About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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I look at it this way: I am a native speaker of English. I grew up in Northern New England. I went to Harvard. I know a bunch of languages. I have a Ph.D. Therefore my usage is standard. Your mileage may vary.

Bill Poser, writing about what constitutes "standard English."



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 1/15/2018

Totals
Posts - 2475
Comments - 2570
Hits - 2,015,323

Averages
Entries/day - 0.47
Comments/entry - 1.04
Hits/day - 379

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 9:59 AM Pacific


  08:13 PM

I should note that I was not inspired directly by Jon Carroll (via Colleague David) nor by Bill Poser ("One of the hazards of rearranging books is that it is nearly impossible to pick up a book without opening it and reading a bit. This may be pleasant and instructive, but it does rather slow the process down"). But you should read their entries, coz they're great.

Like these folks, I've been "in deacquisition mode around the bungalow," as Carroll puts it. After the initial rounds of post-move organization, I was left with a pile o' boxes o' books in the garage. Some (not many) were books I'd culled; some were books from grad school; a lot were books I inherited from my mother, which were old, and many of which were in German. All of these wanted new homes, which they now have. Here's my story, which features heroes and weasels.

Before I started my rounds of bookstores, it did occur to me that some of the old dusty volumes might actually be worth something. When I sell books, I always have a nagging thought that I'm handing over something extremely valuable for pennnies. The German I mostly didn't bother with, because the value would be offset by the need to research, price, and then ship. So I just decided to close my eyes and sell these as normal used books and be happy that they were gone. But I did go through my English-language books, and I'm glad I did. It turns out that my 1898 copy of Chaucer's Poems (ed. Thomas Wright) is worth something. And was I ever pleased to discover that I had a first edition (second printing) of the American edition (Putnam) of Lolita (#). Which I paid $1.50 for many years ago, I am unable to resist noting.

But as for the rest, who wants all this stuff? Golly. I started with a place I've had excellent luck with: Henderson Books in Bellingham. We wheeled 5 boxes of books into his store and then wandered through the extensive stacks while he examined what I had. Not surprisingly, he took the good stuff -- almost all of my John McPhee, better trade paperbacks, and a couple of "complete works of" in German (Goethe, Erich Kästner). He passed up some good stuff that he agreed was good, but he's already got plenty of copies of those things.

Across the street at Michael's, she took a handful of books. She would have taken more, she said, but she already had plenty of copies of the rest. All in all, not a bad trip to the north.

Back home, I was left with several boxes plus my collection of grad school books. I eyed it warily and then called up Magus Books, which is across the street from the University of Washington. Did they want stuff in German and like that? Bring them down, they said, so I did. To my (pleasant) surprise, he was quite happy to take a lot of my language-studies texts, especially Old and Middle High German stuff. (Presumably those languages have not changed since I was in school.) He took some other stuff, too, but he already had plenty of copies of the rest, he said.

What should I do with the remainder, I asked him? Well, there's always Half-Price Books, he said somewhat hesitantly. Yes. I've sold there before. Grr. But I was determined not to take any of the books back home. So as he suggested, I took the remainder to them. And sure enough, they took everything.

Here's how I came out money-wise:

Henderson's, 2 boxes ... $175
Michael's, 8 books ... $20
Magus, 2 boxes ... $120
Half-Price Books, 4 boxes ... $14

I publish these numbers, my friends, not because I think you're interested in my finances, but because I think there's a lesson lurking in there. Remember: heroes and weasels. But there's also me, happy to have some space in the garage at last.

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