Rare Siouxsie and the Banshees singles on vinyl were the first things I found at this hole-in-the-wall used book and vinyl store in Brighton, Massachusetts. Accidental, this discovery at Diskovery, which is very much the type of attic I wish my parents or grandparents had when I was young. (Or younger. I don’t feel old right now.) Soundtracks to Murphy Brown and Dune, Whitney Houston first pressings, VHS tapes of Everything But the Girl and Cure concerts, just there, no searching necessary.
Books divided by category, on shelves practically falling over. Dozens of boxes–some taped shut, others not–stacked in piles, mostly in front of shelves. Even the entrance to the store, partially blocked by boxes of used vinyl, is minefield. The casings of now-defunct cassettes, and two bowls of cat food (not to mention two cats), and newspapers and magazines from before I was born.
An issue of Wrapped in Plastic (the Twin
Peaks fanzine) and the Rolling Stone issue with Madonna interviewed by Carrie Fisher, and an all-about-Warhol issue of New York Magazine.
I’m not a mass market reader, but I was when I was a kid, and in this store, over the course of four hours, I found about 18 books from when I was a kid that I read and re-read. Mostly novelizations of movies. Had to have them.
Also had to have movie storybooks about Annie and Batman Returns and Return to Oz (Annie was the first movie I saw in a movie theater. I think I was three or four.) Shaun has been trying to put together Christopher Pike’s entire oeuvre, and this store yielded two gems: Chain Letter and Chain Letter 2.
True story: Chain Letter was the first Christopher Pike book I read. I was in sixth grade. And the events in the book frightened me. Haven’t read it in, what, 20 years or so, but I remember the characters and even some of the lines (“He could have been my friend,” said by the author of the chain letters about a man who was accidentally killed).
Some of my best finds: Single issues of Sandman and several versions of Alice in Wonderland (one of the things I collect, different editions of the story of Alice’s tumble through and out of the rabbit hole), most of which were pop-ups. And the novelization of Adventures in Babysitting, one of those movies I never get tired of watching.
The thing about movie novelizations, at least from the 80s, is that the writer of the book used the screenplay, but added to it, rounding out moments that worked on the screen but don’t work so well without a little something on the page.
Shaun called me a treasure hunter, as I sent him pictures of the books I found and brought home (novelizations of Supergirl and Starman and Total Recall–the original, not this remake travesty). On par with the kids in Goonies, he said.
I said to the store’s owner, Yolanda, a cagey pro at bargaining (“I’ll give you these magazines, but I’m going to charge you $20 for this rare book about the Cure”) that she’ll see me again.
I take care of you, she said. You come back and see.
I will. I left several books I’d like to own: An out-of-print oral history of and by The Eurythmics and a book of Bruce Weber’s photographs and Annie Liebowitz’s collection of Olympics-related photographs (except I think the book originally had a dust jacket, and the book at this store is missing its dust jacket, so I need to do some research before buying it). Hundreds of books I haven’t even looked at, despite how long I spent in the store over the weekend.
I haven’t even seen everything, Yolanda said. And I’m here nine, 10 hours a day.
She says she’s going to close the store, and signs on the store’s windows say the same thing, but I think this threat is part of Yolanda’s bargaining tactics. Get it while you can, before everything disappears into wherever she has to put the things that don’t sell.