Saturday, May 1, 2010

gold-diggers and gamblers

i was lost into books for a while there, and i managed to free myself from them only because i found out that by ignoring them,they reality that is how long it took me to recover from the by-annual Seattle public library huge sale where all books are one dollar ,unless you go into the fenced "better books" area, which should be really re-labeled the " same books like outside,just more expensive" area. All in all it was like going into a hell designed just for book-dealers, where not only you pay money to enter hell, but you voluntarily decide to enter and suffer the pain that the flames inflict upon you. The place's hot temperature is due to the fact that the room is a sort of green-house with big windows, and on top of that you have to fight your way through a herd of people with red eyes and smoke coming out of their noses ready to horn you if you happen to be in their way. The majority of the crowd is divided into two categories: the gold-diggers who come with these little computerized machines,the scanners, which scan the books' barecode and immediately tell you whether the book is worth to sell on amazon.Usually this category consists of people who know nothing about books and possibly never read one,howevver I still haven't figured out whether they work for somebody who remains in the shadow or they do it out of their basement as second job
(this is called book-spy talk).
The second category is represented by people like me who has acquired some knowledge but is still guessing a lot, and so I buy hoping to have paid less that what the book is worth but it doesn't always happen that I'm lucky that way. The rest of the crowd consists of regular readers who come to stock on cheap but good books and students.
Since I'm not interested in gambling for fun and for work necessity I'm not good at it, I decided to let it go and just look for stuff that looked interesting or different or unusual and ultimately just fun to be surrounded by at the bookstore. And magically, as soon as I did that, one after the other the good books came to me, jumped into my lap like frogs and hit my eyes like a flash-light.
Among them ,I happened to come across a series of italian modern classics, the ones that never get to be read in highschool because by the end of the school year it is too late to pack them in after months and months of renaissance poetry and 1800's literature.The modern writers ,the ones that lived through the wars and observed the post-war re-defining era become a sort of underground culture you discover by yourself during the summer months when you can read the books you want. So during those months of hot sunny days ,yellow with light, red with tomatos on the vines, blue with the sea and green with basil ,you read about the realist writers who display inner conflicts and daily struggles with real poverty , you read about the disillusioned idealist who have to face political contradictions and failed philosophies, you read stories of places destroyed by years of despotism and two global wars that left a collective consciousness filled with disenchantment and confusion about how it could have all possibly been real. And so,like the movies made during those years, the books too unravel out of a surrealistic atmosphere as though it is all a strange dream....
here the pics
if you haven't noticed, i will mention the fact that among these finds there is a heavy absence, that one of women writers who belong to the same group as these fellows up here. I couldn't see anyone of them down there in hell and maybe that is because there aren't many women who end up in hell being immediately sanctified by the origin of their nature. One I have to mention just in case you one day happen to come across a translation and wonder whether you should read it: Elsa Morante. Anything that she wrote is a rare treasure to look at.


  1. Eh…ma qui si gioca duro, ci vorrebbe Piero Dorfles per commentare questo post.
    Pensando quale ruolo interpretare nell’epopea dei libri della biblioteca di Seattle e considerando che una cercatrice deve avere mani libere e mente sgombra dalle quotidiane faccende, ho realizzato che avrei potuto mettermi alla guida del carro viveri, magari assumendo voce e sembianze di Joseph Egger, sai quel vecchietto del far-west che parlava come uno senza denti.
    Al mio fianco, abbracciato al winchester e con il capo penzoloni sulla spalla, zio Sergio avrebbe masticato tabacco scuro e spiccicato diofà ad ogni sobbalzo, mentre all’interno del carro zio Paolo, la flanella camolata e le bretelle incrociate sui lombi, sarebbe apparso insostituibile nel compito di portare a cottura il paiolo con fagioli e cotiche.
    E contro il branco dei “barracode” la parte dell’eroe avrebbe avuto in zio Glinteast (l’unico in grado di stare ritto in sella e quello che più s’avvicina al Clint dell’iconografia classica) un interprete equiparabile all’originale.
    Ti dirò, l’avremmo anche sottoposto agli sceneggiatori, però abbiamo incominciato a litigare fra noi e non se n’è fatto nulla.
    Chiedi perché? Presto detto.
    Nella corsa alla miniera letteraria, nessuno voleva beccarsi la prima pallottola.

  2. I like sales. I like old books. I think I would have enjoyed myself there, and bought far too many books.
    I know "Arturo's island" of Morante, but I found it terribly boring. Forgive me.

  3. the next visit to that bookish hell I take you with me ,then, Violet, and you can help me pick the books.
    You have to be on an Italian island to read L'isola di Arturo, only then it all makes sense1