Sunday Salon

Sunday SalonI guess Chicago is not the only place that’s been having unseasonably warm weather, but it’s really acting like winter is over here. There’s no snow on the ground for the first time in months and frankly I’m a little disappointed. On the other hand it meant the consumption partner and I were up for a little jaunt around Hyde Park yesterday morning that led to some fun book acquisitions.

We went to Powell’s, which is pretty much license for me to buy whatever strikes my fancy. Most ridiculous of the day by far:
The Great Sermon Handicap

This is a copy of P.G. Wodehouse’s story “The Great Sermon Handicap.” In English, Czech, Polish, Russian, White Russian (seriously), Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Servo-croation, Slovenian, Slovakian, and Phonetic English. Seriously. Like this:
Phonetic English

Are you not madly in love? Are you not astonished to hear that Powell’s had not one but two copies of this book, available at a ridiculously low price? And what would you say if I told you that this was volume six in a series of books of “The Great Sermon Handicap” translated into dozens of languages? I haven’t tracked down all of them yet but…would you really even blame me if I started collecting the set? (And come on. The one I find is a bunch of Slavic stuff I don’t know. Though I do read IPA!)

Also picked up a nice copy of La Princesse de Clèves (yeah, I know, get real) and a selection of poems by Robert Burns. I don’t know Burns much at all, and I’ve been feeling a little pull toward poetry lately.

Other than that I’ve been spending a very satisfying weekend curled up with a book. A couple really. You’ll be hearing some about them this week.

7 comments to Sunday Salon

  • What a wonderful find! I’m a bit envious, we have to travel to Portland to get to Powell’s.

  • missprint

    The idea of multiple translations is kind of crazy and yet, kind of brilliant. I wouldn’t blame you at all for hunting down more.

  • verbivore

    I wrote my undergraduate thesis on La Princesse de Clèves, so its an all-time favorite. Probably due for a re-read…

    And I’m drooling over your multiple translations – what a fantastic idea.

  • Is this the same huge Powell’s bookstore that’s in Portland? I’ve always longed to go there someday.

  • Jeane: The Powell’s here in Chicago is the original. One of the partners bought the other out (decades ago) and set up shop in Portland. They have the same name but aren’t actually related in any other way.

    There are three Powell’s locations here, though I’ve still only been to the one in Hyde Park. It’s an amazing place full of the best selection of used and remaindered books I’ve ever seen, with an unusually good foreign-language section in the basement (presumably due to the proximity to the University of Chicago).

    And it’s not even the best bookstore in Hyde Park….

  • Well, that’s a pretty nice way to start off a week. I dig the idea of phonetic English. Must be a nice way to learn letters. If there’s a complete set, it must be found. This is just genius.

  • […] My Life in Books finds an odd little book: a short story in twelve languages. […]