Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sally Bowles by Christopher Isherwood

So small it fits in my back pocket
Why can't North American publishers make more pocket books? In Japan, most books are small enough to fit into your pocket. In France, Livres de poche dropped into a jacket pocket are the best way to always have something to read on hand.

Apparently, English publishers used to design books this way. Case in point: this adorable little hardbound edition of Christopher Isherwood's Sally Bowles I bought yesterday downtown. It's the second printing of the book, from 1937. In excellent condition (though no paper jacket cover as it no doubt once had).

The book was the inspiration for the movie Cabaret though I wanted it because it is set in Berlin of the 1920s. And such a quick read: between 30 minutes on the sofa last night and the metro ride to work this morning, the entire story could be enjoyed and pondered.
Isherwood's creation

Sally Bowles: an early incarnation of Holly Golightly, the vague and slightly suspect narrator (named Christopher Isherwood), the drinking, the nightclubs, the shady characters all out for themselves. Just what this chilly autumn morning required.

It strikes me that the object of this book, just as much as the story, was an enjoyable part of reading it. I loved sitting on the metro train with it in my left pocket, a clementine in the other. Now that I'm done with it, though, I have to lug out the oversized trade paperbacks per usual which means I need to bring a bag. Ugh.

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