Friday, July 04, 2014

Bookstore Bargains

Since it's the 4th of July and I'm not in the U.S. doing my regular celebrating, I had to do something to cheer myself up today.  How about a walk that would ultimately lead to the bookstore?  Yes.  Brilliant idea.  A little sashay around the shelves would put the roses back in my cheeks.

A tall, narrow shelf caught my eye because it had a sign taped to it saying "Books 3,000.  Flat Price." Definitely worth a look.  After all, 3,000 Korean won = $2.97 USD.  That price is almost unheard of here even among used books, and these were new books!

Here's what I found:

1. The Artificial Silk Girl - Irmgard Keun.  A 1932 German novel about the life of a young woman-about-town -- Berlin -- in the early 1930s.  In the introduction, the translator compares it to Sex in the City, Bridget Jones' Diary and the Shopaholic books, which set off my Snobbish Inner Bookworm.  SIB was quickly silenced when I got to the part about how Keun's book was banned and copies were destroyed the following year by a Nazi censorship board.  By that time, The Artificial Silk Girl had been published in English, so they couldn't deep-six it completely.  Isn't the cover to this edition fun?

2. Jubilee - Margaret Walker.  I wasn't familiar with this 1966 novel, but from the description, it seems like a Gone with the Wind from the enslaved point of view.  Jubilee covers the same years in Georgia as GWTW -- Antebellum through Reconstruction, following the life of Vyry, the daughter of a white plantation owner and his black "mistress". The book is based on the life of Walker's great-grandmother, which makes it sound a bit like Roots as well.  I have a feeling that when I start reading Jubilee, I'll go into a reading stupor and I won't want to put it down for even the most necessary chores.

Great finds and excellent prices!  It's almost like the bookstore knew that I needed a bit of consolation.  This excursion takes the sting out of no barbecue, fireworks or Sousa.  Well, almost.  Not quite.

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