RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

28 June 2011

The Joy of Dullness 1

Of late I have been assembling a collection of dull, curious or odd book covers. I wasn't really getting anywhere until I hit the collection of fellow Anglian dealer Robin Summers , a man with a whim of iron and one of the major contributor's to Brian Lake's magisterial Bizarre Books. So here they are, the scholarly ones are actually of some value and one even sold while I was putting this together, so does not appear -- a book on the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure entitled Not Saussure: A Critique of Post-Saussurean Literary Theory. With the paperback selling at £50 the joke became too costly to hold on to. The collection is devoted to dullness mixed with the curious and the odd which includes the oddly dull and the curiously odd. Here goes:




A bundle of laughs. The puff reads ' By contrasting Pound's political values with those of Stein and Zukofsky, this study argues that these three different writers share a complex set of attitudes that are grounded in a collective social fantasy corresponding to the rise of mass consumption and the emergence of corporate social forms.' Some jokers want £100 for this although the committed shopper can find it for £10.



A little light reading.



Part of a small but select number of works on the brassiere. Not dull, but curious (in the old biblio sense.)
Good Housekeeping's family doctor has the answers.




Yes but do you have anything on extinct horse furniture in the Brussels area?





Useful book. Useful name.




Anything on consonants in the late Neo-Babylonian era?



I need this one badly. Actually an online search revels no copies - so £899?



One man's quest.




Someone had to write it.





Slow down and learn the language.

[More to come!]

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just came across a copy of "Teaching The Persistent Non-Swimmer," impressive not only for the implied dullness of the subject matter, but also because the title is both vague and specific at the same time. Not easy to do.

anon said...

Great post. Extant Horse Furniture is not prior interest of mine, but it appeals and with copies starting at £4 on the internet, I'll be buying it.
Not interested in any of the other dull rubbish, mind you!

Edwin Moore said...

Really enjoyed these many thanks. I like the way the designers seem to have joined in the spirit of things - that 'LIMITED" really comes with a dull thud at the end of the Canterbury Meat one!

Anonymous said...

Gawd! Your latest blog is dull!

christian soldier said...

wonder if the 'Horse Furniture' book is available in the US...
C-CS

nyarlathotep said...

Was just about to buy the "There Must Be a Reason" title... until I realized it was sheet music! GAH!!!

haineux said...

My dad had me obtain a copy of ACOUSTIC PROPERTIES OF MUD BOTTOMS.

Turns out it's an important reference for SONAR engineering, of course. (Probably there are newer titles used these days, but one loves the prosody.)

bookwench said...

Some of those look kind of interesting. Understand your tortoise sounds pretty neat, and the treatment of vowels in early neo-babylonian sounds really sort of interesting.

GeckoStorm said...

I came across a book with the title, "Draw in Your Stool." On further examination, what they meant was, "Pull up a chair."

Daen said...

"Understand your tortoise" - price, 15p.

I'm not sure you can buy anything for 15p these days, let alone a guide to becoming Dr Doolittle.

Anonymous said...

You can buy your very own copy of the Canterbury book on the NZ-equivalent of ebay:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=394662286

Anonymous said...

Actually there are 3 copies for sale right now.

Charlie said...

Well, there must be a reason that there are no copies of There Must Be A Reason. Major fail!

Ben said...

Final vowels were pretty important in Neo-Babylonian (and other Semitic languages) because they indicated the case, i.e. nominative, genitive, accusative. By the time they're gone, as with Classical Hebrew, it's sometimes difficult to tell how the different parts of the sentence/clause/phrase should fit together.

Anonymous said...

See The Great Ape on Dulness in "The Dunciad". I don't have it nearby to retype.

Mark Scroggins said...

I have an inscribed copy of the Luke Carson Pound/Stein/Zukofsky book; it's pretty good, but I must admit my own jacketless plain hardcover is more exciting than what the "designer" came up with for the dust jacket.

Anonymous said...

at the school I work at we ordered a boring text book online and they accidentally sent us "War and Gender", it was shipped from the UK to New Zealand.. they didn't want it shipped back.

http://www.warandgender.com/

Tim J said...

Are you aware of the Diagram Prize? It's awarded for "the book carrying the oddest title of the year". There were some pretty good titles in last year's shortlist (I haven't seen this year's). I included them in this blog post at the time. (Apologies for linking to my own blog; it's the easiest way to point you to the titles.)

Bookride said...

Many thanks Tim. I see that the Diagram prize idea was invented during dull moments at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I liked the 2008 winner 'The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60 mg Containers of Fromage Frais' by Prof. Philip M Parker.

One of the runners up 'Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich', by James A Yannes sounds like one of those $800 Amazon books but can actualy be bought for $10…

Phillip said...

Ha - my father worked for the Canterbury Frozen Meat Company Limited!

Phillip said...

FYI "Limited" is the standard suffix for companies in New Zealand. It's like "Inc" or "LLC" in the USA.

R.M.Healey said...

Actually, I have it on good authority that the second Christian name of Mrs King, the Compost Woman,was Ursula, but she wisely decided not to include its initial letter on the book cover.

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