I'm reading a dirty book. And when I say "dirty," I don't mean pornographic. I mean dirty. As in filthy. Covered in filth. Encrusted with the excrement of past readers. Water marked pages like blood stains. Bits of DNA. A crime scene cacophony. But I don't mind too much. For this is the added joy of the ancient library experience. A volume not of my own collection. A reminder of youthful days. Of how being not allowed to swim or play in the elementary school pool because of a miniscule athlete's foot infection, led me dejectedly to a parked bookmobile. A tiny event with earth shaking consequences. A transformation from outdoor sport boy to indoor academic. How a Conservative can change to Liberal without anyone the wiser for setting off the deed. Like some cretin crushing an ant colony underfoot in the brush. Unaware of the outrage one has inflicted. And this is how tiny revolutions are started.
But I digress...
The book in question, the dirty one is Aldous Huxley. EYELESS IN GAZA. A 1969 British edition of the 1936 work. Filtered down through the Scentral Coast Library System. A Relic from the ancient days of lending, complete with antiquated card holder, now empty of the record, persons past who perused these pages. My Summer Read of the moment. I'm digging it.
After a plethora of biographies, auto-biographies and histories, it is time to delve into the forgotten nuggets of literature. Summer reading demands it. This is usually the time I feel the urge for Gothic Romance. Radcliffe, Walpole, Shelley or Poe. Or something Italian. A re-read of Casanova. Or maybe more recent, like Sergeanne Golon (if recent can mean the '60s, when I first read the husband/wife authors).
A taste for the Greeks is possible. When one can't get to Olympus, Athens or Mykonos, one must bring the Gods to thee.
I have the feeling I will finish the book, all 620 pages of it, before I complete this entry. But then a package of Robert Crumb WEIRDO comics (3) arrived today, so I may be sidelined. My love of books and magazines comes from my most earliest days and a newsstand can still magically pull me out of my moment and surroundings. Recent trips to metropolitan Oakland and Los Angeles were punctuated by the sight of such newsstands and bookstores, enticing me like a brothel of the mind. In transit with the wife towards predestinations, these opium dens were bypassed, their temptations wistfully denied. Even today, if in a pharmacy or such, the sight of the newsstand is an instant magnet.
But I do succumb to the nostalgic sight of paper in the past, the various periodicals that come up for bid, or Buy It Now on eBay. Sometimes a classic MAD or HELP! Comics, of course, old AND new. Things that take me back to say, 1957-58, to about 1962. Vintage men's magazines often tempt, like Rogue, Cavalier or Gent. Or the lost culture magazines SHOW and SHOW BUSINESS ILLUSTRATED. Sometimes the scandal rags CONFIDENTIAL, HUSH HUSH, WHISPER and ON THE Q.T. bring out a dark humour in me.
Fifties Science Fiction magazines bring back a flood of future memories as well. Let's not even begin on FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, FANTASTIC MONSTERS, CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, SPACEMEN and even, on occasion, WILDEST WESTERNS.
Like those fading news shops, I'm sure I will return...to this subject.