Tirade: SHAME! and BOO! to Certain Used Book Dealers &
Ode to the Ex-Library Copy
Should you read the Freddy
mailing list, you will quickly discover that many devotees of Walter R. Brookss
Freddy books seek the original Knopf editions. Frankly, I dont understand
why anyone would want any Freddy title except perhaps for research purposes only.
Not only are the books terribly distorted misrepresentations of reality,
but their prices, grossly, indeed, obscenely inflated by hysterical
desperation and commercial avarice, put them out of the reach of the ordinary
bibliophile. (Especially elderly ordinary bibliophiles on limited post-retirement
incomes!) Now, I do not condone or encourage anyones reading the Freddy
series, but I am moved to pity for those so thoroughly addicted that they cannot
help themselves and who will actually spend more than a dollar (!) for
a "pre-owned" Freddy title. Perhaps if they band together and resolve never to
purchase a used Freddy for more than $1.00, the shameful exploitation of their
sad and terrible addiction will cease, and dealers prices will plummet to
a more sane levelabout $1.00. I ask you, is this so unreasonable?
I mean, what is the average price of a used hardcover book at the Salvation
Army or Goodwill or a library discard sale? A buck at most! And while were
on the topic of used books, WHO CARES if a Freddy book is a first edition or has
a dust jacket. Big deal! Poop-poop-a-doop! Now, a first edition Dickens
or Faulknerthats an altogether different matter. But
a Freddy book? C'mon, now! Go for the library discard! Check the flea markets
for school library castoffs. A few scuffs and scribbles dont matter at all.
And why not wait for the (shudder) republication of all the titles by Overlook
Press if you must complete your Freddy collection? Although I do not like
the Freddy books because of their disparaging, demeaning, and defamatory characterizations
of me and several of my closest and dearest friends, I do feel an affinity for
booklovers (however misguided), and I hope my brief diatribe has put things
into perspective for the subset of Freddyphiles among them. AND, here is a poem
I once sent to those poor souls at the Freddy mailing list to encourage them to
overcome their mania and adopt a more sensible approach to book collecting.
Four Quatrains for the Ex-Library
O, thou rubbed, sunned, and
Thou marked, worn, time-spoiled tome!
Thy bent spine, frayed corners, ugly scribbles
But more endear thee to me in thy new home!
Safe from further stains and
No more shall thy past grandeur fade.
Though ignominiously stamped with DISCARDED,
Thourt well worth the quarter I paid!
Now enshrined on my safeguarding
Though thourt nicked, scuffed, creased, and quite torn--
Thy ex-libris smell I quite savor--
And now canst thy spirit be reborn.
Neer more shall numerous
Tear thy endpages, buckram cover, and soul!
Here close to my heart dwellst thou forever,
Though of thee Time hath taken Her toll.
for the Ex-Library Copy"
© 1997 by Edward H. Anderson. All rights reserved.
Except in the case of brief quotations in totally uncritical,
completely complimentary articles and reviews,
no part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without the written permission of
Edward Henry Anderson