At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, January 13, 2003

I finished going through the latest batch of book donations today. Usually I reject a donation if we already have a copy, and in furtherance of this policy I've learned to check the copyright information, preface, title page, etc. for any indication of a previous printing under a different name. This happened surprisingly often.

The most unusual item in the bunch was a religious booklet published in the 40's called Only a Servant: The Glorious Conversion of an Aged Jew, by a Slovak author named Kristina Roy. I decided we should keep it. For one thing, it's pretty rare--only eight libraries were listed in FirstSearch as holding a copy, and it was fetching around $15 at bibliofind. And a Google search showed me that newer editions of Roy's works are still being printed, so apparently they have some enduring value, to some people.

I'm still trying to think of ways to tolerate small town life. A wise friend who moved from the Dallas area to a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan pointed out that nowadays many amenities formerly confined to the big city are now available through the internet. Following that advice, I joined NetFlix, the online DVD rental service, to git furrin movies I can't find here. I just finished watching the "Venus Beauty Institute." Audrey Tautou, of Amelie fame, looked charming with her big black eyes and pigtails, but her role was minor and did little to make the film more than mildly interesting. Then again, it seemed to be the French equivalent of a chick flick, so I might not be among the intended audience. The premise, in which a lonely middle-aged beautician inspires reckless love in a handsome young artist, felt like a wish fulfillment scenario in the Harlequin tradition. Tonie Marshall, the writer-director, is a middle aged woman.


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