I am wanting to purchase myself some W.H. Auden for reasons which will remain my own. Have been to a few used book stores in Ottawa but they have been either lacking in any Auden or with such paltry offerings I left empty handed.
Have subsequently turned to Amazon and its compatriots. On one hand, this is grand service. Books delivered while you are quarantined = genius in the age of H1N1. However, when it matters most — as it does with books — one is left without crucial details. Though the book's general content is described (title, publication date, blah blah) we are left not knowing how the book feels.
The description may say trade paperback, but of the flat and nicely bound or small and fall-apart-while-it-waits-to-be-read variety? Does the cover have texture? Is it of the newly-popular, flimsy grade-school text-book covering flap style with plastic slime on the cover? (Not a good reading experience that, FYI publishers. Have avoided buying two books as direct result of this binding choice.)
Is the glue still visible on pages? Are the pages already falling out? Is the type toxically glaring on neon-white/yellow pages that are already disintegrating? Are the letters oddly variegated? Too large? weirdly leded?
Sigh. I just want a sympathetic volume of Auden. Suggestions very welcome.
Pencil marks, too.
NB: Also, you are not an informed nor helpful bookstore clerk if when someone says they enjoyed a particular novel you then go about go about grabbing any book sporting a character with a similar name or period. To wit, enjoying Jane Austen's Emma might not lead one to want to watch the DVD Alex & Emma (notably also not a book, but kudos for recognizing a similarity in character names.). Further, volubly applauding Perez Reverte's The Club Dumas does not mean the paltry Thirteenth Tale, Shadow of the Wind or any other book about old books will do. It's not the bloody basic plot that's key, it's the writing, man. Sigh.
I love Perfect Books. And Libraries. But why does the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library always smell like a toxic laboratory?