Friday, March 2, 2012

ROAD TRIP TO BISBEE... and some New [Old] Books!!

Today my sweetie and I took one of our favorite day trips to wonderful Bisbee, AZ. 

I took the day off from work to make the scenic 40-some mile drive to our county seat,  pay the property taxes in person [Yup, I am that old guy who always insists on having a receipt in hand :) ] and hit the plethora of antique shops in search of... what else?... old books!

Turned out my fave shop of all had a recent arrival that was just flat DESTINED for Albie: a crate FULL of vintage paperbacks-- mostly westerns-- offered for the amazing sum of 2 bucks each!  It's a good thing I didnt have more cash on hand, or I'da gone broke on that one stop alone.  As it turned out I limited myself to 4 books, but I was very pleased with what I found.

"Find of the Day" was a vintage Bantam paperback of THE ADVENTURERS by my hero Ernest Haycox.  The book is from 1955 but but is in mint-- I mean like new!-- condition.  I haven't ever read that particular title, either, so this was a real score.

Also I grabbed an old ACE paperback edition of a Nelson Nye book called LONG RUN.  I think I will read this one first, as Nye is a favorite time-passer for me, and I found out just a bit ago that this was his Spur Award winner for best western novel of 1959.  Looks like a very fun read.  If you've never read Nye you oughtta check him out. He is my favorite recommendation when folks ask who I think is great for simple, fast-paced, escapist western fare.  Plus most of his books, like this one, are set in AZ.

Then I also found GUNMAN'S LAND,  a Western Writers of America anthology from 1956.  I avidly collect any anthology from the WWA [I currently own at least 20] and while this one was in some pretty sorry shape-- it's a much more tattered version of the exact Lion edition pictured above-- I was still thrilled to get my hands on it as I needed it for my collection.  As is my custom when I get a new anthology, I immediately sampled one of the stories within.  The tale I chose, "Winter Of His Life" by Lewis B. Patten, was a true classic... so I have very high hopes for this little sampler.

Finally, there was today's oddball choice, an adventure novel called THE WALLS OF JOLO by the great and unheralded Alan Caillou. I first encountered Caillou's prose back in the early '90s when I read his novelization of the old Charlton Heston movie KHARTOUM and was absolutely blown away.  No one ever talks about Caillou  [an actor and real life adventurer who penned mostly "blood and thunder" paperback originals and a few great animal stories] but I assure you the man could tell a tale like very few wordsmiths. This one is about an American officer's escape from torturous Moros through the Philippine jungles of 1898.  Sounds awesone!  It is pretty rare that I come across any of his books in my jaunts through dusty old shops, so this was a perfect capper for today's enjoyable hunt!

All in all, a splendid day in Old Bisbee town.


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