My current favorite inscription in a book at Classics Books & Gifts.
Scrawled inside If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,
“Mama mama sick in bed. She really a sleepy mad mad. PS I love mom, love Katie.”
I enjoy finding interesting things tucked into books that come into Classics. I’ve found money, four-leaf clovers and personal checks written by witches.
My favorite, though, was found in a book of poetry in written by Richard Nixon (not THAT Richard Nixon, the other one). There was a bunch of ephemera in it and as I went through it a story of lost love emerged.
First, I find, tucked between pages 22 and 23, a postcard that had written on it
“My Christmas thought/ Could not be bought. /I searched the city through. A sorry guest, / For the very best / Were none to good for you. Richard. Paris 1932.”
Second, later in the book, I find a typewritten letter, written from Paris on New Year’s Day addressed
“You complain that I never open my heart. Let us take the fanciful case of a man who after many years finds his soul face to face with a woman he once loved,–a woman presumably in love with a perfectly good husband to whom she reads her letters. Such a man might well hesitate to unlock his heart, tho he might paraphrased Browning a little and say, Open my heart and you will see / Graven upon it only Thee. So it ever was, so shall it ever be.
“No, I didn’t stay on in Jersey beyond the merrie month of May, having finally been driven out of that terrestrial paradise by the Demon of Loneliness.
“I was cheered by your news that this has been a successful year for Melvin and I hope that good humor in which you are ending it will extend far enough into the new one to stimulate you to write me again and soon. Stella Farwell write me from New Orleans that you had been there twice since last spring, looking younger and handsomer than ever. No wonder you are in such good humor, with a good husband who has had a successful year and with Time treating you like a spoiled child.”
Later in the book, there is a Christmas card from Richard “with much love.”
Finally, there is a wedding invitation
“Mr. Richard Nixon has the honor to announce his marriage to Madame A Lelu in Paris on September Twenty-sixth, 1940.”
Singer, songwriter and Trenton native Ian Gentles wrote a song about white flight called a “Whiter Shade of Trash.” Classics Used and Rare Books made the video! Ian writes, in his latest blog,
I’m sure that most of it’s denizens today view Trenton simply as home. But as a white kid who spent most of his life growing up in the suburbs- a result of my own family’s participation in the ‘white flight’ migration- I was told not to go there. So I didn’t… Until recently.
A friend of mine opened a bookstore called ‘Classics’ on Warren street where the locals go to every Friday night to play Scrabble, Chess, and board games, or to simply just hang out and socialize. I’ve met some of the nicest people anywhere there, and you can’t help but wonder what the hell everyone was running from nearly half of a century ago. It proves just how devastating an emotion like fear can be.
Read the whole post and listen to the song here: http://ianpatrickgentles.com/ianpatrickgentleshome.cfm?feature=3050597&postid=1675706
When we opened up our first bookstore in New Hope PA, it was before I had any kids, so I put the “Horror” section right above the “Parenting” section.
It wasn’t what I thought about parenting, mind you, but I thought it was funny. Most browsers didn’t notice it, but I would hear occasional snorts and whispers. Sometimes people thought it was an accidental placement, which made it even funnier to them.
I’d like to take you on a behind the scene tour of Classics in Trenton, NJ.
I put the Christian section right up front near the door, the spot most likely to be the target of a shoplifter. My theory is that if somebody steals a Bible, they’ll run home, read that stealing is a sin and bring the book right back.
In addition, the Christian section, the Islamic section, the Jewish section and the section of Buddhism and Hinduism are spread around the store as if to prevent any sectarian tensions. This arrangement was accidental, but since there hasn’t been any religious conflict in my store, it seems like a good plan.
You can shop in the bathroom too. In this special themed section, you can find Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, How to Sh*t in the Woods and Going Abroad: Toilets in Foreign Countries
The Jeff Edelstein Science Fiction Section
Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein advocated separating the “Science Fiction” and “Fantasy” sections, while most American bookstores keep them combined. Jeff had strong feelings that one of these sections shouldn’t be mingled with the other “inferior” one, and so we divorced them.
Apparently, combining the two sections is unique to the United States. According to SF author Robert Sawyer, it is the fault of “Donald A. Wollheim, a science fiction editor, (who) brought out the first U.S. edition of what was then a unique work, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. If someone else had scooped that up first, the two genres would never have been co-mingled.”
To read more about the history of the Jeff Edelstein Science Fiction Section, visit http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2007/02/12/today’s%20stories/17841067.txt?viewmode=default
I have customers who love finding The Perfect Storm (the true story of a terrible storm that swamps the crew of the Andrea Gail) in the “Travel” section.
Comment and let me know what other changes I should make. “Horror” and “Parenting?” “True Crime” and “Politics?” “Etiquette” and “Television Political Commentary?”