Saturday, December 24, 2011

Good Bye Bargain Books

It was not surprising I suppose to hear that this funky old Key West business is closing, leaving Island Books as the only bookstore in town. I love the Internet but I love books too. I wrote this essay in Spring 2010 and I present here as part of my ten day retrospective before Chuck and I fire up on January 1st. This essay illustrates exactly why I enjoy going around town photographing things, because things change. Farewell you funky piece of older Key West:

If you need good old fashioned hard copy pornography you might consider coming by this place on Truman Avenue.
I stop by here for the stories (not the pictures...).

It's a weird shaped book store as befits Key West's peculiar architecture. There is a long alleyway and little booths off to the side, each booth labeled with general subject matter contained therein.Any used bookstore that has a decent proportion of the famous orange spines of Penguin editions can't be all bad in my prejudiced opinion.Er, I took this picture to illustrate the broadness of my photography, not my mind (on top of all my other mental issues I am not hoping for better in any unlikely next life). I know I'm a philistine but I can't help it. Just be reassured if you come to Key West and want to get up to speed on the afterlife there is a section devoted to it in the booth behind the nudie magazines.

I am a boring old fart because I spend time in the classics section and perusing sailing books. Horror you can keep along with the bodice rippers as well. Blame the dog for the crappy quality of the next picture. Perhaps I should have checked out the pet section.Silly me, I did!

When I arrived the guy at the front saw me tying Cheyenne's leash to a lamp post and suggested I take her in with me if I "wasn't going to be too long." Which sort of instruction induces anxiety in me as I don't want to presume on my welcome. I am a pedant, a philistine and a bourgeois mouse afraid of breaking the rules. Oh well. I've also got a dog that tugs at the leash at the wrong moment. Books bore Cheyenne apparently. Witness the fuzzy picture of more stacks:For those of strong will who can pass by pictures of women with large naked breasts and men with six packs to beat the band, they can come in here and work off their frustrations. A used book store and gym. Who would've thunk? Love among the book stacks. Dream on romance readers; Mr Right looks like me and fluffs the blankets. Life can be a series of disappointments which makes it lucky we have books.
"Dead End" That's my kind of romance novel title. Have I mentioned before that my acute sense of irony is viewed by some narrow minded people as sarcasm? They even have a foreign language section. Russian and German is huge, Spanish is large and Italian is tiny. "Whoever doesn't read this book is an imbecille." Bite me.They were having a sale on comic books. Need I point out this is not my cup of tea? I told you I was a bore.If it ain't Tintin I don't care. They sell normal magazines by the rack load too. I'm sorry to say my illiterate dog likes books with pictures. Her former owners have much to answer for.It's just endless isn't it?

I came in to buy a copy of To Have And To Have Not by some dude who used to live in town, I'm told. The clerk said they were sold out. Bummer. It seems the book is a community reading project and everyone in town is supposed to read it for discussion later. What a coincidence. Strain your eyeballs riepe, those are the titty magazines in the background. You can give me a tour when you visit.
If you want the real thing you set across the street and pay a wage slave from Lithuania to tell you you are hung like a donkey and you make her every bleached root twangle. Someone with my acute sense of the ridiculous finds these places absurd. Like I said, I'm a bourgeois nerd.

I got out of Bargain Books for the loss of $7 plus tax (the nerve to tax me!). Kidnapped is a classic of course, and I haven't read it in ages. Cry Viva is a story of a gringo lost in the Mexican Revolution of 1910, a book I've never heard of. If I'm lucky it will be Graham Greeneland, if I'm unlucky it will be a waste of $4 plus tax (the nerve!). My wife found me a copy of the Hemingway book at the College library. Weirdly enough I am enjoying it, the first of his books I remember liking.


Chuck and the Pheebs said...

You left out the the fact the store smells of cat pee.

It is closing as a result of the proprietor (and owner of the building) has contracted Alzheimer's and his spouse can no longer manage the store and his care simultaneously.

At least there's one book store left in town...

sandra said...

Yes, I noticed the strong cat urine odor the one time I visited the shop. Sad to see that KW is down to one bookstore. I especially loved the old bookstore/newsstand on upper Duval.

Len said...

We stayed in the home just behind the store in 2009. I went in to buy our vacation reading material and found the place quite funky, not unlike Key West as a whole. Sorry to see it go. Change is inevitable I suppose. Good luck with yours!

Conchscooter said...

Like cat pee is a bad thing?
The good news is the new site looks really quite good and Chuck says it may be available to click on in a couple of days and perhaps we will start publishing simultaneously this next week.
Dear Len: do you prefer any particular fetish for your vacation reading? There is still the adult books tore further down on Truman so don't despair.

Len said...

No, I don't partake in the porn thing, on vacation or otherwise.

We usually just try to find something interesting to take a flyer on while we are choosing reading material on vacation.

Conchscooter said...

Ah well, you peg yourself as older. The youngsters I work with have astonishingly Byzantine tastes in their telephones. I too came from a simpler age.