Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Patchouli, Poe, and Mass Market Paperbacks

18 Best Stories by Edgar Allen Poe edited by Vincent Price and Chandler Brossard
The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allen Poe
Method of Disposal: Giving to Heather

These books were given away because of a special request for Edgar Allen Poe. I thought I had a lot more to offer, but I could only find two mass market paperbacks from the 80’s. Oh well, the stories are there, right? Heather liked Poe when she was younger and is interested in revisiting it and possibly passing it on to her daughter.

Who didn’t like Edgar Allen Poe as a teenager? Seriously? I loved him. I remember reading his stories out loud to my mom while she drove here and there. I remember learning about the man in multiple English classes. The usual suspects were lined up for our education. The Black Cat. The Tell-Tale Heart. Fall of the House of Usher. We were given a vague, intentionally intriguing biography. Did he really die drunk in a gutter?

These books contain more than the creeping words of Edgar Allen Poe. One retains the smell of the patchouli incense I lit all the time as a teenager. It has a fold at the Masque of the Red Death, and there is a map drawn on the inside cover. I think it leads to a nature preserve, but I am not sure. I don’t really recognize it. The other book has the name of a tenant who lived with us temporarily when we needed a little extra money and rented out a room in our house. I guess she left it behind, and I carried it with me.

I guess it is obvious by now, but I love books. I love how they hold so many stories, intentionally or unintentionally. I wonder how much these cheaply made, dinky, little mass market books will last. They are books that were built to be destroyed, to be stripped if they didn’t sell. And here they are, 25 years later. Being passed down again, possibly for the 3rd or 4th time.

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