Saturday, February 13, 2010

Treasure of the Salvation Army

Who says you can't find interesting things at the Salvation Army? I'm not major frequenter, but I enjoy the hodgepodge, the hope of finding a small lost treasure. Mainly, I like to see if there is anything utilitarian that might enhance the ambiance of my apartment.

Usually, I ransack the book section. It's amazing what gets tossed for junk. Some of it is clearly sub-junk.

While I was debating whether or not to appropriate a second edition Robert Bly book of poems for 79 cents I came across what seemed to be an uncorrected proof of Elizabeth George's new novel "The Body of Death" which is slated for release this Spring. Seven hundred Xerox-copied pages topped with a flimsy mimeographed cover. It had the contact info for the editor associated with the book. Now I'm not dumb enough to think this was some lone copy. Obviously, a pre-publicity campaign had been launched. Copies sent out to all the usual suspects: newspapers, radio stations, C-SPAN, Oprah, Charlie Rose, The View, etc.

What did strike me as interesting though was the 6 city tour marked on the inside of the book. Six cities. Hmmm. I considered all the top cities recently touted as the cultural meccas of the universe: Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne. But no, there were only 6 American cities listed: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.

To be sure, this was a pretty decent start, but what Portland, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Providence. And what about Canada? I was shocked to see such a small book tour for such an established best seller. I mean, all by mysef I pieced together 8 and half cities. On my dime of course, but still this sort of frightened me.

I recently read that the Beatles in the latter part of the sixties did little touring. One year in fact the Beatles capitalized on a rumor that Paul McCartney died in a car crash. Everybody was stoned those years so the brains behind the band cooked up psychedelic messages on the records when played backwards.

Now in this globalized mobile home-office world of infinite hours PR people have been paid to cut corners. I imagine this is why Elizabeth George, as big as she is, doesn't need to globetrot unless for her own self-needy peregrinations. I actually called up the PR person. Why the hell not? I wouldn't mind a bit of help on my own Shades of Luz campaign. She never called me back, but she did respond to my email and said that if I was so inclined I could keep the uncorrected proof of the book. I never actually bought it.

I picked up a copy of Robert Bly instead.


  1. I can't believe you didn't buy the uncorrected proof. I read this blog like a detective novel, hanging on every word - just to make sure you bought it! What a cool find at a Salvation Army. I've found marvelous things there as well as every other thrfit store within 50 miles - but never an uncorrected proof or ARC. The Robert Bly book was a great deal - glad you got that one.
    I've found a number of first editions of books I love in thrift stores. Now I feel the need to go back out hunting.

  2. You know that show on the History Channel "American Pickers" has got my eyes peeled wide open looking for nifty finds. Sometimes they turn up in the most unusual places. Last year I found an uncorrected proof of Nami Mun's "A Mile from Nowhere" in my local laundromat which I really enjoyed. I actually lent it to a friend who claims to have lost it. Easy come easy go. I think I should blog on that.