Trade Paperback Nonfiction (copies marked as new/pristine are slightly higher in price; most of these are unread)
ACKROYD, PETER >> BLAKE >> $7; Ballantine, excellent condition except for a bookstore stamp on the half-title page, and a first edition, 1996: The classic William Blake biography by the eccentric goof Peter Ackroyd, who always manages to do stuff that's simultaneously idiosyncratic and interesting.
ARMS, MYRON >> CATHEDRAL OF THE WORLD: SAILING NOTES FOR A BLUE PLANET >> $3; Anchorbooks, 2000, in good condition but clearly used, a write and professional sailor recounts his experiences of 40 years of sailing.
BIDDLECOMBE, PETER >> FRENCH LESSONS IN AFRICA >> $4; Little Brown, 1997 reprint, in good condition: the author's account of ten year's of travel through dozens of African countries. Really amazing anecdotes. Cool stuff. Worth your time.
BOTEACH, SHMULEY >> KOSHER SEX >> $5; new from Doubleday, in pristine condition, with a yarmulke and everything, 1999: the quotes on this book just crack me up, like "He's Dr. Ruth with a yarmulke" (see how "yarmulke" always gets a smile) or "A saucy volume that proves sex can be both holy and hot." Anyway, interesting book, all blurbs aside.
CAMPBELL, DAVID G. >> THE CRYSTAL DESERT >> $3; Houghton Mifflin, 1992: summers in antarctica, award-winning poetic yet encyclopedic compendium of maritime Antarctica.
CAWS, MARY ANN ET AL, EDITORS >> SURREALISM AND WOMEN >> $6; new from MIT press, in pristine condition, first edition: a series of fascinating essays that outline exactly how the male version of surrealism acted to repress women by demoting them to second-class creators or "muses". It's all cogent and intelligent stuff, and I tend to agree with it. That's one reason why it's so satisfying to see someone like Angela Carter take surrealism and turn it on its head.
COURRIER, KEVIN AND GREEN, SUSAN >> LAW & ORDER: THE UNOFFICIAL COMPANION >> $8; Renaissance Books, in pristine condition, first edition, 1998, oversized: everything you wanted to know about the TV show before it went all boring on you. With lots of photos.
DIAMANT, ANITA >> THE NEW JEWISH WEDDING >> $5; Simon and Schuster, 1993: a great primer on how to have a Jewish wedding in the modern age. Helped up. Recommended. Blurbed by Chaim Potok.
DYER, LAWRENCE >> A COTTAGE ON THE MOSS >> $4; Library Empyreal, in excellent condition, 2003: Dyer's luminous, sometimes odd, account of living in a remote cottage in England's Peak District. All kinds of odd adventures and hardships. Recommended. (two left)
FERRIS, PAUL >> DYLAN THOMAS >> $5; new from Penguin, in pristine condition, 1977: a heartfelt and comprehensive biography of the great poet, with photos.
FRANZEN, JONATHAN >> HOW TO BE ALONE >> $3; Picador, 2003: essays from the blunderkind, taken from the pages of places like The New Yorker. Pretty cool, actually.
FREDSTON, JILL >> ROWING TO LATITUDE >> $2; North Point Press, 2001, first edition: journeys along the Arctic's edge. Harsh environmental conditions, but also unexpected outposts of life. In good condition.
FREEMAN, BRIAN AND VINCENT, BEV EDITORS >> THE ILLUSTRATED STEPHEN KING TRIVIA BOOK >> $10; new from Cemetery Dance, in pristine condition, first edition, 2005: Basically everything you'd ever want to know about King and his books, in one glossy, sharp-looking volume.
FRIEDMAN, THOMAS L >> FROM BEIRUT TO JERUSALEM >> $5; Anchor Books, 1990: the controversial book about the Middle East that won the National Book Award. Brilliant analysis, if somewhat slanted at times.
GARGAN, EDWARD A. >> THE RIVER'S TALE: A YEAR IN THE MEKONG >> $5; new from Vintage, in pristine condition, 2003, a seminal examination of the Mekong and its people, detailing Gargan's twelve-month journey upriver. With photos. Good stuff.
GRAY, RICHARD B. >> LATIN AMERICA AND THE UNITED STATES IN THE 1970S >> $1; F.E. Peacock, a worn copy with someone's name in it. We'll take 50 cents.
GURAN, PAULA >> THE WORD BOOK >> $1; Writers.com, fair condition, 2004.
HEINRICH, BERND >> WINTER WORLD: THE INGENUITY OF ANIMAL SURVIVAL >> $6; new from Ecco, in pristine condition, 2003: a series of essays from the famous naturalist about various animal survival tactics for the cold. There's a Canadian frog that basically dies and then thaws out and comes back to life. For example.
HOROWITZ, FREDERICK A. >> MORE THAN YOU SEE: A GUIDE TO ART >> $2; Harcourt Brace, with color and black-and-white photos and illustrations, probably a textbook. Interesting.
KANFER, STEFAN >> THE LAST EMPIRE >> $2; Noonday, 1993, in good condition, remaindered: De Beers, diamonds, and the world. Pretty darn interesting.
KUSPIT, DONALD >> THE DIALECTIC OF DECADENCE >> $4; Allworth Press, first edition with French flaps: "Kuspit provocatively disentangles misconceptions of decadence generated by the notion of advance in art. He asserts that any attempt in modern art to renounce expressionism and the pursuit of meaning in figurative art is in itself a result of discontent and decadence - a loss of faith in history to tell its own story. Using a psychoanalytic approach, Kuspit topples Minimalist decrees most forcefully expressed by Donald Judd. Kuspit demonstrates that the ‘decadent’ pursuits of artists like Sandro Chia and George Baselitz are rooted in the avant-garde unconscious. He gracefully demonstrates how modern art’s internal battle with decadence is in fact a battle with itself, its own cause for existence." Honestly, it's an interesting book.
LAURENCE, EWA MATAYA >> THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO POOL AND BILLIARDS >> $10; new from Alpha, in pristine condition: everything you ever needed to know about pool, in a great, unmarked, unopened edition. Pick it up now and start making money at your local pool hall tomorrow.
LOOMIS, CHAUNCEY >> WEIRD AND TRAGIC SHORES >> $2; Modern Library, 2000, a little beat up, but a good reading copy: the story of Charles Francis Hall, explorer.
LORENZ, KONRAD Z. >> KING SOLOMON'S RING >> $1; Time Reading Program Special Edition, 1962, stamped inside with a person's name. In good condition. a good reading copy of this classic.
MACADAMS, WILLIAM AND NELSON, PAUL >> 701 TOUGHEST MOVIE TRIVIA QUESTIONS OF ALL TIME >> $4; Citadel Press, in pristine condition, 1996: yep, tough questions. Think you know movies? Guess again.
MACKINTOSH-SMITH, TIM >> TRAVELS WITH A TANGARINE >> $3; new from Picador, in pristine condition, 2002: Tim follows the path of a thirteenth-century adventurer from Tangier to Mecca and then on to Constantinople. Truly epic in scope and yet also personal. Great travel writing.
MAST, JIM ET AL >> BLOODY SUNSET IN ST. AUGUSTINE: A TRUE STORY >> $3; new from FPP, in pristine condition, first edition, 1998: An account of a ghastly murder in the oldest city in America, in 1974, and the investigation and cover-up that followed. Horrific reading--and written by my old boss at Municipal Code Corporation, Jim Mast. Go figure.
NELSON, MAGGIE >> JANE >> $3; new from Soft Skull, in pristine condition, first edition, 2005: in fractured prose and poetry, the author tries to come to grips with the supposed brutal murder of her aunt in the late 1960s. Not quite fiction, not quite nonfiction, it's a bold and experimental book blurbed by Brian Evenson.
QUEENAN, JOE >> CONFESSIONS OF A CINEPLEX HECKLER >> $2; Hyperion, 2000: the Evil Knievel of film criticism returns with a series of infuriating, thought-provoking, and entertaining essays and reviews. Some of them are too "hey look at me," but still good for the most part. Check him out.
RAND, AYN >> THE ART OF FICTION: A GUIDE FOR WRITERS AND READERS >> $6; Plume, new from Plume, in pristine condition, 2002: It's Ayn Rand. You need to pick it up. Aren't you at least curious?
SCHIFF, STACY >> VERA (MRS. VLADIMIR NABOKOV) >> $9; new from Simon & Schuster, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The story of Nabokov's wife, an integral part of his literary success and an enigmatic woman. Why did she give up her own life for his, considering her own success as a poet?
SPURGEON, BRAD >> COLIN WILSON: PHILOSOPHER OF OPTIMISM >> $7; Michael Butterworth Books, first edition, 2006: an extended interview with Wilson, the cult author and philosopher, that should be required reading. Definitely worth picking up.
SULLIVAN, MONICA >> VIDEOHOUND'S INDEPENDENT FILM GUIDE >> $5; Visible Ink, 1999: oversized, thick guide to over 1,000 films, loaded with photographs and commentary.
TASKER, YVONNE, EDITOR >> 50 CONTEMPORARY FILMMAKERS >> $6; Rutledge Key Books, 2002, first edition, with fascinating, detailed essays on all of your favorite interesting filmmakers, in a sleek, nicely designed book. Highly recommended.
THEROUX, LOUIS >> THE CALL OF THE WEIRD >> $6; new from Picador, in pristine condition, 2005: A book related to Theroux's travels in American subcultures TV show on BBC. These are essays about weird Americans. Apparently, he couldn't find a normal person, but maybe it's just him. Recommended.
THOMAS, DYLAN >> PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG DOG >> $3; Everyman, perfect except for slightly yellowing pages, 1998: Dylan's memories of childhood in a series of brilliant stories/essays.
THUBRON, COLIN >> BEHIND THE WALL: A JOURNEY THROUGH CHINA >> $4; Perennial, 1987: a thoughtful, thought-provoking account of Thubron's travels though China. Thubron is my favorite travel writer, and this is one of his best books. Only parting with it because we found out we had two copies.
TURGENEV, IVAN >> LITERARY REMINISCENCES AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FRAGMENTS >> $3; Ivan Dee, 2001, in good condition, with an essay by Edmund Wilson: all kinds of nonfiction from the famous novelist, including ruminations on Gogol.
WELLS, MARTIN >> CIVILIZATION AND THE LIMPIT >> $3; Perseus Books, 1998, in perfect condition except for a remainder mark: an eccentric book by an eccentric marine biologist whose essays are marked by a weird sense of wonder. Recommended.