Sunday, September 03, 2006

Steal These Books

In the Sunday Mail today there was a story about book-thieves in Brisbane. Apparently, Lonely Planets are prime targets, and foreign backpackers are thought to be the worst culprits. But, second to that, bookstore owners mentioned Beat literature (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, etc...). One guy (from the Book Nook, I think) went so far as to say that he no longer stocks books by Charles Bukowski because they just get stolen. So now it all becomes clear. I took an early interest in the Beat poets (although I wouldn't necessarily call Bukowski beat), and I think that a lot of what came from that movement is incredibly self-indulgent and probably uninteresting to anyone but young males fostering delusions of their own recklessness. That being said, I think modern narratives owe a lot to the Beat Generation, and stuff that is so culturally relevant should be stocked in bookstores. Back in Sydney, the Dymocks on George St had a wonderful "sub-culture" section, tucked away behind the children's picture books and science fiction. It had all the books about drugs and tattoos and freak-sex; and just about a whole shelf dedicated to Henry Rollins. Incidentally, Rollins was another theft-target mentioned in today's article - he publishes his own books, and they should only been refered to as an interesting adjunct to his much more entertaining spoken-word material. Aside from this small effort by Dymocks George St, most bookstores are pathetically lacking in Beat besides a token new-release copy of On the Road. Even the slim pickings available from university libraries are usually mangled beyond practicality, or rebound - surely testament to their popularity. Bloody foreign backpackers.


Blogger NYC TAXI SHOTS said...


11:22 pm  
Blogger MadameBoffin said...

Sydney Dymocks had a freak-sex section? Damn, where was I?? ;) But seriously, I'm ashamed to say that I've never heard of Beat literature

11:14 pm  
Blogger T. S. Tennant said...

Really? Well, these days it's been bastardised by San Francisco ex-hippies, but the stuff published in the 50s and 60s is worth looking at. "On the Road" - Jack Kerouac's road trips around the USA, taking drugs, stealing food, seeing live jazz, and bedding Mexican prostitutes... Pretty wild for the 50s.

10:12 am  
Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

Wow, I've just made the connection with your blog...duh. Hope yer well ;)

11:20 pm  

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