Friday, March 30, 2012

Buying Books, Badly

Within my great collector universe, I have a niche where I express myself as a somewhat-compulsive book buyer.

Is it because I have been a voracious reader since early childhood? Or because my mother and sister taught reading? Or because I was in the publishing business all my life? Or what?  I don't know exactly why I buy books.
Great Books of the Western World
(gift from mom circa 1965)
But I do know this:

  • I prefer buying used books over new
  • I prefer to find books by serendipity, not by recommendation
  • If I find an author or character I like, I want one of each of all their books, every one
  • I don't like frequenting libraries
  • I'll never belong to a book reading club
  • I've never read best-sellers (OK, I did just race through Steve Jobs' biography in one night)
  • I loathe book clubs and other enforced buying schemes
  • I've learned that publishers rarely produce consistent spine art and titles 
  • I read most of every book I buy (but not every page)
  • I tend to read 3-5 books at a time

Let's have a look around the shelves ... these first two sets are old books that I have had for many years - the Nordhoff and Hall Mutiny on the Bounty and related titles, and George Herter's Professional Guides Manuals. [click any image to enlarge]
Nordhoff and Hall Pacific Islands books 
Herter's Professional Guide Manuals
Some of the 82 Earl Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels
Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy
George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman
Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe
Ellery Queen's Masterpieces of Mystery
As you can see I have mis-matched accumulations of each author, but in most cases I have every book that author has written, or every book in a particular series. These are just a small sample - my guess is there are at least 20 more sets like this around my house.

The Ellery Queen set is an exception, in that they have similar bindings and I bought them only from two different used booksellers. The Flashman series is primarily matching paperbacks which I bought one-at-a-time in various stores in Canada, as they were not sold in this form in the USA. I think it took me about 5 years to get all those books, as they were not released all at once.

I have discovered that I have 10 years of IWC watch catalogs, one for each year. And a hundred watch repair manuals. And a few dozen car repair manuals (though I have tossed most of those), and the first 5 versions of the Bosch Automotive Handbook (why? I wanted them!). Today I have just learned that the 8th edition is out. I must contact my friend Mike Bentley, the US distributor, and get one.

Some of these sets are due to my occupation of writing car manuals, but most groupings have been assembled due to my undying quest to understand and experience things. And the collector obsession to have them all.

Esemblo-Graph Watch Repair Manuals 
Haynes Car Repair Manuals (just a few) 
First 5 editions of the Bosch Automotive Handbook
Classic and SportsCar Magazine (about half of the total)
Oh my. I almost forgot my complete set of Automotive Quarterly, a hard-bound automotive journal of history and art. This goes from Vol. 1 Number 1 to today - more than 50 years without a gap. I bought another (deceased) auto book collector's set of the first 30 years, back in Detroit in 1990. So I've been adding to it for 22 years. But I'm about ready to give this quest up. Anybody want a complete Automotive Quarterly set?

Automotive Quarterly

Monday, March 19, 2012

Singing the Blues

Welcome to Curating Cazalea, where I try to understand the mystery and magic of the collections I've assembled.

My sister Kathy liked my RED blog, but suggested I do a BLUE Blog sometime.

Today I feel blue, so blue it is. I was stunned to learn my good friend Blanche died yesterday - so this post is dedicated to her. We begin with a blue collage of my icons, watches, cars, stained glass and Blanche. [click any image to enlarge]

Blanche wasn't a blue person - far from it. She was full of life - "full of vim and vigor" and the last one you'd think would leave us so soon. I think you can tell for yourself. Look at the joy (and mischief) in her face:

We met 25 years ago through our respective jobs. Later my wife and I ended up moving to England to work at Glass's Guides, where Blanche worked for 40 years. She and I became fast friends and workmates - taking the UK by storm with our used car price guides. Over the years, we met up on holidays in England, Canada, the USA and Mexico:

In her "spare time" Blanche was a tireless worker for Macmillan Cancer Support, personally raising more than £1 million while volunteering since 1959! Last year she was recognized by the Queen and received an MBE.

I am very happy to have been her friend, to have shared hundreds of meals as part of her family, to have given the eulogy at her husband's funeral, to have witnessed her grandson's marriage, and to have happily called her "mom".

To finish this up, I watched Indigo Angel - an episode of the Touched By An Angel TV series. It features Hal Linden, Al Jarreau, BB King, Dr. John, Al Hirt, Della Ressa and Monica and the blues. If you have time, click the link and watch the show - and think of the people who have brightened up the blue times in your life.

Here's to you, Blanche! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Seeing Red!

Today I have been cleaning up my collections of files on the computer. Specifically, on the small iMac ... yes, indeed whereas most people have lots of socks, or scarves or worst, dust bunnies under their bed, I have a collection of files dispersed and duplicated on a collection of computers!

NOTE: Don't scoff. I am dealing with my addiction...

These are my current computers:

  1. iPod1 Classic has all my music files and virtually all images
  2. iPod2 Classic has all my music files
  3. Iphone3 has Laurie email and related stuff
  4. Iphone4s has Mike email, contacts, images and apps
  5. iPad2 has Mike email, contacts, images, movies and apps
  6. Mini320 has movies and music in iTunes (with very little else)
  7. MacBook aluminum has almost everything
  8. MacBook titanium has Photoshop and selected emails back to 2003
  9. PowerPC tower has 2 enormous screens, high-fidelity speakers, movies and music
  10. Apple TV2 plays through Sony Bravia TV
  11. iMac Small has Adobe CS2 and Ansmar files
  12. Dell Inspiron has watch diagnosis, timing and adjusting software
It turns out this is not going to be a post about all my computers - but a post about a collection I discovered on one of them. Apparently at some point I became enamored with the color red. I filled a folder full of photos of red cars, for example. [please click to enlarge - I did all the collecting for this collage ...]

If I look closely at the pictures, I see myself (camera in hand) taking photos in Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, England, Scotland, California, New Mexico, Washington, etc. The first pictures were taken about 1985, and the latest in 2011. All seasons and weather are represented here. One photo was even taken from my kayak.

So you just take pictures of red cars, I hear you asking? Well, no. Red other things too. Apparently watches in red livery appealed to me as well. Yes, I took the photos. And no, I didn't remember taking so many. In red. Hmmmm.

PS - Did I ever show you my collection of (red) pomegranate artwork?

I guess I will leave you red-handed.