Friday, February 16, 2007

Credit where it is due

In a piece about the decline of independent bookstores, Henry at Crooked Timber notes the passing of another sort of book shopping experience, the drug store book rack. In the old days, this was a random mix of trashy novels, classics and Ballantine War Books. Today it is just another version of the Airport Kobayashi Maru book buying experience, that is to say, racks of the same top selling crap.

Like Henry, my reading was really kicked off by the pulpy trash I could find down at the drug store, in my case People's Drug. In the my formative reading years (10-15?) I had to be an opportunistic book shopper and the trips to the grocery and drugstore were one of my best shots at getting a few moments to peruse the titles. The library was a possibility, but at that age I was intimidated by the library. While I am now a shout from the mountain tops fan of libraries, when you first visit, you really need a sherpa. The limited selection of salacious titles at the drugstore were just the gateway books I needed.

While the chance of me picking up a Casca, Night of the Crabs, Rat Bastards or a Shaun Hutson ( be sure to read the aptly titled Shaun's Shit) is close to nil, I must acknowledge my debt to these books. I'm just glad my tastes expanded, otherwise this blog would be called Shitty Books About Monsters and Guns Are My Only Friends.

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