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Secondhand Stories

August 23, 2011


Did I ever tell you I used to live in Jackson, Mississippi?  My family lived there for a handful of years in my childhood, and our former home there neighbored that of Southern Gothic writer Eudora Welty’s grand-niece.  Therefore, I’ve always been curious to read Welty’s work, as the Pulitzer Price-winning author is regarded for her mastery of the short story, a genre I particularly love and plan to conquer!  Recently I found an amazing vintage copy of her novel, Delta Wedding, originally published in 1946.  Check out the crazy cover art of this 1974 paperback version!  I couldn’t resist.

The story follows the dynamics of a large Southern family as they gather for a wedding.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of the book, but am already so taken with the lyrical descriptions.  For example:

“How beautiful she was–all flushed and knowing.  Now they would tease her.  As an only child, Laura found the teasing was the thing she kept forgetting about the Delta cousins from one summer to the next…Was it possible that it was because they loved one another so, that it made them set little traps to catch one another?  They looked with shining eyes upon their kin, and all their abundance of love, as if it were a devilment, was made reckless and inspired or was belittled in fun, though never, so far, was it said out.  They had never told Laura they loved her.”

When I look for vintage books, I’m always keeping my eyes peeled specifically for old cookbooks and design/art books.  At a local second-hand bookstore, Alias Books, in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village, I found this beauty, Theater of the Mind, about one of my favorite artists, Joseph Cornell.  The book contains some really amazing sketches and journal entries from the Surrealist, assemblage artist.


And what I wouldn’t give to get my hands on a vintage book with a cover designed by Paul Rand! Rand was a renowned American graphic designer whose work flourished in the 1950s and 1960s.  His minimalist yet bold designs are legendary.  Besides, books by e.e cummings and Henry James?  Or a book about Mondrian?  These Rand-designed texts happen to have content that’s equally desirable to their aesthetic appeal!  They’d be such an amazing edition to your at-home library, or just looking fab on a coffee table or nightstand!






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