Skip to main content

Printers Row Yields Unheard of Bounties

Every year in Chicago we have something called the Printers Row Lit Fest. It's usually unbearably hot, but you go anyway, because you can potentially find cheap books.

Basically, booksellers from the Chicago area set up little vendor tents and people browse. And it's hard to walk and people seem fond of standing in the middle of the already-narrow passages between tents and everyone's pretty smelly. They have bands performing and people selling bottled water. It's kind of like Taste of Chicago, only without cops always on the verge of breaking out their riot gear, because the attendees tend to look like this:

I went in the middle of the afternoon, so when it was hottest really, because I have some skills, but thinking logically is not counted among them. I walked around for about an hour, and was holding three books in my hand at a bookstall when the wind picked up and the guy manning the stall  started frantically throwing things in bags while saying "STORM'S MOVIN' IN! WANT A BOOK, BUY IT NOW!"

I thrust my money at him, felt bad asking for a plastic bag, as he was obviously about to lose his shit over this storm and his books, and then trotted off for the El before the storm hit. I passed an Indian wedding on the way, which seemed to have just kinda set up camp on the street. It was awesome.

SO. I am home, and my books are so amazing I need to blog about them. Here they are:

Elizabeth I: Autograph Compositions and Foreign Language Originals
For Queen and Country: Britain in the Victorian Age
Father of the Bride
The Victrola Book of the Opera, 1929

AGH. Okay. A long time ago I got the University of Chicago Press Collected Works of Elizabeth I, which is a fancy book and therefore kind of pricey. This companion volume was sitting on the table for the U of C booth, and when I — just on a whim — asked what the price was, I almost freaked out in front of my fellow Chicagoans when the girl said $5. "" asked I. "They want people to buy books?" replied the girl.

 Very well then.

So then I find the other three books at a stall where everything was $3. Please note that, while I certainly hoped I wouldn't spend this much, I had taken $100 from my bank account prior to coming there. You just never know when that early edition of Auntie Mame is gonna smack you in the face, and then there you are, high and dry with only the $20 you allocated for book purchases. Such is the stuff regrets are made of.

But no, $3 a book.

Victorian pot lids. In Charleston, SC I saw a pot lid for bear grease. It was one of the best things of my trip.

Yeah, that'd be 1949 edition with slipcover. Three dollars.

If this were the 19th century, I'd be overcome with the vapors. I spent $14 total on all these things. Best day ever.

Oh, I should probably mention that I saw a book called Fallen Women by Mason Long (1881). I wanted to buy it just to display on my shelf, but it was $100. Alas! For another day.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.

The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…