Do you know about Daedalus Books? The huge online bookstore that sells erudite books at bargain prices for bibliophiles like you and me?
I've been ordering books from them since way back in the pre-Internet age when they mailed out a monthly catalog. The prices are always fabulous (up to 90% off) and they charge only $5.95 for shipping, regardless of how many books you order.
It's inevitable that when I have a list of errands/projects that need attention absolutely immediately right this minute, I find myself sifting through their spellbinding selection of books in search of future acquisitions. Here are a few I found today when I was supposed to be doing something else:
(University of California Press)
I can never get enough of these two fabulous creatures: Jazz Age socialites and American expats who moved to the South of France in the 1920's, they palled around with Fitzgerald and Picasso, threw legendary parties, virtually created the concept of the "jet set," and oozed their own brand of Riviera style.
List price: $34.95 Sale price: $9.98
*Note: If Gerald and Sara are new to you, two books you'll want to read at once are "Everybody Was So Young" by Amanda Vaill and Calvin Tompkin's "Living Well Is The Best Revenge."
(Thames and Hudson)
Think of it as the styling secrets of a master painter. The book features period photographs that show how Matisse created the mise-en-scénes for his paintings: "perhaps an ornate Venetian chair partners with a wrought-iron table displaying a yellow pitcher and melons." Bonus: It's edited by Marie-France Boyer, Paris editor of World of Interiors magazine.
List price:$24.95 Sale Price: $5.98
(University of Yale Press)
I've had many shadowy encounters with Mary Butts; she's been a Zelig-like figure lurking in the background of countless biographies that I've read. This could be my opportunity to get to know her face-to-face. Writer, nonconformist, free spirit, she was on intimate terms with luminaries such as Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and many more.
List price: $55.00 Sale price: $6.98
I have picked up this book a number of times in stores; it's beautifully art-directed and filled with gorgeous photographs of her personal art collection. And I'm smitten with that glorious cover portrait of her by Alfred Courmes.
List price: $18.95 Sale price: $5.98
I'm thinking this bio will give me the inside scoop on the Divine Ms. G. An enfant terrible of the art world, she lived brazenly and fearlessly, "a cultural mover and shaker" with "legendary sexual appetites, including lovers Max Ernst, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Duchamp." You go girl.
List Price: Import Sale price: $5.98
The subtitle for the paperback version of this book says it all, really: "The Tragicomic, Mind-Altering Odyssey of Allen Ginsberg, a Holy Fool, a Lost Muse, a Dharma Bum, and his Prickly Bride in India."
List price: $25.95 Sale price: $5.98
From Leopold Bloom's grilled kidney breakfasts to Jay Gatsby's decadent feasts to Charles Dickens high teas to Bertie Wooster's champagne lunches, author Sean Brand details eating scenes from a multitude of favorite classics.
List price: $18.00 Sale price: $1.98
I've read quite a few of Julian's books over the years, and this one sounds especially funny. From the review: "In these piquant essays, Barnes wonders how big a "lump" is, or is a "slug" is larger than a "gout," and seeks gastronomic precision -- a quest that leaves him seduced by the unpretentious enthusiasm in Jane Grigson's cookbooks, infuriated by Nigel Slater's vague sense of what fits in a fry pan, and reassured by Mrs. Beeton's exacting Victorian values."
List price: Import Sale price: $4.98