Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Helpful Clerk

Last night I stopped in my neighborhood bookstore, something I need to do at least once a week; otherwise I feel weird. I picked up a copy of Cult Magazines: From A to Z as a birthday present for a friend. On seeing my purchase, the person at the cash register said "You know, we also have copies of the fetish magazine Bizarre in really good shape," leading me to a glass case and producing two copies of the magazine. They were digest-sized and filled with drawings of ladies in skin-tight clothing. My friends know I have a habit of smelling books; happily, I was able to restrain myself from sniffing the copies of Bizarre.

I considered adding them as a gift but the price was more than I wanted to spend, though still reasonable given the magazines' condition. "I find ladies in clothes like these much sexier than when they're naked" the clerk told me.

"Oh" my helpful response.

"Have you seen the Puerto Rican porn magazines we got in?"

"Yes, yes, I did see those" because I had. Those magazines featured black and white photos, taken in sequence, showing people sitting around in a living room removing their clothes piece by piece. They were like stills from the drabbest stag film ever made.

I should point out that this is a regular bookstore and I was not wearing my dirty raincoat. So is it me? Is there something about me that says "tell me all about the second-hand dirty books you have in stock?"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Freelance Online Critics and Scholars

It has been a slow day at work: one boss is working from his beach house; another is not feeling well and is working from home. In addition, this is the end of summer, the limbo before a Labor Day that has worked out to be later this year than usual. So I'm rather bored.

It still seems to be bad form to open a book at your desk at work but reading something on the internet is okay. The impression of being engaged and aware of your surroundings, dissolves when you're pouring over a book but not when you're immersed in the computer screen.

So thank God for online critics and scholars with their blogs dedicated to art, design, and literature. (I don't bother with political opinion blogs. I've never been that bored.) Some recent finds that have not only made the days pass quicker but have actually enriched them:

Got Medieval
A medieval scholar's playful blog featuring the hallmarks of medieval life I like best: crazy thinking, religious domination, scary monsters. He finds outstanding images I have not seen elsewhere.

Res Obscura
My friend Andrea just alerted me to this blog today. Still exploring but love what I've seen so far.

A Journey Round My Skull
Someone else who unerringly finds bizarre and beautiful images from artists both past and contemporary.

An archivist with wide-ranging taste shares images from a variety of little known or soon to be lost forever books.

Caustic Cover Critic
Speaking of books: want to understand good book cover design? Read this blog. Even if not interested in the hows and whys of design, you can marvel at the expertly chosen examples or laugh at the bad covers on display.

Now it's time for me to go home.