Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Bookstore and Books: A long hard hot day at the bookstore today. I only have a couple of days left. Tomorrow and next Thursday. And then I quit. It’s been an interesting time, working one day a week for a friend. I’ve known Bob Brown for almost 35 years. He was still living in the Bay Area when I met him at a science fiction convention. He was dealing in books then, although his real job was in advertising. Later he moved to Seattle, still with the advertising company. He hooked up with a couple of other book dealers and would work the store on Saturdays, while his partner, John Polley, held down the fort the rest of the week. Finally Bob retired, split with John and opened his own store. As it happens, right next door to John. So John has Seattle Book Center, Bob is B. Brown and Associates, dealing primarily in science fiction, fantasy and horror. On the other side is Sea Ocean Book Berth, owned by Chris Flavell, an old salt who sailed for many years in the South Pacific and hold master mariner’s papers. Naturally he deals in naval, nautical, sailing, pirates; almost anything that moves on the water. I’ve worked usually one day a week for probably the past 6-8 years. Occasionally I’ll fill in for several days or a week when Bob has a convention to go to or an antiquarian book fairat which to deal. It’s been fun and I’ve gotten to handle a lot of nice books, old and new. Like the galley proofs of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Bob is very careful what he buys and people say, "these look like new books." Much of my time is spent in putting books up on ABE, entering pertinent information and describing their condition. I’ve learned much. But then, I bought my first book with my own money at age 10, having the bookstore put it on layaway and paying a dollar every week for ten weeks. And I spent most of my career as a librarian or library director. So the fit was natural.

Speaking of books, I finished reading The Fencing Master last evening. It was written by Arturo Perez-Reverte. You may know of him through the motion picture The Ninth Gate. That was made from his novel, The Club Dumas. I find him a remarkable writer and have enjoyed everything I’ve read by him so far. One of the things that I admire is that all of the books are different. The Club Dumas was about a book scout trying to find a rare book on Satanism. The Seville Communion was about a parish priest trying to save his small church from being sold by the diocese to developers. The Fencing Master was a period piece, with politics and upheaval in 1866 Spain as background. A young woman comes to the fencing master to have him teach "the unstoppable thrust." He finally agrees and it is much to his chagrin that a friend, with whom he fences several times a week, is killed with that thrust. That is only the beginning of his troubles. The woman disappears. Is she dead? There is much mystery here and more to come. I recommend Perez-Reverte highly. I think I have 3 or 4 more novels of his to read.


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