Quirky is Fine. Creepy is Not.

This is what Burn Out looks like:

I was at the used book store on my day off, the charity store that I manage for our local library here on the north shore of Long Island (USA), and I was greeted by four bags and four boxes of books on the doorstep, which some unknown “donor” or “donors” had left overnight. Which made me say “Shit!” in a rather loud voice, while I stood in full sight of an open-door meeting of librarians at an adjacent conference room. I wish I hadn’t, but I was pissed.

I could tell at a glance that this was nothing but crap, and I had just spent the whole month of August de-crapping the store.

Some of you, Dear Readers, are no doubt book lovers, and you’re thinking, “Oh come off it, Vivian, it can’t be that bad.”

Oh, it. It is.

As the French say, Regardez-vous la merde:

Need I say that this is a self-published book? It was self-published in 1995, long before self-publishing had any kind of “indie” sheen to it. This is a vanity project, pure and simple, a very, very creepy vanity project. I’d show you the author’s photo but you would accuse me of author-shaming.

I’m showing you anyway. Call me vain, but if I were posing for an author’s photo, I don’t know… I would at least put my dentures in.

I don’t even want to touch this book, let alone stock it in the store.


More samples of crap, crap, crappity crap:

You’ll note that one book was already previously purchased in a used book store, and still has the “used” sticker on the spine. I’ll have you know that I run a classy used-book shop and I don’t do twice-used books. And that Updike; just, no.

And then there were these, also destined for the dumpster for obvious reasons:

Although it looked to me that Jumping Simplified had been used less as a book and more as a coaster, I had to take a look inside. (Great title, by the way. I was hoping for something adorably quirky. The History of Jump Ropes How Jumping CanBring World Peace, that kind of thing. I overlooked the Ronald Sports Library logo.)

Here is Step One in an illustrated guide to. . .

. . . Step Two, wait for it. . .

. . . Step Three, and Yes! We did it!

We learned the correct way to semaphore the phrase, “A priest, a pastor, and a rabbit walk into a bar…”, simplified. (The horse is thinking, “Wait. Was it a ribbit??”)

This, below, was part of an entire box of books — old, musty, creepy, boring books — about the maritime provinces of Canada:

And rounding out your tour of Books So Boring They Might As Well Be The New Jersey Turnpike, I give you these:

Oh, thanks a lot, Mari Kondo. I refuse to let my book store be used as a dumping ground for every book that does not spark joy.

Too bad that these photos don’t show the spiders. Some of these books were definitely the winter homes of spiders.

We postponed the grand re-opening of our used book store here on the north shore of Long Island after our August hiatus for September 18. I am trying to muster up enthusiasm to finish the year out, to hang in there until December, but o, lordy…days like this, I just want quit second-hand retail and take up plane spotting full time.

The reason I was at the used book store on my day off was because I’d arranged to meet a charity that agreed to take seven boxes of carefully vetted YA books that I had collected the past six moths (we don’t sell YA), and I was grateful to clear out seven boxes from a corner of our store.

And then someone stopped in with a “donation”, and handed me eight boxes of “art books”. I know this donor, and her stuff is usually OK, but she she told me (too late for me to say No) that she’s cleaning out the bookcases of her father (who hasn’t purchased a new book in the past 70 years)…and now I have eight boxes of ratty, damp, boring, sad books about avant garde art of the last century and the treasures of the Vatican and old museum guides for eastern European art galleries. In black and white.

Sow what do you do when you’re in a rut of your own devising?

Me, I go see the kittens next door:

I get to feed them lunch this week, and these kittens jump when they hear the opening of a can of Fancy Feast sounds like:

And so on.

Dear Reader Jeanie wondered how we got through Hurricane Dorian last week here on the north shore of Long Island…and I have to say, it was terrible. AWFUL. We got battered like Alabama. The drizzle lasted many many minutes, one right after the other, for what seemed like forever if, by “forever”, you mean an hour, and the gloom — O! The gloom was tragic, positively medieval — I mean, it felt as though we were living through the Black Death, if by “Black Death”, you mean “overcast”. I am still traumatized. O, the horror.

Lickety —

— keeps amazing us by hanging in there, chowing down his breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and by insisting on sleeping in the middle of the driveway. For a dying cat, he seems to be having a whale of a time.

Top Cat had to jet off to California last Saturday, something to do with the fate of the earth, so I was left alone for the whole weekend. I’ve only been married for 15 years, but being alone in the house for a weekend feels alien, and wrong.

So on Saturday evening I took a train into Manhattan to watch the sunset in Times Square. The train route that serves my part of the north shore of Long Island is the same train line that takes Long Islanders to Shea Stadium and to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows. On this Saturday night, the Mets were at home and Serena Williams was playing the finals of the U S Open. The train was packed.

I must say, for a stay-at-home type who wants to venture out into the big city once in a while, I couldn’t have chosen a better evening than this fine, warm, clear September twilight. The train ride was a hoot, ands when I got to Penn Station and waded through the humanity that swarms mid-town Manhattan and then navigated the throngs that pile into Times Square on a Saturday night, I thought to myself, “Jesus — this is a freak show, and isn’t it wonderful??

Of course, I forgot my camera, because I went temporarily insane and forgot that I was a blogger and that my life is content, so I’m sorry not to have any photos to show you. But I was so jazzed up by the experience, that I decided that for my encore I want to go to Walmart at 2am.

Sadly, there is no WalmartSuperstore here on the Isle of Long. So this week I am flying to Fort Myers, FLA, where I will  haunt the aisles of the 24-hour Walmart on Colonial Ave, in the wee hours, and bring you back tales.

And the camera is already packed.

Have a great weekend, Dear Readers. And take heart.

I think, at this point, all we have to do is sit back and watch der Drumpf as he twists himself slowly, slowly in the wind.






P.S. I’ve put $100 against whatever Democrat runs against Collins. I made the contribution right after she endorsed the shit-eating-grinning Kavanaugh.

Next week, pix from Walmart and a How To for Ghoulish Bonsai.




7 Comments, RSS

  1. Re. the book donations — maybe you DO need a change, Vivian! I mean, yeah, a lot of them are crap. (I’m still laughing about “My Boys Can Swim!” What the hell was that publisher thinking?) But that Updike seems like it would sell, and I see “A Walk in the Woods” in one of those bags — I loved that book! The art books sound pretty horrible, though. I’ve learned working in the library that nobody wants art books anymore — especially old black and white ones. Art is all online these days.

    Your trip into Manhattan sounds fun. Nothing beats the suburban doldrums better than a trip to the city! (Say I, having lived in New Jersey.) Have fun in the Sunshine State and let us know what you find down there!

  2. I feel your pain. During my most recent shift at our library’s used book shop, someone brought in 100 books, and they were 30-year-old sociology, high school English Lit, and political texts, along with fifty or so of those little gift books that have titles like “Words of Joy” with covers splattered with doves and roses. The next donation was a huge box full of sheet music that was torn, missing covers, had pages ripped out etc. Then we got a bag full of someone’s elderly relative’s junk mail from the past six months.

    But then the day brightened considerably when a woman brought us 20 books about France — both fiction and nonfiction, all hardback with dust jackets, all recent, all in pristine condition. Naturally, I though of you — if only you had received this treasure trove.

    I hope you have a grand time in Florida, despite the Walmart. I have never been inside one, so I am looking forward to your report!

  3. Trust me. I’ve been to WalMart at 2 a.m. (Well, not quite 2 am but after midnight because when you have a bladder infection and are desperate you go to what’s open.) I’m absolutely CERTAIN Time’s Square is WAY more exciting.

    Really? The undergraduate curriculum? Eewww.

    And good news on Lickety — and on “surviving” Dorian. How much of the survival kit remains?! I keep wondering if any of those kittens will find their way to Chez Vivian…

  4. Angel

    My only comment is that I NEEDED those kitten pictures today. My Big Kitty turns 17 in about a week and he’s become a grouchy, needy, old man (meow, meow, meow, meow, meow). I love him to bits, but am grateful to be reminded of kitten adorableness.

    Thank you.

  5. Can’t wait for those Walmart photos. Must remember, always carry a camera or at the least a phone that snaps pictures. Thanks for donating to the Democrat against Susan Collins. I hope they all go down in a flame of fire. Cats certainly know a cat lover.

    Oh those books are horrendous, but I must admit once upon a time that Fly Fishing book was on my shelf. I thought I would learn to fly fish, but needless to say I never followed through. I say toss all those books for sure.

    Good to hear you survived Dorian.

  6. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, Sunset in Times Square- funny! I’m glad you made it home. If you get a chance, I recommend the Naples Botanical Garden…so beautiful.

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