Monday, 21 May 2007

B.F. Skinner

Every six months or so (carefully timed to coincide with week 11 of the semester, when academic delirium is peaking) the uni bookshop has a sale of remaindered academic texts and Kingsley Amis novels. (I may have posted about this once or twice before, actually, and yes life is terribly exciting, thanks ever so for the enquiry old chaps.)

I hate to sound like a dreadful ancient doddering tiresome fool, but the calibre of remaindered academic texts and Kingsley Amis novels just isn't what it used to be. This season's offerings smelt overpoweringly of the lamp. Once you could find cheap rhinoplasty textbooks full of disgusting photographs, or the International Oat Register, or Leo Bersani's essays, or just the sixth volume of Casanova's memoirs lavishly done out in tooled green cloth, or a collection of terza rima written by diasporised Greek aviators of the 1920s and 30s. Now it is all books about marketing on the Internet published in 1997.

My eye did rest momentarily upon a hardback of The Material Ghost by Gilberto Perez, offered for the trifling sum of $14, but I already own it. (If you ever go near La Trobe and you are interested in unorthodox but perspicuous film studies then you should go in and buy this book.) So this time around I could only scrape up two books interesting enough to be bothered paying for, and one of them, Inside the Gaze, I was certain I'd already read and was therefore only purchasing so I wouldn't have to walk over to the library in the unlikely event of needing to consult it again.

So I was a bit embarrassed, if it's possible to be embarrassed when there's nobody else there, to get up to my room and realise I already have a copy of Inside the Gaze, most likely bought in a previous book sale episode. It was marked down so I can't take it back (I could probably smuggle it into the shop & just leave it on the sale table, but they won't give me a refund). A few times before I have re-photocopied things I'd photocopied at some earlier stage then forgotten all about, and I regularly buy on purpose extra copies of books for classes because I can't find the copy I already have. But this is the first time I've accidentally bought the same book twice, and not even a book that is particularly interesting.

Anyone who wants it can have it - send me an email. Just be aware though that it is fairly stereotypical film theory.

So there you go. I don't know how convincing this is, but I would like to stress that I do have a somewhat more interesting life than it would probably seem from reading about it on this blog. Just at the moment, though, the fun & sordid parts are CLASSIFIED.

13 comments:

Tim said...

Wodehouse
adj.

To have the feeling that one has already read the book one is considering buying, then buying it anyway just in case one hasn't read it, only to discover five copies of the book on one's shelves. For example: "I was feeling really Wodehouse because I thought I'd read Summer Moonshine, which is the one about the romantic imbroglios and the aunts, but I worried that I was getting confused with Summer Lightning, which is the one about the romantic imbroglios and the aunts, so I bought the book just in case."

Zoe said...

if it's possible to be embarrassed when there's nobody else there

It is ; )

Kate said...

I have bought two copies of something twice. On one occasion because buying a second copy was easier than digging out the packed away copy I knew I had, and another time by accident. The accidental time was because I knew I had other books by the author but was sure this was one I hadn't read. Actually it was just a different cover.

Ampersand Duck said...

I do this *all the time*.

I'm hanging out for the LibraryThing temple implant, which should be finalised about the same time that I get around to entering the rest of my books.

librarygirl said...

This is slightly off topic, but I have the problem of being unable to stop myself buying books by a favourite author when I come across them in second hand shops, when I know perfectly well I have a full set of that author's works at home (including the biography, letters, and cookbook). So now I have 2 and three copies of some of her books. Is there a name for this condition?

Val said...

It's so good to know that even young people also do this sort of thing...

Ben.H said...

Librarygirl, they'd better be multiple copies of the same *editions*, otherwise you're just faking it.

lucy tartan said...

The cookbook, hey? It's got to be Jane....(and if it is Jane, then there's a name for your condition all right, and it's "normal")

lucy tartan said...

And Val, thank you for classifying me as 'young'!

librarygirl said...

Does the fact that it is Barbara (Pym) not Jane still classify it as "normal"? I'm hoping so.

Kate said...

librarygirl a survey of my cd rack yields three copies of one album (there are other duplicates too) even though there are only two adults with purchasing power. I would call it normal, although it also makes me feel queasy for environmental anti-capitalist reasons.

Drewzel said...

I don't necessarily always need fun or sordid, I'm happy with house decorating or cat pics!

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