The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, March 11, 2016


I bought a pile of books at a house cleanout recently. The place had 18 rooms and I kept getting lost and forgetting where I put down my piles. It didn't help that the wall paper in the place was--bold.

That is some deep-pile purple and teal shag carpeting. The place was a bit dilapidated and kind of had a psychedelic Grey Gardens vibe.

The owner was a practicing family/children's counselor and had a large library of decently preserved children's books including some uncommon Black/African-American titles. Standouts are The Legend of Africania (which features a white demon tempting an African Prince to ravage his land for diamonds and gold and turning people of other races into business-suited profit drones), and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (with a 7" record), beautifully illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. I might not be able to give that one up but most of these will be hitting my Children's Books and Illustrators catalog in the next week or so.

My other favorite book find was the commanding: Look Younger, Look Prettier with a great 70s day-glo cover and some fairly bonkers yoga illustrations.

I think I saw that last routine at a Miley Cyrus concert. 

"Can a gawky Louisiana farm girl transform herself into an international beauty? She can--in fact she did. Virginia Castleton Thomas was that girl who stared in awe at 'beautiful ladies from New Orleans' and resolved to transform her own life....Look Younger, Look Prettier is the distilled essence of the methods by which the transformation took place, and which can be used by any woman seeking the kind of beauty that does not wash off at night, but reflects  the glow of good health and spiritual serenity."

Some other things don't wash off so easily either as illustrated below:

"Laura's vacations helped create family disunity."

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