The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, September 29, 2008

NYC Sex Bloggers 2009 Pin-up Calendar

A group of twelve heartstoppingly pert, supple, toothsome...prose stylists are putting together the New York City 2009 Sex Bloggers Calendar.
All profits from the sale of this calendar will go directly to Sex Work Awareness. The poses will be fun and flirty and burlesque themed, with no graphic nudity. Think costumes, corsets, pasties and g-strings.
$30.00 plus shipping gets you a calendar, plus the selection of one day (other sponsorship levels available) to carry your 80-character message to the sex positive, internet-savvy world.

I just bought a day. Get yours BEFORE MIDNIGHT OCTOBER 1st

No guilt, gratuitous nudity and a write-off in the charity column. What could be better?

Bat Country Books

Nathan Roberts (longtime commentator and tipster here) has started a blog for his online bookstore Bat Country Books.

(Quite the handsome banner, no?)

He specializes in
items that have a flare for the unusual, especially items which are macabre in nature, highly controversial, or relating to subcultures.
Pay him a visit.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Advertising Cards

I picked up a nice batch of c1900 advertising cards at the BrooklynFlea this weekend. Looks like they were removed from a scrapbook. Would have liked to see the whole book intact for context but it would have been out of my price range. Here's what I got:

A patent medicine card with the text:
Shut the Door
Piso's Cure for Consumption
Piso's Cure for Catarrh

"Catarrh" sounds ominous but it's just congested sinuses and the wave of mucus I've been surfing all week. From now on I have Catarrh.

Next this Cortecelli Knitting Silk card with sewing elves.

This woman below is currently using: Dr. Scott's Electric Corset, Dr. Scott's Electric Hair-Brush, Dr. Scott's Electric Hair-Curler, and Dr. Scott's Electric Tooth Brush.

She has that stalk in her mouth so she doesn't bite off her tongue.

Lastly this McCormick card for "Right Hand Machines":

The wisdom of using a severed hand to advertising harvesting equipment is a bit questionable but it's a nice card anyway.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

P.T. Barnum Items

I have a hellacious pile of books to pack this morning so just a quick blog post. Here are two unique P. T. Barnum items that came into the shop recently.

First this Danish-language edition of a Barnum Bio Den store Barnum Reklamens Konge (1937) with a fantastic wraparound cartoon cover (click for larger version) picturing Tom Thumb, a Bearded Lady, the Fiji Mermaid, and more.

Also this Barnum & Bailey Songster (c 1900), a saddle-stitched chapbook featuring humorous and sentimental songs performed in the clown shows.

All right, off to pack.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Bookplates

Found a striking batch of bookplates while culling my inventory and raiding the Strand Annex. Here are some:

First this retro-future cityscape reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. It belonged to an "Anna C. Ury" and was found (appropriately) in a Modern Library H.G. Wells from 1909

Next this decadent, allegorical (I'm guessing Wagnerian?) plate belonging to poet and labor historian "Elias Lieberman". It's in the Beardsley style (though more detailed). I like the repeated shape of the birds and the way the smoke is rolling off the ring. Looks like it's signed "EB".

Next this one belonging to "W. H. Kellogg Jr." (possibly of the cereal family) found in Stewart's Travels c 1840. The foliage has a great fairy tale feel to it.

Next this classic pissed-off Dumbledore plate by illustrator "Leon D'emo" belonging to W. A. Moran, found in Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Heroes 1872

And lastly this dog plate belonging to William Hale Harkness, found in Goodbye Mr Chips 1935. Harkness was the Standard Oil heir and husband to the famously batty Rebekah Harkness, a huge patron of dance whose
eccentricities were often reported in the New York tabloids in the '60s and '70s. She dyed a cat green and scrubbed her pool with Dom Perignon

More to come.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This man is an author. He writes stories.

Printing a Book, Old School from Armin Vit on Vimeo.

An Encyclopedia Britannica video on book printing and binding c1947. Combines all of my favorite elements: Books, hot metal, and hazardous work environments.

Thanks to Mark Hurst for the referral.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Database Conversion: Homebase to Bookhound

I'm working on a massive book cull in prep for a Sunday stoop sale, so not a whole lot of time to blog/twitter etc. But here's a quick bullet list I compiled while converting from Homebase to Bookhound.

Both programs are free book databases provided by bookselling venues: Homebase from ABE, Bookhound from Biblio. I stuck with the clunky Homebase for way too long (it was the program I trained on and I had conversion anxiety) so when a version of the well-regarded Bookhound was recently made free through Biblio, I took the leap. Here's what I found:

Bookhound Advantages
  • File conversion was quick and painless (requires a file upload to Biblio).
  • Bookhound can generate an Amazon ProMerchant upload file with one click, meaning I no longer have to maintain a second Excel db (which was prone to deviation).
  • One click Image URL creation (if you host your own photos) and automatic picture insertion on Amazon.
  • Automatic (and free: Hombase requires a monthly ABE subscription) ISBN lookup, recognition of ASINs and generation of ISBN13s.
  • Allows for exclusion of single book records from different versions of file uploads (so you can withhold disallowed formats from particular venues. Ex: No ARCs on Amazon).
  • The ability to create temporary and saved titles lists for group editing, exporting and print catalogs
  • Built in button to add special characters ("√©" for instance)
  • Allows you to drag already typed info from one field to another.
  • Bookhound only allows a book to be included in a single user-created catalog. Homebase allows two (though only ABE recognizes a book's association with multiple catalogs so it wasn't terribly useful)
  • Homebase marks a record for your next upload if you make ANY change to the book data, Bookhound only does so if you change the quantity. You need to move to another tab and click "resend this item" if you make a change not related to quantity and you want to re-upload the data (ex: a price change). This might be an advantage actually (if you're making changes that should be invisible invisible to the buyer), but it does require an extra step.
And here are a few quirks I discovered while making the conversion:
  • Use capital "X" in isbn DB entry (where an X is the 10th character) or Amazon will spit it out. Find them by using "*********x" in the Bookhound search form ISBN field.
  • You can't use "foul" language in the Amazon description field. "Bitch" is disallowed and so are some word that contain dirty words, "Lipshit" for instance.
I'm still discovering features of Bookhound but these are the things that helped or hurt me immediately. Short answer: If you want a robust featured free bookselling DB go with Bookhound, and don't be afraid of making a switch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Junk in My Trunk

Junk in My Trunk: September 10, 2008, originally uploaded by Hang Fire Books.

My first solid day of thrift-hunting in a while. The thermos, viewmaster and records/Cds are for me, the rest will turn up on eBay and book venues.

This photo belongs to the Junk in Your Trunk photo pool on flickr where it's marked up with special Thrift-o-Vision annotations.

I also twittered a number of items to ThriftScoutNYC. Sign-up to receive my scouting reports and send your own.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Douglas & Foulis: Edinburgh Booksellers

I found three layers of booktickets from "Douglas & Foulis, Booksellers & Librarians, 9 Castle Street, Edinburgh" pasted to the cover of My Lady Castlemaine: A Life of Barbara Villiers (Hutchinson, 1912).

(top to bottom = newest to oldest)

I found this info on the establishment at the National Library of Scotland website:
This catalogue of Douglas & Foulis' circulating library gives a fascinating glimpse of the rules of the library, its charges (for one guinea a year, a person could borrow one book a month; for ten guineas, 30 books a month), and what books it contained. Through the supplementary 'List of Books Added during 1913-1917', it also gives a rare insight into reading tastes and the circulation of books during the First World War. It is easy to find out what books were published during this period: here we can see that books such as 'Trench Pictures from France' and 'Russian Court Memoirs 1914-16' were easily accessible to Edinburgh readers with five shillings (the lowest subscription) to spare.
Not sure how long the library lasted but I believe this is the address today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homemade X-Rated Book Cover

I found this copy of Mauel Puig's Betrayed by Rita Hayworth with a painstakingly hand-crafted nudey cover.

I find a lot of altered erotica PBs, but usually they're going the other way and de-emphasizing the sleaze.

This book is up for grabs. Email me if you want it (for cost of postage).

Also in the book was this bookstore record-keeping slip from the "Loreen Inventory Control System" dated 1976.
Any bookstore veterans ever encounter this? Looks like you fill in a number for the initial order and then mark how many are sold in each successive month. I'd don't envy the poor clerk who had to fill these things out.

Flea Market Spanking Painting

I've seen this disturbing spanking painting at BrooklynFlea for a couple of weeks running. This was the best image I could get on my phone cam. I can't identify what tool the spanker is using and the spankee is kind of unfinished from the waist down.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Twitter Thrift Scouting

I just started a group Twitter account called ThriftScoutNYC for New York City-based (and vicinity) thrift shoppers, bargain hunters, collectors and dealers.

The idea is to post unique items or bargains--that you don't buy--with pertinent details (location, asking price, sale hours etc) and give someone else a chance at them. Interested parties can hustle and buy the item or perhaps tweet the original poster and have them act as purchaser (closing deals of that type would be handled via direct communication--off list--and completely the responsibility of the parties involved).

To participate you'll need at least a cell phone capable of sending e-mail (or some other way to send email remotely). Viewing group posts will require a twitter account and a web browser. (Twitter has a mobile version that's optimized for cell phones/pdas).

This will be moderated and I will delete inappropriate, self-promoting, spammy posts and if necessary ban repeat abusers.

If interested in participating visit ThriftScoutNYC (create a free Twitter account if you don't already have one) and click "Follow". I'll approve your request and send details about how to post.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Inattentive Parents and Leathery Antique Dealers

So just to expand on my 140 characters of Twittered disgust earlier today:

I was sitting with Alice eating yummy tacos at BrooklynFlea. We were in the shade near a roped-off area where the food dealers hook up to power. Despite the ropes, cement steps and pointy cast iron fence, numerous hipster Brooklyn parents (ie: demi-tards) were letting their preschoolers play unsupervised jump rope over the draped electrical cords.

One little girl jumped onto a cord--pulling it from the outlet--and blacked out a food booth. A power-yuppy--in the middle of some kind of mutually felating day-trader phone interview--looks over at the girl (not his daughter) and the rats' nest of industrial electrical cords plugged into an exterior socket and says "Sweety can you plug that back in?". Un-fucking believable.

To top that off, I hit the 7th Avenue flea market on the way home and stopped at a dealer's table with a selection of shabby vintage books layed-out in the broiling sun. I picked up what was labeled as a "1st Edition Ayn Rand Anthem $20" with no jacket and completely faded spine, looked at the CR page and and noted that the printing date of the book was a good 20-years after the copyright date. Now I'm no Randroid but that does not equal "1st Edition" to me. I went to put it back and the dealer snatched it from me and said "I'll take that!" and mumbled that next time I shouldn't open a "sealed" book. Apparently a mislabeled worthless book stuffed in a moldering sandwich bag equals archivally sealed these day. I said "Keep it then, it isn't a first anyway", but what I meant to say was "Stick it you ignorant, leathery crone."

Of course if I did say that, I would have immediately entered the Twilight Zone and become the desperate curmudgeon--selling smutty paperbacks for cheap tequila--that is the future me.

You gotta be careful.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Perfect Zombie Video Game

I have a long post on my ideas for the perfect zombie video game posted at Read it and marvel at how much of my brain has been eaten by the living dead.

On a related note, Mark Hurst of Good Experience sent me a link to a free, print 'n play zombie solitaire game called Zombie in My Pocket.

Snipped it out and played this morning. Voodoo zombies, easy set up, intuitive rules and quick play. Spent a lot of time cowering and running from room to room with a chainsaw. Definitely worth laser printing and mounting on cardstock.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Special Issue! Burlesque! Exciting Picture Report

Listing a small pile of "jazz mags" I've had sitting around for a while and I lost a lot of time in this one:

Glance: Special Burlesque Issue (June 1958, Vol. 2, #5), originally uploaded by Hang Fire Books.

It's a chapbook-size magazine containing an essay on the state of the art in burlesque, illustrated with 70 plus photos of 1950s performers (very few repeats). [you can buy it here]

The dancers pictured include: Lili Christine (cover), Irma the Body, Bubbles Darlene, Gypsy Nina, Tina Christine, Billy Boyd, Betty Howard, Winnie Garrett, Patti O'Day, Ann "Bang Bang" Arbor, Jill Huntley, Thunder, Evelyn West, Ora Lee Branch, Lili St. Cyr, Amber Halliday, Penny Page, Laura Lou Love, Cory Baysinger, Gypsy Rose Lee, Nannette, Ann Corio, Syra Marty, Penny Page, Ricki Corvette, Tempest Storm, Bonnie Bayia, Sheree North, Taffy O'Neill, and Louise Angel.

On a related--zaftig ladies in painted-on costumes--note, I've been fixated on the casting for the next Batman movie.
Nolan is going to do Catwoman as a "vamp in her twilight years" (I'm guessing with shades of Susan Alexandre Kane) and there was horrifying speculation that Cher was going to play the part. I'm not against the angle (Miller did it in Dark Night Returns) even though it doesn't make sense with the film's timeline.

If he's going that way, I think modeling her after a retired burlesque dancer would be a good direction. I love backstage photos when the dancers aren't "on", they look really tired and the ridiculously sexy costumes are just uniforms. That's how I want to see Catwoman. Alice and I were brain-storming actresses...she has to be glamorous but look like she's had it rough, curvy but not botoxed to death....I was thinking Elizabeth Shue...or maybe it this could be Sean Young's second chance...Helen Mirren or Anjelica Huston would play her mother of course...

Okay, kind of a random post but it's a good snap-shot of my head on any given afternoon.