Mark, Eileen,and I jumped in the car yesterday and Mark drove us to the John K. King Bookstore in downtown Detroit.
Ostensibly, it was for Eileen’s upcoming birthday we made the trip. While Mark and I had frequented this shop many times, Eileen had never been there before. We lured her with the possibility of finding some obscure weaving books and a birthday gift of cash from Mark and Leigh. But she goodnaturedly came along mostly just to see what the famous store was like.
There is no air conditioning in this building which apparently was historically a glove factory. Mark chose a relatively cool day for us to visit and it turned out to be pleasant in the shop.
I was very happy to find that my interest areas were well represented on the first floor. So I explored the music, art, and poetry sections and didn’t have to go up on any of the other floors.
What follows are my purchases.
1. Sonata Forms Revised Edition by Charles Rosen.
I know this looks like another dry tome of music stuff, but Rosen was a pianist with a great style and a steel trap mind. In his Preface to the Revised Edition he writes “Sonatas are like chimpanzees.”
He gets there from a quote from Stephen Jay Gould:
“… there are no essences, there is no such thing as ‘the chimpanzee.’ You can’t bring a few into a laboratory, make some measurements, calculate an average, and find out, thereby, what chimpness is. there are no shortcuts. individuality does more than matter; it is of the essence. You must learn to recognize individual chimps and follow them for years, recording their peculiarities, their differences, and their interactions …. When you understand why nature’s complexity can only be unraveled this way, why individuality matters so crucially, then you are in a position to understand what the sciences of history are all about.” ( from a review article “Animals Are Us” in New York Review of Books 29 June 1987
I was planning to purchase this book soon since it informs Ethan Haimo’s book on Haydn I am reading.
2. I accidentally purchased a two volume Greek interlinear edition of Plato’s Republic. I had looked at both it and a two volume edition of Homer’s Odyssey. They were close to the check out register so I didn’t add them to my stack thinking I would grab Homer just before checking out. I grabbed the wrong two, but I’m still glad to get them.
3. My eye was caught by the title of Irving Burgie’s Day-O!! The Autobiography of Irving Burgie. My copy looks like this:
There was a conventional paperback edition sitting next to it, but I was more charmed by this edition.
4. I was very excited to find a copy of Kevin Young’s first version of To Repel Ghosts. I am almost through his remix version of this book.
5. I had a copy of a collection of Basquiat in my hands minutes after we arrived. When we visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, I realized that I would like to have a copy of a collection of his works. I usually just look them up online, but it’s more fun to look at them in a book, better still in person.
6. The Church Music of William Billings by J. Murray Barbour
I perform music of Billings from time to time with my choir. This looked like a good reference book to own.
7. Mark found an excellent reference for my Greek study.
8. It was fun looking at all the books in the music section or as many as I could manage. I couldn’t resist this book made of the proceedings of the International Haydn Conference in 1975. There are transcriptions of panels that consist of people like Charles Rosen, Donald Grout, Eva Badura-Skoda, and many others as well as papers presented. Very cool.
Eileen didn’t find too much but seemed to enjoy the visit. We had lunch at the famous Traffic Jam and then drove home.
Another good day of vacation for Jupe!