I know what you need, my friend. You need a copy of a book called The Vintage Ray Bradbury. Come over to the second annual 25th Book Fair in July and I’ll be glad to sell you one. Or two. Or even a dozen. Cheap.
I have a great deal of respect for the author of Something Wicked This Way Comes, A Medicine for Melancholy, and so many other tales and treats. Do you know how many years I had to search to buy a copy of his first great collection of poetry, When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed? And if there is ever a writing contest for bad imitations of Bradbury, I will be in the lists. So my offer is not based on scorn or disregard.
It is based on the fact that I have about a hundred copies of that selfsame book. And the eye of the customer, I have found, passes over a book in large quantity.
This is true even of books with a less phenomenal showing: Life of Pi, Dive Off Clausen’s Pier, Looking-Glass War…I haven’;t even mentioned DaVinci Code or Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and the list could go on. (Note to self: has anyone written the DaVinci Secrets of the Ya-Ya Code yet?)
Among the pieces of insightful advice I have had over the years is “Why don’t you throw away all the extras? Put out as many as you need and get rid of the rest.”
My answer has always been “Just time travel into the future, please, and tell me exactly how many I’ll have customers for. THEN I’ll know which ones are excess.” The conversation would then degenerate into snarls and grunts.
Anyway, it’s the 21st century now, and I have recourse to two resources I once did not. One of those is the Book Group. The world is suddenly filled with people who are looking for a bargain on nine or ten copies of a nice book everyone can sit and discuss over coffee (or something). So I need only about a dozen of those to unload all these Ray Bradbury collections (local author, by the way, if you didn’t know, and certainly a pivotal figure in the history of the modern short story. And fun to read; there are few authors with such a well-developed sense of fun.)
The other resource is the blog. I’ve been thinking I might blog about having so many copies of The Vintage Ray Bradbury. I could do that, and maybe even mention the 120 copies of Joan Lowery Nixon’s A Family Apart. I’ll think it over.