Asaf Bartov (ijon) wrote,
Asaf Bartov

Caveat Emptor

Mom is not going to be pleased.

I'm here in California on business, and after an entire week, tonight was the first time I've actually made it to a bookstore. I came in with a brief list, of three role-playing books a friend asked for, and the vague designation 'a contemporary American poetry book' as a gift for another friend. That's it. Of course, I planned to pick up a title or two for myself. I usually buy books online (my favorite store is Powells). However, the advantage of shopping at a physical bookstore is the ability to browse, and to compare editions and translations of a particular work with your own eyes. (A comparable advantage of shopping on the net, though, is the availability of reader reviews.)

So in I go. An hour and a half later, out I go, aided by a store employee, with my new books and music. Total paid: $1045. Damn, was Beecher right...

The stuff I bought may interest some of you. If you're curious:



  • The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Preminger & Brogan et al., Princeton University Press, 1993. [A must-have for any serious poetry lover.]
  • The Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors, Laura Miller (ed.), Penguin Books, 2000. [I'm almost completely ignorant regarding contemporary authors, and skimming the book, I thought it would be an interesting angle on the subject]
  • How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons, Ward Cannel and Fred Marx, Crown & Bridge, 1976. [Yes, I succumbed to the title. But the book seems well-written, and takes a "subversive" attitude to playing the piano. And I do so want to play the piano! I'd become subversive, if it'd help me play...]


  • The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, Penguin Books, 1978. [complete; includes annotations]
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost, Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem, Owl Books, 1979.
  • Selected Poems, Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Alexander Coleman, Penguin Books, 1999. [I'm very much fascinated with Borges right now. Expect an LJ entry about his prose soon.]
  • Collected Poems, W. H. Auden, Edward Mendelson (ed.), Vintage International, 1991.
  • James Joyce: The Poems in Verse and Prose, James Joyce, A. Norman Jeffares (ed. and ann.) & Brendan Kennelly (ed. and ann.), Kyle Cathie Ltd., 1992.
  • Collected Poems 1909-1962, T. S. Eliot, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1963. [Hello, alyna]
  • Collected Poems, Dylan Thomas, New Directions, 1971.
  • The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, W. B. Yeats, Richard J. Finneran (ed.), Simon & Schuster, 1996. [Yeats is just wonderful!]
  • Collected Poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Norma Millay (ed.), Harper & Row, 1956. [EStVM is a little obscure, but her poetry is beautiful. Sharon introduced me to her.]
  • The Cantos, Ezra Pound, New Directions, 1998. [Embarrassingly, I actually bought two different editions of the complete Cantos, by mistake. Ugh!]
  • Complete Poems, Dorothy Parker, Penguin Books, 1999. [Light, silly, depressing at times; Parker is always an interesting read]
  • Beowulf: A Verse Translation, Michael Alexander (tr.), Penguin Books, 2001.
  • The New Oxford Book of English Verse, Helen Gardner (ed.), Oxford University Press, 1972. [Still haven't given up hope of finding its elder brother, the one selected and edited by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, aka "Q"]
  • The New Oxford Book of American Verse, Richard Ellmann (ed.), Oxford University Press, 1976. [Ellmann made my hall of fame for his monumental biography of Oscar Wilde.]

Literary Criticism, Essays and Prose

  • The Art of Fiction, David Lodge, Penguin Books, 1992. [David Lodge is an excellent writer of fiction. You should read his Changing Places (reviewed somewhere on my old and neglected book review page and Small World, at the very least. Hello, avva, gaal]
  • Thomas Stearns Eliot, poet, A. David Moody, Cambridge University Press, 1979.
  • To Criticize The Critic and Other Writings, T. S. Eliot, University of Nebraska Press, 1991.
  • The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry, T. S. Eliot, Ronald Schuchard (ed.), Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993.
  • Complete Essays, Aldous Huxley, edited with commentary by Robert S. Baker and James Sexton, Ivan R. Dee, 2001. [three volumes] [I'm not sure why, but I have a fatal weakness for the entire Huxley family.]
  • Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett, James Knowlson, Simon & Schuster, 1996. [Beckett is so weird]
  • Hand to Mouth, Paul Auster, Faber and Faber, 1997.
  • The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Brooks Atkinson (ed.), The Modern Library, 2000.
  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Penguin Books, 1994. [I recommend Steinbeck's The Short Reign of Pippin IV.]
  • A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov, Paul Foote (tr.), Penguin Books, 2001.
  • Walden and Other Writings, Henry David Thoreau, Barnes & Noble, 1993.
  • Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse, Aleksandr Pushkin, Vladimir Nabokov (tr.), Princeton University Press, 1975.
  • Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse (commentary and index), Vladimir Nabokov, Princeton University Press, 1975. [Rather expensive, but I couldn't resist.]
  • Le Morte d'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory, The Modern Library, 1994.
  • The Oxford Book of Essays, John Gross (ed.), Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Selected Prose, Ezra Pound, William Cookson (ed.), New Directions, 1973.

In all likelihood, I shall inherit hell for this.

note: several books are not listed, in the interest of preserving the element of surprise for their intended recipients. [sinister grin]

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