Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Booktryst & Pickwick's: for book lovers

A break from my usual onslaught of reviews to promote a site full of an onslaught of welcome bibliomania. Stephen J. Gertz five times a week publishes a thoughtful and often witty article on his blog Booktryst. Yesterday, I saw the original dust jackets for "Ulysses," "Portrait," and "Dubliners", for example, at Superstar 1st edition of Ulysses to be auctioned by Sotheby's. A few days ago, a Rockwell Kent presentation package of "Moby Dick" appeared, and the various covers of the earliest versions of "The Great Gatsby."

He also keeps up a shaggy-dog tale about schnorrers, nebbishes, and gonifs in the old Tinseltown secondhand trade as if from an old pulp novel, which captures a raffish mood now vanished. I am surprised (but it may be since he's the inevitable bookish New Yorker transplanted to this sun-kissed, smog-shrouded outpost of vapidity) that he has not mentioned to date the Pickwick's on Hollywood Boulevard of my childhood, the first bookstore I remember and the one even my philistine parents regarded as the infallible purveyor of any volume out. Which it once seemed. 

(Postcard via GS Jansen, a bit before my time, Christmas 1946, but you can see Pickwick in green on the right. Reminiscence by a clerk who worked there in 1969, with a b/w photo of the store's vast interior.)


Stephen J. Gertz said...

Thank you for your kind words, Fionnchú. I do remember the old Pickwick Bookstore on Hollywd. Blvd. I fall into a deep depression when I recall great, dearly departed L.A. book shops but will try to work Pickwick into a post. Thanks again. All best, Steve Gertz.

Fionnchú said...

Steve, thanks for your kind reply. I'm eager as a faithful reader of your blog (my wife introduced me to it and I have shared it with others since then) to find out more about "dearly departed book shops" in L.A. Sadly, the list grows. Best wishes in all your literary endeavors to keep the memory of old books alive and the wonder of finding new ones.