The Little Things

Two in one day!

I just had to share a little thing. A little thing that is one of the nice things about selling books online — in small quantity — and having a Post Office within walking distance.

I just got back from walking down to our local Post Office to mail a copy of Mehville’s The Confidence-Man* to New Jersey. It’s pretty cold out today, but very bright. The sky is that perfect shade of blue, and the half-ish moon has risen early and greeted me as I walked east on our block, toward the Post Office.

I was about half a block away from the Post Office, when I heard a sound like someone shuffling up behind me. I turned around and no one was there. Looking down I saw a dried hydrangea flower head making its way toward me.

Satisfied that I was in no danger, I walked on. That hydrangea caught up with me and stayed with me for a bit, then leapt in front of me and stopped. I stopped, too.

I looked down at the hydrangea and it up at me.

It just sat there looking like it wanted to tell me something.

We stayed that way for a few moments, then I grinned, and the hydrangea bounded off into a nearby yard. I happily made my way to the Post Office (where the employees are the greatest, by the way), then home again, and didn’t see the hydrangea again… it must have found somewhere else to go.

Thinking back on it, I think the hydrangea just wanted to tell me to have a nice day.

So I will.

It’s the little things.

New Arrivals Weekly Roundup 2013-02-17

This week we actually added something like 30 books to our inventory, but I’m only covering the ones we have for sale… plus one that’s just cool. K? K.

  • Man of Straw by Heinrich Mann

Man of straw

  • Samuel R. Delany’s Galaxies boxed set


  • Marius the Epicuriean by Walter Pater

Marius the Epicurean

  • An Imaginary Life by David Malouf

An Imaginary Life

  • A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language by Walter W. Skeat

A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language

  • In Defense of Reason by Yvor Winters

In Defense of Reason

  • Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge

Usage and Abusage

  • And finally, not for sale, Inferna, the first book of poetry in a planned trilogy by Stefene Russell. This I bought at Mad Art Gallery. The cover art is by Firecracker Press. Very cool all around. I’ll have to do a little more research about how you may be able to buy your own copy. Possibly from Firecracker Press… maybe from other sources as well.


All of these except Inferna are available as of this writing on our storefront.* Prices and images shown below may not reflect the copies we have for sale. Our images will almost always have the orange background as shown here (the exception is the “main” image; amazon requires that to be on a white background, so if we’ve designated an image as main, it won’t have the orange background). To find our prices, go to “available from these sellers” and look for Hurley House. If you do not find a copy available from us in the list, then we’ve sold it already.

Tree’s takin’ over…

Hi Guys!

It’s official. Patrick is pretty busy with other stuff right now, so I’m taking over the general operations of Hurley House. He’s still the big boss, of course… I’m just gonna be doing everything like posting inventory, processing sales, etc.

So you won’t really notice any changes beyond the fact that maybe I’ll be posting more frequently and not just in the “What my wife is reading” section.

And how cool is it that Patrick let me pick my own title? I shall henceforth be known as General Operations Director.


In case you wondered, Patrick took that photo with the tin type pack from Hipstamatic

Bloomsday Or Doomsday?

Bloomsday or doomsday? Well, a little bit of both, actually.

Bloomsday sign and Patrick outside

Thanks to the few stalwart souls who read for a bit or just tried to listen above the din. And thanks to Jake for pouring lots of free beer down the necks of thirsty readers. Lessons learned …

Bloomsday Patrick reading

Publicize sooner, procure a stage and powerful microphone, and basically plan more.

Time to start thinking about next year … and the upcoming Civil Life Book Club.

Bloomsday logo 2013

Bloomsday at The Civil Life (part 2)

Well, I finally submitted an announcement about Bloomsday at the Civil Life to the KDHX arts and events calendar. It took longer than I thought it would, but after Teresa showed me how to work my computer device it was smooth sailing … because she basically did it for me. I have been putting the word out, and so far … I am the only one who has volunteered to read. I had already planned on reading the first 20 pages, but not the first 640 pages. I will force Jake to read some, too, and you know he will probably use a funny accent. You know you want to read part of this novel. There will be Irish whiskey on hand if you need to overcome your natural shyness. The time has come for all good men (and women) to … well, to read Ulysses*
… out loud … at the Civil Life.

To volunteer to read, email Patrick: bloomsday [at] thecivillife [dot] com

When: 16 June 2012, starting at noon

Where: The Civil Life Brewing Company

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Bloomsday at The Civil Life

June 16th is Bloomsday! In cities around the world (especially Dublin), people will be reading aloud from one of the greatest novels ever written. Come to The Civil Life to celebrate what the Modern Library called the best English language novel of the twentieth century. At noon, I will read the opening section of Ulysses* (with restorative sips of ale taken as needed), and sometime before we close, someone (preferably a woman, or perhaps a drag queen) will read excerpts from Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, which closes the novel. The whole soliloquy consists of eight very long “sentences” and takes about two and a half hours to read (this is a very large number if translated into pints). In between, volunteers will read from their favorite sections of the novel. Stay tuned to sign up. If you don’t have a favorite section yet but would like to read, I can pick something for you. Or stop by the Civil Life and flip through one of our copies of the novel while having a pint.

Little Kodansha Murakami Books

So I love Haruki Murakami. I am slowly reading through everything he has written. I read A Wild Sheep Chase* and then found it is the third book in the Trilogy of the Rat. Hear the Wind Sing* and Pinball, 1973* are the first two volumes.

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 Wrapped

They are not in printed in the US, though Alfred Birnbaum did translations of both. I found new copies through Amazon Marketplace* and ordered them.

These very small paperbacks were about $25 each, but I had had enough wine to drink that I threw financial caution to the wind and ordered them both. And I am very glad that I did. They arrived quickly and were nicely wrapped.

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 UnwrappedOne of the Rat Trilogy Wrapped, Close Up

They are adorable little paperbacks that even have dust jackets.

Pinball, 1973 Showing Dust JacketPinball, 1973 Next to Dust Jacket

The publisher has even included little bookmarks.

Bookmarks included in the two Rat Trilogy books

I love these books.

I guess the moral of the story is, always drink too much and be fearless where spending is concerned.

I Felt Sober

“I felt sober, or rather, since feeling completely sober had been disagreeable to me for some years, fairly sober.” Kingsley Amis, The Green Man*

The Civil Life Library

Because I like to read books, I wanted a career that would pay me to read. There really isn’t one. Even an acquisitions editor probably reads 100 terrible pages for every good one. And my dreams of being an English professor (most of which centered around an endless wine-soaked sabbatical) were laughably unrealistic. The kind of reading one does while teaching freshman composition (and there is a great deal of it) is not quite what I had in mind. The crowning insult is that it doesn’t pay very well either. So I needed another job. Thankfully my friend Jake hired me to tend bar at The Civil Life . I had spent the previous years of my life on the other side of the bar, but as Charles Bukowski once said, “Hey, either side’s fine, as long as the bottle pours.”

[UPDATE 2012-03-20: In this space, I used to have an embedded LIFE magazine slideshow of pictures of various authors who are/were heavy drinkers. It appears that is no longer available.]

So as not to have wasted my twenty years of college, I carefully assembled a library of great books and installed them at The Civil Life. Read more about it here.