Thursday, June 16, 2011

How To Decide What Book To Buy

So when I was in New York I bought a book.  I didn't need a book, I had over a half dozen books, but wanted one when I was at Strand Book Store.  There were so many books and so many good books that I had to have one of my own.  So, how did I narrow down, from the millions of books in Strand, to the single book I chose?

1.  Decide what kind of world you want to be in

I wanted to be in a new and good poetry world than I'd prepared for on my trip.  I was reading books by MLP, and Action, and Black Ocean, and those were the only ones I'd packed, so I was looking for something a little more, idk, academic?  heady?  I can't put my finger on it... I was also looking for something with a connection to New York.  So I was in the poetry section...

2.  Decide the size/style of book you need

Sometimes, nothing but a hardback book will do.  Sometimes, you need a tiny book to fit in your pocket.  I needed something that would fit in the little bag I was carrying (manpurse).  So I limited the whole of the Strand poetry section to these three books...

3.  Decide how you'll answer questions about the book if asked

The questions that could be asked are, What are you reading? What's that about?  Why are you reading that?  So I figured that explaining Lorca or the concept of duende would be too much, and make me look like a crazy mystic poet or something.  Saying, Oh, he's a poet that lives in Brooklyn, sounded too cliche for me being in NY or something, so the Gorrel was out.  It was also a little too much in that other poetry world that I had already packed so readily for.  The Lerner book seemed perfect, he teaches at Brooklyn (teaches at, sounds better than lives in), the book is from his usual publisher Copper Canyon, which is pretty mainstream academic.  The only problem was the size and the aesthetics of the book.  It's a blue cover, my favortie color and I think blue books compliment most of my wardrobe, but the image is a pretty standard terrible-university-press image.  The size is also incredibly awkward and strange (I think it's like 7" by 9.5"?  whose idea was that?).  It was too square and too tall.  There's a reason the kindle is the shape that it's in.  It feels good in your hands at that size and the words look good on the page at that size.  Blah.  

So what did I do?  I chose the Lerner book, Mean Free Path.  I'm still not happy about the design of the book, but it does read really well.  A lovely book.  I devoured it.  I'll write it up later, when I'm not being so shallow.


  1. Unless he's moved recently, Brandon lives just up the road in Seattle. Just fyi.

  2. oh, for some reason I thought he lived in Brooklyn... Did he ever?