Thursday, March 30, 2006

Escape From the 19th Century

Some days I feel like I am living a hundred years ago. Approx. 30% of our stock of 100,000 books are pre-1900, and constantly opening these old tomes and dusting off their hundred-year dust can make you feel like you are living in another age. You begin to wonder who is meant to have these tomes. Why they would want to haul them home and what kinds of esoteric data they hope to recover.

Yesterday we had our two best customers show up again, this time with checkbooks open. Even though the store is in no shape for browsing, the two men spent hours skimming spines and moving piles. By the end of the day they had a stack of titles and the whole thing felt somehow organic. Fritz, the older guy, is very interested in J.B. Priestly and John Dunne. I found a Priestly play and read it last night. Nice script, but a bit dated. Apparently, he also came up with a bizarre theory of time, which i haven't wrapped my head around.

The 200 or so books aquired from the big Madison University Book Sale are all catalogued. There were some amazing finds there. Still to be entered are a huge pile of scholarly journals and ephemera. One of the best magazines we found was an old Magazine of Wisconsin History which has an elaborate article on some early Wisconsin Communes. I have been trying to research the Ripon Phalanx, and how it may have played a role in the founding of the Republican Party, also in Ripon. A few of my former students are studying there now, and there is a book sale there in a couple weeks, so a road trip seems indicated.

We have been ordewring alot of books on the Effigy Mounds here in Southwest Wisconsin for a client. One book was only available from the Netherlands, even though it was a small paperback published in the 90's here in the US. The Best title in that field has to be the book, "People of the Web" by Gregory Little. The book deals with UFO's, Nead Death Experiences, Stone Circles, and related it all back to the mounds.

With spring here now, it is time for Mound visits, and in a couple weeks there is a work day to clean up a group of mounds near Muscoda.

All for now.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Books and such

This is the first post to the new Biblioarchy Blog. The idea here is to give a snapshot of some of the high wierdness that comes from a life of selling books. We are in the process of sorting, cataloging, and arrarnging over 100,000 books and sundry ephemera in a small shop in southwest Wisconsin. We are not 'open' to the public yet, but folks are begining to hear the rumors and are showing up at all hours.

Yesterday, two gentelmen were observed behind the building searching for a way in. They eventually made their way upstairs and i decided to show them the shop. Nearly an hour later, they were gone and i had a pile of books on metempsychosis (study of the evolution of the soul after death) put aside that they would return one day for. I guess the idea of actually bringing money to a bookstore seemed odd that day.

We finished a week long "Theme Week" with 8 kids from YIHS. They made their own books and helped to add some order to the chaos, or chaos to the order. Not quite sure yet.

The Madison University Book Sale was a success. Opening night was a knock down drag out full-contact kid of event. The Saturday Bag sale was much more laid back and 13 bags later, we were in the Black Stallion, escaping back into the driftless.

Spring is here, but still chilly.

Back to Cataloging.