Friday, September 19, 2014

Noted in Barnes & Noble

Last weekend I visited one of my favorite Upper East Side haunts, the Barnes & Noble bookstore on 86th Street. Here are a few observations.

Books have a strong aesthetic appeal. They should have a substantial feel in the hand. The printed page should be pleasing to behold. On the shelf, they should look inviting. It is the appearance on the shelf of The Collected Plays of Edward Albee that causes me some consternation. The three-volume set is mismatched, with the second volume being from a different edition. They don't quite look right together; rather they look almost right. In content, the second volume is very likely identical in both the Overlook and the Overlook Duckworth editions. If I were to invest in this set, would I buy it here knowing I'd spend the rest of my life seeing its divergent spines on my shelf? If I needed it quickly for a course, sure I would, but as a thoughtful addition to my library I'd probably hold out a bit for the matching set.

Three-volume set of The Collected Plays of Edward Albee

I understand that booksellers need to protect their stock from theft, but the adhesive security tag in a copy of Liana Finck's A Bintel Brief (2014) defaces the book. It doesn't look as if it would peel off the page harmlessly. It covers a part of the image on a page of a graphic novel. It is carefully placed to be sure, but who wants this at all in a book? Words certainly and, yes, even pictures shouldn't be deliberately obscured. Otherwise, why not buy your copy of the book online and get to see 100% of every page?
Anti-theft security tag in a copy of A Bintel Brief (2014) by Liana Finck

This day-to-day boxed calendar for 2015 offers the prospect of a New Yorker cartoon for every day of the coming year. Just one cartoon? Well, it's a start.
Cartoons from the New Yorker 2015 day-to-day boxed calendar
Cartoon by Paul Karasik


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