Monday, June 20, 2005

Berlin, part three

Did I promise to say something about the books I bought? I thought that Berlin would be a good place to buy new English books and that they would have a good stock of new noir and hardboiled, maybe something from Hard Case Crime or Point Blank Press. And that Berlin would have lots of good used book stores that stock English books. But no. Actually: hell, no! The English section of a big book shop (I forget the name, but it has three stores in it, so it cannot be small) was even smaller than the ones in Finland! I did find books to buy, though: "Hard Rain" by Pelecanos, a paperback reprint of Elmore Leonard's Western novel from the fifties, and Scott Phillips's "Cottonwood" that is a sequel or actually prequel to "The Ice Harvest" which I was reading during our trip and which is simply wonderful.

We visited the Helmut Newton show at the museum of photography: very nice kinkiness, with stylish hint of sexual violence in every picture; not for everyone, of course, but then again these are quite stylish and commercial. The museum had a very good book shop and I ended up buying a large book about the cultural history of photography, a history of striptease dancing (!), and the New York sex scene, with lots stuff about rock music and sleaze publishing.

Later on we found a very nice art bookshop at Savignyplatz that had a great deal of English books. I was trying to decide whether I should buy a book on European Art Deco or a book on micro cars of the sixties or something about the surrealism or the Soviet futurism, but then I decided to drop it. I was so overwhelmed by the abundance of the books - which was good since I noticed later that if I had bought the books, we wouldn't have had money enough to eat...

They also had a separate shop for the cinema books, where I found "More Than Night", an excellent study of film noir, by James Naremore, and "Hollywood Babylon" by Kenneth Anger. The most interesting book was by far "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959" by Eric Schaefer which chronicles the classical exploitation film that flourished at the same time as the classical Hollywood cinema: educational sex cinema, reefer movies, African travelogues filmed in the backyard of the producers etc. It's huge with over 470 pages and academic: it's from Duke University Press. There was lots of other interesting stuff on film noir, but I decided I don't have the money...

Hmm.. was that all? We went to the big flea market near the Zoo, but didn't find any books. Well, there were several interesting books, such as the biography of Georges Bataille, but only in German... The English books were nowhere in sight. I saw some very clumsy hardback Westerns in German by such pulp authors as L.P. Holmes. I should've taken a picture of them, since I can't find any in the web. We did buy a very funny plush rhino from the fifties. I'll put a photo here once it's ready and scanned.

Next: the sightseeing.

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