Withdrawn from Circulation
A tale of two finds
The very best books, or so it seems, are usually the ones that get withdrawn from circulation in local public libraries, while the trash remains on the shelves. The librarians' bad judgment, however, redounds to my benefit as I am able to purchase fine books for fifty cents a pop. A while back, the literary luminaries at the Apache Junction Public Library saw fit to remove Linda Hamalian, A Life of Kenneth Rexroth (Norton, 1991) from the shelves.
Why, I have no idea. It wasn't a second copy. But I snatched it up. A find to rejoice over. A beautifully produced first edition of over 400 pages, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America wanted $25 for it. I shall set it on the Beat shelf next to Kerouac's Dharma Bums wherein Rexroth figures as Reinhold Cacoethes. I hope the two volumes refrain from breaking each other's spines.
Moral: Always search diligently through biblic aisles and piles, remainder bins, and the like. It is amazing what treasure lies among the trash.
Conservatives, especially, are bound to find gems. The reason being that the tribe of librarians, dominated as they are by the distaff contingent, reliably tilt left and are eager to remove from the shelves what their shallow pates consider offensive materials. A good example is my most recent find at the aforementioned local library, namely, Melanie Phillips, Londonistan, Encounter Books, 2006. The book comes highly recommended by Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson, both of whom are name contributors to Middle East studies. It belongs on the shelf.