Thursday 15 October 2009

The List

This week, I shall probably purchase the following:

Anna Mercury 2 #2
Marvels Project #3
Uncanny X-Men #516
Unwritten #6
Walking Dead #66

Those are dead certs I reckon, although annoyingly two of them – possibly three – are $3.99 comics, rather than $2.99 ones. I really do need to cut down further on four dollar comics, so even though Marvels Project is Ed Brubaker, if it doesn't do something interesting or exciting this issue, it's for the chop. Anna Mercury is the other offender, but that's been surprisingly enjoyable.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

I believe

I might pop over to Pevensey on Saturday and have a mooch around the book fair there. It's only a small fair I think, but you never know what might be lurking there.

Tuesday 13 October 2009


now that Matt Damon's older, someone should cast him as Tom Ripley again and film the sequels. There've been a few attempts at Ripley Under Ground and Ripley's Game (John Malkovich was rather good in the latter), but Matt Damon playing Tom in properly faithful, period adaptations... wouldn't that be terrific?

I've realised

that I would quite like to be Tom Ripley. Not the needy, rather unpleasant Tom from The Talented Mr. Ripley. The later, more settled Tom, circa Ripley's Game, pottering about in his big country house in France, reading books, collecting art and bits of furniture, going on the occasional sojourn with Heloise (or Rachel in my case), perhaps learning to play an instrument or doing a spot of painting. But without the forgery, or the murders. Well. Maybe. Let me think about that. Forgery and murder might be quite exciting. But definitely not the suppressed homosexual tendencies. Not that there's anything wrong with homosexual tendencies, suppressed or otherwise.

And in the 1970s, I think. Yes. That would be fine.

The Secret Bookshop

There's a secret second hand bookshop in the town I live in. It's hidden away in a narrow passage that runs up the side of the castle mount. I stumbled upon it a while ago but it never seemed to be open. Then one day it was open, and I went in for a look around. There wasn't a great selection there, or more likely at that point I wasn't as into books as I am now, and I promptly forgot about the place. (I think it's also the base of the local listings magazine – there's an office upstairs and they seem to advertise the magazine in the window.) But today I went for a stroll up the high street to look in a couple of the other bookshops in town, and was just heading back when I suddenly remembered it.

I doubled back, went in, and straight away saw a first edition of Kingsley Amis's Girl, 20. Price clipped, but otherwise in great condition. Seven quid. And then I saw a first edition of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley Under Ground, the second Ripley novel (and possibly the best, although my favourite is Ripley's Game – and yes, I do have a first edition of that). Now, I already have a first of Ripley Under Ground, but this was a nicer copy – my copy has a sunned (faded) spine, which is typical of this book, but this copy didn't. And it was twenty quid. And right next to it was a hardback of a Patricia Highsmith biography (Beautiful Shadow) I've had my eye on on eBay, for eight quid.

I bought the lot.

Why buy a book I've already got? Well, as I say, it's a nicer copy. I might sell my other copy; I might not. But I think it's more to do with knowing that there would have been another, better copy of Ripley Under Ground in my town, for someone else to pick up at what is a rather good price.

That probably makes me really weird.

Of course, they'd have to find the secret bookshop in the first place.

Monday 12 October 2009

The occasional

Lewes book fair was on on Saturday. I was there early doors, spotted a fair modern firsts I'd quite like to read and own, and bought none of them. I'm not sure why. There were two Kingsley Amis novels, Girl, 20 and I Want it Now. The former wasn't in great shape, but it was only four quid. The latter was a nice copy, and going for twelve quid. I really don't know why I didn't buy them. I can't work myself out sometimes.

I do know why I didn't buy Amis's Colonel Sun (writing as Robert Marham, of course): it was sixty-five quid. But I did consider it.

Shiny shiny,

shiny new book, purchased today:

I'd sort of forgotten how much I loved the original Hitchhikers books. I read them when I were a lad (apart from the later ones, which I read as a young man). I probably borrowed them from the local library, a place I practically lived in for a number of years during boyhood and then a later period post-polytechnic when I was on the dole. Gawd knows how many books I borrowed from there. I had a habit of devouring series or particular writers, starting with Doctor Who novelisations when I was very young, then moving onto yer James Herberts and Stephen Kings and Richard Laymons, by way of the Fletch novels or the Beiderbeck books. And then, for quite a long time, I forgot I'd read so many books. Successive interests – music, comics, politics, wanking – largely kept me away from reading much in the way of novels, and my passion for them – and history with them – vanished.

But now the books are back, and with them my particular past, and now there's a new Hitchhikers novel, almost as a celebration of my return to the fold, although in truth merely a coincidence. How very Douglas Adams.