continue reading “11. The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays”→
In the crowded genre of books about writing, we can now declare Stephen King’s On Writing to be a standard. It’s so often read and recommended that many who have never tried a word of King’s fiction will yet have this one on their shelves. And for good reason. King, whose storieshave entered our cultural lexicon in a way that other fiction mega-sellers, like John Grisham or Danielle Steel, couldn’t dream of, is as successful and prolific a guide as you could wish for. Continue reading “10. On Writing”→
I’m going to put all these books away now. Since I brought them home in May they’ve been in a stack on the living room floor, but other books have come into my life since then (surprise), so it’s time to wrap up this used book haul, the biggest of the year.
Let’s take a break from going through my latest summerbooksalehaul, to inaugurate a new series. I think I’ll call it Cool Shop, Open Wallet. Over the past couple years I’ve been photographing the bookshops I visit, so I’m going to start posting about these exceptional places. They’re shops I frequent regularly, or did at some point in my life, or visited a single time while travelling. Either way, if I’m posting about them it’s because I loved what I saw there, and invariably opened my wallet to snag some of their fine inventory for myself.
The first in the series is Wayfarer Books in Kingston. This takes me back to my student days, before I had a blog or took photographs, back when my own book collection was probably one fifth of its present size. I spent my dishevelled student hours here when I wasn’t lost in the stacks at Stauffer or frantically typing in the reading room at Douglas Library, back when life turned on essays and eating. This was one of the first indie shops I explored in my indie life far from home. So Wayfarer started a serious habit.
One of the best things about this shop, besides the atmosphere and selection, is that some of the books bear extensive inscriptions by the storeowner. Don’t worry, he writes in pencil, but the descriptions are so interesting that you wouldn’t want to erase them anyway. You have to love that a shopkeeper takes the time to transcribe his knowledge of a particular volume for its future readers. Plus, now I always know which of my books came from here.
Among them: a fine old copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and W.H. Hudson’s Green Mansions.
If you’re ever in Kingston, make time for this gem. One of its Google reviews places Wayfarer in league only with Shakespeare & Company in Paris and City Lights in San Fransisco. You may think that’s an exaggeration, but I say it’s exactly right.
I try to be picky about coffee table books, since I have more of them now than I could ever possibly display on my coffee table. But this one made it through.
I’ve been wanting a digestible history of Britain for a while (mainly since stumbling my way through the Wars of the Roses via Shakespeare). Nothing signals digestible more than the word “Illustrated,” right? By the time I get to 1066 and All ThatI’ll be a veritable expert in the field.
Unexpectedly one of my favourite finds of the year so far.
I was thrilled to find Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day at one of the charity book sales a couple weeks ago. I recently read one of his books for the first time (you’ll find out which one when I post a review sometime in the next 50 years) and it was great. But this is the famous one.
Again, a great example of how book sales can be a source of fun older editions, for a fraction of the cost of a new one. I’m always on the lookout for old Penguins.
Also, my browser has been changing “Kazuo” to “Kazoo” which I think is also a good name for a writer. Pynchon would approve.
One thing I always look out for at charity book sales: classics I should already have. Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is a good example. I knew I should have a copy, but could never fork out $20 for a new one at the store (or even $10 for a used one).
This one cost $3, which is just about right, and I’m a sucker for retro paperbacks.